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Old 06-03-2012, 10:16 AM   #61
gjc8
 
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

Even without a real science of probability and statistics, there should be a few ways to set up a game that allows the house to make money. Take a symmetric game and add a specific house edge, take a game played between players and have the house take a cut, etc.

Whether anyone would play a game that obviously favors the house is a question, I guess, but most people who go to casinos at TL8 know that the house has an edge, right?
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:19 AM   #62
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

I did a bit of reswearch on Casinos and discovered that the term is Italian, which I had already believed, and refers to a place of fun. First used during the Renaissance for all sorts of places to play: brothels, theaters - small buildings where people gathered for any sort of fun. Indeed, it seems that the word in Italian today refers not only to a casino, in our sense here, but still to a brothel. The difference in meaning all depends upon an accent mark.
So there would have been casinos back in TL4 Italy but the meaning of the word would have been broader and would encompass a great deal more entertainment options.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:48 AM   #63
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I'll take a stab at guessing why probability is a "technology" that humans require quite a bit of mathematical advancement under our belts to invent.

Humans are garbage at probability :D Our brains come with all kinds of cheap hacks built into them for guestimating whats going to happen, and they're optimized more for guessing what another animal is going to do (social interactions, predator-prey interactions) than any kind of statistical analysis.

If we hear of something emotionally significant happening to a person or persons we know, we immediately assume it's terribly common. If we hear about it every day, we assume it's endemic. If we've never heard of it we often assume it's flat out impossible, and may accuse the person telling us about it of lying (depending on what we're being told).

This is a great shortcut for stopping us from being eaten by lions or from falling in sinkholes or getting stuck in deep mud and dying in the sun, or whatever the local hazards are. One tribe member gets eaten by a lion, everyone else really SHOULD be on high alert for possible lion attack! Who cares if the tribe two valleys over never even sees lions and it's really quite uncommon - you have a man-eating lion on your hands and you should take it seriously.

It's a terrible bit of wiring as far as "getting" how statistics actually work.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:14 AM   #64
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I realize I just kind of assumed everyone in the conversation knew why I figure having people who do lots of math beyond basic book-keeping is the necessary advancement to get probability. Or even that's what I figure is the key step. So.

I figure it requires a society where someone is required to do quite a lot of mathematics beyond that required to track money in money out, as part of their job description. I'm not surprised to hear that Galileo had a good grasp on dice probability, even if he had to derive it from first principles - he was calculating orbits!

Having to do a lot of complex math is a job that will either reshape the way you think until its easy, or will attract people who already think in the weird little way that makes math easy. The same or similar sort of "brain reorganization" is required for computer programming, and I dare say for the sciences in general. But "the sciences" weren't really a "thing" the way we recognize them today until the Enlightenment... and I'd say for the same reasons.

First humans need to invent the math. Then they need a reason to have a profession or professions that specialize in the really hard math (advanced architecture and astronomy are two good examples), so they can have a whole subset of people who spend their entire lives thinking about numbers differently from regular folks.

It's having people who have trained to stop using the short-cut systems (with all their glitches) to think about numbers and start really thinking about numbers that are the prerequisite for inventing things like statistics. That, and enough literacy in the society so when the math nerds write about math and build up a shared knowledge base, other possibly undiscovered math nerds don't have to derive everything from scratch.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:35 AM   #65
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I realize I just kind of assumed everyone in the conversation knew why I figure having people who do lots of math beyond basic book-keeping is the necessary advancement to get probability. Or even that's what I figure is the key step. So.

I figure it requires a society where someone is required to do quite a lot of mathematics beyond that required to track money in money out, as part of their job description.
You should not speak so lightly of bookkeeping and tracking money in, money out. In point of fact, accurate accounting was attained only after a long period of mathematical progress; the Greeks and Romans weren't capable of it. Italian double-entry bookkeeping was the result of the Italian Renaissance, and was a sophisticated cognitive tool based on algebraic concepts and an almost metaphysical distinction between physical assets and moral rights to those assets; Goethe described it as one of the great achievements of the human mind. It grew out of medieval practices of keeping duplicate records—the roll and counter-roll (from which we get the word control)—but that was simple physical redundancy; the keeping of duplicate quantities that were related through a cognitive transformation was a much more challenging task. It's not all that surprising that people who were able to think at the level of abstraction needed to do modern bookkeeping were also able to figure out probability.

