賭博必勝術

今天在占占字起的blog看見了篇文章﹐談論賭博必勝術﹐已經是同一系列文章的第三篇。我初看以為是開玩笑的遊戲文章﹐賭博不可能贏受制於數學定律。想不到既然有人一本正經討論文章的必勝術是否可行﹐還正反相方洋洋數千字陳述賭海心法﹐看起來就像討論阿媽唔係女人一樣咁荒謬。

文章中所謂的必勝法很簡單﹐假定賠率是50%﹐輸了錢就雙倍加注﹐ 贏了錢就立即走人。理論上不可能也押不中﹐只要押中一舖就可以翻本。文章還事有剎介地﹐例出一些數字去支持其論點。假若你有賭本$3200﹐你第一舖買$100﹐要連輸五次才會輸清袋。連輸五次的機會率是1/32大約3%﹐即是你用$3200本金有97%機會贏$100。文章認為97%差不多等於一定贏﹐所以稱之為賭博必勝術。問題是文章忘記了計算那3%會輸的可能性﹐計算輸贏預期值的數式應該是﹕$100 * 97% – $3200 * 3% = 0。所以如果賠率是50%﹐在數學上賭博不會輸不會贏。若果有$3200本金﹐不論是用輸了加倍玩法﹐還是一舖過全部押上﹐從數學上來說是沒有分別的。現實中賭場因為有圍骰或雙紅通吃的規例﹐任何賭博的賭率也低於50%﹐所以在數學上不論如何下注法﹐賭客在沒有可能會贏錢。

在文章的回應有人說﹐認為賭錢講運氣﹐贏錢時有好運應該加注﹐輸錢時交惡運應該走人。理論上這也是不正確﹐每局下注的數目﹐是不應該受輸贏影響。賭錢不過是機會率的遊戲﹐在賭桌上根本沒有運氣這回事。每一局也是獨立事件﹐每一局輸贏的機會相同﹐與前局或後局沒有任何關連﹐那麼每局下注多少是沒有關係。若果有個賭仔輸了錢﹐認為今天運氣不好﹐明天再來翻身。其實他今天死戰到底﹐還是明天再來發財﹐在數學上是沒有分別的﹐反正每局的機會率是故定﹐並不會因為賭仔主觀的運你而改變。長賭必輸﹐不論是今天賭﹐還是明天繼續賭﹐只要再賭也就是長賭﹐分別只是輸得快還是輸得慢。

機會率中學有教會考要考﹐懂得計算機會率 ﹐就應該明白賭錢必輸的數學定理。為何還這麼多人誤信賭錢有可能贏﹖賭錢必輸應該與地球是圓一樣是明顯不過的真理。賭錢想贏只有一個方法﹐就是開賭場﹗ 當然若果不是賭純機率性的遊戲﹐而是玩講技術與對手鬥心理戰的撲克牌﹐只要技術高超要長勝也不是沒有可能。從數學上來說﹐廿一點是賭客唯一可以必勝的遊戲。不過當賭客苦練數牌的絕技贏了一大筆後﹐就會被賭場例入黑名單不許進內﹐賭場才不會笨到明知會輸也要賭。為什麼一般賭客﹐明知會輸還要賭呢﹖

Interviews

I have been doing lots of interviews recently.  My project is half way and it is very behind in the schedule.  How do we get into this mess in the first place?  As usual it is bad management decision.  Somehow we underestimate the complexity of the chip and largely overestimate the productivity of Indian contractors.  The only way to stop the project from slipping further is adding more resource.  When we first move our operation to Indian, one of the promised advantage is we will be able to get as many engineers as we need.  Never believe any sales pitch, especially the sales pitch of Indian contracting firms.  Wipro basically runs out of qualified engineers that meets our requirement.  Indian contractors is the casue of the mess, it would be repeating the same mistake to hire more of them.  This time we are hiring N. America contractors.

