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Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 9: Coincidences and Kennedy 6 March 1998

Research quoted by Lady Hayman, a junior transport minister (UK) indicates that nine out of ten pedestrians hit by vehicles travelling at 40 miles per hour are killed. The survival rate increases to 50 percent at 30 miles per hour and 90 percent at 20 miles per hour. No doubt it will increase to one hundred percent if all traffic is standing still or maybe there are a few crazed pedestrians who run full tilt into stationary vehicles and get themselves killed. If this solution seems too extreme, we could always go back to insisting on a man walking in front of every vehicle waving a red flag (yes, this really was the law in the UK in the early days of motoring). This would also solve the unemployment problem at the same time. But with the level of traffic congestion, it's getting hard to speed. Do these nannies ever consider that just about every motorist breaks the speed limits on a regular basis? And why? Because the speed limits were set decades ago when cars did not have the breaking power or safety features of today's models. Perhaps if we had sensible speed limits (sometimes lower than at present) and the law was then enforced rigorously, people would respect the law more. Now it's just a lottery. And when people start to choose which laws to obey, then the Law becomes a matter of personal choice. A slippery slope. Really, it's just a question of reducing congestion by banning motorists for short periods of time for speeding which is cheaper than investing in infrastructure or fines as a form of taxation. Yet another big con.

A recent survey (source not quoted) stated that 11% of golfers would give up sex, 7% their marriage and 58% alcohol rather than stop playing. A friend who is a golfing fanatic was amazed that the figures were so low. He reckoned close to 100% on each would be nearer the mark and the remainder would be lying. My guess is that the sample was exclusively male. What is it about using sticks to hit balls into holes which causes such passion? I have a theory that golf causes so much frustration because players are trying to get the least score rather than the most. Can you think of any other games like this, not counting beating the clock? Can't be many.

What is the collective noun for bankers? A wunch. A wunch of bankers.

You may have seen this before, but in case you haven't, I reproduce it. Do you believe in co-incidences? Or is it a correspondence? Is this anything to do with the Anthromoporphic Principle? Does co-incidence happen so often that it can no longer be considered to be a conicidence? But if it isn't, what should we call it? Who cares ... but it is odd.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

The names of Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters. Both were particularly concerned with civil rights. Both their wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday. Both were shot in the head. Both were shot in the presence of their wives. The Secretary of each President warned them not to go to the theatre and Dallas respectively.

Lincoln's Secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners. Both were succeeded by Southerners. Both were named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assasinated Lincoln was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assasinated Kennedy was born in 1939.

Both assasins were known by their three names. Both have 15 letters.

Booth ran from the theatre and was captured in a warehouse.
Oswald ran from the warehouse and was captured in a theatre.

Booth and Oswald were both assassinated before their trial.

Told you it was odd.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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