OT- what is the name of this mathematical phenomenon?

# Thread: OT- what is the name of this mathematical phenomenon?

1. Diamond
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## OT- what is the name of this mathematical phenomenon?

This is a bit hard to explain, so bear with me.

You have 100 golf balls in a neat set of rows like an egg crate....10x10 so it's easy to count them and know there is 100. They are suspended 50 or 100 feet off the floor. Whatever.

Below, there is another egg crate-device with 100 spaces, and both egg-crate devices are enclosed by solid walls such that when you dump the 100 balls above, they will all fall into a space below and once again be easily counted. A person who was shown only the balls up high could easily count them, and a person who was only shown the balls on the floor could also easily count them.

So far, the math of all this is very basic and easy.

But, as the balls are falling, and all are in mid-air, it is very difficult to count them. A person seeing the balls only as they are falling would most likely be unable to count them accurately. At best, he could estimate their number, or theoretically invent some very sophisticated counting device that could count the balls. The point is, it's the same number of balls no matter where they are, but only when they are ordered can their number be easily understood.

My question is...I assume there is a name for this phenomenon, probably within the field of mathematics or statistics or?

2. Stainless
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It's called not having enough time to do the job. Take a photo of them falling and the counting becomes easy again.

3. I think mhajicek is exactly right. There may not even be a name for this. The same analogy would apply to counting bees or ants or chickens or anything moving around. You have to stop the motion to be able to count unless you use some sophisticated technology.

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Originally Posted by GregSY
My question is...I assume there is a name for this phenomenon, probably within the field of mathematics or statistics or?
Your description doesn't sound exactly like this, but Heisenberg did a lot of work on uncertainty, which is similar to your example.

5. Diamond
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I agree, but I assume there must be a name for it. There's a name for everything.

This came about as I was talking to an engineer - a degreed EE from a noted university - who was trying to understand the cost of electricity at the plant where he was hired as a consultant. They have a baseload of about 85MW.

In most cases, a power company will charge a certain rate for power on a per/KW basis, with a penalty that comes into play if the plant's var consumption falls below a certain threshold. It's fairly simple to understand what the power cost will be...let's say if you decide to run a given piece of equipment or not.

But...as he said, 'this is California...'

They do not have a set penalty for vars, not do they have a set rate for watts. Rather, there is an incredibly complex, sliding scale multi-tiered set of equations that are used to determine the cost of power. Instead of there being a few variables, there are almost an untold number of variables. And, of course, the plant's consumption is not a constant either.

After some discussion, he and I both came to the same conclusion....the power company uses this model as a money-maker. By preventing the plant from knowing ahead of time what their bill will be, they effectively remove the plant's ability to tailor their usage to their budget.His comment was simple - it's almost impossible to know what the power will cost...you must wait until the bill arrives.

It's like going to a restaurant where the menu price is fluid based on the cost of meat, flour, dairy, spices, season of year, time of day down to the minute, and health of the waitstaff. You're unable to tell if the extra pat of butter will cost you nothing or \$25. The only way you'll know is looking at your bill....and by then it's too late.

6. Stainless
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7. Stainless
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Probability theory, quantum golf, who knows but it’s interesting to think about
Mark

8. Diamond
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Originally Posted by GregSY
I agree, but I assume there must be a name for it. There's a name for everything.

This came about as I was talking to an engineer - a degreed EE from a noted university - who was trying to understand the cost of electricity at the plant where he was hired as a consultant. They have a baseload of about 85MW.

In most cases, a power company will charge a certain rate for power on a per/KW basis, with a penalty that comes into play if the plant's var consumption falls below a certain threshold. It's fairly simple to understand what the power cost will be...let's say if you decide to run a given piece of equipment or not.

But...as he said, 'this is California...'

They do not have a set penalty for vars, not do they have a set rate for watts. Rather, there is an incredibly complex, sliding scale multi-tiered set of equations that are used to determine the cost of power. Instead of there being a few variables, there are almost an untold number of variables. And, of course, the plant's consumption is not a constant either.

