St. Joseph's Day

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.

One morning when we were ten-and-a-half my cousin Billly appeared at the schoolyard fence at St. Ann's during recess. "Let's go!" he said, "It's St. Joseph's Day!" He was playing hooky from his public school nearby. Hooky seemed justified, and off we went down Dale Avenue. He stopped us in front of the Post Office: "Look at this! I got them from a big kid!" Out came two cigarettes and some matches. Just as we were about to strike the matches, my mother's cousin Tommy Parisi happened by. "What are you kids up to?" We proudly held up the cigarettes. Tommy was about sixteen, and we had visited his pigeon-coop and homing-pigeons two or three times. "You kids know about cancer, right?" In fact, the word was foreign to us. "When you smoke, cancer grows in your throat, thick heavy yellow fuzz, and you die. Better throw those away." We went over to the storm drain in the street and did just that. It was a lucky coincidence that Tommy would arrive just then, with such knowledge in 1951. A religious person might say that St. Joseph was watching over us that day, and sent him along.
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Date submitted:Mon, 21 Mar 2022 06:19:16 +0000Coincidence ID:12616