Strange Coincidences?

escargot

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I used to work in a small hospital where I shared an office with a colleague. We were walking between buildings to go to get some lunch and he was regaling me with a tale from his childhood about when a wasp had crawled into his ear and had repeatedly stung him as it tried to escape. I have no idea whether this story was true or not but have no reason to think it wasn't other than that it seems an unlikely thing to happen. To my utter astonishment, as he concluded his story a wasp flew down and stung him on the ear. I still can't quite believe it happened. But it did.
This also reminds me of when I was on a big square in Venice, full of pigeons, and my friend said 'Ooh I HATE pigeons! They deliberately fly in your face and shit on you!'
I laughed mockingly for the whole minute it took for a pigeon to select me before flying in my face and shitting on me.
 

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Dick Turpin

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I don’t normally post at the weekends, but thought I would today, as something a little strange happened this morning.

Last night It was my turn to compile the monthly family quiz via zoom. One of the questions I asked was, what hand holds up the torch on the statue of Liberty- left or right. Simple question, but it caused much debate and laughter as my dopy older brother, insisted it depended on what angle you looked at the statue from – stupid boy :) .

This morning however, two of my nieces, my nieces boyfriend, and my nephew’s wife, (who were all on the quiz,) stated texting each other via the family WhatsApp group messenger, to say their respective social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram etc.) are being bombarded with advertisements to trips to Manhattan and New York in general.

Is this all a huge coincidence or is there something more sinister going on..?

Are we being listened to.?? :mad:
 

catseye

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I did a Zoom workshop for my agent, during which I described my living room (which was being seen behind me as I talked) as a cross between M R James' study and a Lovecraftian lair. After the talk, I went looking for a new book to spend my Audible credit on, and listened to a sample from Ghostland by Edward Parnell. In the sample, the narrator was talking about M R James, so I promptly bought the book.

I started listening to it the other night, sleepily, whilst in bed. Parnell starts off talking about the Fens and his growing up - the previous Audible book I had been listening to the night before was 'The Fens' by Francis Pryor. Then a chapter later Parnell begins to talk about the books of Lucy Boston, 'The Green Knowe' series. Guess which books I had bought with my previous month's Audible credit. Go on, guess...
 

cycleboy2

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Winning numbers of the South African lottery are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I know in the scheme of things it means nowt, as it has exactly the same chances of happening as every other set of six numbers, but I do like the neatness. A coincidence of sorts is that my brother only ever bought tickets for the UK lottery on one occasion: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6; and 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. He won a tenner on each, so is still well in profit.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...in-south-african-lottery-are-5-6-7-8-9-and-10
 

escargot

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t'other day I was thinking about someone who'd given me some pain and trouble. In the local dialect this is making me bad.
So I was thinking 'He bloody made me bad!' and Techy walked in singing that song, Bad to the Bone. As in the fillum Christine.
B-b-b-b-b-bad!
He's a weird bugger.
 

gordonrutter

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Winning numbers of the South African lottery are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I know in the scheme of things it means nowt, as it has exactly the same chances of happening as every other set of six numbers, but I do like the neatness. A coincidence of sorts is that my brother only ever bought tickets for the UK lottery on one occasion: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6; and 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. He won a tenner on each, so is still well in profit.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...in-south-african-lottery-are-5-6-7-8-9-and-10
And as stated in the article a lot of people are alleging fraud, a lot of people who don’t understand statistics that is...
 

PeteS

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And as stated in the article a lot of people are alleging fraud, a lot of people who don’t understand statistics that is...
You can see why I suppose. Are not the odds of drawing 6 sequential numbers considerably rarer than 6 none sequentials though? (45 years since I studied statistics so pardon my iggerance)
 

gordonrutter

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You can see why I suppose. Are not the odds of drawing 6 sequential numbers considerably rarer than 6 none sequentials though? (45 years since I studied statistics so pardon my iggerance)
No matter, as basically it’s going to happen at some point or other. Once you start specifying numbers that changes the odds, for example if there are 50 numbers and you don’t specify which number you are after there is a 100% chance a number will be drawn (assuming the draw goes ahead), but if you specify a certain number there is only a 2% chance that number will be drawn. It might happen on the first draw, it might happen on the 50th or could happen on the 100th. In the Euromillions lottery there is a certainty that the appropriate amount of numbers will be drawn. If you want a specific set to be drawn then the odds are 139 000 000 to 1. Irrespective of what the numbers are. Just as an aside I hate to think what the odds would be to draw six sequential numbers and to draw them in order! (Not saying that is what happened here). As to a large number of winners, that’s down to the fact that people don’t always choose their numbers randomly. For example to reduce your chance of sharing the jackpot in the U.K. lottery include number greater than 31, a lot of people choose numbers based on birthdays.
 

