Stories tagged probabilities

Jun
12
2009

Not to be trusted
Not to be trustedCourtesy superbomba
Hey, so a little German lad was hit on his little German paw by a meteorite traveling in the neighborhood of 30,000 miles per hour. No doubt he cried, and said something funny in German, but things are working out for him now.

Here are two problems I would like y’all to address:

Problem one: The article says that the bullet-sized meteorite “bounced off” the boy’s hand, before gouging a foot-long crater in the pavement beneath him. Mm-kay… awesome. But answer this, Augustus Gloop: a rifle bullet travels at about 1000 meters per second, or 2,237 miles per hour. A rifle bullet wouldn’t bounce off your hand. Your hand wouldn’t even bounce off the bullet. This bullet-sized space rock was traveling more than 13 times faster than a bullet, and it just “bounced off” your hand? I think you’re lying, Augustus! What really happened to your hand, Augustus?!

Also, the article says that the chances of being struck by a meteorite are about 1 in 100 million. Doesn’t that seem really high? Most meteorites totally burn up in the atmosphere, and the ones that do reach Earth almost always fall in the water. (The article says that about 6 out of 7 meteorites hit the water… but where does that come from? You’d think that would mean that about 86% of the Earth is covered by water, but the actual area is closer to 70%. Anyway…) So, still, the chances of getting hit by a meteorite are 1 in 100 million? But the odds of winning the jackpot in the lottery are about 1 in 200 million, and that seems to happen more often than human meteor strikes. If there are 6.7 billion people on the planet, 67 of those people should be hit by meteorites at some point in their lives, but I’m not ever hearing about it. Someone explain this to me. Why doesn’t the world share its hilarious and disgusting meteorite-strike stories? Is this a conspiracy? Augustus Gloop, are you behind this too? Are you?!

Oct
14
2008

Cats and dogs, living together: You need more proof?
Cats and dogs, living together: You need more proof?Courtesy darkmavis
Put a star on your calendars today, Buzzketeers, because science is taking a vacation! And I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be celebrating by eating my own head and diving into a good book. Literally!

Some of you (the sassboxes) might point out that natural laws apparently still apply, and that scientists the world over continue to fiddle around with their science-tools to learn things about the world. But the day I start paying attention to scientists is the day I give up my lifelong dream of eating my own head.

No, I’m listening to the people who have a more direct influence on my day-to-day life: bookies.

See, it seems that a bunch of bookies are concerned that there’s some chance that an alien spaceship will be landing today in the American desert. And so I’m concerned too.

The idea… Nay, the fact of the impending landing came from the Australian psychic, Blossom Goodchild.

—A little side note: I can’t believe it! My name used to be Blossom Goodchild too! I just changed it to JGordon in junior high. I can’t believe we were both born “Blossom Goodchild”! Amazing!

Anyway, Blossom Goodchild, Aussie supernatural, delivers the secrets of love, light, and laughter by channeling “a native American spirit energy” by the name of White Cloud. I’m not entirely clear on why a native American spirit energy would go to Australia for channeling, but who am I to question the ways of the spirits?

Goodchild, presumably with the help of White Cloud, has started a wave of Internet-enthusiasm by predicting the imminent arrival of a massive space ship full of aliens (or “light beings”), which will supposedly be happening today!

The enterprising residents of Earth, not wanting to be caught with our pants down by light beings, have rushed to prepare… by betting on the arrival! Betting so much, in fact, that bookmakers have had to suspend further all wagers.

There has been no evidence of the coming aliens—no radio transmissions, no detected incoming spaceships, and no precedence—except for the word of an Australian good child, and her wandering spirit. And so it would make sense that the odds are set up against the landing. Yet human gamblers aren’t into odds (who ever won something by betting on a sure thing?) or evidence, and they stand to make a lot of money if (when) the ship arrives. See, we shoot from the hip, and we follow our guts, and the bookies know it, and they’re afraid to take any more bets on the spaceship.

So today’s the day, Buzzers. Try to do something impossible. You won’t be the only one.

Jun
12
2008

More than anything: he just wants you to have good, clean fun.
More than anything: he just wants you to have good, clean fun.Courtesy publicinsomniac
A Dutch study has shown that, if anything, Friday the 13th is actually a little safer than other days of the year.

So you've got nothing to worry about tomorrow. Except flesh eating bacteria, psychopathic killers, and sour milk. You never know.