What's The Probability?
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24-02-2015, 08:09 AM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2015 08:53 AM by DLJ.)
What's The Probability?
Warning for Anj:
You might like the story but, yes, it's going to have a maths question in it. Sorry.

So, I've just arrived in Bangkok. I fucking love this place... everyone is sooooo friendly!

Not long before we landed the guy next to me asked to borrow my pen to fill in his immigration card.

English guy, living in Perth (where I was last week) who was coming to BKK to meet up with his mum and dad (which is why I went back to England a couple of weeks ago). So we had a bit in common (which was nice) and had a chat.

There were a few more coincidences but I won't bore you, reader, with any of that.

A little later, he asked again to borrow the pen but this time on behalf of the Chinese guy who had the window seat next to him.

The immigration form is written in English and Thai and the Chinese guy was struggling to guess some of the notes. To help, the English guy showed him his own completed card.

A look of surprise from the Chinese guy as he spotted that they shared the same birthday.

What's the chances?

At a guess, I'd say there were about 40 rows, with three seats per row each side of the aisle... maybe 240 seats about 90% occupied.

I recall reading somewhere about the fact that you only need 23 people in a room for the probability of 2 people having the same birthday becomes greater than the probability of everyone having different birth dates.

But what are the chances of those two actually being seated next to each other.

Anyway, I noticed their mirth and asked what was happening and the English guy showed me his card. I asked, "Is that a 7 or a 9?"

He obviously thought I was thinking that their birthdays were the 7th and the 9th and that this was unusual but he said, "No, look, both 09 / 02"

I must have had an unexpected reaction to that because he asked what was up.

I showed him my card.

So what, FFS, are the chances of THREE people sharing a birthday being seated next to each other on a plane.

Do AirAsia (I know, yes, I'm a risk taker) allocate seats by birth date?

We took photos of the cards (I'd upload if I knew how) and the Chinese guy took a selfie of the three of us.

Seriously, what are the chances of that?

As we stood up to disembark I was tempted to call out to everyone else to ask if there was anyone else born on that date. It's possible, I suppose, but unlikely that everyone was born on the 9th of Feb.

But how unlikely?

Huh

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24-02-2015, 08:18 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
Buy a lottery ticket...seems the odds are in your favor right now. Wink

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24-02-2015, 08:45 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 08:09 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Do AirAsia (I know, yes, I'm a risk taker) allocate seats by birth date?

I would assume this would be the more likely explanation, rather than it just being a very uncanny coincidence. That the airline likely assigns seats based on age, with the assumption that people would prefer to sit with people in their age range, or something like that.
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24-02-2015, 08:46 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
The illuminati had selected everyone of your birth date to fly that day, like they did in the days of the draft. It will take some time to know whether their plans for you all went awry and that is why you landed safely, or their plans for you went exactly as expected. It is important to have experimental controls in place, age is one. Gender is another. Did you happen to notice whether there was an exact 50/50 split in gender ratio?

(24-02-2015 08:45 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I would assume this would be the more likely explanation, rather than it just being a very uncanny coincidence. That the airline likely assigns seats based on age, with the assumption that people would prefer to sit with people in their age range, or something like that.

I doubt it. Families with young children are usually given some kind of special seating, but adults are generally allocated in the order they checked in with window and aisle seats filling up before middle seats unless multiple guests checked in together. Passengers usually have the option of choosing from the available seats at check-in themselves also.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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24-02-2015, 08:48 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 08:09 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Warning for Anj:
You might like the story but, yes, it's going to have a maths question in it. Sorry.

So, I've just arrived in Bangkok. I fucking love this place... everyone is sooooo friendly!

Not long before we landed the guy next to me asked to borrow my pen to fill in his immigration card.

English guy, living in Perth (were I was last week) who was coming to BKK to meet up with his mum and dad (which is why I went back to England a couple of weeks ago). So we had a bit in common (which was nice) and had a chat.

There were a few more coincidences but I won't bore you, reader, with any of that.

A little later, he asked again to borrow the pen but this time on behalf of the Chinese guy who had the window seat next to him.