The project is in pretty bad shape, so we are approved to hire 10 engineers.  To fill those positions, we have to do lots of interviews.  I guess my boss is too busy to interview all of them, so I am helping him to interview the candidates.  I did mostly phone interviews since most of the candidates are from the East Coast.  I even have an interview with someone from Israel.  I kinda act like the first line of defense, screening the qualification of the interviewees before pasting them to my boss for 2nd round interview.  My role is to preform technical interview, trying to determine whether the guy knows enough to be productive.  Since I am doing phone interview, I can’t ask very detail technical question because it may require some writing and drawing.  I found asking what challenges the candidate had in his previous project is very effectively in judging his level of expertise.  The more experience the person has, the challenge is usually more complicate.  Sitting in the other side of the table gives me new insights.  The questions asked by the Interviewer always have a certain purpose.  A successful interviewee should look beyond the factual question and try to give answer in a way that satisfies what the interviewer is looking for.

Bangalore bombing

Last Friday, 9 bombs set off in Bangalore, killed two people and wounded over twenty people.  I never feel so close to terrorist attack.  I worked in Bangalore for two months.  My colleagues took over my tasks are still working in Bangalore.  According to the news, one of the bomb went off just outside the Forum Mall, which is right next to where I live.  When you have been to places so close to bombing, it seems quite scary.  Everyone I know in Bangalore is safe.  The unlucky souls drafted to serve the Bangalore tour of duty is now getting cold feet.  I guess they have every right to concern about their own safety.

According to the news, the bombing is carried out by a Islamic terrorist group called Indian Mujahideen.  It is a small outfit of the worldwide Muslim jihad terrorist.  It seems no one knows the political agenda of this little known terrorist group.  They are not making any request according to the news.  I don’t see any reason Indian Mujahideen to fight.  India has freedom of religion, Muslim are allow to practice their faith freely.  The Indian government is not oppressing Muslim in any mean.  On the other hand the Muslim are oppressing those who live next to their Mosque by their 5a.m. morning prayer with loudspeaker.

When Indian independent from the British Empire, the Muslim had their own country in Pakistan.  If the Indian Muslim don’t like living among the Hindu majority, they can simply move to Pakistan.  They have no right to ask for more than they deserved by threatening others who don’t share their religion.  If the Indian Muslims think they are oppressed because they are poor.  They are fighting for the wrong cause.  Believing in Muslim is probably why they are poor in the first place.  Think about how much productivity is lost in time wasted for daily prayers.  If they want to leave poverty behind, maybe they should stop reading Koran and start learning marketable skills.

Biofuel

Fossil fuel will eventually runs out, one of the solutions to the environment problem is switch to biofuel.  Biofuel is produced by convernting plants into ethonal.  Plants is 100% renewable energy.  As long as there is land, water and sunlight, plants will grow every year.  Although biofuel is a clean energy, there are controversials about biofuel will disrupt food production.  I believed in this myth in the past and have doubt about the use of biofuel.  It turns out that is only true for 1st generation biofuel made from grains or corns.  The 2nd generation biofuel made from cellulor plants like grass or algae will have a 100 fold increase in efficiency.  We can produce enough biofuel to fill up all our gas tanks without affecting food production.  According to a news report, the effect of biofuel on food production is less than 1%.  Developed countries already waste more than 1% of food, so making biofuel should have virtually no impact on the food price.

I quoted the news in an online discussion about renewal energy and environmental problem. My view point is the Earth have more than enough energy for our consumption, only that we don’t have the technology to harvest the energy.  It contradicts with the view point of most environment people that we should simply use less energy.  I think the best way to solve the energy problem is through technology.  You can never solve the problem by conservation, it can only buy you some more time until the technology is ready.  Some people challenge the 1% number and accuse me posting misleading information.  I don’t know how the number is arrived, so I decide to work out the math myself to prove I am right.  After some research, here is the math:

