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Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Praise for the First Edition

"If there is anything you want to know, or remind yourself, about probabilities, then look no further than this comprehensive, yet wittily written and enjoyable, compendium of how to apply probability calculations in real-world situations."

- Keith Devlin, Stanford University, National Public Radio's "Math Guy" and author of The Math Gene and The Unfinished Game

From probable improbabilities to regular irregularities, Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives, Second Edition investigates the often surprising effects of risk and chance in our lives. Featuring a timely update, the Second Edition continues to be the go-to guidebook for an entertaining presentation on the mathematics of chance and uncertainty.

The new edition develops the fundamental mathematics of probability in a unique, clear, and informal way so readers with various levels of experience with probability can understand the little numbers found in everyday life. Illustrating the concepts of probability through relevant and engaging real-world applications, the Second Edition features numerous examples on weather forecasts, DNA evidence, games and gambling, and medical testing. The revised edition also includes:

  • The application of probability in finance, such as option pricing

  • The introduction of branching processes and the extinction of family names

  • An extended discussion on opinion polls and Nate Silver's election predictions

  • Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives, Second Edition is an ideal reference for anyone who would like to obtain a better understanding of the mathematics of chance, as well as a useful supplementary textbook for students in any course dealing with probability.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover Page
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright
    4. Contents
    5. Preface to the Second Edition
    6. Preface to the First Edition
    7. 1: Computing Probabilities: Right Ways and Wrong Ways
      1. THE PROBABILIST
      2. THE PROBABILIST'S TOYS AND LANGUAGE
      3. THE PROBABILIST'S RULE BOOK
      4. INDEPENDENCE, AIRPLANES, AND RUSSIAN PEASANTS
      5. CONDITIONAL PROBABILITY, SWEDISH TV, AND BRITISH COURTS
      6. LIAR, LIAR
      7. CAR DEALERS AND COLOR BLINDNESS
      8. SHUTTLECOCKS AND SPAGHETTI WESTERNS
      9. COMBINATORICS, PASTRAMI, AND POETRY
      10. THE VON TRAPPS AND THE BINOMIAL DISTRIBUTION
      11. FINAL WORD
    8. 2: Surprising Probabilities: When Intuition Struggles
      1. BOYS, GIRLS, ACES, AND COLORED CARDS
      2. GOATS AND GLOATS
      3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY
      4. TYPICAL ATYPICALITIES
      5. THE BRITISH SNOB AND I
      6. STRATEGERY
      7. FINAL WORD
    9. 3: Tiny Probabilities: Why Are They So Hard to Escape?
      1. PROBABLE IMPROBABILITIES
      2. SADDAM AND I
      3. TAKING TINY RISKS
      4. A MILLION-TO-ONE SHOT, DOC, MILLION TO ONE!
      5. MONSIEUR POISSON AND THE MYSTERIOUS NUMBER 37
      6. CLUMPS IN SPACE
      7. FINAL WORD
    10. 4: Backward Probabilities: The Reverend Bayes to Our Rescue
      1. DRIVING MISS DAISY
      2. BAYES, BALLS, AND BOYS (AND GIRLS)
      3. BAYES AND MY GREEN CARD
      4. OBJECTION YOUR HONOR
      5. ORNITHOLOGY
      6. FINAL WORD
    11. 5: Beyond Probabilities: What to Expect
      1. GREAT EXPECTATIONS
      2. THE PRICE IS RIGHT (MAYBE)
      3. BLOOD, SWEAT, AND THEORY
      4. GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT
      5. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
      6. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH TOWARD EXTINCTION
      7. SIZE MATTERS (AND LENGTH, AND AGE)
      8. MEAN, MEDIAN, MODE
      9. DEVIANT BEHAVIOR
      10. FINAL WORD
    12. 6: Inevitable Probabilities: Two Fascinating Mathematical Results
      1. ALEA IACTA EST, OVER AND OVER
      2. EVEN-STEVEN? THE LAW MISUNDERSTOOD
      3. COIN TOSSES AND FREEWAY CONGESTION
      4. LET'S GET SERIOUS
      5. BELLS AND BREAD
      6. HOW A TORONTO QUINCUNX CHANGED MY LIFE
      7. FINAL WORD
    13. 7: Gambling Probabilities: Why Donald Trump Is Richer than You
      1. FRENCH LETTERS
      2. ROULETTE: A CLASSY WAY TO WASTE YOUR MONEY
      3. CRAPS: NOT SO DICEY AFTER ALL
      4. BLACKJACK: MONEY FOR MNEMONICS
      5. MATH FOR LOSERS
      6. WIN MONEY AND LOSE FRIENDS
      7. FINAL WORD
    14. 8: Guessing Probabilities: Enter the Statisticians
      1. LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND BEAUTIFUL LIES?
      2. 4 OUT OF 10 LIKE THE PRESIDENT 19 TIMES OUT OF 20
      3. POLLS GONE WILD
      4. THE SILVER LINING
      5. THE LAWSUIT AND THE LURKER
      6. FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND GEYSER ERUPTIONS
      7. SNOOPING IN THE ABBOT'S GARDEN
      8. FINAL WORD
    15. 9: Faking Probabilities: Computer Simulation
      1. MAHOGANY DICE AND MODULAR ARITHMETIC
      2. RANDOM AND NOT-SO-RANDOM DIGITS
      3. NUMBER ONE IS NUMBER ONE
      4. IS RANDOM REALLY RANDOM?
      5. FINAL WORD
    16. Index