Burning Man spiral and Polish ancestry

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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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So I went to the Burning Man festival (north Nevada, US) in 2013. One night I went out taking photos on my own in the desert and, at dawn, hitched a ride on an art car that dropped me off by the Hookah Dome. I ran straight into my friend from England who I'd travelled with, which, although it is a large site and there were 68,000 people at the festival and it was a good catch, was nothing to write home about in the context of these coincidences... However. My friend was with another of our campmates, Dirty Dave, who had, not 10 minutes before bumped into someone he hadn't seen since childhood and we were all chatting away, watching the sun rise while drinking tequila and Kahlua and I'm talking to the wife of Dave's long-lost friend... turns out she's Polish. My surname is Polish but my ancestry is complicated Russian/German and we had a long conversation about the fate of the Polish nation in the 20th century. Totally not off my head. Honest. Long story short; we ascertained that our grandfathers fought in the same battalion in WWII. She also kindly told me the derivation of my surname in Polish as well. :) Bonus coincidence: 2 years later... at a squat party in Walthamstow. Was eating sushi off a naked lady in a blacklit room when another woman appeared at the doorway, saw me and went, "OMG!! IT'S YOU!!!" and ran up to me and gave me a mahoosive hug. No idea who she is. And she's saying, "IT'S YOU! YOU SAID WE'D MEET AGAIN!" And, to be fair, although I have no memory of meeting her the first time round, she accurately described me in the desert at the 2013 Burning Man festival as wearing a bowler hat and a white jumpsuit, which was certainly me there/then. Turns out we did meet again, just several years later and several thousand miles apart. DISCLAIMER: Although I like to quote this story I do not believe in any mystical woo beyond the neat confluences of chance one occasionally finds if one keep one's eyes open. Thanks for reading/getting this far &c.
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Date submitted:Wed, 30 Jun 2021 00:45:51 +0000Coincidence ID:11340