Why a Refutation Argument?

The Turing Test

The test was introduced by Turing in his 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence“, while working at the University of Manchester (Turing, 1950; p. 460).[3] It opens with the words: “I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?'” Because “thinking” is difficult to define, Turing chooses to “replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.”[4] Turing’s new question is: “Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?”[5] This question, Turing believed, is one that can actually be answered. In the remainder of the paper, he argued against all the major objections to the proposition that “machines can think”.[6]

This is a note to my future self.
Make a lecture about the need to address “all the major objections” to one’s premise when one’s premise sounds absurd, as all the best counterintuitive premises do.

Last Class WED APR 25

Image result for gif minions applauding


Yep. Last Class. But not the last time you’ll see me.

  • We’ll hold the last formal meeting of our class on WED APR 25.
  • We’ll conduct the “Portfolio Double-check” one by one.
  • While not engaged, you will be given time to post to “Rate My Professor”
  • If your Portfolio is complete, you can confirm your Grade Conference for MON APR 30
  • If your Portfolio is incomplete, you’ll have to wait until WED MAY 02 (at least) for your Grade Conference
  • If you don’t attend class on WED APR 25, you waive your right to a Grade Conference
  • Students without a Grade Conference cannot dispute their final grades

OK, that all sounded pretty bleak. But, let’s remember. WED APR 25 is the last formal meeting for our class this semester:

Image result for gif minions applauding

Course Evaluations, Please

Please help the Writing Arts Department determine my fitness for instruction by completing a brief evaluation of your experiences in this course.

Without identifying who, the administration has informed me that three students from this course so far have completed their evaluations. The rest have been emailed a reminder. You may take time in class today to complete the brief survey.

Go to Banner

Subject: Reminder for COMP 01.112.8 course evaluation

Dear Student,

This is an automated message sent by David Hodges, your
instructor for COMP 01.112.8, as a reminder to complete your course
evaluation using Self-Service Banner prior to MAY 05, 2018.  After
this date, the evaluation will no longer be available.

1.   Go to http://www.rowan.edu/selfservice.
2.   Click “Access Banner Services – Secure Area – login Required”
3.   Enter User ID and PIN.
4.   Click “Personal Information.”
5.   Click “Answer a Survey.”
6.   Click on the student evaluation for your class.
8.   Complete the student evaluation.
9.   Click “Survey Complete” to submit your completed student evaluation.

Your instructor has not been informed of the recipients of this message; only
that it has been sent to the students who have yet to complete the course

Thank you.


Class Canceled THU MAR 07

Keep Calm

One advantage of the blog is that we can communicate even when nasty weather keeps us apart.

I will post my Rebuttal Argument here for your benefit. I’ll also update today’s Agenda to reflect the fact that we did not meet in person.

Enjoy your break. Return refreshed. I’ll bring donuts, beverages, and breakfast sandwiches for all voters when we return on MON MAR 19.

Card Shuffle Puzzle

World’s Simplest Magic Trick.

In just a few seconds, I will create something unique in human history using an ordinary deck of 52 playing cards. I will shuffle them seven times, and the result will be a card order so unusual that the odds of it being generated by my shuffling are one in

Again, with no training or practice, never having performed this trick before, the odds that the cards I shuffle will end up in the order I shuffle them into will be:

1 in 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,

Can I do it?
Would you like to bet me?

Card Fan

One Of A Kind

According to J.B. Morton on The Old Bailey blog, “The chances that anyone has ever shuffled a pack of cards in the same way twice in the history of the world are infinitesimally small, statistically speaking. The number of possible permutations of 52 cards is ‘52 factorial’ otherwise known as 52! or 52 shriek.

This is 52 times 51 times 50 . . . all the way down to one. The result of this factoring is


To give you an idea of how many that is, here is how long it would take to go through every possible permutation of cards.

If every star in our galaxy had a trillion planets, each with a trillion people living on them, and each of these people has a trillion packs of cards and somehow they manage to make unique shuffles 1,000 times per second, and they’d been doing that since the Big Bang, they’d only just now be starting to repeat shuffles.

Other Big Numbers

How big is this number?

Someone shuffling a deck of cards once per second since the beginning of the universe believed to be about 14 billion years ago would not have shuffled the deck more than 1018 times.

Thus it is almost certain that any given configuration achieved through random shuffling has never appeared before in the history of shuffling!

For comparison’s sake: the number of stars in the universe: 1023.

Su, Francis E., et al. “Making History by Card Shuffling.” Math Fun Facts. .