My Stuff

Things I’ve done and taken the time to write about, or other notes.

Baking Perfect Bacon

August 3, 2019

I keep forgetting at what temperature and for how long to cook bacon.

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The Probability Distribution of Item Drops in Video Games, Part 2

July 30, 2019

In Part 1, we explored probability by calculating our chances of finding Rivendare’s Deathcharger in World of Warcraft’s Stratholme dungeon, and explored the binomial distribution. Now, we’ll use simulations to test the ‘theoretical’ distribution we generated, and take a look at the expected number of failures before a successful mount drop using the geometric distribution.

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The Probability Distribution of Item Drops in Video Games, Part 1

July 22, 2019

There is some confusion in online video game communities about how probability works, particularly in regard to item drop chances. This seems to happen wherever players have a very low chance of obtaining something they want, and are willing to play through content repeatedly to obtain it. I’ve noticed this in Path of Exile with the Labyrinth enchantments, where there are 362 possible helmet enchantments, each with an equal probability of occuring (or a 1/362 chance of any particular enchantment occuring). This also happens in World of Warcraft (WoW), where many of the highly prized mounts have a 0.5-4% chance of dropping in a dungeon or raid playthrough.

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Understanding the Rubik’s Cube

June 30, 2019

You’ve probably played with a ‘15 puzzle’ or ‘8 puzzle’ sliding puzzle before, and likely even solved it. I’ve owned many cheap plastic 8 puzzles over the years, since they were a staple of birthday party goodie-bags. An 8-year-old can figure out the 8 puzzle within a couple of minutes. If you’re not familiar, sliding puzzles involve sliding numbered tiles around a board until the numbers are in order (top to bottom, left to right), with the blank space in the bottom-right corner.

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A Cartesian Celestial Coordinate Function in Python

June 26, 2019

As an addendum to my recent post on converting equatorial celestial coordinates to Cartesian coordinates (x, y, z), I wrote a small Python function to demonstrate. It takes right ascension in hours, minutes, and seconds; declination in degrees, hours, and seconds; and distance. It returns x y z coordinates as a tuple (but it would be easy to turn into another data type).

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Converting Equatorial Celestial Coordinates to a Cartesian System

June 22, 2019

Celestial coordinates are usually given in an equatorial coordinates system, utilizing right ascension and declination, or their location relative to Earth. This is useful for finding stars in the night sky on Earth, but not from other locations. What if we were on a planet orbiting Aldebaran, and needed to find a particular star from this different vantage point? Or wanted to find the distance between two stars, rather than the distance of each star from Earth? Cartesian coordinates (x, y, z) are much more flexible for this purpose.

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Hello World

June 19, 2019

This is the first post. I needed something to fill this space.

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