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Coin-toss-errific

2009/04/06

Random.org is one of my favorite random number generators. Who are we kidding, it’s my only favorite random number generator. It uses atmospheric noise to generate the numbers. Very cool. I took a look at the documentation and was surprised to learn that there was an RNG based on a lava lamp. Talk about geeking out – I just found a new favorite RNG. Now you know what math nerds do in the dark. But back to weather-generated randomness. The random.org guys have added toys because, for some reason, people don’t find lists of random numbers interesting enough (not a particular failing of mine). One of the toys is a coin flipper which isn’t mind-blowing, but you can choose what kind of coins you want to flip. Like the Maximinus – Bronze/Silver Tetradrachm from the Roman Empire:

Ancient Roman coin flips

Ancient Roman coin flips

How often do you get to combine numismatics with chaos theory and the weather?

I like random. One of my favorite projects during grad school was building a little app to create landcover surfaces for watershed modeling. Basically, it used the 2D midpoint displacement algorithm to generate a fractal image, clipped the image to the polygon boundary, and reclassified the raster to give you the desired percentages of each landcover. It’s similar to the RULE program put out by an EPA guy, but with  the added benefit of much larger size and irregular boundaries. Nothing earth-shattering; just good clean fun with random numbers and Fortran. 

I’ll leave you with a haiku generated by the lava lamp RNG. 

The truth is out there.
Sourly freaky wide spurned cult
Microphone smooth steamed

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