Sunday 9 May 2021

Eight Sticks (reprise)

  In a previous post I hosted an article by Joel Benson who presented a method he devised to use eight sticks. Having fewer stalks to handle (and less steps to take) with respect to the traditional 50 stalks method is much easier!

  After many years, I decided to build for myself a set of eight sticks that followed those priciples.

  I came up with a red/black marking scheme:

to be used as follows:

  1. Without looking split the stalks in two groups.
  2. Rotate one group and put the eight stalks together again.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 other two times
  4. Pick one stick covering one of the tips with your hand and look at the other tip:
    • If there is a black mark, draw  , otherwise draw  ;
    • If there is a red mark, it's a moving line.

The picture shows the correspondance between marks and lines.

To remember it easily, you may notice that the black marks represent the central portion of the line, so there is a black mark for solid lines and nothing for broken lines.

 Any type of stick will do, as long as they are more or less equal. I quickly made a set using bamboo chopsticks (sorry for the uneven marking, I'm sure you can do better than that!) :

  I have to say I did not really expect it but it's rather satisfying to shuffle the chopsticks, split them, shuffle them again and so on.

 All in all it's a very nice and portable method with the same statistical properties of the traditional yarrow stalks method, I hope you will want to give them a try.

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