(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Odds

“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!”*…




For many years, my life centered around studying the biases of human decision-making: I was a graduate student in psychology at Columbia, working with that marshmallow-tinted legend, Walter Mischel, to document the foibles of the human mind as people found themselves in situations where risk abounded and uncertainty ran high. Dissertation defended, I thought to myself, that’s that. I’ve got those sorted out. And in the years that followed, I would pride myself on knowing so much about the tools of self-control that would help me distinguish myself from my poor experimental subjects. Placed in a stochastic environment, faced with stress and pressure, I knew how I’d go wrong — and I knew precisely what to do when that happened.

Fast-forward to 2016. I have embarked on my latest book project, which has taken me into foreign territory: the world of No Limit Texas Hold ’em… The biases I know all about in theory, it turns out, are much tougher to fight in practice…

Maria Konnikova. a New York Times bestselling author and contributor to The New Yorker with a doctorate in psychology, decided to learn how to play poker to better understand the role of luck in our lives, examining the game through the lens of psychology and human behavior.  An excerpt is adapted from her new book, The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win: “The Hard Truth Of Poker — And Life: You’re Never ‘Due’ For Good Cards.”

* Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


As we ante up, we might spare a thought for Don Featherstone; he died on this date in 2015.  An artist, he is surely best remembered for his creation of the plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament in 1957, while working for Union Products.  It went on sale the following year– and now adorns lawns nationwide.

In 1996, Featherstone was awarded the 1996 Ig Nobel Art Prize for his creation; that same year, he began his tenure as president of Union Products, a position he held until he retired in 2000.


A Featherstone flock



Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 22, 2020 at 1:01 am

Odds are…

1 in 104,600

The odds an accidental death will be due to being bitten or struck by an alligator are 1 in 104,600 (US, 1999 – 2005).

…or, roughly the same odds as that a male will be diagnosed with breast cancer (1 in 100,000), but slightly worse than the odds that a person in Maine will die of a fall from a ladder (1 in 110,000) or that a person in Nebraska will die of alcohol poisoning (also 1 in 110,000)…

To play in the pastures of probability– as pertains to Accidents & Death, Daily Life & Activities, Health & Illness, Relationships & Society– visit Book of Odds.

As we consider our chances, we might recall that it was on this date in 1741 that David Garrick made his debut at London’s Goodman’s Fields Theater in the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard III; Garrick received a standing ovation, and went on become one of the most celebrated English actors of all time (and the owner/manager of The Drury Lane Theatre, a pretty important gig in its own right)…

I do mistake my person all this while;
Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
I’ll be at charges for a looking-glass…

Garrick, by Gainsborough

(click to enlarge)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 19, 2009 at 12:01 am

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