Archive for birthday

Florence Nightingale´s 199th anniversary

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2019 by xi'an

morning run [jatp]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by xi'an

dans le noir

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by xi'an

musée des arts premiers, Paris (c.) Rachel RobertYesterday night, we went to a very special restaurant in down-town Paris, called “dans le noir” where meals take place in complete darkness (truly “dans le noir”!). Complete in the sense it is impossible to see one’s hand and one’s glass. The waiters are blind and the experiment turns them into our guides, as we are unable to progress or eat in the dark! In addition to this highly informative experiment, it was fun to guess the food (easy!) and even more to fail miserably at guessing the colour of the wine (a white Minervois made from Syrah that tasted very much like a red, either from Languedoc-Roussillon or from Bordeaux…!) The food was fine if not outstanding (the owner told us how cooking too refined a meal led to terrible feedbacks from the customers as they could not guess what they were eating) and the wine very good (no picture for the ‘Og, obviously!). This was my daughter’s long-time choice for her 18th birthday dinner and a definitely outstanding idea! So if you have the opportunity to try one of those restaurants (in Barcelona Paseo Picasso, London Clerkenwell, New York, Paris Les Halles, or Saint-Petersbourg), I strongly suggest you to make the move. Eating will never feel the same!

five years ‘Oggin’…!

Posted in Books, Kids, Linux, Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , on October 2, 2013 by xi'an

(past) sunset over Kata Tjuta (Mounts Olga); Northern Territory, Australia, Aug. 6, 2012I have just been reminded by wordpress that it has been five years since I started this blog,.. With about 2500 posts, more than 800,000 views and 4,500 comments (thanks to Deborah, Dan, Julien, and Arnaud!). Thanks to all readers for being supportive and to the hardcore readers for being always there, despite the lack of constancy, the unreasonable amount of silly posts, and the abuse of saturated pictures. I cannot predict if the ‘Og will last much longer, for the times they are a-changin’, but those have been fun five years!

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Singapore sunset

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , on August 25, 2012 by xi'an

the birthday problem [X’idated]

Posted in R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , on February 1, 2012 by xi'an

The birthday problem (i.e. looking at the distribution of the birthdates in a group of n persons, assuming [wrongly] a uniform distribution of the calendar dates of those birthdates) is always a source of puzzlement [for me]! For instance, here is a recent post on Cross Validated:

I have 360 friends on facebook, and, as expected, the distribution of their birthdays is not uniform at all. I have one day with that has 9 friends with the same birthday. So, given that some days are more likely for a birthday, I’m assuming the number of 23 is an upperbound.

The figure 9 sounded unlikely, so I ran the following computation:

for (t in 1:10^5){

whose output shown on the above graph. (Actually, I must confess I first forgot the sort in the code, which led me to then believe that 9 was one of the most likely values and post it on Cross Validated! The error was eventually picked by one administrator. I should know better than trust my own R code!) According to this simulation, observing 9 or more people having the same birthdate has an approximate probability of 0.00032… Indeed, fairly unlikely!

Incidentally, this question led me to uncover how to print the above on this webpage. And to learn from the X’idated moderator whuber the use of tabulate. Which avoids the above loop:

> system.time(test(10^5)) #my code above
user  system elapsed
26.230   0.028  26.411
> system.time(table(replicate(10^5, max(tabulate(sample(1:365,360,rep=TRUE))))))
user  system elapsed
5.708   0.044   5.762

Common ancestors

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , on June 8, 2011 by xi'an

In conjunction with President Obama’s visit to Ireland two weeks ago and in particular to his ancestral Irish town, I happened to glance at his family tree and saw that he shared a common ancestor with George W. Bush. (They are 11th cousins, meaning that a 12th-order ancestor is common to both their  family trees.) This sounds at first amazing, but it is another occurrence of the (von Mises) birthday problem. (The fact that it is not that amazing is demonstrated by the simultaneous presence of [French!] ancestors of Dick Cheney in the same tree.) If we consider President Obama’s mother side, the probability that all of her 11th-order ancestors differ from all of George W. Bush’s 12th-order ancestors is


where M denotes the whole population of potential ancestors at this period. If we consider all those ancestors as coming from the British Isles, then about 1650, the population was about 8 million. This would lead to a probability of p=0.35, i.e. there is a 65% chance that they share a 12th-order ancestor. If instead we consider the whole European population at that time (if only to include German and French ancestors to President Obama), M is about 100 million and the probability increases to p=0.92, so there is then an 8% probability for them to share an ancestor. Obviously, this rough calculation relies on simplifying assumptions, avoiding the issue of inbreeding which means that the potential 2¹¹ ancestors are in fact much less than 2¹¹, and the fact that their ancestors are necessarily emigrants, which reduces the value of M(This post appeared yesterday on the Statistics Forum.)