The bird, the leaf, the key

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

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.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

I was living in New York. My roommate let me borrow his car to drive up to southern Vermont to go hiking alone in the mountains amid the fall colors. The car key he handed me was loose, not on a ring or chain, and when the drive ended, I put it in the back pocket of my jeans. Some miles into the beautiful walk I felt my back pocket and experienced an awful feeling when I realized the pocket had a hole and the key was gone. The car was parked at the end of a dirt road about a mile from the highway, and the highway itself was far from any town. I knew I was in for a long day of walking, hitchhiking and looking for help. But there was nothing I could do to make the key appear, so I did what I could to enjoy the beautiful day. On the way down one particular scene got my attention. A lone bird was singing on top of a tree which had only a few leaves left. I stopped to listen and watched a single yellow leaf make loops as it fell to the ground. The key was there, near where the leaf landed.
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Date submitted:Sun, 31 Jan 2021 16:43:54 +0000Coincidence ID:10611