Author Archives: K

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

Posted in Probability, Puzzle | 8 Comments

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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High Throughput

In late 2011, I gave cheek swabs to National Geographic to trace my genetic genealogy. The samples looked at markers from my Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA: the first was passed down from my father from his father from his … Continue reading

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Passing Notes in Class

I just got back from a four-day camping trip for the Fourth. While roasting marshmallows and hiking along trails, I managed to fall into a few puzzles. Justin posed a puzzle that we’d formulated a while ago: a multi-person variation … Continue reading

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