29 november 2000

                suppose i asked you to draw a card from a deck.
 O     O        the deck, i tell you, has cards numbered from 1
 O              to N, where N is a number I know, but I'm not
  O    O        telling you.
   O   O        
 O      O       suppose you draw the card numbered 4.  can you
 O   O  O       make any guesses as to the value of N?
 O O    O       
O  O    O       well, you can be sure that N is not 3 or less.
O O O   O       4 is an okay value for N.  so is 5, and any
O O O  O        number above.  but 10000000 is probably a
O O O   O       bad guess for N - if N were so large, you'd
OO      OO      expect to have drawn a number much larger than
OO  O   OO      4.
OO  O O  O      
OOO O O         now, let's change things around.
OO  OO  OO      
OOO  OO O       this time, I tell you that N is the number of
OOO  OO OO      people who will ever exist on the planet earth.
 OOO OO OO      suppose I tell you you're the 6 billionth
OOOO  OO O      person.  can you make any guesses as the the
OOOOO OO O      value of N?
OOOOO OO O      
OOOOO  OOO      
OOO OOOOOO      -k