Jason Knight, ’09, was a University Scholar and twice a Goldwater Honorable Mention while pursuing his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Texas A&M. Though he is now a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering, the kind of broad-based critical thinking skills encouraged in our undergraduate Honors Students are still apparent in the problems Jason turns his attention to in his spare time.
I was at the in-laws house a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon the classic board game of Trouble.
After a few microseconds of nostalgia, my mind raced to the question that I’m sure most people have the first time they see this game: “Does the dice ‘popper’ mechanism introduce any observable bias into the roll patterns?”
Now, for those that don’t have experience with the game, it comes with a nifty little ‘pop-o-matic’ dice roller in the middle. Upon pushing this clear plastic half-hamster-ball bubble, the dice will rattle around a few times and then let you know how far to advance your pieces.
But there’s the rub. To my eye, the dice didn’t seem to have enough space to move around in the little bubble to sufficiently randomize each roll. So could this introduce some pattern to the supposedly random rolls?
To read Jason’s full post “(Statistical) Trouble with Trouble (the board game),” and enjoy an excellent example of critical thinking applied to real life, visit his blog: http://blog.jasonknight.us/2013/07/statistical-trouble-with-trouble-board.html.
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