Something John Green said.

John Green wrote this very good book that Tom & I read.  It’s called The Fault in Our Stars and it was a love story that probably would have been stupidly cheesy except there was also cancer involved so instead it was just horribly, horribly sad.

Last night we were out at a jazz club with our friend John (not John Green, but I wish he was my friend), who was the one who recommended the book to us (you know it would be kind of funny if I WAS talking about John Green and he was the kind of guy to recommend his own book.  But I’d still be his friend because I would be supportive and read it and then realize that it was a good recommendation even though it was kind of cocky of him so I would forgive him and we’d high-five over his writing prowess.), was telling us about how John Green had this brilliant thought.  His idea was that with six billion people on earth, and god-knows-how-many one-in-a-million experiences, the chances that You, The Average Person, will have a one-in-a-million experience are actually pretty dang high.

That is pretty much really exciting.  Until you think about what kinds of things are one-in-a-million and you remember rare, incurable forms of cancer and plane crashes and your whole family being instantly killed in a freak accident while you’re at the grocery store.

I’ll never grocery shop without them again.

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2 Responses to Something John Green said.

  1. This is a rather strange argument. Definitionally, the odds of you experiencing a single one-in-a-million event are one in one million (p=10^-6). What you are talking about are the odds that a one-in-a-million experience happens on a global scale. Which is where it gets really hard to calculate. You’d have to backsolve a Poisson distribution with some estimate for a mean value of how many times a one-in-a-million event happens on a global scale in a given time frame. And then you’re dealing with a transcendental equation that you’d need a product-log function to solve, which requires an iterative computer solver. I think.

    At any rate, argh.

    • deardenton says:

      I don’t speak Statistics but I hope what you’re saying is that the odds of a horrific one-in-a-million accident happening to me are still one-in-a-million or less.


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