Tails You Win: The Science of Chance

All of our lives we are pulled around and pushed about by the mysterious workings of chance. When chance appears to be cruel some people tend to call it faith and when chance is kind we might call it luck but what actually is chance? Is it something fundamental in the fabric of the universe , does chance have rules and does it really exist at all? and if it does could we one day overcome it? This is the story of how we discovered chance works, learned to tame it and even work out the odds for the future. How we tried but so often failed to conquer it.

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  • Morten Andreassen

    Seems to me that the universe, from the big-bang on, randomly made bits of matter cohere, a bit like luck attracks more luck. Sounds like new-age crap but it does actually seems to be the case. Positive thinking eh? Which will hopefully get me through the next days of hell. Again.

  • Morten Andreassen

    Walking is the trick. Especially stoned. Unfortunately, historically, this politically incorrect thing to say will get me put up against the wall looking down a barrel. Fuck it.

  • Potato

    Most of the things we see as random is a conjunction of things that we cannot see, or have no knowledge of. The winners of horse races are determined by which horse has the better training regimen, the better health, the best jockey. Even dice are affected by microscopic imperfections in each of the die’s surfaces interacting with the equally microscopic imperfections of the table they’re thrown on to. I have heard that the only truly random occurrence is in the spin of the subatomic particles of uranium when the nucleii are smashed apart by protons.

    Everything else in the entire universe has an invisible history. Therefore, probability mathematics isn’t so much concerned with the chance of something happening, as it is with the likelihood of two bodies with their invisible history happening to cross paths with one another. You can actively reduce the guesswork by learning as much about the subjects you are studying as is humanly possible, and therefore come up with a more accurate prediction.

    It is impossible to know exactly what will happen, however; we are only human, and make human mistakes. There will invariably be something that we miss.