Contact me ·  Browse archives ·  Search this site:  

Wednesday · July 28 2004

One-in-a-million miracles happen 295 times a day in America
And yet the Cubs and Red Sox still can't win a World Series.

via magnetbox

Archived: Living in a box » July 2004
What you had to say:
August 05 2004

My Probablity professor at Boston University was interviewed on 20/20 or something like that about this very issue. It was the 19th time that Susan Lucci (All My Children's Erica Kane for about 30 years now) was nominated for whatever those daytime tv awards are, and she had lost each of the previous 18 times. People were saying things like "what are the chances?" The question put to him was, "What's the probability of yet another loss?" He answered that given the superlarge number of improbable things, it would actually be more surprising (and improbable) if she won.
I don't buy it. You can try to count the number of improbable things (million to one odds), but you can just as easily count the same nunber of probable things. I would argue that the second list would be longer, which is why we are surprised when improbable things happen.

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz