Monday, May 9, 2011

Crossroads or “man of science, man of little faith”

A nice thing happened to me the other day.

I left work on my bike and at the first light another girl on a bike stood next to me.

When the light turned green we both went on together until the next light. It didn’t seem strange at first but after four lights, when I noticed she is still with me, it became a game.

Man of science

I love statistics. I see it everywhere and I follow it a lot in my personal life.

I work in a different city then the one I live in, about 8 km from my house.

On the way I pass through another major city and many junctions that lead to high profile locations or highways.

So let’s make it simple. We drove together for the most part of the journey. We even drove together inside my city a few junctions because I was on my way to meet some friends so I changed my usual path that day only.

We drove together 16 junctions. Each time we took the same route. Let’s say 8 of the junctions are T junctions (2 ways to go → 50% chance to go to any direction) and 8 are X junctions (3 ways to go → 33% chance to go to any direction).

I won’t get into the all “some junctions having more gravity then other” issue just for the sake of keeping it simple.

So the probability we stay on the same route after one T junction and one X junction is 15% (0.5*0.3=0.15). Already not a big chance.

To calculate it all real quickly it shows an extremely small chance, if any, for us to drive together for so long (0.58*0.38). Without taking into account leaving work at the same time and reaching together to the light.

In the countryside they run after ducks and search for shapes in the clouds, in the city we mostly count lights until we get home.

Man of little faith

When I told my friend about it he told me I’m stupid and started another set of calculations;

“Was she young and cool? Then there’s a 90% chance she lives within 200m from you. That’s it” (I do live in a rather cool place)

“And it probably happens every day only you don’t notice it. If it was a 200 pound hairy guy you won’t even notice him” (he has a point there. Although I’ll probably would have notice a 200 pound guy chasing me around)

“Besides, stop bothering me with that stuff and you better not write about it because no one will ever read it”

Bonne chance à tous

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