Prophecy And The Law of Large Numbers — It Applies To The English Bay Oil Spill

The Law of Large Numbers is one of the major facts about probability. It explains why casinos and insurance companies always make a profit. We play just once, they play tens of thousands of times guaranteeing the business a profit.

Let's first take a random person living in Canada and call him Joe. Joe is just an average guy, so let's make a few assumptions about him. Let's assume Joe dreams every night since he was 15 and now he is 75. Since there are 365 days in a year, Joe in those 60 years experienced 21,900 nights of dreams.  

Okay, now let's talk about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011, where thousands of people died. We can assume that this type of disaster only happens once in a life time, and it did March 11, 2011.

Now, lets say Joe remembers having just one dream in his entire lifetime about an earthquake. The chances of that happening the night before the Japanese earthquake struck is 22,000 to 1. No doubt, Joe would be surprised if it had happened to him.

But and this is a big but, there are 35 million Canadians, Joe is being very self-centred. This whole set of events could have happened to any one of us Canadians, not just him. Any one of us could have had a dream the night before the disaster, there was that 22,000 to 1 chance. We would expect 1 in every 22,000 people to have had such a dream, that's a little over 1600 people. What are the chances of that?

Take the world's, 7.125 billion people. That's 325,000 dreams of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, in one generation of people.

This is the "Law of Large Numbers," which states that unusual events such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, are likely to happen when there are lots of opportunities for that event to happen. It goes the same with our lotteries. The chances of winning the jackpot are millions to one, but it will still happen, there will be a winner, for the simple reason so many people buy tickets.

Our example of Joe only concerned people who dreamed of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, for real genuine evidence of premonitions the situation is worse than we could have imagined. In reality, bad fortune and disasters happen to the world on an almost daily basis. Since people dream quite a bit about disasters, crashes, tsunamis, terrorism, in general doom and gloom, the numbers will stack up that there will be the occasional prophecy coming true about an upcoming disaster. It's inevitable there will be a strike, as in the lottery, there is always a winner.

The same applies to the English Bay Oil Spill. With the amount of cargo ships entering Vancouver Harbour at any given time, an oil spill disaster was begging to happen and it did. 

I don't know how many times I told people, someday there will be an oil spill right here on English Bay Beach. I was right! I was just making my assumptions and prediction using the large numbers of ships, sitting out in English Bay waiting for permission to enter Vancouver's busy harbour at any given time. It was bound to happen. 

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