Posts Tagged ‘Murphy’


Fugu, a political and poisonous delicacy

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As I entered the contest, with the odds of winning being 1 in 999, Murphy’s Law brought a sneer to my face. Forgive me Pascal, I had just sinned, for I let an irrational thought like Murphy’s Law run through my brain. Murphy’s Law is a Law for people who do not understand probabilities. Probability Theory is my Bible, Murphy’s Law- a blasphemy.

I never believed in Murphy’s Law. I was too smart for it. I had noticed the situations, in detail, where people attribute a certain event to Murphy’s Law. Take the case of queues in Bangalore Railway Station. There are 15 counters, hence 15 queues. Sometimes I hear people grumbling that some other queue was moving faster than their queues. From Murphy’s Law- the other queue is always faster. If this statement is accepted to be true then it meant that 14 queues were slower than that 1 fast queue. So the people in 14 queues were experiencing Murphy’s Law, while the people in that fast queue didn’t. Hence Murphy’s Law is not universal.

The probability theory does a better job in explaining the above 15 queues experience of the people. The odds of anybody being in the fastest queue is 1 in 15. A very small chance. If anybody from the slower queues, visits the station again some other day, then once again, he has the same (even worse actually) small chance of 1 in 15. And chances are that this person will, in most cases, choose the slower queue. Hence this person generally feels that the other queue is faster.

With these positive thoughts in my brain, I entered the contest at the Motor Show. The contest was for the audience at the Motor show, and each audience member was blindfolded by an extremely pretty Korean Girl & the audience member had to select a ball from a bag, blindfolded. The person who got the ball with number 999 was the winner- and the winner would win a 4 hour date with that very beautiful Korean Girl. There were chances that many people might win a date with her on the same night, at the same time- but the announcer assured us all that such a scenario had never happened before. He obviously didn’t understand Probability theory or he was an excellent liar.

I let that beautiful girl blindfold me. I reached out into the bag of balls. Supposedly 1000 balls were here. I held one ball, the probability of it being 999, was the worst. So I discarded that ball, and took another, the chances of this being 999 were better than the previous ball, but still, not good enough. I kept on doing this, and kept on discarding balls, and improving my chances, for three minutes when, I felt her warm soft hand hold my arm. I took out the ball I was holding at that moment- and from the cheer of the crowd I knew that it was the ball number 999. This is why I love Math. Math had won me a date! I’m sure it’ll happen to all the other Math fans out there, one day. Have faith!

After she unblindfolded me, I kept on eyeing her with the widest grin. The organizers of the event asked me to take a seat and wait patiently for the rest of the audience to get their chance. They also explained to me to be gentlemanly in the date with the lady- this they did after realizing that I didn’t understand Korean. I was an Indian visiting South Korea. One of the guys explicitly warned me about the consequences of doing anything stupid with the lady. I wasn’t paying much attention to those organizers- all my attentions were to my dazzling date.

I cheered every audience member who got anything but 999. Nobody else won. So it was going be me- and her, on a date, for 4 hours, from 10 pm to 2 am.

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