world events: January 2009 Archives

Today is Martin Luther King day. I find it interesting (and coincidental) that the very next day we swear-in our first black president. What are the odds these two (seemingly unrelated) days/events would occur consecutively?

Martin Luther King Jr.

I've always been good in math. I got the highest grade, for example, in my (first) Calculus class .. even after I opted to skip pre-Calculus, and hadn't had a math class in/for 10 years. (Pre-Calc is now a mandatory prerequisite, I hear.)

I also got the highest grade in my Statistics class (taken the same semester as Calculus). The professor who taught my 'Stats' class taught two classes that semester. He told me I got the highest grade in *both* classes.

Depending on how you categorize the variables, the odds of these two days/events occurring consecutively..

.. would be between 1-in-365 (the number of days in a year) and 1-in-133,225 (which = 365x365, since each event could theoretically fall on any given day).

I could spend today's entire entry discussing the nuances associated with probability & statistics, but my point is ยป the odds are miniscule .. no matter how you dice the math.

My brain, for some reason, seems predisposed to identify the statistical curios associated with seemingly unrelated events ('coincidences'). It's not something I try to do, mind you. Just seems to occur on its own.

We know that the inauguration date would've been the same whether Obama or McCain was elected. And (we know that) MLK could've been born on any day. Moreover, his birth (which we celebrate with today's holiday) obviously had nothing to do with our presidential inauguration.

So the proximity of these two events seem totally unrelated (from a design standpoint). Yet in reality, and certainly in influence, they are obviously very much related. So much so that many feel the accomplishments of one man could not exist without the efforts of the other. (See my point?)

I'm not drawing any conclusions .. merely identifying a curious coincidence. And it's obvious the work MLK did back in the 60's preceded Obama's rise to the presidency (chronologically). So even the ordering of the consecutive days aligns correctly with historical events.

Statistics suggest 2008 was the worst year most Americans can recall .. with stocks posting their biggest annual drop since the Great Depression. (Only 1907 and 1931 posted bigger negatives.)

Family of the Great Depression, liberated from a sense of futility

People who work with such statistics seem to agree things will likely worsen before they improve. Exactly how much worse is, of course, the source of much speculation. (Because nobody knows for sure.)

From what I've gathered (in talking and listening), most people are hoping for the best, but "preparing for the worst," which means they're buying nothing but essentials (.. further depressing the economy).

Might be worth noting that the worst year most Americans will ever see would still represent the best year for people living in many other parts of the world. So the terms 'worst' and 'best' are relative. (Important we maintain perspective.)

Interesting that (as someone recently noted) bin Laden's aim in targeting the World Trade Center towers was to criple the US economy .. (cuz that's how they defeated the mighty Soviet Red Army in Afganistan).

Another thing I find interesting is that everybody now claims to have seen it coming. Even at the coffee shop, I hear people saying things like, "Everybody knew this was coming. No big surprise."

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This page is a archive of entries in the world events category from January 2009.

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