This month I'm posting Mad-Cool-Math Posts in an attempt to foster an appreciation for mathematics. (Talk about an uphill battle.)
Image courtesy: NASA's Marshal Space Flight Center
P is for probability. I demonstrated how to calculate probability from odds in yesterday's blog, so today I'm keeping things light. It's Saturday after all. So here's a fun little quiz on the probability of some unlikely events:
Which is more likely?
1. Being struck by lightening or attacked by a shark? ___________
2. Being crushed to death by a vending machine or becoming President of the United States? ____
3. Driving into a deer--in Hawaii vs. having conjoined twins? ___________
I'll just hum Dumb Ways To Die while you consider these scintillating questions. (Not that all of these events necessarily imply death, mind you.)
Okay, ready for the answers?
1. The odds you will be struck by lightning sometime in your life: 1 in 12,000. (CNN)
Odds of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million. (Discovery News)
Lightning storms are much more dangerous than sharks. According to the internet, about 5 people are killed by sharks in a year, while 100 million sharks are killed by people annually. Who's scary? We are.
2. Odds of being crushed to death by a vending machine: 1 in 112 million (Discovery News)
Odds of becoming President of the US: 1 in 10 million (Source)
For some reason, this seems counterintuitive. I guess it's because the use and abuse of vending machines involves millions of people every second of every day, while one person is elected President once every four years in the US. Despite the low odds, please don't rock one of these machines if your candy bar doesn't drop. Around 13 people die this way each year. But do rock the vote.
3. Odds of hitting a deer while driving in Hawaii: 1 in 6267 (Source)
Odds of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000 (Source)
This might be the easiest to get correct even if you weren't aware that Hawaii has deer. These animals were introduced in the 1860s as a gift from Hong Kong. Since then they have made their way to several of the islands, destroying vegetation as they go. (Source)
Do you have phobias about unlikely events such as sharks, plane crashes, or fatal spider bites? Do the statistics make you feel any better?