Probability Of Drafting An NBA Superstar

Probability in Sports –

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The draft lottery seems much more significant after looking at this data. The drop off in likelihood between the first and second pick in the draft is catastrophic. The difference between the two picks is 41 percentage points. The number-one overall pick has produced 20 players since 1977 with at least one superstar season. The second pick, only six.

Joshua Kelly, The SportsQuotient, October 18, 2015



Robots put 15 million UK jobs at risk, warns Bank of England

Probability in Technology, Business –

Speaking to the Trades Union Congress in London the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, unveiled Bank research estimating the probability of a range of jobs being automated over the next few decades. By multiplying these probabilities by the number of people employed in each sector Mr Haldane came up with the aggregate figure of 15 million.

Ben Chu, Independent, November 13, 2015

Experimental probability

Probability in Gambling, Probability Problems –

One way to find out how to win, or at least the probability of winning, is to sit and watch people and count how many times they win out of the times that they play. This is the basis of simple Experimental Probability. Experimental probability is the observed probability of an event occurring. In most cases, this is found by observing the event (a game, for example) and seeing how many times the player wins (the number of “Successes”) or the player loses (the number of “Failures”). 


Climate Change Kills the Mood: Economists Warn of Less Sex on a Warmer Planet – And fewer babies would be bad news.

Probability in Health, Relationships, Climate –

Pumpkin Pie in Miami: Thanksgiving Flight Patterns

Probability in Relationships, Miscellaneous –

Thanksgiving is known as a time to return home to family, with the holiday calling to mind images of grandmother’s house. But for many Americans, it’s also now a chance to go on vacation.

This week, Florida will see a surge in the number of people arriving by plane. Las Vegas is another popular destination. Much more than is commonly realized, Thanksgiving is a time to seek out sun (and gambling), in addition to (or possibly instead of) catching up with loved ones.

Josh Katz and Quoctrung Bui, New York Times, Nov. 24, 2015

Kids get more cavities when they live with smokers

Probability in Health – 

Young children are much more likely to get cavities if they live in a household with smokers, a Japanese study suggests.

Compared to children in non-smoking households, kids living with smokers were more than twice as likely to have cavities at age three.

Even when smokers in the home didn’t light up near the children, these three-year-olds were 50 percent more likely to have cavities than kids who didn’t live with smokers, the study found.

Lisa Rapaport, Yahoo! News, October 30, 2015

Here’s What Your Part Of America Eats On Thanksgiving

Probability in Health, Miscellaneous –


The Southeast prefers their carbs in the form of mac and cheese — 35 percent of respondents in that region include the dish on their Thanksgiving menu versus 20 percent of the country overall. Meanwhile, New England is losing its mind over squash, with 56 percent demanding it on their table, compared with only 18 percent of the nation as a whole.

Walt Hickey,, November 20, 2015

Feeling Woozy? It May Be Cyber Sickness

Probability in Health, Technology –

If you are watching computer-generated mayhem in the latest action film or scrolling rapidly on your smartphone, you may start to feel a little off. Maybe it is a dull headache or dizziness or creeping nausea.

And no, it is not something you ate.

A peculiar side effect of the 21st century is something called digital motion sickness or cybersickness.

Kate Murphy, New York Times, October 31, 2015

Probabilities in the Game of Monopoly®

Probability in Gambling, Probability problems –

I recently saw an article in Scientific American (the April 1996 issue with additional information in the August 1996 and April 1997 issues) that discussed the probabilities of landing on the various squares in the game of Monopoly®. They used a simplified model of the game without considering the effects of the Chance and Community Chest cards or of the various ways of being sent to jail.

I was intrigued enough with this problem that I started working on trying to find the probabilities for landing on the different squares with all of the rules taken into account. I ran into some interesting problems but finally came up with the right answers, which you will find here along with some other useful derived data. Incidentally, I’m not much of a Monopoly® player myself, but I’ve always enjoyed interesting problems involving probability and statistics, of which this was one.

Truman Collins, 


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