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Math Government United States

Green Card Lottery Judgment Favors Mathematical Randomness 210

guusbosman writes "Yesterday a district court in Washington, D.C. issued its ruling in a case that boiled down to the definition of 'strictly random.' In the 2011 drawing of the U.S. 'Green Card Lottery,' a computer programming error was made and two weeks after the official drawing of the lottery the Department of State closed the website and voided the results. A lawsuit sought an injunction claiming that, while the process was not mathematically random, it was random in the dictionary definition of 'without definite aim, direction, rule or method.' The court, analyzing language from the State Department's regulations, and examples from laws on casinos and the like, rejected that and came out in favor of a mathematical definition of randomness. The lottery is voided and the results of the new drawing came out today at noon EST."
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Green Card Lottery Judgment Favors Mathematical Randomness

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  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:38PM (#36781500)

    I didn't say they were superior. They are following a different R strategy which is why they have higher intelligence on average, smaller physical size, longer maturation periods, less sex, and take lower risks. These are all known facts that are both backed up by hundreds of studies and are fucking obvious.

    Mother nature determines who is superior, and obviously intelligence is only one factor.

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:42PM (#36781528)

    For example, in the arson trial of a Texas man who supposedly (for no credible reason) murdered his wife and children they brought in arson 'experts' who had no scientific validity to their process at all. A Texas arson expert looks at some char marks and somehow always (whenever it is a criminal investigation) concludes "it's arson". Despite the improbability of every fire said 'expert' examines during his career being caused by a crime.

    Well this is surely a weighted claim if I've ever heard one. Just think about this for a moment.

    Scenario 1: A building burns down. An expert comes in and calls it arson. Arson being a crime, the police investigate, find a suspect, put them on trial, and the expert is presented as a witness explaining why they think it is arson.

    Scenario 2: A building burns down. An expert comes in and calls it accidental. Accidents are not crimes. There is no investigation, no suspect, and no trial for the expert to sit at and say it was not arson.

    So, again... what is the likelihood an expert witness would claim a fire was arson at a trial?

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:47PM (#36781580)
    A racist is someone who judges a class of people by race, whether correct or not.
  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @08:29PM (#36781874)

    Reversing the lottery was unfair to the tiny fraction who were selected. Not reversing it would have been unfair to the huge majority (as TFA says, the bug was that only the first 2 of 30 days worth submissions were considered). So, statistically this was by far the better solution to be *fair* to the most people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2011 @09:13PM (#36782142)

    A judgment is a subjective thing; a matter of opinion. A study that determines something factual is not subjective. Therefore, if your metric for saying something is racist requires that it be a subjective judgment, a study confirming something about a racial class that differentiates it from another racial class isn't racist.

    "Racist" is almost universally agreed to mean something that is a pejorative based on racial classification. If a properly-conducted study finds something to be predominant in a racial class, such as sickle cell anemia in those of sub-Saharan African descent, saying "sub-Saharan Africans are more likely to have sickle cell anemia" is not racist. Claiming the above is a racist statement, at least in the manner in which the term is most commonly used and understood, is silly. The above is equivalent to saying "Asians have the greatest average intelligence of any racial classification," so long as it is backed up by empirical data that shows the same to be factually true, making it equally silly to claim the statement is racist.

    Saying it's racist is avoiding the point that it is factually true, and may seem to those who know it is true as an attempt to undermine facts with an emotional response to something universally seen as a pejorative. Whether that is the intent ends up being irrelevant, since "racist" is such an emotionally-charged word.

    The above assumes, for the sake of argument, that the claims of existing studies backing up the average intelligence level of various racial classifications is true. I am not making any claims as to the existence of said studies, as I don't have first-hand knowledge of any.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982