The Diner - 1 The Diner A very short story by Peter J...

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The Diner A very short story by Peter J. Sherman 1
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Prologue This is a retro-story about high school, and all the things that teenagers begin to experience. But more than that, it is a story about random variables. “What in the world is a random variable?” a high school student might ask. “Well, like its like- uh- you know! It’s something that’s like random . You know?” Of course, not all high school students would give such a glib answer. The valedictorian would be likely to explain. “If you pick a number between one and ten, you may get 5. Or, you may get 7. So, you see. These numbers are like random.” And then, of course, there’s the class nerd who reads math books instead of going to Friday night sock-hops. He might say something like “Gosh! Idunno. But I think it’s something like a measurable mapping from a finite measure space into the real numbers; where the pre-image of every measurable set is measurable.” Now, before you decide that you have zero interest in random variables, and would rather not waste your time reading this very short story, I would ask that you take a moment and try to recall your high schools years. Most likely, they were full of excitement, bliss, boredom and pain, curiosity and sleep. Don’t be intimidated by words you are not familiar with. If you decide to read this short story, you’ll find that the term random variable really isn’t boring or evil. Hopefully, you will find that it led you to be more open to new ways of looking at life. Even if you haven’t had the experience of hanging out in a diner after school, waiting for a date, imagine that you have. Imagination is picturing in your mind events and experiences yet to happen. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. And so, yes, imagination is connected to probability. Having a vivid imagination is the key to a deep understanding and appreciation of probability and statistics.
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