Saturday, August 06, 2005

Bombings and Expectations

Some news papers have quoted drops in the number of people on the tubes following the sick fanatical acts last month. Most of us, though have gotten straight back on the tube, wearing a strange combination of unconcern and surreptitious wariness. Clearly though there is an appreciable dip in the numbers. And you only have to be Asian and rucksack bearing to clear your corner of the tube. I carry a rucksack large enough to hide the population of Afghanistan on my back, so I have to make it a point of smiling brightly and very un-harmlessly at people all around, pointedly pull out my PDA (mass murderers aren’t associated with hand-held chess) and so far, I’ve not felt any problems or even reactions. But then again I’m smart and handsome, in a short fat and balding sort of way.

Here’s an interesting thought though – while understandably, some people are staying away from the tube, probability and rationality suggests two very interesting things. The first, probability of an attack was always increasing day by day prior to the actual attacks. Hence it was at its highest, just before the first attack. Second, the probability of further attacks diminishes with every successful or unsuccessful attempt, owing to increased surveillance, more awareness and so on, and assuming that there is a finiteness to this, further attacks become less and less likely. So the tube is actually a safer place, now that the attacks have happened. I wonder if this can be modeled.


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