Being Lucky

Very much enjoyed the IET Kelvin Lecture from journalist Simon Singh (in the paper today for daring to disagree with a Channel 4 producer’s approach to climate change). It was the words of the guy giving the thank you address which struck a note too. He said that on interviewing candidates for IBM internships he asked them all “what does being lucky mean”, and graded positively those who had strategies for increasing luck. He added that the Enigma Code Breakers of Betchley Park had a big stroke of luck in finding the missing ‘W’s’ – though it took intelligence to see why this was importance. Reminds me of words about the nature of discovery, seeing what everyone else sees, but then doing something different with that which seems obvious in hindsight.Well you know that kind of thing.

PS: One of the examples Simon Singh gave was the miscarriages of justice when two cot deaths occurred in one family and how statistics were incorrectly used – chiefly that the trials ignored the obvious commonality of context of two such deaths, and heard only the abstract ‘1 in a million’ type chance that was presented at the trial pointing to malicious intent.  Sad also to hear on Saturday of the death of one of the wrongly accused, Sally Clarke.