US has 938 million acres of farmland (from US Dept of Agriculture website)
US use 138 billion gallon gas per year (from US Energy Statistic)
The highest efficiency of biofuel production is 15000 gallon per acre (from Wiki entry on Biofuel )
938m * 1 % * 15000 = 140.7B > 138B

Therefore, if we can produce biofuel with the most efficiency future technology, we will only need 1% of US farmland to produce enough gas for all the cars in US.  With the best technology today, we can only produce 1000 gallon per acre.  (BTW, grains, corn or soybean’s efficient is less than 200 gallon per acre.)  Biofuel is a pretty new technology, there are lots of room for improvement.  If it can follow the pattern of the Moore’s Law, 15 fold increase in a few decades is totaly feasible, at least according to the theory.

Speed Racer 極速賽車手

Mach 5 還記得小時候放學回家﹐其中一套最愛看的卡通是《賽車小英雄》。看著那架可以上天下海法寶多多﹐白色車身紅色M字標記的麥克五號﹐就會幻想那是自己的坐駕﹐在賽車道上打倒敵人。想不到差不多二十年後,憑Martix成名的Wachowski兄弟﹐竟然把這套經典卡通搬上大銀幕開拍真人版。可能主角不再是小孩子﹐片名不能叫小英雄﹐名字順帶改為《標速賽車手》。

真人版在戲院上映時﹐影評己經是劣評如潮﹐不論是故事還是畫面﹐被人批評至一文不值。很不幸我真的同意那些影評的看法﹐這齣電影是名乎其實的垃圾電腦特技電影﹐若不是靠Wachowski兄弟和麥克五號的金漆招牌﹐觀眾才不會入場觀看。我已經很寬容地放過這電影的大部份缺點﹐反正的卡通改篇對劇情就不會有嚴格要求。情節白痴是因為受制於原著劇本﹐在角色和設計定上其實頗為忠於原著。主角毫無演技可言﹐大部份時間影著他拉屎般的表情﹐不過真正主角是麥克五號。可惜這齣電影的最大敗筆﹐就是竟然最重要的賽車場面超級爛。電腦特技太多太花巧鏡頭飛來飛去﹐又加插無厘頭茄厘啡的大特寫﹐背景太過眼花潦亂干擾視線﹐完全看不清楚賽車道上發生什麼事。賽車不停地彈來彈去轉來轉去﹐我連架賽車是什麼樣子也看不清楚。觀眾入場的最主要原因就是看賽車﹐難道有人會認真地欣賞演員的藍幕演技﹐被夾硬堆切的父子情兄弟愛的故事感動號﹖

我承認會看這套電影﹐完全是因為小時候的情意結。 諷刺的是看電影的製作花絮﹐竟然電影本身還好看。電影公司為宣傳﹐不惜工本造了台麥克五號出來。這台車子不單能跑﹐還很神奇地製置電影中的法寶﹐有防彈玻璃電鋸伸縮跳槓。看這台麥克五號真車在公路上飛馳﹐比在電影中的賽道漂移還好看。這齣電影另外還有一個驚喜﹐原來飾演女主角Trixie的Chrisitina Ricci﹐就是以前愛登士家庭的小女孩﹐怪不得她樣子這樣面善。據說Wachowski兄弟是日本動畫迷﹐所以才會重拍這套經典動畫。不知道他們近年還有沒有看日本動畫﹐有沒有看電腦賽車場面出名的《頭文字D》。或許他們應該向《頭文字D》學習﹐明白什麼才叫做緊張刺激有迫力的賽車場面。說起來港產片 《頭文字D》的賽車場面﹐比《標速賽車手》的賽車場面還好看。

Plane Crazy

Recently, I am addicted to this silly facebook application, which is quite not myself.  In general I keep my distance from uselss facebook applications.  I naturally ignore most of the application request and actually spent time delete all the useless applications from my profile.  Somehow this application had a click on me and turn me into a patient of compulsive disoder.  I log on facebook loyally and play this little application every day.