After some discussion, he and I both came to the same conclusion....the power company uses this model as a money-maker. By preventing the plant from knowing ahead of time what their bill will be, they effectively remove the plant's ability to tailor their usage to their budget.His comment was simple - it's almost impossible to know what the power will cost...you must wait until the bill arrives.

It's like going to a restaurant where the menu price is fluid based on the cost of meat, flour, dairy, spices, season of year, time of day down to the minute, and health of the waitstaff. You're unable to tell if the extra pat of butter will cost you nothing or \$25. The only way you'll know is looking at your bill....and by then it's too late.

Are you talking about anything related to medical services? The money calculations sound about the same. ;-)

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Originally Posted by GregSY
But...as he said, 'this is California...'
Ah yes, the buffoons at PG&E who fell for that world-beating scam from Texas, Enron. They learned from those masters of fraudulent accounting and never went back

10. Diamond
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To me, this is an example of how 'smarts' are used not for good, but for bad. It's what happens when you have too many people with time on their hands to figure out ways to over-complicate a transaction. How do you control a transaction? You make it impossible for the other guy to understand.

Then, you add insult to injury...the coup de grace of malfeasance .... by framing it such that you are doing him a favor. You hang words on it like 'smart' and 'automatic' and 'organic' and even 'eco'.

I guess 'sleight of hand' is probably as good a term as any!

In the case above....there is the inevitable swinging of the pendulum. What they plan to do is go ahead with the desired plant expansion....but they're gonna do it at their plant in Oklahoma. The problem, of course, is while these guys are working 8 hours a day doing their best to produce a product...those other guys still have nothing to do with their 8 hours a day other than figure out new ways to get into the pockets of others. Producers and pickpockets....

11. Diamond
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Here's one take on it.

If the experiment is done in a place with no air currents and the balls are all the same size and weight they should fall more or less in the same pattern in which they were dropped. An observant person probably could do the quick 10 times 10 calculation before they reached the bottom and a hole in the pattern would be obvious so if no holes the number equals 10 x 10 or 100.

IMO the informal name for the mathematical phenomenon is rainy day navel contemplation.

12. Hot Rolled
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Originally Posted by GregSY
But...as he said, 'this is California...'

They do not have a set penalty for vars, not do they have a set rate for watts. Rather, there is an incredibly complex, sliding scale multi-tiered set of equations that are used to determine the cost of power. Instead of there being a few variables, there are almost an untold number of variables. And, of course, the plant's consumption is not a constant either.

After some discussion, he and I both came to the same conclusion....the power company uses this model as a money-maker. By preventing the plant from knowing ahead of time what their bill will be, they effectively remove the plant's ability to tailor their usage to their budget.His comment was simple - it's almost impossible to know what the power will cost...you must wait until the bill arrives.

It's like going to a restaurant where the menu price is fluid based on the cost of meat, flour, dairy, spices, season of year, time of day down to the minute, and health of the waitstaff. You're unable to tell if the extra pat of butter will cost you nothing or \$25. The only way you'll know is looking at your bill....and by then it's too late.
Yep. Quite the racket.

The best one can do here is to create a Monte Carlo model of various common operational scenarios operating under those many rules, and then use statistics to decide how best to bet.

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I wonder if we had been born with 8 fingers and Octal math would 10x10 be so easy and intuitive?
Bob

