January 29, 2020

Dutchman fails test 10 times, needs it to graduate

Filed under: Online,Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:44 pm

For the past couple of years 22-year-old university student at the Eindhoven University of Technology keeps failing the same two exams over and over, stopping him from graduating. The exams are calculus and ‘some kind of algebra’, whatever that means. Both exams are from his first year, and he’s now in his fourth year.

He’s not too worried, but his friends think it’s amusing. On Heeft Daan calculus al gehaald (‘Has Daan finally passed calculus?’) you can check his progress. His friends helped build the site.

In the Netherlands grades go from 0 to 10, and on Daan’s last attempt at passing the calculus test, he got a two. “I felt like shit,” he said. In a way, I want to Daan to pass because he’s very much the underdog, and in another, I’m glad he’s not studying to be a doctor or a dentist.

There’s another Dutch concept that’s good to know, it’s called the ‘zesjescultuur’ (‘sixes culture’, as in 6 out of 10, a passing grade) and for many people that’s enough.

Daan’s the poster boy for it now.

(Link: www.nhnieuws.nl)

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February 7, 2018

Giving bamboozle structures the attention they deserve

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 5:54 pm


Timo Scholte of the Eindhoven University of Technology has given bamboozle structures some proper attention.

“They consist of 51 equilateral triangles, meeting pairwise at an angle of about 70.5 degrees (arccos 1/3). The four colours correspond to the four orientations of the triangles. There are 15 yellow triangles, and 12 triangles of each red, green, and blue. The smallest cycle involves 10 triangles.”

Stay with me.

“Though the search for new bamboozle structures proved unfruitful, we found that the hexagonal bamboozle structure was in fact not a bamboozle structure, discovered that the square bamboozle structure and the four-coloured rectangular bamboozle structure actually form continuous families, and gained a better understanding of the bamboozle structure and what areas should be considered to find a complete list of possible structures.”

Class dismissed.

(Link: improbable.com, Photo: win.tue.nl)

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March 13, 2017

‘Dutch girls not interested in STEM subjects’

Filed under: General,Science by Orangemaster @ 10:00 pm

According to a survey carried out by Microsoft among 11,500 girls and women from 11 European countries including Russia, the Dutch are the most unsure of themselves when it comes to STEM subjects. Some 1,000 girls and women from the ages of 11 to 30 were interviewed at length for this survey.

More than 50% of the Dutch girls and women estimated their knowledge to be less than that of the other countries and 40% said their knowledge fell short of what it should be. Dutch girls were also quicker to claim their disinterest for STEM subjects, one year earlier than their European peers, apparently due to a lack of female role models since 60% of STEM-related teachers in the Netherlands are men. As well, some 31% of the girls talk to their mothers about STEM subjects and 33% to their fathers, while in the rest of Europe, 38% of the girls talk to their mothers and 37% talk to their fathers.

(Link: nieuws.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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August 14, 2016

Four Days Marches lottery inconsistency proven by maths

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 6:06 pm


Using probability theory, four students at the Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris penned a paper entitled ‘Failure is Also an Option’ to prove that the best chance of being allowed to participate in the 100th edition of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen (aka ‘Nijmegen Vierdaagse’), which was held from 19-22 July 2016, was if one failed that year’s event.

The world’s most famous walking event attended by some 40,000 participants from around the world and featuring international armies and hardcore walkers alike, has a drop-out rate of about 10%.

Initially, the rules governing participation were the following: A walker who succeeds the n-th walk is admitted to walk at year (n + 1). Walkers who fail a walk enter a lottery. If they win the lottery, they get tickets to the walk. Walkers who fail two successive draws are admitted to the walk following the second lottery failure. In 2013, while computing our chances to be admitted to the centennial walk, we noticed a rather counterintuitive fact: By purposely failing the 97-th walk, walkers can actually increase their chances to attend the centennial walk.

We notified this inconsistency to the organisers and never got an answer, but the rules were subsequently changed.

(Link: www.improbable.com, image: www.ens-paris.fr)

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