From the annals of naming: twins

(This is very much a not-dead-yet posting. I’m just barely hanging on through still more medical afflictions, but now think the little time I’m able to devote to posting is better spent on upbeat things rather than intimations of mortality.)

Discovered on my desktop, a three-part Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal from 12/19/18. Part 1, the teaser:


Part 2, the payoff:


The allusion is to a concept of mathematical game theory, as described in this (somewhat edited) Wikipedia entry:

minmax (sometimes minimax, MM or saddle point) is a decision rule used in artificial intelligence, decision theory, game theory, statistics, and philosophy for minimizing the possible loss for a worst case (maximum loss) scenario. When dealing with gains, it is referred to as maximin – to maximize the minimum gain.

… In general game theory: The maximin value is the highest value that the player can be sure to get without knowing the actions of the other players; equivalently, it is the lowest value the other players can force the player to receive when they know the player’s action

Part 3, the after-burn:


From Wikipedia:

In mathematics, the harmonic mean is one of several kinds of average, and in particular, one of the Pythagorean means [the other two are the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean]. It is sometimes appropriate for situations when the average rate is desired.

The harmonic mean can be expressed as the reciprocal of the arithmetic mean of the reciprocals of the given set of observations.

Meanwhile, the arithmetic mean is one of three commonly used measures of central tendency in data sets; the other two are the median and the mode.

4 Responses to “From the annals of naming: twins”

  1. Stewart Kramer Says:

    On the smbc-comics site, the tooltip title is “We’ll keep having more kids until we reach Benjamoptimal.” — it made me laugh!
    (But then again, my B.A. is in Mathematics, and I know what “alliterative” means, so I’m not sure he’s got an excuse.)

  2. Bill Stewart Says:

    True tale of child abuse: a woman at Forsyth Hospital here named her twins Lemonjello and Oranjello. My own sons ended up with literary names, almost by accident. When twins are on the way one gets rather loopy.

  3. RF Says:

    The “Jello” twins are a common urban legend. See for example

    • Bill Stewart Says:

      Actually, no! I was working in the the pharmacy and saw their names on the post-partum order sheets. This was between 1983 and 1987. There was also an elderly woman named Fanny Shutt [a common last name in Yadkin County] who died of a bowel obstruction.

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