A Perfectly Timed Phone Call

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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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A few years ago as summer break was beginning I took a trip to see extended family in China. I had not informed my friends of the exact dates that I would be away, only that I would be gone for about the first chunk of summer break. Obviously, I would also not have regular cellular phone service due to being halfway around the world. Fast forward to my return home, our plane had landed on the runway not even five minutes before I receive a phone call, right as I regain connection to my local phone service. It is my friend - while hanging out with another friend of mine, he decided on a whim to call me just to see if I happened to be around, completely unaware of my travel schedule and if I was even in the country. Somehow, he managed to phone me at near-precisely the moment I touched the ground, the moment I was capable of receiving his phone call. To make things even weirder, it was his first attempt at calling me since summer break began. We were both freaked out by this coincidence, given that he could have called me at any moment nearly 2 months prior and not have gotten through. But it just so happened that he threaded the telecommunication needle at the perfect time.
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Date submitted:Wed, 18 Aug 2021 21:54:37 +0000Coincidence ID:11594