Archive for coincidences

(im)possible lottery outcome

Posted in Kids, Statistics with tags , , , on December 27, 2020 by xi'an

Another outcry after an “impossible” lottery result that “must” be fraudulous! Obtaining the sequence 5,6,7,8,9,10 on the Tuesday December 1, 2020, draw of the Souht-African Powerball is indeed a low probability event. Just like obtaining any fixed sequence on a specific day for a specific lottery system. As I am unsure the last number has to differ from the others or not, consider the approximation where the 6 numbers are drawn uniformly without replacement from the first fifty integers. The number of outcomes is then approximately 16 millions, making any fixed outcome having a chance of 6 10⁻⁸ of happening for one draw. However, the psychological impact of an “impossible” lottery result would have been the same for any sequence of 6 consecutive numbers, which makes the event happening with a probability of approximately one chance in 400,000. Not so staggering then! And considering the repetition of lotteries, space- and time-wise, it takes roughly 40,000 draws for a consecutive sequence to be drawn with probability 10%. Which means 16 years if considering each US State having a draw every week…

for a coincidence

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2018 by xi'an

Last night in Vancouver, we were walking back to Chinatown under an expressway, in a rather uninspiring section of town. Waiting at a cross-light with another couple on the other side. As we crossed the street I glanced at the man and noticed his Chamonix North Face tee-shirt. He happened to do the same and… noticed my identical Chamonix North Face tee-shirt! We shared a laugh at this (huge?) coincidence and continued on our respective ways. (He was not taking part in MCMskiii in case this seems a likely explanation!)

“those” coincidences

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2014 by xi'an

waverleyLast Thursday night, after a friendly dinner closing the ICMS workshop, I was rushing back to Pollock Halls to catch some sleep before a very early flight. When crossing North Bridge, on top of Waverley station, I then spotted in the crowd a well-known face of a fellow statistician from Cambridge University, on an academic visit to the University of Edinburgh that was completely unrelated with the workshop. Then, today, on my way back from submitting a visa request at the Indian embassy in Paris, I took the RER train for one stop between Gare du Nord and Chatelet. When I stood up from my seat and looked behind me, a senior (and most famous) mathematician was sitting right there, in deep conversation with a colleague about algorithms… Just two of “those” coincidences. (Edinburgh may be propitious to coincidences: at the last ICMS workshop I attended, I ended up in the same Indian restaurant as Marc Suchard, who also was on an academic visit to the University of Edinburgh that was completely unrelated with the workshop!)

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