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The Strange Coin Flipping Fact That Might Make Your Head Spin

Even if probability isn’t your strong suit, you can likely understand how in a basic coin flipping situation, it’s theoretically just as likely for you to turn up heads/heads as heads/tails. Except that that’s not actually true.

In the video above, Numberphile mathematician Dr. James Grime takes us through the cause behind the counterintuitive occurrence. Using 50 coins, he demonstrates how a random series of flips pretty closely matches the expected waiting time of heads/heads (six flips) and the expected waiting time of heads/tails (four flips). The reason heads/tails comes up more frequently has to do with uncounted consecutive values—we promise it makes sense—though at the end of the video, the team does concede that in their first go-around, the results played out in exactly the opposite way.

For a full understanding of the phenomenon, check out Grime’s lesson, and then get to work on perfecting your coin flip hustle.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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