I’m a scientist at heart, I believe in emperical evidence, research based medicine and the eradication of silly superstitions.
Unfortunately sometimes this job can throw weird things at you.
An example of this happened to me the other day.
Out of eleven jobs I went to three in the same street, lets call it ‘Gray close’. All the jobs were to diferent houses and all were for diferent illnesses. The area is not in an especially deprived part of Newham, so there is no real reason why I should have to go there more than usual – and to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I was there.
I was wondering what the chances of this happening were – so bear with me for a bit, and if my maths is a bit screwy then feel free to correct me.
There are roughly 92,382 households in Newham (I worked this out by dividing the population of Newham by the size of the average household 2.64), and while I cover more of an area than Newham, this number will do for the purposes of this example.
Gray close has 34 households.
92,382 divided by 34 is 2,717. So the chances of a specific call being in Gray Close is 1 in 2,717.
I did 11 calls that day, and three of them were in the same close, which has the odds of something like 1 in 20,057,135,813.
At least I think that is right – it has been years since I looked at statistics and probability and to be honest I didn’t understand it then. But while the maths might be wrong, the effect is still stunning.
An additional thought is that this isn’t that unusual – At least once a week I’ll find myself going to the same street, or streets that are neighbouring each other on the same day for multiple, unconnected calls..
It is this that makes me think that there might just be certain concentrations of some form of ‘bad vibe’ that hit certain areas causing illness, assaults and other ‘emergencies’. I’m sure there is some clever (and very expensive) clustering software that could work out if this sort of thing was a real effect or just my all too human mind playing pattern recognition tricks with me.
Or am I just going mad?