One might wonder why the ancient Hindus didn't come up with probability theory: They had quite sophisticated numerical mathematics, they had place notation (obviously!), and it's clear that they were interested in games of chance—a dice game is a key element in the Mahabharata, and one of the hymns of the Rg-Veda is a gambler's plea to the dice that have stripped him of his land, his horses, and his wife (strangely like country western, actually). Perhaps they were hampered by thinking of "luck" as either a mystical potency (the way Peter seems to want to model it) or the favor of the gods, rather than an objective result of combinatorics.

Bill Stoddard

Last edited by whswhs; 06-03-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:54 AM   #66
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In point of fact, accurate accounting was attained only after a long period of mathematical progress
Very similar to statistics, actually, and arguably related, since the most primitive way of working out who a game favors involves accurate bookkeeping...
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:32 PM   #67
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You should not speak so lightly of bookkeeping and tracking money in, money out. In point of fact, accurate accounting was attained only after a long period of mathematical progress

...

It grew out of medieval practices of keeping duplicate records—the roll and counter-roll (from which we get the word control)—but that was simple physical redundancy
I did not speak lightly of accounting, I spoke lightly of simple record keeping, with the roll and counter-roll firmly in mind. Record keeping can be a heroic task, but it's not a mathematical task. That was my point, and I of course failed totally to explain it.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:37 PM   #68
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Record keeping can be a heroic task, but it's not a mathematical task.
Counting is a mathematical task. It's rather basic, mind you, but it's still mathematics.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:55 AM   #69
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
You should not speak so lightly of bookkeeping and tracking money in, money out. In point of fact, accurate accounting was attained only after a long period of mathematical progress; the Greeks and Romans weren't capable of it. Italian double-entry bookkeeping was the result of the Italian Renaissance, and was a sophisticated cognitive tool based on algebraic concepts and an almost metaphysical distinction between physical assets and moral rights to those assets; Goethe described it as one of the great achievements of the human mind. It grew out of medieval practices of keeping duplicate records—the roll and counter-roll (from which we get the word control)—but that was simple physical redundancy; the keeping of duplicate quantities that were related through a cognitive transformation was a much more challenging task. It's not all that surprising that people who were able to think at the level of abstraction needed to do modern bookkeeping were also able to figure out probability.

One might wonder why the ancient Hindus didn't come up with probability theory: They had quite sophisticated numerical mathematics, they had place notation (obviously!), and it's clear that they were interested in games of chance—a dice game is a key element in the Mahabharata, and one of the hymns of the Rg-Veda is a gambler's plea to the dice that have stripped him of his land, his horses, and his wife (strangely like country western, actually). Perhaps they were hampered by thinking of "luck" as either a mystical potency (the way Peter seems to want to model it) or the favor of the gods, rather than an objective result of combinatorics.

Bill Stoddard
It's certainly a counter-intuitive breakthrough. Even after reading the wiki, I'm not sure what the big benefit is (aside from the enforced double-errorcheck), and how one figures one NEEDS this strange benefit in order to even start seeking ways to achieve it.
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:52 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Hans Rancke-Madsen View Post
But is there any obstacle other than pure blind luck (pun intended) to a hypothetical genius inventing the field of probability and statistics at TL1? Is there anything you can point to and say, "you can't figure out probability until you've figured out X, and you can't figure out X until you are TL4"?
Just to put the GURPS numbers out there, if you had Mathematics/TL2 and you wanted to work with TL4 mathematics you would be doing so at a -10 penalty. If you are looking to invent something from TL4 then you'll presumably be looking at penalties on top of this depending on how advanced it is. You could work with mathematics as advanced as TL5, at -15. TL6+ mathematics would be completely incomprehensible to you. This from p. B168. If you're just using the maths and not inventing them yourself then you'll presumably need some source material for the attempt to even be made (or even just to make sense at all).

If you were to actually invent a TL4 piece of mathematics in a TL2 society then I imagine you would have a fair bit of work ahead of you to first turn it into an accepted academic discipline and later work it into mainstream culture. If you pull all this off though you will have successfully improved the Maths TL of your culture, congratulations!

All this should be perfectly within the capabilities of, say, a Dungeon Fantasy level academic, if DF characters did this sort of thing.
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