The Wrong 50%

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Have you noticed that percentages are broken? Today it was noted by the BBC weather app that there was a 43% chance of rain. I am looking out at the rain hammering down; I know the garden needs it. But my point is what happened to that 57% chance of no rain?

You see whenever I see a percentage about rain I think: “The BBC weather app is going to be right.” I believe it more than my own eyes. If I look at the app and it says 4% chance of rain, then I look out and there are a few drops of rain, I think: “I’m safe from rain, no coat needed.” After all, percentages are there for our protection and safety, I absolutely believe in them. If there is 94% chance it is going to be dry that is a certainty as far as I’m concerned. So when they are wrong; there is a big problem.

In fact, and here is my reason for the blog, even 50% is half/half. We should be able to go out safely with a 50% chance of rain. You are in doubt? Let me lay out the proof for you: If I had 100 chocolate treats and I gave 50 to you, then I put 50 around the room, you have half of my chocolate treats. Are you still with me, or have you started to salivate and head off to buy chocolates? Concentrate, this is important. I don’t just make things up you know. If I then said: “What are the chances of you finding those other 50 chocolate treats?” what would your answer be? Pretty good, eh? I think you’ll all agree with me that if you have half already, finding the other half, hidden around my room would be a cinch. I wouldn’t hide them in difficult places. Don’t you just marvel at my mathematical genius? I bet you wish I had been your maths teacher? Yes, I would have given out sweet treats and healthy treats too. OK, so the BBC weather app says 50% chance of rain, I have just convincingly demonstrated, I think, that this means there is little chance of rain. How come then, that on a day when there is only 43% chance of rain, I am looking out at rain? Percentages are broken.

I don’t wish to continue blinding you all with my mathematical genius. As an aside, I failed maths at school. They were unable to see my natural abilities. The way I see it I was too advanced for them. Back to the sweet’s theory, I think.

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