Saturday, October 19, 2019

Feminist Trivia Team Names

Yesterday I went to a really fun women's history trivia night at our local library in honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment getting through Congress (it of course wasn't ratified by the required three-fourths of the states until August 1920—thanks, Tennessee!). It was a lot of fun, and so was coming up with potential feminist-themed team names.

We ended up going with the team name "Well Behaved Women Seldom Win Trivia" (and judging by our performance, we are extremely polite), but I figured I'd share all the options I came up with because when I googled around on this subject there was a glaring lack of options out there around the internet. So without further ado, here's my list:
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton-on-the-Shoulders-of-Giants
  • Alice Paul Y'all
  • Well Behaved Women Seldom Win Trivia
  • Lucy Burns Bras
  • Jane Eyre-ing on the Side of Awesome
  • Rosie the Quiz-eter
  • Lily Ledbetter-watch-out
  • Madeleine Albright Albright Albright
  • Anna Howard Shaw Shucks, You Didn't Have to Let Us Win So Easily!
  • Pearl S. Buck-you-up
  • Ada Lovelace, We'd'a Won More (If We Tried)
  • The Feminine Mystique-ing Out the Victory
  • The Radical Notions [from that saying that feminism is the radical notion that women are people too]
  • Catcalling is for Felines
  • Suffrage is not Enough-rage
  • Seneca Falls Pretenses
  • Seneca Falls Modesty
  • Lulling You into a Seneca Falls Sense of Complacency
  • The Pill at Ease
  • Women of the Pill Repute
  • Took a DNA Test, Turns Out We're 100% Impeach
  • Equal Pay for Equal Cirque du Soleil
  • Seneca Falls Well That Ends Well
  • Les Miz Magazine
  • The Late Bloomers
  • The Geraldine Ferraro Rochers
  • Nancy Pel-oh-say-can-you-see
  • The Suffragette-powered Engines
  • The Silent Sentin-elevens
  • The Crazy Carrie Chapman Catt Ladies
  • The Second Sex—But the First-place Team
  • Men's Rights is Nothing [not punny just a classic Parks and Rec quote]
  • Benny and the Suffragettes

In my defense, I was definitely going for quantity over quality.

I didn't catch all the other teams' names, but two that I liked were Billie Jean's Queens and Hersterectomy 😂

Feel free to leave any others you can come up with in the comments!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Minesweeper win rates: more data and open questions

I've blogged before about my mild (?) obsession with Minesweeper. It is, in my humble opinion, the Platonic ideal of a game--the perfect blend of logic, statistics, and luck. I was able to find a fantastic version for Android--called Minesweeper GO - classic mines game--that I highly recommend you download if you have any serious interest in the game. I won't bore you with all the details, but the stats and hints logic are second to none.

Screenshot of a portion of an expert
grid on the Minesweeper GO app.
I''m still not 100% of the ideal play;
what would you go with?
Anyway, with this new app, I've gotten some more data on my Minesweeper win percentages:
Beginner: 86.04% (after 953 games)
Intermediate: 79.83% (after 1145 games)
Expert: 38.76% (after 4422 games) [1]
Being me, one of the things I was interested in was that the beginner and intermediate percentages are quite close. And this despite the fact that the beginner board as 8*8=64 tiles versus the intermediate board's 16*16=256 tiles--a 4x difference. However, it turns out that they have an equal density of mines (10 mines on the beginner board, 40 on intermediate: both work out to 6.4 tiles/mine, or about 0.16 mines/tile if you want to think of it that way). So it makes sense that the win percentages on each would be pretty similar.

As for why they're different at all, I think there might be (at least) two answers: the main one is that with more mines, there's just more opportunity for them to clump together in corners where you have to guess at the answer. And then there's the fact that I've been playing with the feature (apparently first introduced in the Windows Vista version) of every first click being an opening (i.e., empty--equivalent to a zero) turned on in the app. That automatic opening will tend to be a larger percentage of the board in beginner than in intermediate, I think, and so you will have already cleared a greater proportion of the field from the get-go on the beginner level, giving you more of a head start.

All of that made me curious: what size board would lead to the highest possible win percentage? Obviously there are an infinite number of board sizes and mine densities, so to be more specific maybe I could simplify the problem and ask what square board size with a density of 6.4 tiles/mine (or as close to that as possible given the board size) could be solved at the highest rate? Maybe the beginner board is the ideal in that regard, but maybe a slightly bigger or smaller board could beat it.

