TWO QUESTIONS IN PROBABILITIES.
There is perhaps no class of puzzle over which people so frequently
blunder as that which involves what is called the theory of
probabilities. I will give two simple examples of the sort of puzzle I
mean. They are really quite easy, and yet many persons are tripped up by
them. A friend recently produced five pennies and said to me: "In
throwing these five pennies at the same time, what are the chances that
at least four of the coins will turn up either all heads or all tails?"
His own solution was quite wrong, but the correct answer ought not to be
hard to discover. Another person got a wrong answer to the following
little puzzle which I heard him propound: "A man placed three sovereigns
and one shilling in a bag. How much should be paid for permission to
draw one coin from it?" It is, of course, understood that you are as
likely to draw any one of the four coins as another.
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