The idea of plane crazy is pretty simply.  You got a photograph of an airplane on your profile.  You start off with crappy hang glider and work you way up to A380 or Air Force One.  Each day, you have a quota of 10 races with other players.  If you win, you get points.  You can use the points to upgrade your airplane.  I like airplanes since I was a little kid, so I spent my 2 minutes with this silly application, then wait for my turns until the next day.  I am working my way up slowly.  I just got to the level of business jet.  My goal is to get reach some decent fighters, like a F-14 or F-22.

I wonder why I am so addicted to this silly game.  I guess it probably the same reason why people are addicted to fluff friends.  It is just a mystery.

Indian and beef

When I worked in India, I made friends to a few colleagues in the Bangalore office.  They shown me show me around town on weekends and we had lots of fun together.  One of them is visiting Vancouver for work, so it is my turn to be the host and show him the city.  We had a welcome lunch with other team member at Cactus Club today.  This friend of mine is a rare Indian because he eat beef.  He is the one brought me to try the illegal off-menu Indian deep fry beef in Bangalore.  We recommended him to have steak for lunch.  At first he wanted have the steak well done, luckily we stopped him or his steak would be like shoe leather.  It would taste best with medium-rare, but we afraid he may not like the blood juice, so we ordered him a medium instead.  This is his first time travel outside of India, so this is his first time to have a real steak.  He like the steak a lot and complain that he could not find  such a good steak in India.

When I was in India, I told him about my guns and I promise to bring him shooting when he come over.  So tonight we went to shooting range after work.  Due to various delay, we had dinner at McDonald to save time.  It turns out having a hamburger in McDonald is a new experience to him.  The McDonald in India don’t serve hamburger, they only have chicken, fish or veggie burger.  The funny thing is somehow he think hamburger is made of ham instead of beef.  I have to explain to him hamburger is not made of ham.  The name comes form where it is invented, which is Hamburg, Germany.  Other than serving hamburger, our McDonald is pretty much the same as the Indian McDonald.  The next food I will get him to try is sushi.  He still haven’t overcome the idea of eating raw fish.  I guess we should start with California roll then slowly work the way up to sashimi.  It is always fun introducing new cuisine to people from different culture, whether he like the food or not.

Ineffective incentive

Today we have our department quarterly update.  The director flew in town to give us overview of how the department is doing.  My project is the only project in the department, so it has very high profile and no room to fail.  Thanks to the stupid decision of close down two design centers in Canada, lay off many experienced engineers and outsource the work to India, the project is quite behind schedule.  Now the management finally wake up and realize the problem, they are all scrambling and try all means to pull the schedule in.  They try to add more resource in India, but they simply could not find any qualified engineer.

They try to hire back ex-employees from the closed design center as contractors.  It is pretty much admitting last year’s decision to close down the site is stupid.  One desperate measure to they try is by making us work hard and longer hours.  This idea won’t work if they use the stick because it would only demotivate us and further lower our productivity.  They try to use carots and lure us to work overtime.  The director said if the project is finish on time, the whole team will have a special bonus as incentive.

This idea sounds great, the only question is how much is the bonus.  The director did not give us any number or percentage, so the incentive won’t work.  No one would work harder if they don’t know roughtly how much we will get in return.  After the meeting, some of us did a rought calculation, we all agree that the bonus has to be at least $10k to be attractive.  Judging from previous record of the company, the so call special incentive bonus could be merely a few thousand dollars, which won’t worth working your ass off.

