EppsNet Archive: Probability

Could Falling Into a Gorilla Exhibit Happen to Anyone?

2 Jun 2016 /
Harambe, 1999-2016

I hope our boy appreciates that his mom and I never let him fall into a gorilla enclosure. He’s 22 now. Anything he falls into going forward is on him.

I’m not in the “could have happened to anyone” camp on this. The Cincinnati Zoo has more than 1.2 million visitors per year. Out of tens of millions of visitors, only one has fallen into the gorilla exhibit.

A 1 in 10 million occurrence doesn’t fall under the “could have happened to anyone” umbrella in my opinion.


Monkeys on Typewriters

26 Sep 2011 /
Monkey typing close up

If one puts an infinite number of monkeys in front of (strongly built) typewriters, and lets them clap away, there is a certainty that one of them would come out with an exact version of the Iliad. Upon examination, this may be less interesting a concept than it appears at first: Such probability is ridiculously low. But let us carry the reasoning one step beyond. Now that we have found that hero among monkeys, would any reader invest his life’s savings on a bet that the monkey would write the Odyssey next?

— Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness