Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Fun with statistics: If I Didn’t Have You

So, have you seen this YouTube video of Tim Minchin’s version of “If I Didn’t Have You”?

It has lyrics like this:

So I trust it would go without saying
That I would feel really very sad
If tomorrow you were to fall off something high
Or catch something bad
But I’m just saying
I don’t think you’re special
I-I mean, I think you’re special
But you fall within a bell curve
I mean, I’m just saying I
(Really think that I would)
Probably
(Have somebody else)

Also, it reminds me of this analysis of “soul mates” from xkcd. Which I see now actually refers to the Minchin song, so how about that. I had forgotten about that.

From xkcd:

The odds of running into your soul mate are incredibly small. The number of strangers we make eye contact with each day is hard to estimate. It can vary from almost none (shut-ins or people in small towns) to many thousands (a police officer in Times Square). Let’s suppose you lock eyes with an average of a few dozen new strangers each day. (I’m pretty introverted, so for me that’s definitely a generous estimate.) If 10% of them are close to your age, that’s around 50,000 people in a lifetime. Given that you have 500,000,000 potential soul mates, it means you’ll only find true love in one lifetime out of ten thousand….

Anyway, fun song! If you’re at all math geeky, you should click over and watch the video.

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