Author Archives: K

Invoking Authority

Over dinner recently, a friend mentioned that when he is unfamiliar with a topic, he tends to accept what he reads on that topic at face value. The remark sparked some thoughts I’ve been having about how the way in … Continue reading

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Propagating Errors

Jim mentioned Puzzled Pint a few months ago, but it conflicted with an improv rehearsal. However, this month, we decided to make Puzzled Pint our troupe’s social outing. The first step in Puzzled Pint is to figure out where the … Continue reading

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Apples and Oranges

While waiting to do an improv set, Chrysteena told me that she and Jim had three cartons: one with apples, one with oranges, and a third with apples and oranges. Unfortunately, each carton was mislabeled, and they wanted to move … Continue reading

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Jigsaw Puzzle Procrastination

“What made you decide to go to graduate school?” During a workshop about academic careers at Allerton in 2008, Roy Yates responded to the above question in one of my favorite responses to a question of this type: “It was … Continue reading

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The Doors

It was the first evening of the 2008 School of Information Theory, and Paul Cuff, then a grad student at Stanford, had just shared a probability puzzle about doors (not the Monty Hall problem). I don’t remember exactly how we … Continue reading

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Ages of Three Daughters

My uncle’s in town and just reminded me of a puzzle that he’d asked me over ten years ago. A census worker goes to a house and the person who answers the door tells the census worker that she has three daughters. “I need to know … Continue reading

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Le Poisson

It was the spring of 2003; Toby Berger and I were both in the common room of Phillips Hall, and there was half an hour before his information theory class was set to start. Toby was advising my honors thesis, a project that was exploring … Continue reading

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