Riddler Classic – 11-4-2016 – Will You Decide the Election?

Here’s my solution to this week’s Riddler Classic puzzle FiveThirtyEight.  Here’s the question: ” You are the only sane voter in a state with two candidates running for Senate. There are N other people in the state, and each of them votes completely randomly! Those voters all act independently and have a 50-50 chance of voting for either candidate. What are the odds that your vote changes the outcome of the election toward your preferred candidate?  More importantly, how do these odds scale with the number of people in the state? For example, if twice as many people lived in the state, how much would your chances of swinging the election change?”

Continue reading “Riddler Classic – 11-4-2016 – Will You Decide the Election?”

Riddler Classic – 10-14-2016 – Arbitraria

Here’s my solution to this weeks Riddler Classic puzzle from FiveThirtyEight.  Here’s the question: “While traveling in the Kingdom of Arbitraria, you are accused of a heinous crime. Arbitraria decides who’s guilty or innocent not through a court system, but a board game. It’s played on a simple board: a track with sequential spaces numbered from 0 to 1,000. The zero space is marked “start,” and your token is placed on it. You are handed a fair six-sided die and three coins. You are allowed to place the coins on three different (nonzero) spaces. Once placed, the coins may not be moved. Continue reading “Riddler Classic – 10-14-2016 – Arbitraria”

Riddler Express – 10-14-16 – Turning Coins Over

Here’s my solution to this week’s Riddler Express question from FiveThirtyEight.  Here’s the question: “You place 100 coins heads up in a row and number them by position, with the coin all the way on the left No. 1 and the one on the rightmost edge No. 100. Next, for every number N, from 1 to 100, you flip over every coin whose position is a multiple of N. For example, first you’ll flip over all the coins, because every number is a multiple of 1. Then you’ll flip over all the even-numbered coins, because they’re multiples of 2. Then you’ll flip coins No. 3, 6, 9, 12 … And so on. What do the coins look like when you’re done? Specifically, which coins are heads down?”

Continue reading “Riddler Express – 10-14-16 – Turning Coins Over”