#1 By: Cory Doctorow, November 3rd, 2013 14:50
#2 By: He who must not be named, November 3rd, 2013 17:15
What this tells us is that the terrorists urgently need to go on a recruitment drive, to boost the number of genuine terrorists until their number as a percentage of the general population matches the accuracy of the terrorist identification test,. e.g. if 1% of the citizens become terrorists, then the positives have a 50% likelihood of being true. The government should also harass innocent citizens until they join the terrorist organisation, thus improving the accuracy of their test. I think this is the strategy the TSA already follows...
#3 By: Austin Hamman, November 3rd, 2013 17:40
it's been working wonders in the middle east.
#4 By: Jonathan Roberts, November 3rd, 2013 18:02
Just run the test two more times with the suspects and you have your terrorist, with a very slight margin of error. As a bonus, the second and third tests would be a hundred times more practical than the first one. /s
#5 By: Harvey, November 3rd, 2013 18:28
Well done, young men. Well done.
#6 By: Harvey, November 3rd, 2013 18:29
This assumes that the test has some amount of chance associated. If not, the second test will return 10,001 terrorists and 0 non-terrorists.
#7 By: Jonathan Roberts, November 3rd, 2013 19:18
We're allowing that the police are capable of rounding up all of the inhabitants of L.A. and giving them a test that is exactly 99% accurate, so I'm going to assume that it's either random or they have the resources to make two similar tests with the same level of accuracy. After all, in this mental puzzle the terrorist has no associates - you're either 100% guilty or 100% innocent.
You're right though (of course): the important factor would be that any one person that they did flag up as a suspect would statistically have very little chance of being the terrorist.
#8 By: pjcamp, November 3rd, 2013 19:41
Maybe when they finish that the can do something about the bananas.
#9 By: Indubitably, November 3rd, 2013 21:46
Mind weighs the universe.
Want to depower? Demind.
Entropy is not evil, mind is...
#10 By: Immutable Michael, November 4th, 2013 00:30
No thanks. I'd like maintain a sense of mystery about bananas.
I mean, I'll look at them, but I'll just look at them.
#11 By: L Edwards, November 5th, 2013 03:05
I teach math, and this is an excellent explanation of a subtle concept - great job!
#12 By: Cory Doctorow, November 10th, 2013 19:48
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