# March 28, 2006

• Amy did a `book report' on Algebra for Atheletes (http://www.algebraforathletes.com). This was an interesting way of bringing in applications of algebra for people who were not usually inclined to learn algebra.
• We looked at news segment on an ABC News podcast about the final four. They stated that 'George Mason's odds of winning the tournament? 4 million to 1.' Of course, now that they have lost the tournament the odds of them winning are 0, but that is besides the point. Here is a team that was very low seated to begin with and made it to the final four and I couldn't believe that there was STILL a 4 million to 1 odds that they would win. So I tracked down the statistic on the USAToday website that they said was the source. This is what I found:

"Abolishment of slavery and adoption of a Bill of Rights might not have been a 4 million-to-1 shot — as USA TODAY's sports analyst Danny Sheridan put the Patriots' chances at the beginning of the NCAA tournament. But at the time, they probably weren't as good as Monday's 6-1 odds."

So that's what they meant. Danny Sheridan (http://www.dannysheridan.com/) computes the odds on sports all the time and this is what he was saying at the beginning of the tournament. NOT when George Mason was in the final four. I wonder how he figured out those odds in the first place. 4 million to one sounds like he is making it up. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393310728/002-6225368-6563247?v=glance&n=283155)

• The next thing we did was three 'probability paradoxes.' I didn't tell you why I call these paradoxes, because a paradox (http://www.webster.com/dictionary/paradox) is a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true. A probability paradox is a statement about probabilities which our intuition often leads us astray and is perhaps contradictory to what the mathematics says (my definition).