Sideswipe: August 26: Immortality found

A reader writes: “I was Google mapping address to go to my Covid vaccine and this is what appeared on the journey. I might go there instead of getting the vaccine.”

Nursing under pressure

Claire writes: Some years ago now, I used to assist a specialist who performed biopsies, checking for cancers. This was done at a medical laboratory. One day, a prisoner was brought in under heavy armed guard. He was handcuffed to two guards, with a third armed guard watching constantly. He had a lump in his armpit which was to be biopsied. I asked the armed guard if the handcuff on the relevant arm could be removed, to make for easier access. He merely looked at me. So, after some pretty tricky manoeuvring, the site was exposed and the doctor was able to perform the procedure. It was unnerving to be working in such close proximity with six people, handcuffs clanking and guns close by, all focussed on one small area. As I put a dressing on the site, I brightly said, as nurses are wont to say: “There you are, free to go.” There was dead silence. Then the prisoner said softly: “I don’t think so, ma’am.”

The trolls of Ōtara

Birthdays shared

Famously, in a group of 23 randomly chosen people, the chance is slightly higher than 50 per cent that two will share a birthday. In 2014, James Fletcher considered the birth dates of players in the World Cup, who were conveniently organised into squads of 23 people each. He found that 16 of the 32 squads had at least one shared birthday. If data from 2010 World Cup was included, 31 of 64 squads had shared birthdays, still quite close to 50 per cent. If a group numbers 366 people, the probability of a shared birthday is 100 per cent (neglecting leap years). But to reach 99 per cent certainty we need only 55 people. “It is almost unbelievable that such a small difference between the probabilities 99 per cent and 100 per cent can lead to such a big difference between the numbers of people,” writes Gabor Szekely in Paradoxes in Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics (1986). (Via Futility Closet)

Musical accompaniment

“Recently there was obviously something pretty serious going on in our vicinity with an ambulance, and three police cars, including two detectives in attendance at a house for around 1.5 hours,” explains Juliet. “Intermittently officers would come back and forth between car and house. The funny thing was that the local very impressive brass band and orchestra whose practice rooms faced the other way were playing incredibly dramatic and tense movie like background music for the entire time. I thought it was very funny but serious and wonder if the cops had noticed the dramatic music and found it odd!”

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