Saturday, September 26, 2009

Against All Odds

Something statistically unlikely happened to me at work today. After finishing the audio of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters -- which, by the way, is great -- I decided it was time for some tunes. It seems that these days I'm even too lazy to decide what I should listen to. Luckily I have a playlist on my iPod of around 2,000 songs I'm usually in the mood for -- I set the iPod to shuffle and the playlist does the rest.

In 1979, The Police released their second album, Regatta de Blanc. Really worth checking out... punk, reggae, and rock rolled into one... it might be my favorite Police album. But I digress. The fifteenth song to come appear on my shuffled playlist was the semi-ubiquitous Police track, "Message in a Bottle," the opening song on Regatta. The next song -- to my surprise -- was "Regatta de Blanc," the second track on the identically named album.

What are the odds? That two songs appearing consecutively on an album would appear consecutively on a shuffled playlist?

Well, if my calculations* are correct, the odds are 4,551,882 to one. Which, according to C-3PO are even slimmer odds than successfully navigating an asteroid field (which, since you're dying to know, are 3,720 to one).

*The boring part (cuz the rest of this post was so entertaining):

Total songs in mix = 2148
Message = song 15
Regatta = song 16

P(Message) = 1/2134
P(Regatta after Message) = 1/2133
P(Message then Regatta) = P(Message) x P(Regatta after Message)
P(Message then Regatta) = 1/2134 x 1/2133
P(Message then Regatta) = 1/4,551,882

1 comment:

  1. the part of me that loves math loved this post. {and i'm becoming a math teacher which means a pretty big part of me loves math}