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October 27, 2014

What are the odds? (2)

A review of The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day. (My emphasis below.)

Statistician David J. Hand Shows How the Seemingly Improbable Becomes a Sure Thing

Back in 1980, a woman named Maureen Wilcox played the Rhode Island and the Massachusetts lotteries at the same time. And she hit the correct numbers for both. Unfortunately, she picked all the correct Massachusetts numbers on her Rhode Island ticket and all the right Rhode Island numbers on her Massachusetts ticket. [...]

Hand notes the case of one Roy Sullivan, a seven-time loser in the lightning-strike lottery. Sullivan was a park ranger, so he upped his odds by being outdoors a lot. The same went for a sportsman named Major Walter Summerford, struck three times, whose gravestone took a shot four years after his death.

Posted by joke du jour at October 27, 2014 08:02 PM

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