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Friday, October 28, 2016

Odds

Those favoring Clinton in this election are happy about what the polls say. Huff Post gives her a 97% chance whereas 538 which tends to give Trump higher odds gives her an 80% chance. Nate Silver of 538 warns about thinking 80 or 85% is a sure thing and points out that 17% is ones odds of losing at Russian roulette and how confident would one feel about that? His site is hosted by science-friendly ESPN and he uses sports analagies sometimes like a team with a 15% chance that just beat the Warriors. Here's a long shot that happened to me recently.


Living in Bali, I get something between diarrhea and a loose stool for a day about once every couple of months. On only one day of being here almost three years has our place not had a toilet. Our landlord took out our toilet to replace it and couldn't get the replacement right away so we had no toilet for a night. At 11 pm on that same night I suddenly had the urge, highly unusual for that time. I went next door to the hotel which has an available toilet by the pool. It's very close, like 30 seconds away, but not close enough for the next two times I got the urge during the night. Luckily there was a substitute toilet just off the porch and hidden by plants, a bucket with lid where we keep kitchen scraps for the compost. As I put the contents of the bucket into the compost later that morning I thought about how unlikely it was for those two events, loose stool and no toilet, to coincide. I guess I had a 59 in 60 or 98.3% chance that wouldn't happen. I thought about Donald Trump.