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13 October 2019


Bob Hobert

George, your split pill analysis was truly quite fun. We had a similar experience - splitting pain meds for our Lab with a bad knee. We resolved the issue on day one by splitting all the pills and putting them back into the bottle. Thus on each succeeding day, our odds of shaking out a whole pill were zero, and of shaking out a half pill were 100%. On the 20th day I got the same results as you - a half pill. My attempts at charting did not turn out well.


One night I put the sheep in the pen and spend the night doing a mental exercise on how to solve this problem. Sleep came "real soon" and the problem went unsolved. I tried again several nights later and discovered it beats counting sheep in getting to sleep.

George Rebane

Bob & Russ - Well gentlemen, I figgered there was probably a better way to solve the problem by doing all the splitting at the gitgo; even my daughter suggested that I wouldn't have to do all this tomfoolery if I had done this. But then Russ does identify another use for such problems for people with insomnia.

BTW, since you both are technically oriented, the numerical solution to that and other such stochastic problems is in the form of a probabilistic structure known as a Markov DAG (directed acyclic graph).


Problem? What problem?

The lifetime task of splitting meds is minimized by doing it only as required.

Michael R. Kesti

This kind of thing is one of the several reasons I still read your blog, George. It's sad that so many refuse to see the beauty and joy of math exercises.


George...Ya lost me in the weeds, but an impressive proof never the less. I will stick with whole pills to keep the math simple!

Wayne Hullett

Nice graph. Which software package did you use to produce it?

George Rebane

WayneH 730am - Matlab. In my dotage I have retreated to doing everything in Matlab and Simulink. Powerful stuff.

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