A regular poster on the EDSTAT-L list (DR) mentioned an interesting page on the IBM website, www.research.ibm.com/ponder, that offers a monthly puzzle on mathematical topics. Some of these topics involve statistics and/or probability, such as the January 2006 puzzle:

Consider a loop of string of unit length. Suppose we cut the string independently and at random in n places. This will divide the loop into n pieces. This month’s puzzle asks 1. What is the expected (average) size of the smallest piece? 2. What is the expected (average) size of the largest piece?