are coincidences more common today?

We were at Citi Field a weekend ago, in the nosebleeds.

Start talking to a person directly in front of us, and turns out he lives in the same town in PA, 129 miles away.

Got together and hung out yesterday, our two families. He also has elementary school kids, now this is bizarre too, where my son attends.

Does technology somehow contribute to the coincidence? It would seem the odds of the above happening are small. The probability of being in the venue from the same hometown, isn't the greatest, it's possible, but to be seated in the next row when there are 40k seats, chances would seem to be infinitesimal?

Seriously, it would be another story if this happened at Citizens Bank Park, which is 13 miles away.

Being able to follow up on the initial contact, definitely is through technology aka text messaging....

Are Coincidences More Common Today?

 My first thought is, "more common than when?" Are you thinking say 40 years ago? Longer ago than that or not that long ago? There are definitely some things that have happened during my lifetime that would make coincidences happen more often. Communications and transportation come to mind. I recall a number of years ago being on a Caribbean cruise. Another cruise member turned out to work in public safety a couple of cities east of me. Had it not been for the salaries to afford the luxury of air transportation, it is unlikely that would have happened. What was it about your meeting that technology contributed to?

Birthdays

 Keep in mind that in a group of just 23 people, there's greater than a 50% chance that at least two will share a birthday anniversary. 30 people, over 70%; 50 is 97%; 75 is 99.97%.

yup

 CraigW wrote: Keep in mind that in a group of just 23 people, there's greater than a 50% chance that at least two will share a birthday anniversary. 30 people, over 70%; 50 is 97%; 75 is 99.97%. I still remember in a high school statistics class about 100 years ago, the teacher pointed that out. Many of us were a bit skeptical, so in a class of 30ish students, he started going down the rows, asking birthdays. He only got up to about ten when someone who hadn't yet been called on shouted, "hey, that's mine too!" I know, one experiment with 30 data points doesn't prove anything, but it was an interesting demonstration.

STAT 101

 I can’t find the article but a NYTimes story probably greater than a decade ago was about a statistics professor who liked to teach STAT 101. The day one homework assignment was to either flip a coin 200 times and record the results or to make up the results of 200 flips. There was to be no indication of whether the results were made up or not. On day two he would walk up and down the aisles looking at each students homework and announce which choice the student took. He was nearly always correct. I can’t remember how to solve this but it was easy. He showed that with 200 flips the probability of (I think) six in a row was very near 1. All he had to do was scan for six in a row. Those with made-up results would be unlikely to have six in a row.

Now that's a coincidence

 Jim1348 wrote: ...I recall a number of years ago being on a Caribbean cruise. Another cruise member turned out to work in public safety a couple of cities east of me. Had it not been for the salaries to afford the luxury of air transportation, it is unlikely that would have happened... Your story reminds me of the time in the late '90s that my wife and I went on a seven-day wagon train in western Nebraska. We flew into KC and rented a car and drove clear across the state to within about 50 miles of Wyoming, a long distance from Northeast Ohio. There were 40 people on the wagon train. Ten years before that, when I worked for IBM, I had the Lake County Board of Elections for a customer. The BOE was considering a new voting system that had been developed and that the board was considering. We flew in a specialist from IBM's Baltimore office to give a presentation on this system and his first name was "Christ," an unusual first name. Ten years later the wagon master was reading off the names of the participants and lo and behold he reads off "Christ." Turns out it's the same guy. Imagine that, me from northeast Ohio and him from Baltimore meeting in western Nebraska on a 40 person wagon train. Now that's a coincidence. Aside: Christ, if you're by some chance reading this, now this would be a bigger coincidence! Phil
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"No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse."

Benford's Law

 minke wrote: I can’t find the article but a NYTimes story probably greater than a decade ago was about a statistics professor who liked to teach STAT 101. The day one homework assignment was to either flip a coin 200 times and record the results or to make up the results of 200 flips. There was to be no indication of whether the results were made up or not. On day two he would walk up and down the aisles looking at each students homework and announce which choice the student took. He was nearly always correct. I can’t remember how to solve this but it was easy. He showed that with 200 flips the probability of (I think) six in a row was very near 1. All he had to do was scan for six in a row. Those with made-up results would be unlikely to have six in a row. The original article is at https://www.nytimes.com/1998/08/04/science/following-benford... but the content is discussed more fully at https://www.rexswain.com/benford.html. The ramifications can be fascinating, read the whole article.
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John from PA

what I was thinking

 Jim1348 wrote: My first thought is, "more common than when?" Are you thinking say 40 years ago? Longer ago than that or not that long ago? There are definitely some things that have happened during my lifetime that would make coincidences happen more often. Communications and transportation come to mind. I recall a number of years ago being on a Caribbean cruise. Another cruise member turned out to work in public safety a couple of cities east of me. Had it not been for the salaries to afford the luxury of air transportation, it is unlikely that would have happened. What was it about your meeting that technology contributed to? When I bought the tickets, I still had the choice of many sections of the stadium to choose from. However, I decided since we would be going two nights consecutively, let me get cheaper seats the first night, and splurge sat night. Could we have both been ordering tix the same time (likely right? I did verified fan preorder), and based on our IPs being from the same general area, our choices were similar. Again, to say that we're both physically in the same stadium and being Queens NY, maybe less "interesting," but to be seated directly in front of us, seems unlikely. Now if someone could explain the Monte Hall paradox. I know what to do when I've chosen door 1, door 3 opens and there are billy goats, I should switch to door 2. But why? lol

