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Desc:Practical mathematics.
Category:Educational, Trailers
Tags:maths, toilet, Numberphile
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Comment count is 13
Bort - 2014-07-26
Close your eyes and that's Dobby from "Peep Show".
fluffy - 2014-07-26
Or you can solve it with quantum computing and get the best of all possible toilets.

Also if everyone uses this strategy, then the first 37% will always be pristine.
Old_Zircon - 2014-07-26
All I know is that I've literally never seen a queue for anything (much less toilets) that works like this. Either there's a single queue and when it's your turn you take the next available one, or there is a separate queue formed fr each toilet. They must have some fucked up, inefficient queuing in the UK.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-07-26
Why must all the other toilets be empty when she poops? What a queen!

Old_Zircon - 2014-07-26
Yeah, if there are empty toilets, there's no queue, which negates the premise of her not being able to double back.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-07-26
This is what happens when you let the math dept. take over the physics dept.

Old_Zircon - 2014-07-26
Someone, somewhere, has masturbated to this. You know it's true.
EvilHomer - 2014-07-26

EvilHomer - 2014-07-26
It's a cute video, but they should have specified that their answer only works as a fun illustration of an abstract mathematical model. It is click-bait, NOT a practical solution for the real-world problem of toilet-choice-optimization.

The trouble is, Dr Symond's model fails to take into account two critical factors: imperfect judgement, and time. First, her model assumes that the person observing the toilets has perfect memory and is able to make accurate, quantified judgements about the condition of each toilet. But this is impossible! Human beings find it very difficult to make completely objective judgements about hard-to-quantify concepts like the overall value of a toilet. There are simply too many factors to consider: one toilet may have plenty of toilet paper, but smell awful. Another toilet may have a clean seat, but slightly less toilet paper. Still another may have a few more inches of toilet paper, but also have a small dab of what may or may not be urine on the floor, right where you'd have to place your feet. Acquiring a precise measure of a toilet's value would take far too long; toilet appraisals are by necessity snap judgements, and even the most accurate snap judgements will be difficult to measure one against one another, particularly as the number of toilets grow. When you stop to consider that human memory is generally pretty shoddy, and simply recalling the observed states of each toilet will become ever more difficult as the process continues, it becomes clear that this is not a task for which human beings are suited. Perhaps if you had a toilet-checking robot? Or a toilet-appraising Smart Phone app, that could do these cumbersome calculations for you?

(EH note - "Toilet Appraiser" and the iOS version, "iPoo", are now Copyright me. DO NOT STEAL.)

The second issue, time, is probably even more important. Dr Symond's proposal assumes that one has an indefinite amount of time in which to observe and reject toilets. As anyone who's ever had to poop before can readily attest, this assumption is absurd! Going to the toilet is a very time-sensitive issue,even under the best of circumstances, and I think it's fair to say that if you're so desperate for a pooh that you're willing to use a portable toilet at the Gathering of the Juggalos, then you do not have any time to waste. There is simply no way that you will stand in line, and then reject, __37 toilets__ before maybe possibly accepting one, merely on the offchance that you might find a slightly better place in which to shit. No, I'm sorry, but it is obvious that Dr Symond has failed to think this matter through. Her proposal, while mathematically sound, is completely and utterly inadequate for real-world applications.
Old_Zircon - 2014-07-26
Well, at least the implausibility of her hypothetical situation lets us safely assume that she doesn't actually live her life like this, which is probably good.

As opposed to, say, A Men's Room Monologue.


The God of Biscuits - 2014-07-26
An abstract mathematical model? On a channel about mathematics?

EvilHomer - 2014-07-26
It's irresponsible. What if some impressionable child watches this, tries to follow her advice, and winds up shitting his pants in the middle of Ozfest? What then?!

Old_Zircon - 2014-07-27
Someone should probably alert Mathnet.

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