Using statistics to help you... get dressed


In the spirit of the new year – the International Year of Statistics – I thought I’d share some different ways to use statistics.

Can statistics help you in your everyday life?  Certainly!  And here's an example to prove it...

Let's say you have a dresser drawer full of white socks.  But rather than all the socks being the same, you have two different styles (for example, Gold Toe and Champions).  Therefore you can't just reach in and grab two socks and expect them to match.

Of course, you could count the number of each kind of socks and calculate the probability that picking two random socks would result in a matching pair -- but that doesn't really help you get dressed quickly, does it?!?

Here's the solution, using brute-force statistics:

You can rest assured that if you grab *three* socks, there's a 100% probability that at least two of them will match! (and then you can easily throw the 3rd sock back in the drawer)

Feel free to share this useful blog with your friends! :)

tags: international year of statistics, statistics


  1. socker
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    What if I don't want to end up with a sock that has a hole?

    • Robert Allison Robert Allison
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      As with pre-processing your data ... in this case you'd want to pre-process your socks! :)

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