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Uno and Fog: Probabilities

August 17, 2019

“What are the odds of that happening to us, they have to be astronomical.”

The Fog looks at me for a moment, “not really.  People tend to get probabilities all wrong when they look at things after the fact.  You would have to factor in the number of people in the city, the number of people at the restaurant at the time of the incident just to determine a baseline.   That’s not even considering your proximity to the restaurant and that it is one of your favorites so your more likely to be there at any given time.”

“Things like this happen all the time for us though.”

“We actively seek it out.”  The Fog pointed out.

“I didn’t seek this out.”

“Even so.  Look people tend to look backwards at things, for example lets say you roll a dice twice and get a six each time.  The probability at the beginning of doing that is one in thirty-six.  One in six chance times one in six chance.  However, once you roll that first six, on the second toll the chance of getting a six is one in six.  Same with car accidents, once you’ve been in one the probability of getting in another is the same as everyone else’s.  Excluding your driving ability of course.”

“You spend a lot of time thinking of this.”

“Of course.  There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there that look at events and calculate the probabilities of events occurring, especially to one individual, but they’re doing it wrong and then say there’s no way something could have happened without an unseen hand being involved.  While they may be right, their reasoning is incorrect.

“For example, the events that make up anyone’s life, looking backwards are astronomically small when calculated backwards.

“Setting aside all the events that had to come together for your parents to meet, get together and produce a child, which while individually improbable happen all the time in general terms.  But even aside that, the simple act of fertilization that leads to an individual of your genetic makeup is one in six or seven million at least.  The odds of it are incredibility small, like point zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, one small.

“However, the probability that someone would be born was nearly 100 percent.  For just about everyone their existence isn’t because of a conspiracy.  Weird things happen all the time to people.  There are people that get hit by lightning more than once, lose loved ones unexpectedly or happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time more than once.  It doesn’t mean they’re cursed.

“In fact when you think of all the people that have had bad things happen to them, the probability that one of them will be at a major event where something bad happens is extremely high.

“It certainly is something to look further into, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  The most common example is when someone has been at the site of a terror attack and then they, or a close family member, happen to be in the vicinity of another one.  You would actually expect that the happen.  Lets say ten thousand people go to a concert and there’s a terrorist attack and most survive, the odds of anyone in the country being at the concert, if you count everyone, which is a stretch too, is point zero, zero, zero, zero three.

“Now another attack occurs at a similar sized concert occurs.  The odds of any one individual being at that concert is just as small, but the odds that at least one of those original ten thousand is at the second concert is actually thirty percent.

“You add in their parents, grandparents, and siblings and the odds are 180% that someone will be there with a connection to the other event and that’s without controlling for other variables.  Looking backwards someone would say you should multiply point zero, zero, zero, zero three to itself to get the odds that anyone specific would be at both places, but that’s before both events happen and that’s specific individuals.

“Now consider your looking at anyone that has ever been at any terrorist event ever not just these specific two events.  The probability that one or more of these people, which is a set and knowable number is additive in determining the probabilities of any one of them being at any subsequent event

“Once the first event has happened, we have ten thousand known individuals.  That number is set and won’t change.  So the odds of any one of them showing up at the second concert is ten thousand times point zero, zero, zero, zero three which comes out to a thirty percent chance. The more people at the events the bigger than chance, the more people you include in the mix like children, lovers, best friends, coworkers, past lovers, whatever, the higher the chances.”

I blink, “you need to get out more.”

“Please.  If people understood probabilities better their behavior would be better.  In your situation there are between seventy and seven hundred people at your level of ability.”

“More now that we freed a bunch of them.”

“Correct so the probability that any endowed individual is at any location is the number of people at that location, divided by the total number of people in the city and that number times the number of endowed, the more of them there are the higher the chances.  That doesn’t factor in proximity, behavior patterns, and anything else that might increase or decrease the event.

“The fact that you eat there at least once a month makes the chances higher obviously.”

“Alright,” I wave my hands and hear him sigh, “what now?”

“The two people she attacked are in the hospital with protective details on them. At some point they will be released and shortly after that the police presence will be gone. I expect her to attack them sometime thereafter and we should stake them out.”

“The police won’t necessarily deter her.”

“Granted. There are other things we need to deal with though.”

“Like?”

He hesitates a moment, “I have found April’s family.”

“I sense a very big ‘but’ there.”

“Indeed.  They never reported her missing.  In fact there is an April Jennings that was living with them and currently going to college.”

“Then you have the wrong family.”

“I don’t think so.”   He clicks and pulls up family photos, high school graduation photos, sports events.  I’m amazed how much people put online for others to see.  The woman in the photos certainly looked a lot like April.

“Could be a cousin.”

“I checked the family tree, there isn’t any relatives missing a child, at least within a couple degrees of separation.  They also did some DNA ancestry searches and they are close relatives of April’s.”

“You’re sure.”

“Very.  Plus there was an incident when she was thirteen, she was struck by a car and was hospitalized for multiple fractures, concussion, some internal bleeding.  While she was there she went missing for three days.  They found her wandering in a nearby wilderness park with no memory of the previous three days.”

“Trauma?”

“Other than the accident, nothing.”  He pulled up the hospital records,  “They sent her to counseling, she was forensically interviewed but nothing was determined about what happened to her.”

“So, you think she got in the accident, her healing properties were discovered, they abducted her and what?  She was cloned?  Some weird shapeshifter took her place?  Why would they keep the charade up for all these years?  Why bother, it would be simpler to just have her go missing, or dummy up a body to look like her.”

“Why indeed.”

 

 

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