Which is the odd one out?


(from the Graun).

[Update: and the answer is, the one on the far left, because it isn't odd; as most people answered, with varying degrees of formality.]

[Update, from the comments, CR offers us a rather easier "spot the odd one out":]

More like this

Crandles kindly reminded me that I had three £100 bets with him; they're formalised here (an earlier version at £67 each is here), as: Crandles offers 3 separate bets on the average of [2012, 2013 and 2014] (to be above/below 4.294, I take the high side), of [2013, 2014 and 2015] (4.119, ditto) and…
So there I was happily making cow pies in a muddy field when some Arthur King comes along and I'm reminded once again of the violence inherent in the system. [Update: and part 2, 2015/02.] Which I think is about how seriously you should take Watt's attempt to Godwin himself with the assistance of…
Good race, too, at least for the first half. Oxford up a few seats off an untidy Cambridge start, then they pull back, and I thought we'd lose it round the bend but no. Got very tense, boats close together. And then suddenly just after Hammersmith: whoompf and they're through, and Cambridge can…
A year ago, the entirety of the intertubes were rocked to their foundations by a post of epochal proportions - me taking the piss out of AW's "paper". And now, I'm rather distressed to see, the anniversary of this anniversary has passed unnoticed by everyone. When your major "paper" is so…

1st one.

[But... which is the first? -W]

By Everett F Sargent (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

Easy. I will leave the answer unsaid. However, my anagram will stand as a testament:

["Odd Tooth Nit" is as good as a wink to a blind man -W]

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

The unbordered red square. Is this from some kind of psychological or personality typing test?

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

Abbreviation, not anagram. Good grief. I was due for a smackdown anyway...

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

I'm not going to waste my time, but my guess is a case could be made that each of them is the odd one.

[Be playful. But you're close -W]

Agreed with Everett. The first one seems to be the only one to exhibit second-order oddness. It's the only one not to be odd in some first-order respect.

By Pierre-Normand Houle (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

The 1st one on the left. Large square, red inside, black border.

By Everett F Sargent (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

The first one on the left; it is the only object that is *not* unique in color, size, or shape.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

I could make a case for any of them, though the one on the far left would be a bit of a challenge.

The middle, since it's shaped like the first letter of both "odd" and "one". :-D

The one at far left.
Each has 4 attributes (think of coding attributes for objects)

Numbering from left, each of 2-5 differs from all the rest on exactly one if those attributes.
#1 does not, as every attribute, square, red, dark border, size is shared with 3 others.

So in some sebse it is iodf because it is "more like" the rest.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

An ill-posed problem

By Nick Stokes (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

The only one that has no difference is the different one.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

There could be 4 based on either border, shape, size or color; so then it follows that the first on the left is not distinct related to the others in those characteristics. So by not 'standing out', it is unique.

By lars larsson (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

This problem reminds me of Wittgenstein's remark in Culture and Value:

"When I came home I was expecting a surprise & there was no surprise for me, so, of course, I was surprised."

By Pierre-Normand Houle (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

Nick, I don't think the problem is ill posed. It admits naturally of a unique answer when analysed in second order predicate logic. To be odd is to fall uniquely under some contextually determined predicate. The problem asks for *the* odd one out. "The" signals a definite description, according to Russell's analysis of the meaning of "the". We may thus search for an item that uniquely falls under some (first order) predicate and also such that it it the only one to fall under *any* such predicate. But there is no such item, in this case. Hence "odd" can naturally be interpreted to refer to a second order predicate. There indeed only is one item that falls under the second-order predicate: "... doesn't uniquely fall under a first-order predicate.

So, finally, each item uniquely falls under either a first- or second-order predicate. The first item is *uniquely* "odd" in the sense that it is the only one that isn't odd in some first-order respect. It is thus the only one to fall under this second-order predicate. It is thus *the* odd one out.

By Pierre-Normand Houle (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

JM had my (correct) answer. Thanks, P-NH, for the more formal presentation. This is in part a trick question based on the meaning of "odd."

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

The 1st, 3rd and 5th are odd; oddly numbered, that is.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

I usually scored damn near 100 on IQ tests, so I'm out of gas.

Except, WC ain't talkin' so I suspect nobody has answered it correctly.

1st one.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

It's the only one that has all its attributes in common with others.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 08 Jun 2015 #permalink

Must admit, when I see this kind of thing, I automatically think of this:


I put this under the category of smart-arsery - formally correct and answerable, but very likely to catch out people who are unfamiliar with the category of question.

There is an interesting analogy in computer programming, with people who use things like operator precedence, default variable initialization or even the ternary operator.. yes it may be correct but you are setting some unpleasant traps for the next person.

[I disagree with you. Its a playful use, a second-order use, of "odd one out". But I may be biased, since I got it right. Or at least I assume I did; I didn't bother check I was right, since once you get it its obvious -W]

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 09 Jun 2015 #permalink

I think I got it right too but if it were a timed test, I might have gone for the first item I spotted with a non-common attribute and moved onto the next question.

