Probability Theory : A short story

Probability theory is probably the least understood area by the general population (except for certain gamblers). As a simple example, consider the History professor who was scared of flying and asked his friend one day: “What is the probability that there will be a bomb on an aeroplane?” His friend responded that he really didn’t know, but that it was certainly less than one in a million. So he asked: “Well, what is the probability that there are two bombs on an aeroplane?” His friend responded that (as long as these were independent events) it would be the square of the probability of having one bomb, which is 1 in a trillion – a truly astronomical number. So, from that day forward the History professor always carried a bomb with him when he flew since it reduced the risk of having a bomb on the plane from 1 in a million to 1 in a trillion.

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