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first-person shooter. And as we've seen, this kind of radical design trans-
formation isn't unusual.
inBoRn oveRConfiDenCe
Let's play a game about certainty. I'm going to give you a quiz with 10
questions, each with a numerical answer. Your task is to write a series of
high and low estimates such that for each question you are 90% sure that
the answer will be within the range you provide.
Keep in mind that the ranges can be as large or small as you want.
You don't need to know the answers to do this. Set the range wide enough
so that you're 90% sure that the correct answer is between the upper and
lower bounds, and no larger. If you're very uncertain, your range will be
large. If not, it will be small.
I strongly encourage you to get a pencil and write down your answers.
This exercise doesn't work nearly as well just by reading.
Low estimate
High estimate
Birth year of Archimedes
Number of classified
species of ant
World population in 1900
Diameter of the sun
Number of named moons
of Saturn
Melting point of iron
Total military deaths in
World War I
Land area of Antarctica
Latitude of Santiago, Chile
Total weight of all the
gold mined in human
Now check your answers in the back of the topic. How did you do?
Note that your performance in this test should have had nothing to do
with your knowledge of geography or history. You could set your ranges as
large as you wanted to achieve your own 90% confidence level. And if you
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