[Vision2020] Unpleasant news

rforce at moscow.com rforce at moscow.com
Wed May 27 14:02:14 PDT 2015

Some U.S. Presidents -- Adams and Jefferson, both in 1826, and Monroe, in
1831, and a near-president, William L. Marcy, in 1857, died on the 4th of
July.  Other persons also died on July 4th, perhaps indicating their
devotion to the nation.  Charles Kuralt, in 1997, and Jesse Helms, in
2008, come to mind.  Correlation or happenstance?

Ken, the president'scoincidental death dates are a statistical problem.
Here's how "Ilia" answered the problem on another Website:

...what are the chances of any three presidents dying on the same date,
but not necessarily on July 4th? Let's assume that each triple of
presidents out of 40 having the same date of death is an independent
event. Each triple’s probability of NOT dying on the same date is
1-(1/365^2), and combined probability of not a single triple with the same
death date would be that number to the degree of all possible triples,
i.e. (1-(1/365^2))^9880. So the approximate probability of at least one
triple is 1-(1-(1/365^2))^9880, which is about 1 in 14. That seems not so
outrageous. Exact probability may be even higher given that we are not
dealing with an independent event in each triple, but I don’t have time to
work it out. This is similar to the famous “Birthday Problem”

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