Tag Archives: markov chains

The Most Important Problem in the World — Solved!

Toilet Seat Problem

Should the toilet seat be left up or down after use?   I decided to undertake a rigorous investigation of this critical issue.   Every woman I asked knew the answer: leave it down.  Every married man also knew the answer:  do what she says.   The truly domesticated men did one better:  leave the cover down too.  I stood in awe of their sheer servility.

Sadly, nobody seemed to feel any need to investigate further.   But, like Galileo, Einstein, Anthony Bourdain, and Stalin I was not  deterred by the disapproval of my peers.   In fact, it invigorated me.   Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong, I say.

Given a man and woman living together, the goal was simple:  introduce an unwanted technical innovation that was sure to drive the marriage apart.   Specifically, I sought a strategy which minimizes the average number of toilet seat flips per use of the bathroom, subject to the constraint that everyone sees the same average.

As with any straightforward problem I choose to examine, the universe immediately rewired its laws to require a lot of math.   Hence this important paper.  Too important for Nature, Science, or The Journal of Advanced Computational Potty Talk.   The only venue worthy of its publication is this very blog which, entirely by coincidence, I own.

Surprisingly, the result turns out to be neither trivial nor obvious.   It seems  the universe actually has something interesting to say about toilet seats and fairness, even if I do not.

Click on the link above or below to view the PDF paper.

Toilet Seat Problem