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**Patrick****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-02-24
- Posts: 1,005

When flying on an airplane, a man decides to always bring a bomb with him. "The chances of an airplane having a bomb on it are very small," he reasons, "and certainly the chances of having two are almost none!"

(yes, I am reviseing probability for my upcomming maths test(final before high school) ^^)

For those of you who doesn't get it, it's basicly about "Gambler's Fallacy", or a wrong approach to probability..

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**Ricky****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-12-04
- Posts: 3,791

You're right, that joke did bomb.

But on a serious note, Gambler's Fallacy is normally something different than this, although I guess it fits as well. Gambler's Fallacy is most often stated like, "I flipped a coin 4 times and it landed on tails, it will be more likely to land on heads now." That is, gambler's fallacy is when you make the mistake of assuming that events in the past will effect those in the future.

Of course, people who think this must think:

The coin can regonise what is going on.

The coin has a memory.

The coin can change events in the future.

Which, when you think about it, borders on insanity.

"In the real world, this would be a problem. But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist. So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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**Patrick****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-02-24
- Posts: 1,005

It's basicly the same here... He's assuming that he can change the overall chance of someone bringing a bomb, by having one himself. This is ofcourse false, since you have to look at each passenger individually, and asume they don't know if someone else has one. Right?

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,631

But the belief is reinforced by experience: it is rare to see heads come up many times in a row.

If you watch the Quincunx, hoping for a ball to land on the extreme left, you can see one heading that way, and then it bounces back to the centre!

But then experience also tells you that if you watch a Soccer match, the one and only goal will be scored when you go to the kitchen.

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman

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**Ricky****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-12-04
- Posts: 3,791

Or that how good bread is at a restaurant is proportional to how long you have to wait for your food.

"In the real world, this would be a problem. But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist. So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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**ganesh****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 22,042

Ricky wrote:

Of course, people who think this must think:

The coin can regonise what is going on.

The coin has a memory.

The coin can change events in the future.Which, when you think about it, borders on insanity.

Good joke, thought-provoking, and well said, Ricky!

It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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