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Analysis | We have a pretty good idea of when humans will go extinct

That radical notion — that we are not, in fact, at the center of the universe — gives rise to what modern scientists call the Copernican Principle: We are not privileged observers of the world around us. We don't occupy a unique place in the universe. We are profoundly ordinary. We are not special.

Assuming that you and I are not so special as to be born at either the dawn of a very long-lasting human civilization or the twilight years of a short-lived one, we can apply Gott's 95 percent confidence formula to arrive at an estimate of when the human race will go extinct: between 5,100 and 7.8 million years from now.
probability  fun  example  human  disaster  berlin  future  prediction  earth  question 
october 2017 by aries1988
Godwin's law - Wikipedia
Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies)[1][2] is an Internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazism or Hitler approaches 1"[2][3]—​​that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.
humor  internet  probability 
november 2016 by aries1988
If you can't choose wisely, pick at random – Michael Schulson – Aeon
Around the same time that Michael Dove was pondering his riddle in a Kantu’ longhouse, activists and political scientists were beginning to revive the idea of filling certain political positions by lottery, a process known as sortition.
probability  decision 
october 2014 by aries1988
How to crack improbability and win the lottery – David Hand – Aeon
This distinction – between the chance that you (or, indeed, any other particular person) will win the lottery and that someone will win – is a manifestation of what I call the law of truly large numbers. If a large enough number of people each buy a lottery ticket, then the probability that someone will win becomes substantial. It grows so large, indeed, that someone wins almost every week.

If you win the lottery one week with a one-in-14-million chance per ticket, then your chances of winning it the next week are unaltered. Statisticians say that the two events are independent, but another way to put it is that the lottery numbers don’t remember who has won previously: the outcome of one draw doesn’t affect the following one.

The same does not hold for the Titanic. For if one compartment is damaged so that it floods, what does that say about the probability that a neighbouring compartment might also be damaged? Well, clearly our answer depends how the damage occurs. As it happens, the Titanic’s maiden voyage was through iceberg-infested waters. If an iceberg were to strike the side of the ship penetrating the double hull, isn’t there a good chance that it would also damage neighbouring compartments?

We live in a complex world, and the different components of a system are often locked in a web of interconnections that are difficult to tease apart. When trying to make sense of them, it is common to assume independence as a first approximation. But this can lead to major miscalculations. The Yale sociologist Charles Perrow has developed an entire theory of what he calls ‘normal accidents’, based on the observation that complex systems should be expected to have complex, undetected, interactions. A frightening thought.
probability  maths  science  explained  disaster 
june 2014 by aries1988

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