A random post

From Joseph Hall’s blog:

(This is funny, but you have to let me build it up with context…)

In elections, especially in election audits, we often have to produce random numbers that an observer can prove to themselves came from a true source of randomness.

The RAND corporation also publishes a book of random numbers, which you can buy: “A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates”.

So, where’s the funny in all of this? Check out the reviews on Amazon for the RAND book. They’re drop-dead hilarious. My favorite is the first one:

A truly amazing genre-breaking work of art unlike any that has ever been or ever will. I was captivated from the moment I opened the cover until the extremely suspenseful moment I turned the last page. With that said, I was a little disappointed that 71602 was knocked off by 92937 just as the plot was unfolding, but the arrival of 96240 really got my blood pumping and I just couldn’t put the book down from that moment on.

I am so glad that Amazon.com is offering the “Search Inside This Book” option for this book so that it can be enjoyed by countless other avid readers who otherwise may not have come across it. I wait, impatiently, for the audio CD version of this fine book

Be sure to read Joseph’s whole post and to look through the reviews for this book as well. There are some gems in there.

(Joe describes himself as a politechnologist and PhD student at UC Berkeley’s School of Information. He was involved in at least the documentation part of the CA secretary of states Debra Bowen’s top-down review of electronic voting machines.)

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