Probability

  • Katie was assigned to research a man who has mysteriously been living since 1894. Instead of doing that, she falls in love with him, not caring that he is way too old for her. She wants him to finally say the three magical words but there’s catch: Rick does not speak. In fact, he hasn’t spoken in sixty years but why not? This short story explores life tables and the expected value of an annuity.

  • Twelve years ago, Amos’s mother Bonita died in a nursing home. Now, Amos has reached success in his career as an actuary but that comes with a price. A mysterious death in his office leads Amos to pick up where his co-worker left off. Amos discovers a huge secret which caused his co-worker to be killed. Through the use of data analysis and his knowledge of sampling distributions, Amos must figure out why Baby Boomers are suddenly dying and try not to get killed in the process.

  • In this story from the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2017), a card sharp known as "Lady Jane" attempts to swindle a statistician visiting Las Vegas for a conference. The plot twists and turns as the statistician finally turns the tables on Lady Jane because of her knowledge of the Monty Hall Problem and Bayes' Theorem.

  • This is an oddly funny story about a man who becomes the "focus point of all miracles in the world", a "gigantic fluctuation". He somehow appears to attract extremely improbable, but possible, statistical events (like generating a magnetic field out of the blue, having a woman close to him fly away due to a freak atmospheric phenomenon, etc) and thence considers himself to be a phenomenon of extreme fluctuation in Nature. The story is set as a late evening conversation on a beach between a boy and "The Fluctuation". There is some discussion about probability and coin-tossing along the way. He finally walks away to ensure the boy does not get hurt because of his own improbabilities. The Fluctuation describes the rules of probability that he seems to be violating and, when asked if he is a methematician, replies:  "How can I be a mathematician? I'm a fluctuation."'

  • by Lawrence Mark Lesser

    In ev'ry line,
    the rhyme design
    would sure confine
    the flow so fine,
    a twisted vine.

    As odds decline,
    I do opine:
    "Things may untwine
    here after nine,
    ending differently."

  • by Lawrence Mark Lesser

    "Hey! You!
    I demand
    you stop
    and give
    me right
    now right
    here a
    Permutation!"

    “Importunate!”,
    he replied.

  • The Probability Models Game at Distributome.org asks students to choose the correct probability model to match applied scenarios.  Each row of a table corresponds to a different problem description while each column corresponds to a different probability distribution.  The challenge is to find the matching rows and columns in the minimal time.

  • The world is noisy and messy. You need to deal with the noise and uncertainty

    Daphne Koller (1968 - )

  • I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not.

    Fran Lebowitz, (1950 - )

  • … how can you say luck and chance are the same thing? Chance is the first step you take, luck is what comes afterwards.

    Amy Tan (1952 - )

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