The Girl Named Florida – Probably Overthinking It


In The Drunkard’s Walk, Leonard Mlodinow presents “The Lady Named Florida Downside”:

“In a household with two kids, what are the probabilities, if [at least] one of many kids is a lady named Florida, that each kids are women?”

I added “not less than” to Mlodinow’s assertion of the issue to keep away from a refined ambiguity.

I wrote about this drawback in a previous article from 2011. As you may see within the feedback, my rationalization was not met with common acclaim.

This time, I wish to take a distinct method.

First, to keep away from some real-world problems, let’s assume that this query takes place in an imaginary metropolis known as Statesville the place:

  • Each household has two kids.
  • 50% of kids are male and 50% are feminine.
  • All kids are named after U.S. states, and all state names are chosen with equal likelihood.
  • Genders and names inside every household are chosen independently.

Second, reasonably than resolve it mathematically, I’ll display it computationally:

Both manner, I hope you take pleasure in getting your head round this drawback.


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