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Mass Extinction Statistics



----- Original Message -----
From: "John Bois" <jbois@umd5.umd.edu>
To: "philidor11" <philidor11@snet.net>
Cc: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: A long post about DUMB METATHERIANS vs EVIL, SMART PLACENTALS


> I put up 500,000 black dots and 500,000 red dots on my board.  I have a
> cannon that fires 500,000 bullets at once.

I'd rather say you have a big bomb rather than exactly 500,000 individual
bullets. You let the bomb detonate, and then you look if you find a pattern
among the unhit dots.

> Each bullet must hit either a
> red or a black dot--but it must hit a dot.  Surely I'll have 250,000 of
> _each_ left over.

Possibly, but far from sure.

> Given our assumption of equal population number, equal
> susceptibility, etc., is this not a fair analogy?  And isn't it true that
> the more dots I have, the greater my chance of reaching 50/50?

The more times you fire the cannon, not the more dots you have.