The Desarmes, Tsutomu Yamaguchi and Violet Jessop: Three Stories of Amazing Odds
I was reading a BBC article about the Desarmes family, who either consider themselves extremely lucky or incredibly unfortunate, considering they lived in Port Au Prince in January when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. So they left their home to go stay with another member of the family -- who lives in Santiago, Chile. They arrived just in time to survive the 8.8 magnitude quake that crushed Chile on February 27.
Having spectacularly failed statistics in college and passing only after negotiating my release with the professor, I can't even begin to calculate the odds of being in two places where major earthquakes took place six weeks apart. (If you know how to, let me know; I'm very curious how one would come up with that probability). Despite adopting Disraeli's lies, damn lies and statistics philosophy as a defense mechanism, I must admit there are some pretty cool stories of people inadvertently carving out a place for themselves in the narrow margins that make up the hinterlands of probability. See more »