thank you

 John from PA wrote: minke wrote: I can’t find the article but a NYTimes story probably greater than a decade ago was about a statistics professor who liked to teach STAT 101. The day one homework assignment was to either flip a coin 200 times and record the results or to make up the results of 200 flips. There was to be no indication of whether the results were made up or not. On day two he would walk up and down the aisles looking at each students homework and announce which choice the student took. He was nearly always correct. I can’t remember how to solve this but it was easy. He showed that with 200 flips the probability of (I think) six in a row was very near 1. All he had to do was scan for six in a row. Those with made-up results would be unlikely to have six in a row. The original article is at https://www.nytimes.com/1998/08/04/science/following-benford... but the content is discussed more fully at https://www.rexswain.com/benford.html. The ramifications can be fascinating, read the whole article. I enjoyed that, thank you.

A couple years ago, I got on

 A couple years ago, I got on an airplane and there was another passenger with my exact same name. When I tried to check in at the kiosk it told me to see agent. The agent verified name but not destination. When I got to the gate I realized I had two boarding passes for a connecting flight for my non-stop flight to my destination. I realized then the destination was not me. Told the gate agent and they corrected it, good thing I arrived early. What are the odds of another passenger on a domestic flight (not a huge airplane) to have the same first, middle and last name as I on the same flight. Coincidences do happen and can happen anytime.

How the birthday statistic trick works

 CraigW wrote: Keep in mind that in a group of just 23 people, there's greater than a 50% chance that at least two will share a birthday anniversary. 30 people, over 70%; 50 is 97%; 75 is 99.97%. [They don't consider the year of birth in this, only month and day; a closed set of 366 possible birthdates, including leap-year's February 29th.] I've heard these counterintuitive statistics several times before and had trouble wrapping my head around them. This time I websearched *why* and *how* this works as it does. The trick to better understanding the seeming paradox: you may see it just from your perspective, but the probability of a match is calculated for the whole group. If you're standing at the front of a line of 23 people, you look around and think it's unlikely that there's a match between your birthdate and the birthdate of someone else in line behind you--and you're right. But nonetheless, there still are 22 chances for a birthdate match. But it's not just you with a chance to match birthdates. The next person in line compares their birthdate with everyone behind him; that means 21 additional chances for a match. Next person 20 more. You see where this is going. Among the whole group of 23 people, 22+21+20+ ...1 comparisons adds up to a total of 253 chances to match. Calculate the much higher total comparisons for a line of 75 people, and you can see why it's almost certain to get a birthdate match within the group. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-hom... I'd say the same kind of analysis applies to johnatash's comment about fans at a baseball game. The odds of two groups sitting next to each other, 130 miles from home, having an elementary school match are not higher than half, sure. That was a coincidence. But if you could compare everyone sitting in the section, you'd likely find seemingly improbable coincidences like this occurring much more often than you might expect.
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"141 could draw faster than he, but Irving was looking for 143..."

Wow, ....

 I have never seen these statistics. Interesting!
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RKF (Brookeville, MD) Garmin Nuvi 660, 360 & Street Pilot

this gets

 even better. My wife is checking her pics from 7/15. We're in the nosebleeds, remember, sec 513. Someone is photobombing our family pic in the background. A google search showed he was at a private event for 200 people in July 2018 where tix were \$2,500 to \$50,000 as it was for charity, so I guess he's a fan. The guy is in a movie that grossed almost 1 bil. worldwide this summer. I think it's the #3 film. What are the chances? And it makes me wonder, I guess as a human being, everyone loves to be around people. I saw people taking pics with him one sec over, but it's a bit odd he's in our pic. Meaning he was roaming around during the show. I chalk it up to being NYC, there are tons of celebs there. All adds up to fun, which is what all of us need more of.

Trend

 With the technology today and future, people become healthier, live longer, and with better memory.

25 or so years ago

 My wife and I decided to take a few days off and go to Niagara Falls. After checking in at the motel and walking back to my car, I observed a contractor that did work for my company strolling down the sidewalk. 400 miles from home for me and about 460 for him, but we met on a sidewalk outside a motel in Niagara Falls. (He was, by the way, staying at a motel just down the street.)
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With God, all things are possible. ——State motto of the Great State of Ohio

Whoa the movie comment was

 Whoa the movie comment was crazy. I probably had someone rich and famous close by without me knowing!

yeah

 ceevee wrote: Whoa the movie comment was crazy. I probably had someone rich and famous close by without me knowing! My wife took a selfie of 3 of us and we're only the 4th row down from the very top of sec 513. In the middle of the pic at the top row is Jeff Goldblum. He was walking around the section to our left and people were taking pics with him, but it was odd that he photobombed us and we didn't even know it. I didn't know he was a fan and there are many, such as Bill Walton, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, blah blah blah, but a google search revealed he was at a private event in July 2018, that cost \$2.5-\$50k per ticket for charity. I mean does he just enter and exit like everyone else and pay \$50 for parking? Did he get a receipt whereas I was not given one? lol Just googled him again and he plays piano and had a sold out jazz show in 2019? What I learned this July is that we need to put the fun back into life. It doesn't need to be so contentious all the time. People are people and are gregarious by nature and want to have a good time.

more people

 more people, more coincidence like this. Its all about the numbers