And finally, I think I'm going to reset my stats in the app (*gasp!*) and see how these stats change without the automatic-opening feature turned on. I'm sure I'll post the certain-to-be-fascinating results on here ere long! :)


[1] Note that in my previous post, I reported a 33.9% win percentage on expert, and now it's 38.76%--what happened? I may have just gotten better at Minesweeper, or maybe I tend to make fewer mistakes tapping on a phone screen than I did clicking with a mouse. And that guaranteed-opening-on-the-first-click feature being turned on likely plays a part. But actually I'm surprised that the difference isn't larger: as I said in a comment on that post, I actually started keeping track of my monthly stats for a few years on a publicly accessible google spreadsheet. There, you'll note that even without the opening-on-first-click feature, I steadily increased my monthly winning percentage (even getting as high as 44.6% in June 2012!), with my average winning percentage over the last 10 months I kept track working out to 37.07%. So it looks like the auto-opening feature only amounts to a 1 or 2% difference on expert. I guess that makes sense since the grid is so huge (16x30) that a small opening every time at the beginning doesn't change much.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Estonian/English False Friends, or "Ants on Lips"

Dutch/English (hilarious) false friend [courtesy of Wikipedia]
False friends are words that look (or sound) alike in two languages but mean different things. A good example is "embarasada" in Spanish, which does not mean "embarrassed" but rather "pregnant."

Well, I've always had a nerd-fantasy of creating entire sentences out of false friends that are grammatically correct in both languages. Since Estonian is my most fluent foreign tongue, that's the one I'm working on. So far I've created a Google Document (available to view here, with parts of speech labeled to help use them to create sentences) with every Estonian/English false friend I could think of and/or find on the internet (yes, there actually are a handful of other websites that have collected some of these). Some of the more elaborate ones (read: polysyllabic) include "eludes" (Estonian for "in the lives"), "august" ("out of a hole"), "hinged" ("souls"), and "supine" ("soupy").

The only two halfway decent sentences I've been able to come up with using all Estonian/English false friends are both in headline style--it's really hard to get subject-verb-object to all work out:

  • Ants on lips = Andrew* is a necktie.
  • Hinge eludes toad on head = In the lives of a soul, rooms are good.
OK, so they're basically gibberish in both languages, but I'm pretty proud of myself. If you speak any Estonian, can you come up with any others? Or in any other language?

UPDATE: My good friend Mark noted in the comments below that I had overlooked one of the greatest pairs of false friends ever: "the Estonian word 'smoking' means suit (tuxedo, specifically), and the Estonian word 'suits' means smoke."

*Ants is an Estonian first name; I have no idea what the actual English analogue should be but Andrew is as good as any.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Most Beautiful Music You'll Never Hear (Update: Now with 100% more audio)

OK, you can hear it, technically, but you won't really be able to hear it in the way it should be heard because it's in Estonian and the lyrics are magical. So unless you want to learn a more obscure version of Finnish (or you were lucky enough to be born Estonian!), you'll never hear it.

But I want to share it with you anyways.

The Johanson Brothers, Märt and Jaak, play some awesome folk-inspired Estonian music. One of the songs from their awesome 1993 album Põhja Vahemäng (Nordic Interlude) is called Mu Süda Ärka Üles (Wake Up, My Heart). It's a traditional Estonian folk song and they do a wonderful and powerful arrangement.

You can read the Estonian words here if you'd like, but I'll provide you with a (liberal) translation into English here: (I'm using the words from the song, not from the online version--there are fewer verses and a few minor changes)
Awake, my heart
And praise the Creator in song
Who provides us with all that is good
And bears our burdens too

When I laid down to sleep
I buried my head in father's lap
Satan tried to catch me
But father denied him

"Stay calm," you cried
"My child, I will protect you.
He can't hurt you--
You will yet see the light of day"

Your word has come true
I have seen the new day
No harm came near me
Your might sheltered me

I thank you for this
and honor you greatly
I offer up to you sighings
and holy prayers

May your kindness remain always with me
May my heart be a temple to you
May your word nourish me
and show me the heavenward path

Awake, my heart
And praise the Creator in song
Who provides us with all that is good
And bears our burdens too
Trust me, it's amazing. Here is a youtube video I made with the music playing in the background (if anyone knows of a simple website for recording only audio so that I don't have to have a pointless video with almost no motion, please let me know).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Humor in the Book of Mormon

If there's one element of our appreciation of the Book of Mormon we need to improve on, it's looking at it as a source for good humor as well as inspiration. Here are a few of my favorite Book of Mormon-related humorous scriptures/anecdotes.