The immigration form is written in English and Thai and the Chinese guy was struggling to guess some of the notes. To help, The English guy showed him his own completed card.

A look of surprise from the Chinese guy as he spotted that they shared the same birthday.

What's the chances?

At a guess, I'd say there were about 40 rows, with three seats per row each side of the aisle... maybe 240 seats about 90% occupied.

I recall reading somewhere about the fact that you only need 23 people in a room for the probability of 2 people having the same birthday becomes greater than the probability of everyone having different birth dates.

But what are the chances of those two actually being seated next to each other.

Anyway, I noticed their mirth and asked what was happening and the English guy showed me his card. I asked, "Is that a 7 or a 9?"

He obviously thought I was thinking that their birthdays were the 7th and the 9th and that this was unusual but he said, "No, look, both 09 / 02"

I must have had an unexpected reaction to that because he asked what was up.

I showed him my card.

So what, FFS, are the chances of THREE people sharing a birthday being seated next to each other on a plane.

Do AirAsia (I know, yes, I'm a risk taker) allocate seats by birth date?

We took photos of the cards (I'd upload if I knew how) and the Chinese guy took a selfie of the three of us.

Seriously, what are the chances of that?

As we stood up to disembark I was tempted to call out to everyone else to ask if there was anyone else born on that date. It's possible, I suppose, but unlikely that everyone was born on the 9th of Feb.

But how unlikely?

Huh

With 200+ people on the plane, it was a near certainty that 3 or more people shared a birthday, and very likely that there were multiple matched birthdays.

It comes down to the odds of one of these triplets ending up seated together. Again, the odds are not astronomical.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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24-02-2015, 09:04 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 08:45 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  ...
assumption that people would prefer to sit with people in their age range, or something like that.

The two guys were four years apart '88 and '92. I was born in '64.

Nice thinking but no cigar. Wink

(24-02-2015 08:46 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  The illuminati had selected everyone of your birth date to fly that day, like they did in the days of the draft.

Silly me. Why didn't I think of that?

(24-02-2015 08:46 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Did you happen to notice whether there was an exact 50/50 split in gender ratio?

I didn't noticed if there where any other males at all.

Silly question.

(24-02-2015 08:48 AM)Chas Wrote:  With 200+ people on the plane, it was a near certainty that 3 or more people shared a birthday, and very likely that there were multiple matched birthdays.

It comes down to the odds of one of these triplets ending up seated together. Again, the odds are not astronomical.

I agree. But I want numbers. Numbers dagnammit!

Smile

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24-02-2015, 09:08 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 09:04 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 08:48 AM)Chas Wrote:  With 200+ people on the plane, it was a near certainty that 3 or more people shared a birthday, and very likely that there were multiple matched birthdays.

It comes down to the odds of one of these triplets ending up seated together. Again, the odds are not astronomical.

I agree. But I want numbers. Numbers dagnammit!

Smile

But that's so tedious. Weeping

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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24-02-2015, 09:51 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 09:08 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 09:04 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I agree. But I want numbers. Numbers dagnammit!

Smile

But that's so tedious. Weeping

That's why I'm delegating Wink

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24-02-2015, 10:04 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 09:04 AM)DLJ Wrote:  The two guys were four years apart '88 and '92. I was born in '64.

Nice thinking but no cigar. Wink


Then perhaps they seated people together based on astrological signs.

Yea, I guess it was just a very uncanny coincidence, particularly knowing now that the years didn't match.
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24-02-2015, 10:20 AM
RE: What's The Probability?
(24-02-2015 10:04 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 09:04 AM)DLJ Wrote:  The two guys were four years apart '88 and '92. I was born in '64.

Nice thinking but no cigar. Wink


Then perhaps they seated people together based on astrological signs.

Yea, I guess it was just a very uncanny coincidence, particularly knowing now that the years didn't match.

Yup. That'll be it. Astrology... nothing more logical than that.

Problem with that particular 'insidious "they" ' theory is that in Asia it's more likely to be based on the Chinese version. This would mean that people born on the 12 year cycle would be seated together.

There is no evidence for that hypothesis.

Perhaps ... I dunno ... shoe size?

Big Grin

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