Across a train platform

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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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Southern England: I'd walked everyday from school to train station with my friend "S" and then we would split to different platforms, to go in different directions. For about 2/3 years S would stand & chat with "L" , a girl younger than us that I didn't know and she only spoke to on the train trip. I could see them across the tracks everyday but sound didn't carry so I never once spoke to L Skip forward nine years I'm backpacking in Australia and have just taken a ferry to Devonport Tasmania. Randomly got chatting to a lady in the backparker hostel I was staying at. Towards the afternoon, the conversation came round to where we had grown up, and found out she was in a younger year group in the same school. Her name was slightly uncommon so I asked if she knew S and could she be the L I had seen for 2/3 years and never spoken to. Yes, a decade later and on the other side of the world, I finally spoke to her!! I'd love to know the chances of this happening - I guess stats on likelihood of backpacking in Australia was not so remote given our ages, the number of locations in Aus each of us visited, the factor of Devonport being a travel interchange, the limited of cheap accomodation in the city. And I always wondered if when we initially started our conversation in the hostel whether either us subconsciously recognised the other but our brains never told our conscious minds!
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Date submitted:Thu, 13 Aug 2020 08:29:11 +0000Coincidence ID:10511