Monday, December 15, 2008

Great coincidence ... explained by probability !

Fifty People, One Question: New York from Crush & Lovely on Vimeo.

This morning, like every morning I dig into the dozens of newsletter received every day. I click on some hyperlinks just to get a short idea of what's going on. Intrigued by the site 50 people 1 question I was watching the video (relaxed by the great music of Louis Armstrong) when I nearly fall down from my chair.  Just one hour ago I was thinking, I should send a mail to Janet Borden. I met Janet just some weeks ago during the Paris Photo fair and we had great conversation.

Just there, on this video interviewing 50 anonymous people in the streets of NYC, I could watch Janet from Janet Borden Gallery

I love these coincidences, these striking events where randomness brings spice to life. Question is how possible it is ? Is it really luck, hazard ? How rare are these kind of events ?

Part of the answers of these questions may be found in the book of Amir D. Aczel, Chance, a guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market & just about everything else (what a great title, no ?). When you don't expect any kind of coincidence (I did not expect to see Janet), the aggregation of causes happens in so many possible ways that a coincidence becomes unavoidable. Aczel calculated the probability to have something in common with the stranger sitting next to you on an airplane is 1,5% (a coincidence is defined as two strangers knowing one person in common). 

I'm flying tomorrow to Madrid and will surely test the probability !

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