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Biostatistics Literature and Art (2009)


    Probability of Getting a Date: One in a Million

My name is Variance. My parents called me Variance, because they said I was far from the average in terms of other babies. I had always been your typical girl: very into girly things like make-up and boys. I was very independent, and didn't depend on my friends or family too much, nor vice versa. I liked to keep to myself most of the time. But, I never had much luck with the boys. I was just entering my senior year of high school when I entered the biggest dilemma of my life: I was in love with two boys, Poisson and Gaussian. I thought love was mutually exclusive, and you couldn't love more than one person at once, but boy was I wrong. And boy were these boys so different from each other. Gaussian was the normal average "hot" guy that every girl was into. I don't know, I'd say that 50% of the guys in our class were hotter than him, but then there were about 50% of guys that weren't as hot as him. I don't know why I was into him, really. He was just so normal, but in many ways perfect. If I had to describe him, I'd say he was continuous-ly predictable. He never had any gaps in his personality or character. Just the all around, all-American guy--who everyone in the class knew. Though I think he was Greek or something, I have no idea where the name Gaussian came from. But then there was Poisson. Poisson was the rare gem, one in a million if you will. Poisson was most definitely French or Italian--some form of romantic bliss. Not every girl was into him, but I saw something different in him.

To my horror, both Gaussian and Poisson were in my first period statistics class at 7:20 a.m. Even worse--I sat in the median between them so I couldn't avoid them when I felt shy and looked awful in the morning. But, to make the best of the situation, I flirted with both and discovered they both flirted back and competed. Even more interesting was Poisson sometimes tried to approximate Gaussian in telling jokes at the same rate.

Lo and behold when Homecoming came around, I was shocked to find out they both asked me to the dance. I decided to interview them at the same time, to see who was better suited:

Variance: So Gaussian, I'd like to analyze your qualitative traits. Tell me how many girls do you like to date at one time?
Gaussian: I'd say I'm pretty polychotomous, Variance. My norm is to date more than two girls at once. So, if that's ok with you, I'd love to approximate the area under your curve...
Variance: Ok! Gaussian thank you for that. Now, Poisson what about you?
Poisson: Mademoiselle, I'm much more binary or dichotomous in nature. Two girls is fine with me at one time, and no more.
Variance: Thank you boys. And now onto some more quantitative questions.  Gaussian, what is your weight and height?
Gaussian: I am definitely 175 lbs plus or minus one standard deviation. But, the last time I weighed myself was a couple months ago at the gym. I'm about 5'11.
Variance: Poisson?
Poisson: I'm probably 180 lbs, or so I'd like to think. I usually like to be discrete about my weight and height, because I feel like there are gaps in my values from week to week.
Gaussian: Pssssst. That's one biased estimate. You look like you're about 190, in my opinion.
Poisson: Look Gaussian, I think your explanatory behavior is affecting my responses. If you make any more snide comments, you won't want to see my outcome measures against you.
Gaussian: Touché
Variance: Ok boys, bring it down. I'm definitely feeling positively skewed towards one of you now, that is, I'm associating more negative values in my head towards one of you. If you work with me, I can make that negatively skewed for both of you.
Poisson: Oh, Variance, on a scale of 1 to 2, you are a 2.718 in my books.
Gaussian: (Cough cough), Suck up. Look Variance, I'm not really giving you a good sample of who I am right now. I wouldn't try to make any inferences about who I am from this interview. I can promise you that I'll establish parameters at the dance and won't deviate.
Poisson: Lady Variance, I can assure you. My MODE-us operandi is 2 handholds, 2 kisses, 2 dances, and 2 twirls. I am a gentleman, and in the rare event there are 3 kisses, that's not so bad, right?
Gaussian: Psssh. The probability he acts like a gentleman is close to zero. Probability I act like a gentleman? 97% for you, Variance--3 deviations from how I act on average with other girls.

Variance: Thank you for your responses boys. I appreciate your honesty. I have made my decision, and chosen to go with a friend of mine named Bernoulli. It was a tough decision, but he's single and very straightforward in his responses. He only has one controlling parameter, and that's that he'll ensure me a successful date.


  Short Story

Dan said to Samantha, did you know that the PROBABILITY of living with and without you is zero. That means that I am nothing ( 0 ) without you. She was so thrilled that she blew him a kiss. He then said to her, why are you so MEAN ? why would you blow me a kiss from that RANGE ? Samantha replied, it might be because of the OUTLYING factors preventing me from getting to you or rather, if you were not so skewed to the right, your lips would have been DEVIATED to the left and our UNION would be SYMMETRIC.

Olumayowa Williams