Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Are the Chances?

A bloke in the UK modifies the Drake equation (used to calculate the likelihood of our contacting an alien civilization) to calculate the likelihood of his finding a girlfriend in London. His final conclusion:
So, what this means is that there are 10,510 people in the UK that satisfy these most basic criteria for being my girlfriend. That is 0.00017% of the UK and 0.0014% of Londoners, which doesn’t seem so bad. On a given night in London, there is greater than a 1 in 1000 chance that I will meet an attractive woman between the ages of 24 and 34 with a university degree. Of course this does not take into account the fraction of these women that will find me attractive (depressingly low), the fraction of these women who will be single (falling with age) and, perhaps most importantly, the fraction of these women who I will get along with. Including such factors would greatly reduce the above figure of 10,510. A rough estimate puts the number of potential girlfriends accounting for these three additional criteria (1 in 20 of the women find me attractive, half are single and I get along with 1 in 10) at 26. That’s correct. There are 26 women in London with whom I might have a wonderful relationship. So, on a given night out in London there is a 0.0000034% chance of meeting one of these special people, about 100 times better than finding an alien civilization we can communicate with. That’s a 1 in 285,000 chance. Not great.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://xkcd.com/314/

Rebekka said...

Whew, it's a good thing there's a God.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I'm not in London and I already feel doomed.

Elizabeth said...

There was an episode of This American Life a while back that began in this exact way, except with a group of graduate students in physics. I wonder who thought of the idea first.

Darwin said...

I suppose this somehow demonstrates that having met and married MrsDarwin, I've crossed some sort of improbability threshold and so now absolutely anything can happen.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that first anonymous link here isn't spam. xkcd claims that the available dating pool, based strictly upon reasonable age proximity, actually increases into middle age. And it's funny, too.

Joel

P.S. I read xkcd regularly. Favorite internet comic.

Mrs. Cranky said...

Joel, in case you didn't already know, if you click on "Name/URL" when you leave a comment,you can type in "Joel." When I see "Anonymous" and a URL I assume it's spam.
Just FYI.

Anthony said...

He's confusing dependent and independent variables. The odds he'll get along with a university-educated woman are probably better than 1 in 10, unless his odds of getting along with women in general are much lower. (On the other hand, the dependency between "still single" and "will get along with" cuts the other way.) There's probably some dependence of "I'll get along with" on "she finds me attractive", too.

Anonymous said...

It is funny, but it is also a pretty sad illustration of what many young Chinese men are up against thanks to "population control" measures.