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Statistically Squeaking

videotapeI love patterns and statistics and I like nothing more than passing time with my head in a book full of useless information. If I was a morbid fellow there is one section in one of my books that would make sure I never left my bed again, it’s called ‘Chances are…’

Some of the chances I can live without such as the chances of becoming the United States president: 10,000,000 to 1 and the chances that you will become a saint: 22,540,000 to 1 so I suppose the chances of being a saintly president are almost non-existent but as the list goes on and the stakes get higher things go a little strange. For example should you wish to mow the lawn this weekend the chances of being injured whilst mowing are 3,554 to 1, if you use an electric mower and you choose this todays wet Tuesday to cut it you can probably change those chances to a 1 to 1 of an electrocution. On a positive side if you are looking for a millionaire to marry the chances are surprisingly 220 to 1 but you had better be quick as the chances of developing haemorrhoids are 28 to 1, still the chances of getting away with murder are 2 to 1 so nothing ventured nothing gained. You can marry a haemorrhoid suffering millionaire, bump him off and immediately slash your odds to get away with it. In turn the chances of having your identity stolen are 200 to 1 so you can always blame it on someone else.

Whilst we are on about statistics let me deviate. Shampoo. Have you noticed the statistics on shampoo bottles and magazine adverts? They bandy about quotes like ‘88% of women agree’ and ‘92% agree you get more bounce’ but have you read the statistic pool? Very rarely is it from an amount higher than 250 and more often than not it’s less then 150. So 88% of women agree is actually based on approximately 0.00001% of the population, that’s less than you get on a Tesco clubcard point or in most cases it’s all about the same amount of ladies who work at the shampoo manufacturing factory that wish to keep their job for Christmas. And whilst we are at it, just what is ‘bounceability’ and why do we care?

‘My, Mr Simpkins, your hair is so full and bouncy today it’s making my throttle wobble!’
‘It’s this new shampoo Sir, it gives me bouncability just when I need it.’

‘Well done Simpkins, have a pay rise immediately. Oh, and, erm, pop along to my office I have something I want to give, er, show you…’.

‘Shall I wear those shoes again Sir?’

‘Er, no, not this time, just the cow bell and pigtails will do.’

Where was I going with this? Ah, statistics!

See what I mean about statistics? If you really believed all these you could live your life following endless rules. Apparently the chances of being on air plane with a drunk pilot are 115 to 1, so if you have flown 114 times already do you never fly again just in case it’s the drunken pilots turn and your numbers up? Statistically you have a 3,333 to 1 chance of fatally slipping in the bathtub or shower but would that stop you stepping in there everyday? Lets look at this from a different angle; the chances of a meteor hitting your home are 182,138,800,000,000 to 1 but the chances of dying from an asteroid hitting Earth are 20,000 to 1. It all about scale you see, so the next time you see a statistic you can laugh hollowly, sneer a little and walk outside in perfect safety.

Only to be flattened by asteroid number 182,138,800,000,001.

Anyhow, how exactly do cats agree?

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