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For five years, Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels. His method...


 mathematics economy statistics probability
Hand-held devices could soon have pressure-sensitive touch-screens and keys, thanks to a UK firm's material that exploits a quantum physics trick.


 quantum physics tunnel mobile phone touch probability
Scientists have counted out the chance of finding advanced alien life during the life-time of the Earth.


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The two experiments, combined, pointed out that there is an “innate ability” in humans to rationally expect and know what the chances are that something may occur in the future.


 probability future psychology cognition
US scientists have developed a way of predicting how likely a person is to live beyond the age of 100. The breakthrough, described in the journal Science, is based on 150 genetic "signposts" found in exceptionally long-lived people. The Boston team created a mathematical model, which takes information from these signposts to work out a person's chance of reaching 100.


 longevity centenarian genetics statistics probability
Web search terms are a good predictor of the success of films, songs and video games even weeks ahead of release, researchers say.


 future fortune-telling prediction Internet trend search engine statistics probability consumerism advertising
The free will that humans enjoy is similar to that exercised by animals as simple as flies, a scientist has said. The idea may simply require "free will" to be redefined, but tests show that animal behaviour is neither completely constrained nor completely free. The paper, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests animals always have a range of options available to them. "Choices" actually fit a complex...


 free will freedom thinking philosophy brain consciousness determinism biology fruit fly perception probability complexity random decision evolution survival animal animal intelligence
Littlewood's Law states that individuals can expect a "miracle" to happen to them at the rate of about one per month.
 miracle probability
The Law of Truly Large Numbers, attributed to Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller, states that with a sample size large enough, any outrageous thing is likely to happen. Because we never find it notable when likely events occur, we highlight unlikely events and notice them more. The law seeks to debunk one element of supposed supernatural phenomenology.
 probability statistics miracle
The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
 probability statistics philosophy monkey William Shakespeare keyboard