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Posts tagged with probability

Probability – flip a coin for $1b

April30

Here is another chance to look at probability, and one that you might be allowed to play in class! Flip a coin continuously until a tail appears for the first time. If this doesn’t happen until the 20th (or later) flip, you win $1 billion. If the first tail appears before the 20th flip, you […]

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Guilty or innocent? Math in the Courtroom Part II

April29

In 2003, a Dutch nurse named Lucia de Berk was accused of murdering several patients. She was sent to prison for six years in before her conviction was overturned in 2010. The reason for the overturning? The prosecutor and the judges behind the conviction could not do math correctly. The grade 11 class delved deep […]

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Probability to the Defense

April28

So, an appeal was made to the Supreme Court, when it was overturned on the basis of probability arguments. The defense attorney argued that 1/12,000,000 was not the relevant probability (see previous post). In a city the size of Los Angeles, with maybe 2,000,000 couples, the probability was not that small, he argued, that there […]

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Probabilities and Courtroom Drama

April26

In 1964 a Los Angeles blond woman with a ponytail snatched a purse from another woman. The thief was spotted entering a yellow car driven by a black man with a beard and a mustache. The police eventually found a blond woman with a ponytail who regularly associated with a bearded and mustachioed black man […]

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DNA Revisited – Mathematical Proof of Divinity?

March1

A single cell and the DNA that causes it to function is millions of times more intricate than anything man has created. So, is it mathematically possible for us to not be created by a higher power? For illustration purposes, let’s take a 200 page book. Could the cover, the paper, the ink and the […]

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Math Wizz used Probability to Beat Lotto

December31

Romanian economist Stefan Mandel was struggling to make ends meet. So he came up with an unlikely solution — winning the lottery. But while most people who dream of scooping the jackpot rely on dumb luck, Mandel had other ideas. Mandel spent his spare time poring over probability papers penned by mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci — […]

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The Math of Christmas

December24

In the Bible there are some 300 prophecies concerning the arrival and life of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Here are 8 of those 300 prophecies and the mathematical probability that they happened: (1) The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6) (2) The Messiah will be a descendant of Jacob. […]

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A space bus was heading your way!

April2

Launched in 2011, Tiangong 1 was China’s first space station, serving as an experimental platform for bigger projects. The European Space Agency forecast that the bus-sized station, whose name translates as “Heavenly Palace,” would re-enter sometime this morning NZT. The Chinese space agency said it should happen during the course of today Beijing time. Based […]

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A Baby is Born 1 min into the New Year – What are the odds?

January1

As fireworks were fired off from Auckland’s Sky Tower to welcome 2018, the country welcomed the first baby of the new year. The healthy baby boy, weighing 3.5kg, was born at Auckland Hospital at 12.01am to a Howick couple on the first day of the new year. There are 526,600 minutes in a year, meaning […]

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Jesus the Messiah? What are the odds, mathematically?

December7

What are the Odds? Professor of mathematics, Peter Stoner (June 16, 1888 – March 21, 1980), gave 600 students a math probability problem that would determine the odds for one person fulfilling eight specific prophecies. (This is not the same as flipping a coin eight times in a row and getting heads each time.) First […]

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