Improbable Probabilities

Two friends meet one day with the world of joy in their eyes, like they have met years after. Without getting into unnecessary formalities of asking about each other’s health and families, one man asks “mate, I am so lucky to see you. I need your help.” Other friend happily replied “James, I will be glad if I could be of any help to you.” James says “Broad, since you are a mathematics professor, I suppose you can help me with my new book.” Broad was quite excited to hear this, he never thought he could contribute in any way in writing a book.

Broad: Tell me how can I help, what is your book’s title?
James: Improbable Probability. 
Broad: What does that mean? 
James: it is about the improbabilities of happening thing that would eventually happen. 
Broad: Why haven’t you named it as “Impossible Possibilities” then? 
James: And I thought you are intelligent. Haven’t you heard of copyright? “Impossible possibilities” is already a book by Louis Pauwels. 
Broad: Then how is your book any different. 
James: For explaining that I have to take an example. Let’s say people either die or live. Is the probability of dying is 0.5 then? 
Broad: Eventually everyone dies, so it is 1.
James: You, my friend, have lived for long 40 years, what’s the probability of you dying this year.
Broad: What kind of question is that? I am too healthy and young to die, mate.
James: You mean the probability of dying is near zero.
Broad: certainly.
James: What would be it in the next year or the next, or a year later?Broad: My answer remains the same.
James: So when will you increase the probability. Or simply asking what would be the probability of Mr. Summers dying this year.
Broad: Mr. Summers, who retired last summer.
James: Yes.
Broad: What have gone into your head, why would he die? He is a healthy being.
James: So his probability of dying is also 0.
Broad: Certainly mate. I don’t understand where you are getting at.
James: A few seconds before, you yourself have said that the probability of dying is 1. I just meant to ask, when it turns to 1. At your age, it is near 0, at Mr. Summers age it is near zero. So when would it increase? 

Broad was dumbstruck hearing this, he could not utter a word before James again started with other fact that only 1 in 14 million can win a jackpot, but still people buy lotteries. The probability of dying today is 300 times more than winning the lottery. But people still buy that lottery and never worry about dying on that day.  James asks Broad if there was anything he was missing. Broad checked the numbers and says “You are right, mate. But even I have never thought I could die. If I have, I may have changed my life for the better.” Broad thanks James for opening his eye. He starts living each day as it is his last, and he never wasted his time & energy in petty issues.

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