14. Hot Rolled
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like EG said, this sounds like probability with uncertainty, meaning, based on previous data you can try and guess with certain amount of probability how the changes in your plants electricity consumption will affect the bill

somewhat related story about difficulty of quantifying measurements of flowing stuff - this time literally - fuel flow regulations introduced few years back in F1, as the rule got introduced - the exact wording was - fuel flow limited to X liters per hour, during the first race FIA discovered that one team had exceeded the flow on number of occasions during the race, as it turned out, the sensor that took fuel flow measurements measured some short spikes of increased flow - if you calculate the average over an hour - as the rules dictate, they would be fine, because those short spikes were very very brief - fractions of seconds, but they were there, probably some sort of resonance in the fuel supply system, because they also introduced direct injection, and everything that comes with it, high pressure pumps etc., the final ruling was that they didn't comply with the (vague) regulation and were disqualified

as time went on, a certain different team steadily and drastically found some extra hp in their power unit over a course of a year or a bit more, and by drastic increase it was rumored to be 10% or even more, which is near impossible to do in such a short time without a significant breakthrough and with the strict regulations they have in place, FIA investigation was launched, they found something, didn't disclose it, didn't hand out any penalties, but agreement between FIA and the team had been signed, the same team (and other teams using those engines) suddenly dropped to the back of the grid the following year... it was rumored that they somehow found a way to match the resonance in their fuel supply rail with the sampling rate of the FIA measuring sensor, so the sensor would sample the lows and not see the highs, which let them gain some extra hp from the engine...

this was regarding the - this is simple, just take a picture and count, sometimes (actually a lot of times) it isn't that straight forward

15. Stainless
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Originally Posted by CarbideBob
I wonder if we had been born with 8 fingers...
Bob
I dunno about you Bob but I was born with 8 fingers

16. I ran into a real world example of this issue. I was looking for silver with a layer of cadmium oxide for contacts to reduce arcing. The supplier would only sell a slab and I would have to roll it out myself, which I could do, but I was stuck with the quantity they wanted to sell me. Then, I had to place a firm order for that amount but they would not quote it. Delivery would be some weeks away and the price would be based on the silver market at that time. I couldn't cancel the order and would have to pay whatever they demanded. Needless to say, I didn't play their game.

Bill

17. Originally Posted by Peter.
I dunno about you Bob but I was born with 8 fingers
12 would have worked out better.

Bill

18. Diamond
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The golf ball example is a simplified one....even if you couldn't count them as they fell, you'd still know after they settled there would be 100. To make it a closer example, I'd change the number of spaces in the bottom egg crate as the balls fell, and the agreement would be you'd pay for every ball that didn't find a home. And the amount you'd pay would also be variable.

Normally, a power consumer is encouraged to maintain a certain power factor level at their plant - always lagging, but not too much lagging. If they get sloppy and exceed that level, they incur a penalty. Fair enough. But under this sort of agreement, it becomes very difficult to know if they have gotten sloppy until the bill arrives. And, what's sloppy one month might not be the previous month.

19. Originally Posted by GregSY
To me, this is an example of how 'smarts' are used not for good, but for bad. It's what happens when you have too many people with time on their hands to figure out ways to over-complicate a transaction. How do you control a transaction? You make it impossible for the other guy to understand.

Then, you add insult to injury...the coup de grace of malfeasance .... by framing it such that you are doing him a favor. You hang words on it like 'smart' and 'automatic' and 'organic' and even 'eco'.

I guess 'sleight of hand' is probably as good a term as any!

In the case above....there is the inevitable swinging of the pendulum. What they plan to do is go ahead with the desired plant expansion....but they're gonna do it at their plant in Oklahoma. The problem, of course, is while these guys are working 8 hours a day doing their best to produce a product...those other guys still have nothing to do with their 8 hours a day other than figure out new ways to get into the pockets of others. Producers and pickpockets....
sort of like getting a government [tax payer funded you know payed for by you and me]funded grant to see how meany times a grasshopper can ejaculate in one day ! expiring minds want to know ! ya some woody Allan type prof gets his flunky that he is hosing on the side to do all the work so he can take all the credit come to think of it these are the same people that tell all there students that so called capitalist are bad but they drive there land rovers , mb , wmw and live in the gated areas yup it a great gig if you can get it

20. Hot Rolled
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Originally Posted by GregSY
My question is...I assume there is a name for this phenomenon, probably within the field of mathematics or statistics or?
Yes - it's known as the chaosfookincount principle.