a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A Very Good Year (1984) || Jack C. Haldeman (II) |
A very short fantasy-like story about Statistics. A senior statistician for Dept of Acccident Prevention describes how the law of averages appears to have failed when applied to mortality rates. In particular, Death takes a holiday for an entire year, causing all statistical models of prediction to fail. The next year, it swings back with vengeance, killing off most of the people on the planet. A very nice description of the variety of variables that have to be included in the mathematical models of estimation (of expected number of fatalities over a New Year weekend). It can be seen as a very light version of Coates's story, "The Law". Not elaborate, just a quick dollop of mathematical fancy.
Published in Analog December 1984.
(Thanks to James Landau for pointing out the family connection between this author and his brother Joe Haldeman, also listed as an author in this database.)
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(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)