Friday, May 16, 2003

Geeks With Too Much Time On Their Hands

Whose face would you put on the 18 cent piece?

Remember Science News, the Reader's Digest news? This week's web-issue includes the totally useless conclusions of one Jeffrey Shallit, Computer Scientist, who has concluded that what the U.S. needs is an 18-cent piece. Also a 32 cent piece.

That is, if we assume that having less coins change hands per transaction is desirable, and as long as we assume that every amount of change between 0 and 99 cents is equally likely to come up in a given transaction. And surely we should assume that, because if there's anything I can't stand, it's change.

Oh, wait, I'm sorry. I didn't mean change. What I meant to say was, if there's anything I can't stand, it's smug people who think they know what the U.S. needs. Especially more different denominations of coins, because there certainly aren't enough random pieces of metal in the average American's pocket most days.

Bonus #1: Shallit's conclusions were first published in the Mathematical Intelligencer. What the heck is an intelligencer?

Bonus #2: The Science News website sells pangaea mugs.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:30 PM |

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