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January 28, 2009

On coincidences

This reminds me of a frustrating conversation I once had with a gentleman on an airplane. He was convinced by the obnoxiously popular idea that everything happens for a reason, and believed that there was no such thing as a coincidence. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely delighted when he discovered, after we'd been chatting for 10 minutes or so inside the terminal, that our seats on the plane were directly across the aisle from each other.

I also like the fact that this video (around 4:20) quotes and discusses The Infinite Monkey Theorem and the results of an experiment conducted in England to test what actually happens when Macaque monkeys are given typewriters. I like this fact because a print out of the corresponding Wikipedia page (which the narrator in the video has clearly read) has been posted on my office door for over a year now, with the results of the experiment highlighted. Coincidentally, my current office mate studies Macaque monkeys, although sadly she was not involved in the experiment.

posted January 28, 2009 12:43 AM in Scientifically Speaking | permalink


I like the Infinite Rednecks variant of the infinite monkey bit better: If an infinite number of rednecks fire an infinite number of shotguns with an infinite number of bullets infinitely many times into infinitely many street signs, then they'll eventually reproduce the complete works of Shakespeare in Braille. :)

Posted by: Mason at January 28, 2009 12:51 PM