Telephone number

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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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During the months after the death of my wife in 1995 I was helped to deal with my loss by a female friend that I had not seen for some time and who had experienced a similar loss. I had written her number down on a cream coloured envelop. In the weeks that followed I agonised as to whether it would be appropriate for me to make a romantic approach to this friend. Finally deciding against the idea I tore the envelop into pieces and put them in a waste paper basket. Some days later on leaving my house I noticed a cream coloured piece of litter which had been pressed into the road tarmac by a car tyre. Vaguely recognising it, I picked it up and discovered that it was the fragment of the envelop that contained the telephone number. I made the call.
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Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:23:45 +0000Coincidence ID:3677