Tuesday, August 07, 2007

All of Life is 6 to 5 against

Ever since first reading the above Damon Runyan quote,I have been fascinated by probablity.So much so that I determined that the odds were better than 50/50 for me to be able to google "what are the odds" and come up with an interesting list of probabilities. I was right.I found an interesting set of statistics that should answer any long term fears and apprehensions you may have about moving through life.

For instance, Your odds of being on the plane with a drunken pilot are 117 to 1. That's better odds than if you are a Astronaut, according to recent news stories. But think about that, how do they know that ? Do they have each Pilot blow into a tube after landing ? Because if they are checking before take off, your odds of flying with a drunk pilot had better be zero.

Odds of injury by fireworks, 19,556 to 1. That statistic means very little to me. I am not a fireworks user, and seldom in close proximity. But as a boy, I got burned about once a year. We used to throw bottle rockets at each other.The odds in my neighborhood of losing an eye to fireworks were only about 1 in 8.In the Peas family, they were 1 in 2.

Odds of being struck by lightening are only 576,000 to 1. Those are uncomfortably small odds to me. I had expected them to be over a million to 1. But here's a good one. Odds of being considered possessed by Satan, 7,000 to 1. Let's think about that one. That means that in this conutry of 300 million, there are almost 43,000 of us who may be possessed by the Devil. That explains a lot ! Now notice the "considered" part of the odds. How many are really possessed by the Devil is not a statistic we have access to. But I figure that no more than half the people "considered" to be possessed are faking it.There is really very little to be gained by lying to someone about your possession.

Some of these odds are not all that interesting. Odds of dating a Super Model, 88,000 to 1. They have so cheapened the title of Super model that I think that is a very watered down statistic.Practically anyone on a magazine today is a super model.There's guts that work at CVS Pharmacy (non-Pharmacists !) that are dating super models these days.

Odds of being murdered 18,000 to 1. In other words, your odds of being struck by lightening are
30 times worse (better ?) than someone just killing you today. Odds of getting hemorroids 25 to 1, odds of being killed next year in a traffic accident, 77,000 to 1. Here is one I can hope for, odds of writing a book that appears on the NY Times best seller's list, 220 to 1. Now I assumme that you actually have to write a book to get those odds, but compare that with the odds of winning the California lottery which are one in 13 million.If you want to make some money, you are much, much better off just writing a book than buying a lottery ticket.Of course, it takes a lot longer.

Chance of dying in a legal execution, 1 in 3.4 million. Which means that I'm more likely to be executed this year than to die of contact with hot tap water (1 in 5 million). Now the one you hear a lot about these days is the chance of the earth being hit by an asteroid in the next 100 years. That's one in five thousand. I don't like that, but then the odds of dying from such an event are only one in twenty thousand, so at least it is something you may be able to prepare for.

I will skip the various cancers and their survivabilities as simply too depressing to discuss in order to point out that your odds of being killed by a dog bite, unless you work for Michael Vick, are 1 in 770,000. Now this is a confusing statistic. Do I have to be bitten by a dog to have those odds, or are we all walking around each day with a 1 in 770,000 chance that by the end of the day we will have been mauled to death by a pit bull ? Whichever it is, you are a lot less likely to die from the ignition of your night wear which is approaching one in 31 million.

Many of these are comfortin numbers, until you realize that they are all additive. They all add up to one thing. Odds of dying 1:1.

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