Oracle Scratchpad

September 4, 2009

Real World

Filed under: humour — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:30 pm BST Sep 4,2009

Who says that the scientific method can’t be applied to real-world problems ?

http://blag.xkcd.com/2009/09/02/urinal-protocol-vulnerability/

Update – in keeping with the recent “Friday night is quiz  night” pattern, here’s a quiz on the same topic. Apologies to any who feel excluded for cultural or gender reasons:

http://www.crazyhill.com/hung/other_game/urinal.swf

6 Comments »

  1. Now that’s what I like to see: applied maths! No f**ting around.
    (oops, I meant no p**sing around! er…, never mind!)
    I can see the queueing already!

    Comment by Noons — September 5, 2009 @ 8:27 am BST Sep 5,2009 | Reply

  2. I thought that was a pretty hilarious read. I wonder how he came up with the closed form expression? Maybe it’s just been too long since I’ve been out of college for me to remember.

    Comment by Centinul — September 5, 2009 @ 12:02 pm BST Sep 5,2009 | Reply

    • Centinul,
      It looks as if if might have been something that started with a bit of trial and error guesswork, which could then be proved by induction – especially if you think about the alternating condition that causes the waste of space. Having made the suggestion, I’ll leave the proof as an exercise for the reader.

      For anyone who wants a less challenging problem on a Saturday night, though, I’ve added a link to take you to a quiz on the same topic.

      Comment by Jonathan Lewis — September 5, 2009 @ 5:03 pm BST Sep 5,2009 | Reply

  3. Ha. The quiz is hilarious. I wonder if the rules are any different in the UK than they are in the US?

    Kerry

    Comment by Kerry Osborne — September 8, 2009 @ 1:43 pm BST Sep 8,2009 | Reply

  4. No doubt you will be interested in the serious global consequence that ensue when urinal protocol is ignored.

    Urinal Protocol

    Comment by Jared — September 8, 2009 @ 7:40 pm BST Sep 8,2009 | Reply

  5. I’ve always used the “go to the driest spot of floor” protocol when selecting an individual urinal.

    At Fenway Park, with the troughs (not sure if they still have them, I’ve not been in a while), you want to make sure there is not a tall guy behind you waiting. They only think they are tall enough to pee over your shoulder.

    Comment by Mark W. Farnham — September 9, 2009 @ 10:17 pm BST Sep 9,2009 | Reply


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