Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There's an odd phenomenon I've been noticing more and more recently. People who don't nearly have math degrees from major universities like myself have been making preposterous pronouncements about the odds of certain things happening.

Ryan Seacrest told the 24 American Idol semifinalists that they had a one-in-twenty-four chance of winning the title.

On Extra, Christoph Waltz (of Inglorious Basterds) said his odds of winning the Best Actor Academy Award were twenty percent -- because he was up against four other guys.

When four people were left on last season's Survivor, Jeff Probst announced that whoever won the Immunity Idol would have a one-in-three chance of winning a million dollars.

One in three. News flash, Jeff: Russell, the Cajun backstabber, could win the Kentucky Derby but his chances of prevailing on Survivor wouldn't pass one in a million twelve.

This kind of idiocy is why these people are wealthy and famous, while I can finish medium-difficulty Sudoku puzzles and I have a blog.

See, here are the cold, hard facts: when you're in a competition, the outcome depends more on your ability than the number of competitors. One simple example will show that.

The Dalai Lama and Donald Trump just happen to die on the same day. Both float up to the Pearly Gates where they're met by Saint Peter. "Bad news, guys," Saint Peter says. "We're just about at capacity. In fact, we have room for only one of you."

Trump looks back and forth between the Dalai Lama and Saint Peter. "WOOHOO!" he finally shouts. "I GOT A FIFTY-FIFTY SHOT!"


spot said...

If the Dalai Lama shows up at the Pearly Gates, it's just to ask the doorman directions to the Bardos.

heh, I typoed "Dalia Lama" which has a kind of ring to it.

Love your blog Hans.

RomanHans said...

Hey, thanks for the kind words.

The whole Pearly Gates thing never made sense to me. Though I'm assuming -- just to avoid a duplication of effort -- St. Peter uses the same list Santa does.