Bad Bungle

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And as stated in the article a lot of people are alleging fraud, a lot of people who don’t understand statistics that is...
In 2009 in the Bulgarian national lottery, the same six winning numbers were drawn twice in a row (once on the 6th Sept and again on the 10th but in a different order). A fraud investigation was launched because no-one won the first draw, but 18 people (including a syndicate of 6 policemen) shared the second jackpot. There was no evidence of fraud but I still found it strange that 18 people would use the same numbers as the previous draw, that surely must be pushing the probability of lightning striking twice.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...consecutive-weeks-Who-needs-Derren-Brown.html
 

Mikefule

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You can see why I suppose. Are not the odds of drawing 6 sequential numbers considerably rarer than 6 none sequentials though? (45 years since I studied statistics so pardon my iggerance)
There is a perception that drawing a set of 6 consecutive numbers is somehow "special". It isn't. It is just one of many possible "patterns" or "sequences" that catches the attention.

For example, if you take a lottery where 6 out of 49 numbered balls are drawn, the draw could be:
1,2,3,4,5,6 or 2,3,4,5,6,7 or 3,4,5,6,7,8 and so on all the way up to 44,45,46,47,48,49. This makes 44 possible sets of 6 sequential numbers.

But also, there are sequences like:
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and so on all the way up to 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48. This makes 19 possible sets of 6 sequential even numbers.

Applying the same principle to sequential odd numbers there are 20 possible sets.

Then there are sequences like any 6 consecutive numbers from the series 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 ... 39, 42, 45, 48 (sequential ascending in 3s)

and the same idea ascending in 4s

and the same idea ascending in 5s. A lottery draw of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 would certainly hit the headlines.

For the more mathematically inclined, there are sets like 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36 (square numbers) and 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 prime numbers, and 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 in which adding 2 numbers together generates the next one.

... and so on. Any one of these sequences would be noticeable, but that does not mean it is any more or less likely than one that "looks obviously random".

Every time someone wins, it is, from their point of view, extraordinary that the set of balls drawn exactly matches the set of numbers that that they have chosen. The only reason that there is a winner most weeks is that every week, millions of people choose different sequences.
 

escargot

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And as stated in the article a lot of people are alleging fraud, a lot of people who don’t understand statistics that is...
As you'll know, a lot of the attraction of gambling is magical thinking. Gamblers are always seeing patterns where there are none.
 

catseye

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In 2009 in the Bulgarian national lottery, the same six winning numbers were drawn twice in a row (once on the 6th Sept and again on the 10th but in a different order). A fraud investigation was launched because no-one won the first draw, but 18 people (including a syndicate of 6 policemen) shared the second jackpot. There was no evidence of fraud but I still found it strange that 18 people would use the same numbers as the previous draw, that surely must be pushing the probability of lightning striking twice.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...consecutive-weeks-Who-needs-Derren-Brown.html
I don't know about the Bulgarian lottery, but is there a possibility that the people who chose the 'same' numbers as the previous draw, bought 'Lucky Dip' tickets, where the numbers were randomly chosen for them?
 

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There is a perception that drawing a set of 6 consecutive numbers is somehow "special". It isn't. It is just one of many possible "patterns" or "sequences" that catches the attention.

For example, if you take a lottery where 6 out of 49 numbered balls are drawn, the draw could be:
1,2,3,4,5,6 or 2,3,4,5,6,7 or 3,4,5,6,7,8 and so on all the way up to 44,45,46,47,48,49. This makes 44 possible sets of 6 sequential numbers.

But also, there are sequences like:
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and so on all the way up to 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48. This makes 19 possible sets of 6 sequential even numbers.

Applying the same principle to sequential odd numbers there are 20 possible sets.

Then there are sequences like any 6 consecutive numbers from the series 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 ... 39, 42, 45, 48 (sequential ascending in 3s)

and the same idea ascending in 4s

and the same idea ascending in 5s. A lottery draw of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 would certainly hit the headlines.

For the more mathematically inclined, there are sets like 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36 (square numbers) and 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 prime numbers, and 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 in which adding 2 numbers together generates the next one.

... and so on. Any one of these sequences would be noticeable, but that does not mean it is any more or less likely than one that "looks obviously random".

Every time someone wins, it is, from their point of view, extraordinary that the set of balls drawn exactly matches the set of numbers that that they have chosen. The only reason that there is a winner most weeks is that every week, millions of people choose different sequences.
In your example, of only 44 sets of the sequences I was referring to (123456 etc) against the millions of possible combinations of 6 numbered balls, I would say that was indeed special.
 

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In your example, of only 44 sets of the sequences I was referring to (123456 etc) against the millions of possible combinations of 6 numbered balls, I would say that was indeed special.
Then you have misunderstood the point I was trying to make.

There are many many possible "patterns" or "sequences" that would catch the eye and therefore appear to be remarkable — not just the few examples I gave. However, there are millions of combinations that are unremarkable.

Therefore it is in a sense "unusual" that the results form a pattern. However, there is nothing special about that pattern that makes it more or less likely than any other specific combination of numbers. It's just how we perceive it because we habitually give meanings to patterns.

