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Nov. 6th, 2012

Back to more routine stuff. The Price Is Right played ``Pay The Rent'' last Tuesday, so let me put that on record. (The Price Showcase Showdown stuff I figure to have tomorrow barring more urgent news.) For this lineup the prizes were a box of raisins ($3.99); one of those silly energy drinks ($6.99); some cocktail sauce ($2.49); a toothbrush ($2.19); oven cleaner ($4.99); and soap ($2.99).

The contestant picked the toothbrush for the lowest level (level total $2.19), which is fine for a just-put-the-prizes-in-ascending-cost-order and going for the $10,000 payout, which is what contestants ought to do because they just don't get the complicated level-order stuff here. The contestant put in the second level were the raisins and the soap (level total $6.98), and in the third the cocktail sauce and the oven cleaner (level total $7.48), and then was daft enough to plunge onward. The excuse given was that the contestant ``came from Wisconsin'' and was going to go all the way, which would be fine except this blew $10,000 on the idea that energy drink was more than $7.48 which ... actually, is almost plausible, but after that toothbrush placement I'd have walked away with the money. And so yet another contestant went home empty-handed.

I'm done working this stuff out by hand; while [ profile] _fluffy wrote a one-line Prolog code for it, I wrote a more verbose Matlab/Octave version and can say there are two winning paths for this. The first: start with the oven cleaner ($4.99); on the next level the cocktail sauce and soap (level $5.48), on the next the toothbrush and the raisins (level $6.18), and finally the energy drink ($6.99). The other path is to again start with the oven cleaner ($4.99); on the next level the toothbrush and soap (level $5.18); on the next the cocktail sauce and raisins (level $6.48); and finally the energy drink ($6.99).

Finding that there are multiple solutions for this one too --- and I'm not surprised considering the problem --- makes it a little harder to say definitively what the level ranges are. But the price ranges so far have been $3.90 and $4.80 (getting more generous). Taking the more generous range in levels from the last time and this we have ranges of $3.20 and $2.00.

Trivia: Pasteur's experiments for disproving spontaneous generation were decribed in his notes of 7 May, 3 September, and 5 November 1861, and published in July 1863 as Mémoire sur les corpuscules organisés qui existent dans l'atmosphere. Source: Louis Pasteur, Patrice Debré, Translated by Elborg Forster.

Currently Reading: As She Climbed Across The Table, Jonathan Lethem.

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