My favorite funny verse in the whole book has to be 3 Nephi 3:13: "Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and their substance, save it were their land, unto one place." I obviously have no idea what was going through Mormon's mind when he was abridging this history, but I really hope he was just getting kind of tired of summing up years of history so he threw in some sarcasm: "But just to be clear, they didn't gather their land together in one place."

One of my MTC teachers told us about a meeting they had with an investigator who was trying to decide if he wanted to get baptized. My teacher was with a new missionary for the day who didn't speak Estonian too well, but who nevertheless decided to speak up and share a powerful scripture to help this man decide to exercise faith and trust in God and join His church. Unfortunately, instead of 1 Nephi 3:7, he opened to 3 Nephi 3:7, and handed it to the investigator to read aloud. My MTC teacher was understandably shocked when the investigator started reading: "Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance." Not exactly the message the eager missionary meant to send.

A friend once pointed out a goof by Abinadi. Mosiah 12:1 reads, in pertinent part, "Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying--Abinadi, go and prophesy unto this my people." Abinadi, you totally just blew your own cover!

My last example is from a wonderful little remembrance of lessons learned from Hugh Nibley by Boyd Petersen. I'll just quote from Petersen's remarks:
Hugh often stated that "if you take yourself seriously, you won't take the gospel seriously and the other way around." One of my favorite examples of this comes from Curtis Wright, who was a graduate assistant for Hugh. One time Wright came into Hugh's office and found him there absorbed in reading the Book of Mormon and laughing. Wright asked Hugh what was so funny, and Hugh replied that he had found an error in the Book of Mormon. "You did, huh?" Wright responded. "Yes," Hugh stated and handed the scriptures to Wright pointing to Alma 42:10 which says that "man is carnal, sensual and devilish." "What's the matter with that?" demanded Wright. Hugh responded, "They left out stupid."
Do you have any good memories of laughing related to the Book of Mormon? I believe strongly that as we look for humor in the Book of Mormon, we'll appreciate it even more as a book to live by.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Minesweeper, or My Personal Brand of Nerdiness

Since early June, I've now played 1000 games of Minesweeper on my new laptop on the expert difficulty level. That's an average of about 20 games per day. And that doesn't count the games I've played while on conference calls at work, during each of which I can probably get through 20 games easy. So yes, I am addicted.

But I love it. I love Minesweeper because it's a wonderfully maddening mix of logic and luck, NP-completeness and silliness, pointlessness and the opportunity to win a million dollars.

And it's an addiction of choice: I blogged once before about giving up Minesweeper for a year. It wasn't too hard, though I did pick up a decent Freecell habit (laced with occasional Solitaire) to compensate. And once New Year's Eve was here, I was right back in it. The point is: I really can quit any time I want.

While I like to see how fast I can beat a board, my main goal is to win. As often as possible. So if I get in a complicated situation, I'll take time to stop and think about it. I love the never-ending new situations that come up. To the right is a recent finish
that I liked a lot. There are two right answers for which mine to click, and two wrong answers; the proof is left as an exercise for the reader.

Apparently, I'm in a minority in caring about winning percentage. In the (minuscule) world of Minesweeper enthusiasts, it seems like the decision to keep track of win percentage is ridiculed in favor of obscure stats that tell you how fast you can go. I certainly couldn't find anyone via Google who kept track of best win percentages. But I am quite proud of my 33% (339 wins in 1000 games) on expert. (I was this close to getting to a 34% winning percentage, I'll have you know, but it just wasn't meant to be.) But fortunately the two goals--speed and winning percentage--aren't completely mutually exclusive. My best time is 80 seconds, which ain't too shabby.

It would be interesting to try to figure out what the maximum winning percentage is in the limit. There are a lot of games that come down to guessing, but I've been able to keep steady at about 33% for a good while, so I feel pretty comfortable proposing that as a lower bound. And while I certainly don't make optimum moves all the time, and human error creeps in for sure, I don't think a winning percentage too much higher than that is feasible in the long term. Maybe low 40's. That will be my first question when I get to heaven.

And thus concludes my random celebration of a beyond-meaningless milestone. Please share any Minesweeper anecdotes or thoughts on obscure addictions.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wrest Hymns

I love "How Great Thou Art," but in my head I can't help but subvert one of the lyrics. When it says that Christ will come "with shout of acclamation," I always like to think that we're singing "with shout of acclimation." People will start out "Oh no, not Jesus!" and then slowly move into "Hey, this isn't so bad" followed eventually by "This is pretty dang good!" and finally getting into the spirit of it as they get used to the idea, shouting "This is awesome!" We figure it out eventually, but we have to acclimate to the idea.