Report from the Probability Seminar

Last night, I went to the Shir Hadash Men’s Club meeting. The main topic was a demonstration of the right way to carve a turkey (Diane’s comment when she saw that in the temple e-mail: “At last, a useful program at Men’s Club!”), but after that, we had an informal seminar in applied probability. I almost left the seminar with a failing grade, but the last hand made up for the rest of the evening, and I finished with a 13% profit on my admission fee — or to put it differently, I won a full forty cents. If only the stock market were as kind!

Food Safety Department

The pecan pie is done; I think I want to refrigerate it overnight, but I’m not sure — I usually make it on Thanksgiving proper, but this year, we planned ahead for a change, and now I don’t know what to do!

So I asked the oracle for advice. Actually, I asked Google (using the new Google Toolbar that Joel recommended today) this question: What pies should be refrigerated? Google replied with pointers to dozens of pages, including the USDA and the Ohio State University Food Safety pages, and the consensus was clear: refrigerate pies containing eggs. And I did. I’ve had food poisoning once; I don’t want to repeat the experience.

Half a clue, half a clue, half a clue onward!

I got a response of sorts to my letter to Hilton Hotels complaining about being awakened at 7:15am on a Sunday to take a “customer satisfaction survey”. The response came from the survey firm, not Hilton:

Dear Mr. Singer:

We are very sorry for the inconvenience of our call at 7am on a Sunday
morning. Unfortunately, the call to you was supposed to be dialed at
9:15am and was instead programmed for dialing at 9:15am Central Time.
It is never our intent to wake someone up to conduct a customer
satisfaction study … especially not at 7am! We have followed up with
the interviewer who miscoded the call time and informed him of the
ramifications of the error.

Again, we sincerely apologize for this. Because of this issue, we will
remove you from any future dialing on the Hilton customer satisfaction


Gwen Amador
M/A/R/C Research
Account Manager

c: Linda Immer
Hilton Hotels Corporation

I wonder if I’ll also get a response from Hilton. Probably not; that would require someone at Hilton being awake. But I’ll wait a few days to give them a chance before answering this letter. Politely, of course.