Cats and a haircut

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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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I used to work as a vet in Burnley in Lancashire but moved to Lincolnshire more than a few years ago. Anyway, about six months or so after having moved I made a return journey to Lancashire to visit my friends and while I was there I decided to get my hair cut at my previous "usual" barbers. As I was sat in the chair, chatting away, the barber asked me how I was getting on in my new job. The lady in the chair next to mine overheard that I was a vet and now living in Lincolnshire and mentioned that her daughter also lived in Lincolnshire and had a cat. In fact, the cat had been to the vets the previous day. (You can see where this is going can't you?) "Where does she live?" I asked. "Woodhall Spa", was the reply. So I asked for the daughter's name and her cat's, and sure enough, I was the vet who had attended to the cat twenty four hours earlier. The chances of this happening depend on so many unrelated factors - my visit to Lancashire; deciding to get the haircut; the timing of both; the lady in the next chair deciding to have her hair done at that time; the daughter living in the village where she does and having a cat; the cat being ill, and me being on duty at the right moment.
Total votes: 410
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:15:51 +0000Coincidence ID:3656

Comments

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