Strange how these "1 in 48,000,000" events keep on happening!

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was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

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The Daily Mail has a story today about the Allali family whose third child was born on the same date as his two older siblings, claiming that "mathematical experts have revealed that the three siblings have beaten odds of 48 million to one". If these are the real odds, isn't a bit strange how often this story appears in the papers?

I am not sure who these mathematical experts are, but their error is pointed out in the comments following the story which correctly assess the odds as 1 in 133,000, assuming every birth day is equally likely. One of the correspondents makes the nice point that around 167,000 'third' children are born each year in this country, and so we would expect to see this story once or twice a year. See our article on a previous occurrence.

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