Friday, 15 October 2010

The National Debt

I think I've discovered why we have such a huge national debt.

The Telegraph reported yesterday (14.10.10) that a couple were delighted that their third child had been born on October 7, exactly the same date as his two older siblings.
The Telegraph reporter was duly amazed and said "The odds of it happening are said to be 48 million to one"

I wondered who had reached this amazing estimate, because clearly the odds of two children having the same birthday are 365 to one and so the odds of three children being born on the same date are 365 x 365 = 133,225. Not exactly 48,000,000 is it?

How many people on the Telegraph staff read this before it was published?

They were probably the same people who used to order the new computers for the NHS or the Ministry of Defence.

"We've had a quote for the 365 computers, Sir Humphrey, they're £365 each. It comes to quite a lot of money I'm afraid".

"Let me just work it out! Oh yes, call it £48,000,000. That'll do"

1 comment:

  1. Actually the odds are even higher.

    Although the odds for this couple specifically are as you say, the odds for "a" couple somewhere are really surprisingly high:

    They don't make clear whether their probability depends on pre-selecting the couple in question, or just waiting for one to email for some cheap column inches, however they are definitely really very wrong ;)