Friday, 9 July 2010

"Psychic" Cephalopod

Okay, this story is getting ridiculous. It went from a cute anecdote to people calling "Paul" psychic to actual analysis of it. That is ridiculous. Okay, octopi are living beings, but no one and nothing is psychic. Maybe he has a penchant for certain colours depending on how hungry he is. Maybe he picks flags based on which way he feels like floating that day.

I focused on statistics for my mathematics degree, so I love numbers. However, any one with a basic knowledge of flipping a coin would know that "Paul" has a 50% chance of getting the correct answer. It is called luck.


  1. You should totally add quotes around 'psychic', not 'Paul'. As a living being, he can be labeled with a name. Even if it's not 'Captain Ocho' or something equally awesome.

  2. Oh, and another thing:
    It's 50% for each game he guesses, and so to be correct for n games, the formula is P(n)=(.5)^n, which comes to be ~0.4% after only 8 games - and he's had a perfect record. Highly unlikely, but not impossible. Definitely not worth the hype.
    I hear zat some of ze Germans vant to make Paul into sushi - they think that it made them lose... *headdesk*

  3. No, I think he is a magic octopus, and therefore awesome. i think it is far more fun to see his as a psychic then as a statical improbability.