The Tools of Randomness
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As humans, we naturally strive for some kind of order. The examples are many - schedules, tidy rooms, neatly folded clothes, and the like. Almost everything we do follows certain rules and regulations; there are laws in place and rules to adhere to.
Still, order comes with a flaw - it's predictable. Of course, it certainly helps us with our daily tasks, but the colors change when something surprising happens. In fact, we cannot deny that we like surprises and coincidences. Therefore, we can say that while we are faithful to order and structure, we also enjoy flirting with randomness.
Here's an example we can all relate to - the 'shuffle' option on most music apps. Despite our tendency to create custom playlists, we still like when our app 'surprises' us with a song. That is especially true if we haven't heard that song in a while, not to mention that so many board and card games also depend on randomness.
In this article, we are going to talk about different ways we use randomness, as well as the tools we that help us achieve it.
Random Number Generators
There's one random number generator we are all familiar with - the lottery drum. As we know, this device pulls out a number of lottery balls at random and creates the winning combination. It ensures equal odds of winning for everyone playing. That is one of many ways we let randomness control a game.
The roulette wheel is also a common random number generator. We can never say for certain which number the ball will land on. In fact, the unpredictable nature of roulette is what makes it so thrilling in the first place. Even online slot games are essentially random number generators. Even though we see symbols, there is always a number behind each one.
Surely, dice are the most common random number generator. They are essential to many games, from Ludo and Monopoly to craps and Yahtzee. In the former two examples, rolling a die determines the movement of the player. In the latter two, dice are more central to the game instead of just being a tool.
The die we all know and love is a cube that generates a random number between 1 and 6. Of course, there are also dice that are not cubes and have between four and eight faces. For instance, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons often make use of those.
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Unfortunately, the history of the die is a bit of a blur. Some say that the oldest dice could have been made some 5000 years ago. What we do know is that backgammon was one of the first games to use dice.
It's a common belief that dice produce truly random numbers. However, scientists have discovered that it is not entirely true. For example, if we throw a die with the number one on top, there is more chance of it producing that same number. Still, we don't need to worry about that, since the outcome largely depends on the environment.
Dice have come a long way since their invention. Now, instead of using physical dice, we can simply roll a virtual die at freeonlinedice.com. By simply clicking on the die, we can roll it and produce a number between 1 and 6 completely at random. With the help of this simple but convenient website, we can roll a die virtually anywhere.
Christopher Nolan's movie The Dark Knight introduced the villain Two-Face, who lets a coin flip decide his actions. Indeed, tossing a coin has always been a simple way to make a quick decision, since the odds are 50:50.
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Throughout history, flipping a coin has resolved disputes, declared winners and even played a role in politics. In ancient times, people understood the outcome of a coin flip as a sign of divine will.
Interestingly enough, a coin flip had also decided which of the two Wright brothers would be the first to fly a plane. Even though Wilbur had won the coin toss, his attempt at flying was a failure. Yet, his brother Orville was successful.
In football, a coin flip decides which team kicks off the ball. When a team wins the coin toss, they can decide if they want to kick the ball or receive it. Moreover, the winning team can also choose which side of the field they want to defend.
The coin flip transcends to esports, as well. For example, Hearthstone uses it to decide which player goes first. Whoever loses the toss, gets a 'coin card', which also has its benefits.
Are the Odds Really Equal?
Earlier, we mentioned that the odds of a coin flip are 50:50. However, research shows that there is actually a bit of a bias that makes the toss less fair. More accurately, there is a 0.51 probability of catching the coin the same way we throw it.
Although both sides are made from raised metal, they show different images. Therefore, we can assume that one side is slightly heavier than the other.
Despite that, the coin flip is still a popular way to decide between two options. Nowadays, we don't even have to worry about the physics of it. Instead, we can go to freeonlinedice.com and do a virtual coin flip with a single click. It's a great way to quickly make up our mind anytime, anywhere. Honestly, flipping a real coin does leave some room for cheating. However, a virtual coin will always produce a random result.
The Bottom Line
It's interesting how often we let such small objects determine the course of our actions. Yet, it's fun, and sometimes necessary to give in to randomness. After all, not having the control of the outcome paves the way for interesting situations.
Rolling dice and tossing a coin have always been the simplest, yet most popular tools of randomness. Now that we can use them online, we are confident that they will stay relevant for years to come. The question remains - how lucky are we?