THE TOC DICE GAME

“It’s not just about depth. It’s to provide the simplest version of the idea – the one that will grow naturally in the subject’s mind. Subtle art.” (Inception)

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GENERAL LINKS:

Educational Experiments

A Closed System

Change from Outside the System

Inception

Things Don't Even Out

 

THE STORY:

Herbie and the Trail Walk I

Herbie and the Trail Walk II

A Collapsing System

Jonah Makes a Suggestion

An Idea Takes Hold

You Can Never Catch Up

 

Herbie and the Trail Walk

Part I

 

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Herbie and the Trail-Walk

THE GOAL*

Herbie and the Trail-Walk

THE GOAL

Alex: Leading this hike is the hardest thing I've ever done.  Two kids are lost, and I had to call 9-1-1.  And Herbie?  There he is now.  "Dammit, Herbie", I yell.  "Hurry up!"  What a weekend.  And then it's back to the plant."

 

*  You don't remember this version of

"Herbie and the Trailwalk" in "The Goal"?

Is the story on the right more to your recollection?

Alex: "Then I start to wonder what this could mean to me on the job. In the plant, we've definitely got both dependent events and statistical fluctuations. And here on the trail we've got both of them. What if I were to say that this troop of boys is analogous to a manufacturing system... sort of a model … "

“Is that what's happening in my plant?” Or maybe I could set up some other kind of model, a more controllable one, to let me see beyond any doubt what goes on. I'm puzzling over how to do this when I notice a kid sitting at one of the other tables, rolling a pair of dice. I guess he's practicing for his next trip to Vegas or something. I don't mind-although I'm sure he won't get any merit badges for shooting craps -but the dice give me an idea. I get up and go over to him.

"Say, mind if I borrow those for a while?" I ask.

The kid shrugs, then hands them over.

I go back to the table again and roll the dice a couple of times. Yes, indeed: statistical fluctuations. Every time I roll the dice, I get a random number that is predictable only within a certain range, specifically numbers one to six on each die. Now what I need next for the model is a set of dependent events.

After scavenging around for a minute or two, I find a box of match sticks (the strike-anywhere kind), and some bowls from the aluminum mess kit. I set the bowls in a line along the length of the table

 

THESE STORIES WITH RADICALLY DIFFERENT ENDINGS.     WHY?

 

 

 

Herbie and the Trail Walk

Part II

 

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Herbie and the Trail-Walk

THE GOAL*

Herbie and the Trail-Walk

THE GOAL

Jonah Can't Meet With Alex at the Airport

Jonah Can Meet With Alex at the Airport

Jonah:  Alex?  Sorry, but I won't be able to make it to our meeting at the airport.

Jonah: "Because of the combinations of two phenomena which are found in every plant," he says. "One phenomenon is called 'dependent events.' Do you know what I mean by that term? I mean that an event, or a series of events, must take place before another can begin... the subsequent event depends upon the ones prior to it. You follow?"

 

Alex: "Yeah, sure," I say. "But what's the big deal about that?"

 

Jonah: "The big deal occurs when dependent events are in combination with another phenomenon called 'statistical fluctuations,'' he says. "Do you know what those are?"

 

Alex: "Fluctuations in statistics, right? …"But in the case of a worker doing the same job day in, day out, those fluctuations average out over a period of time. Frankly, I can't see what either one of those two phenomena have to do with anything."

 

Jonah: "I'm not talking about the one or the other alone," he says, "but about the effect of the two of them together. Which is what I want you to think about, because I have to go."

 

 

 

 

SYSTEM INERTIA

 

A Closed System

 

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ALEX IN A SYSTEM

"The Plant" in perspective ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JONAH MAKES A SUGGESTION

 

Change - From Outside the System

 

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AS THE CRISIS DEEPENS ...

Jonah makes a suggestion:

 

 

Is this what's meant by "Help from Outside the System?  Maybe.  I'm sure it can mean a lot of things.  But something's missing ... do you see it?  Let's boil it down to this:

 

IF: Jonah tells Alex about Dependent Events and Statistical Fluctuation;

THEN: The plant begins its ascent to productivity.

 

Does this make sense?  Not at all!

 

AN IDEA TAKES HOLD

 

What are the circumstances necessary for an idea to "take hold"?

 

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To expand this a bit might look as follows.  And filling in the logical gaps, other questions arise ...

 

THE QUESTION

What the appropriate conditions are for an idea to "take hold", and "grow naturally"?  To make sure Alex does ponder, successfully, so even had there been no Trailwalk that Saturday, the idea would have come to Alex in a thousand of other situations, like sitting at a stoplight, and watching traffic flow.

 

 

 

YOU CAN NEVER CATCH UP

The Interaction of Dependent Events and Statistical Fluctuation

 

Things Don't Even Out

 

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Alex recognizes quickly the power of "Dependent Events and Statistical Fluctuation", taken together, immediately, and during a Trailwalk break devises a quick game:

 

THE DICE GAME

Andy rolls a dice and passes that many matchsticks to Ben, who repeats the process, etc.  The process continues, and your unmoved matchsticks accumulate.

Rule: You can only pass matchsticks you have. For example, if you have one matchstick but role a six, you can only pass the one matchstick.

 

If the average role of a dice is 3.5, and if this is done 10 times, you'd expect matchstick throughput to be 35.  However, in reality, it's much less:

 

THE CONCLUSION

Andy, rolling first, has passed the expected amount.  Evan, on the other hand, is way behind.  Why?  Because of the combined effect of "Dependent Events and Statistical Fluctuation", "you fall behind and can not catch up".