Simple example: toss 3 coins, one after the other. The possible results are:
H H H
H H T
H T H
H T T
T H H
T H T
T T H
T T T

That is 8 possible sequences. All 8 are equally likely: 1/8 or 12.5% each.

However, most people would consider it unusually lucky/unlucky to get 3 heads or tails in a row.

If a cricket team captain wins 3 tosses in a row in a 3 match series, he would be seen as a "lucky captain".

The result of 3 wins in a row is no more remarkable than winning the first one and losing the next two. It is only 1/8, or 12.5% but we somehow feel it is more remarkable.

In the case of a lottery, the numbers are bigger, and the percentages are smaller, but there is no rational reason to be more shocked by 6 consecutive numbers than by any other outcome as every outcome is equally probable.
 

catseye

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Also, with the lottery, one person's 'random numbers' are another person's 'all the birthdays in the family' or 'the number of all the houses I have ever lived at'.
 

Bad Bungle

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I don't know about the Bulgarian lottery, but is there a possibility that the people who chose the 'same' numbers as the previous draw, bought 'Lucky Dip' tickets, where the numbers were randomly chosen for them?
I prefer to think people chose the winning numbers by themselves, rather than 18 lucky dips randomly coming up with the same sequence in the same week.
 

IbisNibs

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Simple example: toss 3 coins, one after the other. The possible results are:
H H H
H H T
H T H
H T T
T H H
T H T
T T H
T T T

That is 8 possible sequences. All 8 are equally likely: 1/8 or 12.5% each.
Except (and I only thought of this as I read your post, Mikefule), there are 6 out of 8 results that have mixed heads/tails and only 2 out of 8 with ONLY heads or ONLY tails. That would mean, um, [pause while using calculator and hoping for an accurate result] mixed heads/tails having a 75% chance of being the result, and only heads or only tails having just a 25% chance of being the result. I guess this is what gives the illusion that only heads or only tails are luckier results than any other particular result.
 

catseye

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I prefer to think people chose the winning numbers by themselves, rather than 18 lucky dips randomly coming up with the same sequence in the same week.
Most people (80% or so) who come into my shop, are buying 'Lucky Dip' tickets. The fact that the numbers are randomly chosen by the lottery machine and then again randomly chosen by The Balls, doesn't affect the odds, does it? I have no idea whether the Bulgarian lottery even has a Lucky Dip function. But it's certainly more popular than people going to all the trouble and effort of choosing their own numbers.
 

escargot

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Most people (80% or so) who come into my shop, are buying 'Lucky Dip' tickets. The fact that the numbers are randomly chosen by the lottery machine and then again randomly chosen by The Balls, doesn't affect the odds, does it? I have no idea whether the Bulgarian lottery even has a Lucky Dip function. But it's certainly more popular than people going to all the trouble and effort of choosing their own numbers.
If I play the lottery it's with Lucky Dips because my Inner Gambler whispers that if I choose numbers for more than one week and then stop, 'my' numbers WILL come up next...
 

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Most people (80% or so) who come into my shop, are buying 'Lucky Dip' tickets. The fact that the numbers are randomly chosen by the lottery machine and then again randomly chosen by The Balls, doesn't affect the odds, does it?
Assuming that the lottery is run honestly, then, no, it does not affect the odds of winning.

There are two unrelated actions: (1) choosing the numbers for the ticket and (2) the winning numbers being drawn. There is no link between the two actions, and therefore the method of choosing the numbers is irrelevant to the process of choosing the winning numbers.

By the same argument, even if the Lucky Pip allocation of tickets was rigged, it would have no effect on the chance of the rigged numbers coming up on the draw.

However, it might affect how many people the prize was shared between if the rigged numbers happened to come up in the draw.

Rigging the draw would be impossible given that it is done with a visible mechanical system under close scrutiny. and audit. As the balls are checked and certified for weight and diameter they should all be equally likely to pop up.
 

escargot

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However, it might affect how many people the prize was shared between if the rigged numbers happened to come up in the draw.
Yup, that's the only part of the process a punter can affect. As has already been pointed out, choosing numbers over 31 means if they come up, people who pick family birthdays won't have them so you won't have to share.
 

catseye

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Yup, that's the only part of the process a punter can affect. As has already been pointed out, choosing numbers over 31 means if they come up, people who pick family birthdays won't have them so you won't have to share.
Unless people are picking AGES of family members, rather than birthdates...

In my case, we're going to need a bigger lottery...
 

Vardoger

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If you're going to cheat on lotteries you got to control both the numbers played and the numbers drawn, like what Eddie Tipton did. And you should let it pick numbers which looks random to avoid attention.
 

escargot

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Unless people are picking AGES of family members, rather than birthdates...

In my case, we're going to need a bigger lottery...
Yup but ages change and dates don't.
Though come to think of it I used to run a syndicate with some of the members' ages in the numbers. We didn't win!
 
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