Thecommexokid

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The application of the secretary problem to real life dating

There are n applicants for the position, and the value of n is known.

If you're trying to make a dating analogy, I'm gonna have to stop you right there...

16 types of useful predictions

Apparently you are putting

2. Predict how you'll feel in an upcoming situation. Affective forecasting – our ability to predict how we'll feel – has some well known flaws.
Examples: "How much will I enjoy this party?" "Will I feel better if I leave the house?" "If I don't get this job, will I still feel bad about it two weeks later?"

into your "Easily answerable questions" subset. Personally, I struggle to obtain a level of introspection sufficient to answer questions like these even after the fact.

Does anyone have any tips to help me better access my own feelings in this way? After I have left the house, how do I determine if I feel better? If I don't get the job, how do I determine if I feel bad about it? Etc.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

I think an optimal system if resources are no issue

What resources would be required for this?

an app

On what platform? As I commented on another reply, many of our student attendees come from poor districts so I don't want to assume every student has a smartphone.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

Where the lecture is given, setup a free wifi from which students must log in with their unique id at the beginning and at the end of the lecture.

Log in on what? Many of our student attendees come from poor districts so I would hesitate to choose a solution that, for instance, assumes every student has a smartphone.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015
  • There's an obvious exploit if the cards are identical every month. This is the reason you suggested different colors.
  • Requires a sufficient surplus of cards that we don't run out if attendance one month is much higher than average.
    • Not a problem by itself, but combined with the necessity of making them different every month, this leads to a lot of waste, since last month's leftovers can't be reused.

After thinking about this problem a while, I thought of the following idea. Instead of making the cards unique every month, simply number the cards consecutively. When handing them out each month, take note of the number of the first card handed out and the last. Then if there are any suspicions of fraud, we can check quite simply that there are no duplicate or errant numbers on the cards we got back.

  • Anyone who leaves the room and comes back in again (e.g. to go to the bathroom) before the lecture starts can get a second card.

Possible solution: Hand out the cards as the students enter the building, rather than as they enter the lecture hall. (Easy in this case because the lectures are on a weekend and the building doors are locked except the one we open.)

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

Hand out index cards (a different color each month) at the entrance. Each student who wants credit puts his or her name, school, and teacher's name on the card, then at the end of the lecture puts it in a box at the exit. (If there are several exits, have several boxes. If you're worried about box tampering, station a host at each exit if you have enough hosts. And yes, you have to bin the cards by school and teacher afterward.)

This is, indeed, essentially the solution I had considered myself. I feel as though I still like it the best even after giving due consideration to your long list of ideas, which did include several ideas I had not thought of. (For instance, I really like the stamp idea; unfortunately our lectures are Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.) I like the cards because they penalize both late arrival and early departure. (Whereas putting the sign-up before the talk only reverses the problem.) And it makes it challenging to slip in the names of students who are not in attendance, because each student receives only one card.

Some issues and possible solutions, for further consideration:

  • Students will not know what to do with an index card handed to them at the door.
    • Possible solution: Use preprinted slips with labeled blanks for name, teacher, and school rather than blank cards.
    • Possible solution: Large instructions on the board indicating what to do.
  • Many students will not have a pen or pencil.
    • Possible solution: A box of 144 golf pencils looks to be very cheap.
  • It is more inconvenient to photocopy the attendance records before mailing them back when the names are all on individual cards.
  • Anyone who leaves the room and comes back in again (e.g. to go to the bathroom) before the lecture starts can get a second card.

And two things which are not problems individually, but are sort of tricky in combination:

  • There's an obvious exploit if the cards are identical every month. This is the reason you suggested different colors.
  • Requires a sufficient surplus of cards that we don't run out if attendance one month is much higher than average.
    • Not a problem by itself, but combined with the necessity of making them different every month, this leads to a lot of waste, since last month's leftovers can't be reused.
Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

I have an exercise in "thinking about the problem for 5 minutes before proposing solutions" for everyone.

I am a member of a small group of physics graduate students in charge of a monthly series of public science lectures. The lectures are aimed at local high school students, and we have many high school teachers who encourage their students to attend by offering extra credit. The audience of each talk (typically around 100) is composed almost wholly of students who have come solely because they want a few extra points in chemistry or whatever.

In the current system, we prepare attendance sheets with school and teacher names on the top, and at the conclusion of the lecture, the students who want credit for attending come to the front of the hall and sign their name to the appropriate sheet to prove they were there. Then we photocopy these sheets for our records and mail the originals back to the teachers.

There are a number of issues with this system:

  • Students often don't pay attention to the top of the sheets (where the school and teacher are listed) and write their names on the wrong list.
  • Students who arrive to the lecture very late still receive credit for attending.
  • Unless watched very closely, students can sign the names of friends who did not attend in addition to their own name.
  • Even if watched very closely, they can still do this if they are clever enough to do one name at a time and then loop back around to the end of the line.
  • If many students from a single teacher's classes all attend, there is a huge pile-up at the end around a single sheet.

I am looking to design a new process to eliminate some of these issues. I have something particular in mind (which fixes most of these problems but generates a couple new ones) but I'd like to see what other people have to say.

What It's Like to Notice Things

My professor's favorite advice for giving presentations:

Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, then tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em.

What It's Like to Notice Things

Re: your question on Facebook about relative upvotes between this and your "Deferring" post.

The thesis of this post is the last paragraph. I had to read this whole long-ish before finding out what your point was. It wasn't a bad point, but if you're going to keep me interested in hearing about you driving around doing errands and noticing roofs, then I should know in advance what the intended lesson of the post is. I would have found the post much improved if some version the "Really About" section had come first, rather than (or, better yet, in addition to) last.

In the "Deferring" post, the thesis of your post was the first sentence.

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