The Coincidence Connector

• Dennis the Menace and the Statistician January 30, 2015

As of 1/29/15 , on the website for his book The Improbability Principle, statistician David Hand starts with the story of the simultaneous publication in the US and England of the cartoon character Dennis the Menace in March, 1951. Cartoonists in both countries introduced audiences to a trouble-causing little boy named Dennis, each of whom ... Read more »

• What is a Coincider? January 21, 2015

A person who regularly experiences coincidences is called a coincider. Previous terms have included “experiencer,” “percipient,” and “synchoner.”

The term implies someone who shares an inside view with others as in co-insider. Coinciders are part of a developing group of people who find coincidences important, useful, and intriguing.

There are several stages in the coincider spectrum:

1. A major ... Read more »
2. The Problem and Promise of Probability January 15, 2015

Many people believe that randomness , chance and probability provide the best explanations for coincidences. Their belief is strongly supported by an almost unassailable axiom: In Large Populations Low Probability Events Must Happen.

3. The Elephant, the Statisticians and the Faithful January 11, 2015

David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University and David Hand of the Imperial College of London are among several statisticians who believe that they have solved the coincidence problem. Probabilities! Any event that can happen will happen given a large number of instances. If a coin is flipped an infinite number of times, there will sometime ... Read more »

4. The Timely Old Friend January 8, 2015

Erica Kosal desperately needed help. She wrote her story in Lois W. Stern’s Tales2Inspire: The Emerald Collection, one of several books in this growing series. Erica’s very ill husband was incapacitated by Lyme disease. She was trying to balance caring for him and their two young children with working as a professor at a ... Read more »

5. The Goddess of Wealth January 5, 2015

In this video clip Mike Myers is entering the office of Deepak Chopra when he spots a card pasted to the wall. Surprised, Mike pulls out a deck of Indian god cards. The one of top is the same card as the one on the wall—the Goddess of Wealth. On his way out ... Read more »

6. The Four Meanings in Meaningful Coincidences January 2, 2015

I have long been perplexed by the various meanings of meaning in coincidences. A book published in 1923 (and still in press) called the “Meaning of Meaning” only heightened my curiosity. Meaning and its related words have many meanings. For example, mean can mean “average” or “nasty”.

7. Where’s Aussie? December 29, 2014

While vacationing in Florida, a woman received word from her dog sitter that during an ice storm fallen trees had  broken  the fence in their backyard. Her dog Aussie had run away through the broken fence. By now Aussie, an Australian Cattle Dog-Pit Bull mix, had been gone for two nights of very cold ... Read more »

8. Pilots Reunited December 21, 2014

John Leahr, a proud fighter pilot of the Tuskegee Airmen, had escorted Herb Heilbrun’s B-17 in bombing missions in Europe during 1944.  B-17s were big, clumsy, and slow–easy targets for enemy aircraft.  Herb knew he owed his life to the shepherding fighter pilots. But John and Herb had never met. Fifty years later Herb ... Read more »

9. The Simultaneous Deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams December 19, 2014

On July 4, 1826 the last surviving signers of the Declaration of Independence died. Adams was 90 and Jefferson was 82. As he lay dying, Adams was supposed to have said, “Jefferson lives.” He was wrong. Jefferson had died 5 hours earlier. Adams was the second president of the United States and Jefferson, the third. ... Read more »

10. The Guy Next Door December 18, 2014

A professor of Italian I knew had an apartment in Milan. He loved it!  He would spend his sabbaticals  there doing research and immersing himself in the culture he loved. One problem: The man in the apartment next to him was obnoxious to him and to the other neighbors. The professor disliked him.  And ... Read more »

11. Simultaneous discovery—Google and Stanford December 16, 2014

Great discoveries commonly occur in pairs.

Pattern recognition by machines has long been inferior to the human brain.  In 2012 it took an army of 16,000 computer processers to be able to recognize a cat.

On Monday November 17, 2014, Stanford’s Computer Vision Lab and Google Brain separately ... Read more »

12. Carmen’s Dance December 10, 2014

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

In 2009 because of her excellent academic performance Carmen was one of two students selected to attend a national conference at her Costa Rica medical school. A problem arose. The translator for the American presenter, then chair of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, had ... Read more »

13. Finding my Friend, Again, Somehow December 8, 2014

We have the ability to find our way to people without knowing how we do it.

A few years ago Jane Clifford spent a month with the Bedouin in the Sinai Peninsula. She told us what happened:

“My intuition kept giving me the message that I was to go to ... Read more »

14. Life is but a dream December 5, 2014

Like dreams, meaningful coincidences can be hard to remember. So write them down! Josh Hotchkin wrote recently to the Coincider Website: “Synchronicity and coincidence have been hugely influential to my intellectual and spiritual growth. I encounter synchronicities quite often, and often multifaceted synchronicities with several degrees of complexity. Synchronicity has inspired my ... Read more »