Hello.
Forgive my lay review here but this is the background to my question:
My daughter and I were headed to school one morning earlier in the year. She was reading 101 Dalmations. While stopped at an intersection - I looked over to the vehicle next to me and surprise, surprise, you guessed it - there in the back seat was a DALMATION.
This morning on the way to school we got to talking about that very event...that coincidence. It then occurred to me while trying to give my daughter a ball-park notion of the (high) odds of having those two events occurring again at random - that I ought to run the question of determining general probability of a seemingly random event by some math gurus.
All disclaimers aside and all things equal, is there a means to estimate the probability of such an event occurring without having much hard data? For example, while very loose on the data, I told my daughter perhaps one could consider the odds of her reading that particular book (e.g. say 1/104), the odds of seeing that particular breed of dog in the car beside us (e.g. estimate that, say, 1/20 cars will have a dog and of those 1/100 would be a dalmation) - and so forth for time of day, route driven and so forth with all the important variables. Thus, if you multiply all relevant terms (i.e. 1/10,000 * 1/20 * x * y * z) you would come up with some kind of guesstimate pertaining to the odds of her reading a book about a particular breed of dog while simultaneously seeing that same dog in a vehicle next to us - at random. I told her it was probably in the millons-to-billion.
Is this the general manner in which the probability for otherwise random events are determined?
Again, my apologies for the likely enigmatic presentation of this ? but clearly I am not a math whiz! Thanks for your help.
-halpmaine