Princess 公主追殺令

Princess 日本動畫平常看了不少﹐丹麥動畫還是第一次看﹐其實丹麥語電影也是第一次看。一齣好的電影無分語言國界﹐只憑字幕也能夠感受到電影的感染力。每個國家的動畫也有不同風格﹐《公主追殺令》的畫面設計有別於日本動畫﹐日本動畫顏色精緻鮮明﹐這套動畫則運用大量陰影﹐富有美式漫畫的沉重感覺。看慣畫面變化紛亂的日本動畫﹐會覺得這動畫的畫面很緩慢﹐要一段時間去適應歐洲的節奏。動畫層次效果很簡單﹐大部鏡頭只是在靜止的背景上加人物動作﹐但絕對不是低成本馬虎製作﹐每個畫面的作畫也充滿詩意。這部動畫採用實驗性的拍攝手法﹐戲中的倒敘片段由真人演出﹐回憶以住平靜的日常生活﹐正好是Kill Bill用動畫回憶舊日廝殺的相反。

這動畫是一齣很黃很暴力的悲劇﹐連在性行業合法化的丹麥﹐前衛敏感題材也具爭議性。被稱為公主的色情影星自殺身亡﹐留下五歲的女兒給弟弟照顧。在海外傳教的弟弟趕回國接了姪女回家﹐發現她寄居在妓院時受到性侵犯﹐姐姐自殺也與色情王國的大老闆有連關。於是弟弟發起一個人的復仇戰爭﹐挑戰催毀整個色情王國。

說這電影很黃﹐並不是指畫面上的色情﹐嚴格來說動畫這三點不露很乾淨﹐可是意識上卻令人十分不安。一個五歲女孩在院耳渲目染﹐不自覺地學習妓女的謀生技巧﹐並不意識這些行為的嚴重性。她會在舅父替她洗澡時﹐順手拉下舅父褲子的拉鍊。在公園與小朋友玩家家酒時﹐脫衣色誘其他小朋友。在偷看母親的色情錄像時﹐會模倣母親跳艷舞色誘男人的姿勢。

至於說這電影很暴力﹐並不是指劇中有很多打鬥場面。一般動作電影有很多打鬥或槍戰﹐但那些耍帥耍型沒有真實感的場面﹐似在表演雜技武藝多於暴力。這套電影沒有好看的打鬥﹐因為復仇並不需要觀眾拍掌﹐只需要拿起鐵桿一棍扑下去﹐讓仇人鮮血四灑直流滿面。然後舅舅還叫姪女過來﹐用力扑曾經侵犯過她的人的下體﹐一下一下不停地扑下去﹐死者從叫得像殺豬到慢慢無聲﹐地下的血慢慢滲開一大灘。這套電影中那幾場見血的場面﹐展現出就是這種令人恐慌赤祼祼的暴力。

我不清楚這套電影想表達什麼﹐是對色情事業的控訴﹐還以藝術為名測試﹐觀眾的道德底線。大慨這部電影帶來的啟發﹐足夠寫篇幾電影理論的論文。電影的衝擊性很極端激烈﹐看罷後心情不能平復﹐要看多一齣無厘頭喜劇才好過點。這次我破例不推介這齣動畫﹐不是品質差劣浪費時間﹐而是每個人不一定接受到其中的故事。觀看前要有心理準備﹐看完後發惡夢不要賴我。

Yakisoba Sandwich

Yakisoba Sandwich

Today I tried a very unusual sandwich, yakisoba sandwich.  I have heard of this sandwich from a childhood cartoon.  The characters love having the Yakisoba sandwich all the time.  I thought it must be a joke in the cartoon, who would want to eat sandwich with no meat or veggie, but it turns out yakisoba sandwich is real!  Yakisoba is Japanese fried noodle, so Yakisoba sandwich is Japanese fried noodle inside a bun.

The taste is OK.  It taste like yakisoba and bread.  However having double dose of cabrohydrine seems a very weird combination.  I have no idea why Japanese would come up with this silly sandwich.  Apparently, it’s quite popular in Japan.  If people are stupid enough to believe having the no-carbo Atkin diet will lose weight, maybe I can start a new all-carbo diet fad.  I can create a series of double carbo sandwich such as  fried rice sandwich, french fries sandwich, toast sandwich, cereal sandwich and ultimate sandwich sandwich, which is a sandwich bun inside another sandwich bun.