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Monday, September 1, 2014

Is Savant Itchin' For a Fight?


Switch or don't switch... does that sound familiar?

Marilyn vos Savant is famous for (among other things) posing the original "Monty Hall puzzle" to a national audience, and baffling many, including experienced mathematicians. By now, almost anyone having interest in the puzzle no doubt knows the correct answer and why.

So it seemed a bit curious that in yesterday's Sunday "Parade" magazine column Marilyn deals with a similar-sounding puzzle that arrives at a different answer (the answer, 50/50, many had sought for the original Monty Hall). It's almost as if she were itchin' fer a fight, because I imagined that some folks, thinking back to Monty Hall, would reflexively argue she is wrong here. She is, of course, right, because the conditions or set-up are different from the Monty Hall example, but because she doesn't offer any lengthy explanation, it's predictable that she would churn up some naysayers who think she's inconsistent, and try to take her to task (...it has already begun in the comments).
See the column here:

http://parade.condenast.com/333629/marilynvossavant/should-you-swap-or-not/

By the way, a great book covering the Monty Hall puzzle in all its variations is, "The Monty Hall Problem" by Jason Rosenhouse from 2009.

Meanwhile, please be sure to also check out the very different, completely NON-mathy post over at MathTango today.


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