Wondering about wild grapes

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wondering about randomness.

Do you believe that a lot of the things that happen are just random?  Given enough time any particular thing will just randomly happen?  There are mathematical formulas that express this, they are called factorial.  I have always been fascinated with this formula and have used it in a lot of things that I wonder about.  Let me give you a small example.  If you have five different colored blocks, how many different ways can they be arranged?  The formula is 5 factorial or 5! and it is solved by multiplying 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 (of course you don't need the "1" at the end, but I just put it in there to show that there is five items).  The answer is that there are 120 different arrangements.  Now, if you were playing a lottery that had five numbers and those numbers were 1 through 5, you would have a 1 in 120 chance to win.  So why haven't I got all 5 numbers right on the Texas Pick 5 lottery?  You only have to guess 5 numbers, right? Wrong!!  You have a field of 37 numbers to pick from.  That factorial would be 37 x 36 x 35 x 34 x 33 . . . . x 3 x 2 x 1 minus 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 or 37! - 5!.  That is one huge number!  Now I know why I haven't won in all the years I have bought tickets.

Now that I have talked about factorials, let me pose a question to you all.  What do you think the chances of life appearing on Earth all on its own would be?  You better have a lot of zeroes and a huge paper to write the probability of it happening here on Earth.  And for human kind to develop on its own, would be a much bigger factorial than I could imagine.  Just something to think about this Sunday morning.  Now you all have a great day today, you hear?


  1. So . . . you could say that lotteries are a tax on people who can't do math? :)

  2. Trouble and B.B., do you really want me to show more math???

    Sixbears, that is correct. Except for people like me who buy the tickets anyway. . . We are the hopefull ones, not necesaraly the winning ones.

  3. I love that math stuff! Too bad I don't get paid any more to think it, say it, and write it.