Eight Perceptions of Probability

From Ben Orlin at Math With Bad Drawings, an entertaining look at the highly disparate ways in which different professions look at probability.

I like them all, and two are actually SF-related, so that’s keen. But it’s possible that my favorite is:


That is so, so true. For the media, Everything Must Be A Crisis.

Click through and check out the Millennium Falcon one.

An extra note on probability: I recently had a conversation that went like this (via texting, so I didn’t have to do the math in my head):

Friend: So the x-ray shows six puppies!

Me: Six! Wow, that’s great!

Friend: I really want girls! I hope they’re not all boys!

Me: Well, there’s only about a 1.5% chance they’re all boys.

Friend: What’s the chance of just one girl?

Me: About 9.5%. There’s about a 23% chance there are two girls, and about a 31% chance of three girls. So there’s about a 65% chance of three or more girls.

Friend: Great!

Me: Probability: a way of going wrong with confidence!

There were in fact three girls and three boys in the litter, which was born last Sunday. So I’ll leave you with a row of cute little puppies:

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The three on the right are the girls. Just like little sausages with noses, at this age. They’ll be just overwhelmingly cute in six weeks, though!

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