This essay Moment of peace Gregorian has a total of 737 words and 3 pages.
Moment of peace Gregorian
The statistician David J. Hand on eerie coincidence and playing the lottery (your latest book, "The Improbability principle," aims to prove that extremely improbable events are in fact commonplace. Can you explain that a bit?) Things like roulette wheels coming up in strange configurations or the same lottery numbers hitting two weeks in a row are clearly very rare events, but if you look at the number of lotteries and the number of roulette wheels, then you realize that you should actually expect these sorts of things to happen. I think within the statistical community people accept this. They\'re aware of the impact of the law of truly large numbers. (Why do you think this book will appeal to people outside the mathematics world?) Most people have had some experience like that: bumping into a friend in a strange city, thinking of someone just before they phone you - we\'ve all had that sort of experience, and they do make you think: Wow, how did that happen? Is there\'s something funny going on? Is somebody in control, guiding us through these things? (You\'re pretty harsh with people who believe that there\'s some kind of magic or divine intervention that makes these coincidences happen. Do you think that this takes the whimsy out of strange occurrences?) All I\'m doing is saying, Look, you can explain these things using natural laws. Whether it takes the whimsy out of it - I don\'t think so. I don\'t think it taller the magic away - the psychological magic, I mean. I think the wonder is still there. (You use gambling a lot to prove your points. Are you a good poker player?) No, I\'ve been to Las Vegas a couple of times, and I haven\'t played because I know that the house has the edge and will win - they\'ll gradually take my money away from me. The first time I went, my wife came with me. She insisted on playing some low stakes same, and I said, "Don\'t, you will just lose gradually." Guess what? She ended up winning. It was most frustrating for me. (Any advice for playing the lottery?) Funny enough, one of the most common combinations is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. So you buy that ticket it comes up, you think, Wow. I\'ve won! And you tell your boss what you think of him, and you leave your job and then you discover 5,000 other people chose the same number. That\'s not so good. If you look at the lottery card and go across the top or down a diagonal or something, or use birthdays or something like that, other people are likely to do the same thing. The best thing to do is to use a random selection of numbers, and most of winning New York Powerball and 1 in 175 million - probably one of the worst I\'ve come across. (You also write that geographical clusters of people with diseased might not necessarily be a result of environmental issues. It could just be a coincidence. Well, they could be due to some sort of pollution of infectious disease or something like that, but you can expect clusters to occur just by chance as well. So it\'s an interesting statistical problem to tease these things out. Is this a genuine cluster in the sense that there\'s a cause behind it? Or is it a chance cluster? (So we shouldn\'t dismiss those coincidences) No, but if you do see such a cluster, then you should work out the chance that you would see such a cluster purely randomly, purely by chance, and if it\'s very low odds, then you should investigate carefully. (I was really surprised to read that 24,000 people die from lightning strikes each year. That seems like a lot.) That\'s worldwide, so it includes people in less-developed countries who spend a lot of time in the open and in fields and things like that. We tend to think about our own experience, and you\'re probably like I am, sitting in an office block, and the chance of us getting struck by lightning is pretty small. (That\'s good point. How about the chance
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