Tor.com content by

Michael Carlisle

Here Are The Incredibly Low Odds the 6 Original Avengers Had of Surviving Infinity War

[This article is definitely going into spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. For those who still haven’t seen it, take the opportunity that Peter Parker passed up and turn back now. I mean, the Blu-ray’s out.]

It was a busy day between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 when Reddit user u/K5cents attempted a simulation: What were the odds of Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Black Widow surviving Thanos’ Snap? It was a good attempt, but didn’t quite get the model right—we’re not guaranteed that half of the heroes survive, just half the population—and, by the way, Hawkeye’s got a 50/50 chance of still being alive, too. Do you really expect him to sit Avengers 4 out?

So, what is the probability of the 6 original Avengers surviving, based on Thanos’ death-coin-for-everyone? Let’s find out.

[Why not try Flipism?]

Hidden Rituals, Iterations, and Limits: Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska

Benoit B. Mandelbrot, the acclaimed mathematician and outspoken originator of the term “fractal”, died in 2010 at the age of 85. His contributions to geometry, dynamical systems, information theory, and modern finance, among others, have changed the face of scientific study and popular scientific inquiry. And yet, like so many, he could have been another unknown victim of the Holocaust. Felix Hausdorff and his family took their lives in January 1942 to avoid being sent to a camp. Wolfgang Doeblin, born only four months before Mandelbrot, ended his own life in 1940, at age 25, rather than be captured as a prisoner of war while fighting for France. The publication in 2000 of a 60-year sealed document of his unpublished works showed that he had developed work that anticipated crucial developments in stochastic calculus by over 10 years. But Mandelbrot was lucky. He and his family avoided capture by the shifting tide of European public sentiment, his family moving from Warsaw to Paris, and later settling in the small town of Tulle when the Nazis began to overtake French territory. Remarkably, he and his brother Léon were able to continue studies in Lyon as the war worsened, and amidst fear and fake IDs, escaped the brunt of what the war could have done to their lives.

And now, in Liz Ziemska’s striking novella Mandelbrot the Magnificent, we’re taken into an alternate history—one in which magic becomes as powerful as mathematics.

[Read more]

Dr. Ian Malcolm, Please Come to Jurassic World!

Dr. Ian Malcolm! Good to see you! How’s Austin treating you? Look, I’m guessing you know why I asked you here today.

Will you visit Jurassic World? The World needs you.

We MISS YOU. With all this talk of them reopening the park, getting old Gwen Stacy, Star-Lord, and Kingpin in there to manage the dinos, I think it’ll be good for you, maybe purge some old demons, I mean, third, maybe fourth, time’s the charm, right?

I’ve prepared a presentation. Don’t worry, it’s not too long.

[Here’s why we want you back, please]

A Blood-Soaked Calculus and Cyanide Apples: The Imitation Game

I am in control because I know things you do not know. But if you choose to stay, remember, you chose to be here. Pay attention.

The Voight-Kampff machine is a fictional biometric measuring device used in tandem with a test bank of psychological profiling questions “designed to evoke an emotional response.” In Blade Runner, this test is given to those who are believed to be replicants, the artificially intelligent entities created to work under dangerous or unpleasant conditions in early 21st-Century off-Earth colonies who are, to any but the most well-trained observers, indistinguishable from humans.

In 1951 in The Imitation Game, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), is interrogated by a detective, Nock, about his blank military service record and alleged homosexuality, discovered as a result of investigating a burglary at Turing’s home. (Turin’s arrest actually came in 1952, a needless historical innaccuracy.) The interrogation room is colored in a blue hue similar to the lighting in the room where Leon is questioned about flipped-over turtles and his mother at the beginning of Blade Runner. Nock, learning of Turing’s work, specifically a recent paper describing the “imitation game” (a modification of which is known as the Turing test) that would attempt to tell a human from a machine intelligence, asks him, “Do machines think?” He is nonplussed with his own query; this has nothing to do with military records, spying, or sexual orientation, does it?

[“Mother says I’m a bit of an odd duck.”]

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