The Unfair Coin

image.axd An article about the real fairness and randomness involved in a coin toss circulated the net this week and it spoke to several things I’ve thought about, but had no method to actually prove.

The idea that a coin has a 50% chance of landing on either face seemed off to me. Most coins have more detail on one side and to achieve that detail, more of the coin must be stamped or removed. This changes the weight on one side and it also effects the aerodynamics. Truly, the only fair coin, I figured, would be one that’s smooth on both sides.

True randomness is actually hard to come by. Even the random number generators in programmes and video games aren’t completely random. Except for the most sophisticated, their outputs will show some predictability after a given amount of time.

Edit: @aard pointed out another article which further illustrates the issues with coin flipping and randomness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see