My Favorite One-Liners: Part 31

In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.

Here’s the closing example that I’ll use when presenting the binomial and hypergeometric distributions to my probability/statistics students.

A lonely bachelor decides to play the field, deciding that a lifetime of watching “Leave It To Beaver” reruns doesn’t sound all that pleasant. On 250 consecutive days, he calls a different woman for a date. Unfortunately, through the school of hard knocks, he knows that the probability that a given woman will accept his gracious invitation is only 1%. What is the chance that he will land at least three dates?

You can probably imagine the stretch I was enduring when I first developed this example many years ago. Nevertheless, I make a point to add the following disclaimer before we start finding the solution, which always gets a laugh:

The events of this exercise are purely fictitious. Any resemblance to any actual persons — living, or dead, or currently speaking — is purely coincidental.

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