[My son, who at 17 and doing maths sees a lot of this kind of stuff, said "far right" in 1 second. When I said "wrong" (hey, this is maths, there's none of that "well, that's a very interesting answer which we could explore more, but is there anything else you can see...?" stuff) he said "far left", with the correct reason, in 5 more seconds -W]

By Steve Milesworthy (not verified) on 09 Jun 2015 #permalink

Nick gets it.

All are unique in their mix of characteristics but the first, running left to right, is the only one sharing attributes. It seems to be the odd one out.

Far right. It is the only choice with no choice after it.

[You are imposing your imperialistic left-to-right reading order; I refuse to be oppressed -W]

With no asymmetry to complicate things then, the third is the only one with an equal number of choices on either side.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 12 Jun 2015 #permalink

Thanks, that was fun! I shared it on FB, with due credit, and my friends got a kick out of it.

By John Jorgensen (not verified) on 12 Jun 2015 #permalink

Six of us debated over it on a lunch break. Green is out.

Climate scientist fears murder by hitman

Is this
a) Wadhams believes it sensible to resort to arguments that are a little 'way out there' to defend his position
b) times doing a character assassination piece,
c) Wadhams losing it, or
d) Vested interests really wanting to resort to murder to silence people when just letting observational evidence speak for itself seems a much easier and less dodgy way of letting Wadham's credibility be demolished.

b seems most likely and kindest interpretation for Wadhams?

If Wadhams lived in the USA I'd say all bets are off. I don't know if the UK holds the same level of fringe extremists that we have here.

David Helvarg's "War Against the Greens" is now over 20 years old. Had I known he was going to update it (in 2004) I could have added a couple stories that I was personally acquainted with.

Without having read anything about Wadhams' latest claim, I'd bet that he received a death threat and it got blown out of proportion from there.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Jul 2015 #permalink


[Sorry, been on hols, so I missed the fun. Still, that seems to end happily: Wadhams got a bit wacko but backed off after thinking about it, would be the worst you could say; and at best, just got a bit over-enthusiastic talking to a journo. Still, you'd have thought an experienced bloke like him would have thought to himself "hmm, why am I saying this explosive thing to a journo? Is he talking to me because he's my friend and we're having a nice chat? Or is he perhaps looking for a great quote for a story?" -W]

Did anyone notice the following

[quote]Wadhams (Sea Ice and Polar Oceanography Group), 0.984, Heuristic
We use entirely statistical extrapolation methods based on measured values of sea ice extent (from satellites) and sea ice thickness (from submarine voyages).
[Editor's Note: Upon review by the SIPN team, this outlook has been listed as heuristic in the Sea Ice Outlook report.][/quote]

Is there any way to interpret that as anything other than 'Don't believe that summary of the method'?

If that isn't a bit embarrassing, what would be? It becomes hard to imagine anything will be embarrassing enough to stop him drifting further into 'gone emeritus' land.

Even his complaint, if accurately reported, seems to admit he believed a murder conspiracy 'for a short time'. If that is the text of his complaint, does that represent a justification for a newspaper running such a story: Is there a public interest argument that the public should have the right to know if professors are 'going emeritus'? Perhaps a temporary loss of sanity deserves some privacy but if there are other indications of problems.....

Professor Wadhams is not amused and has complained to the IPSO:

"The writer of this article, Ben Webster, phoned me up cold in my office at Cambridge University on Thursday 23 July, saying that he was writing a piece on the retreat of sea ice in the Arctic, and whether it was increasing or not. We discussed the scientific data, then he asked who else was working in this field in the UK, in order to contact them. I mentioned that there are not many others in this field, since three of the leading figures died within a short space of time in accidents in 2013. He asked for further details.

I asked that this be completely off the record because of (a) the sensibilities of relatives of the deceased (Prof Laxon’s partner was particularly upset by the subsequent publication),
(b) my own scientific reputation (I did not want to be made out to be a crazy person),
(c) the fact that these deaths were investigated and were very clearly simply an extraordinary coincidence.

He raised the question of whether they were murdered. I agreed that for a short time I thought that they were, since I had had the experience of being run off the road at the same time by a lorry, but that it was very clear afterwards that the three deaths were individually explainable accidents.

I did not make any of the statements enclosed in quotation marks by the reporter. Webster promised that this was in confidence and that if he wanted to use it he would contact me first. The next thing I saw was the article plastered over Saturday’s “Times”. He had clearly done some research in procuring photographs, but did not bother to contact me, and broke his promise of confidentiality.

The publication, subsequently picked up by the Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday, has substantially damaged my reputation for scientific integrity, and I believe that this was the deliberate intention.

[See my reply to CR above. The idea that anyone is knocking off sea ice scientists in the UK is, incidentally, totally implausible. Apart from anything else they're just not important enough. It is a small "community", though, so losing a few makes an impact. Oh, but hold on - there's another part to this conspiracy - "leading" sea-ice scientist W M Connolley "voluntarily" retired from science at about the same time :-) -W]

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 27 Jul 2015 #permalink