(Submitted by Skepticality listener Brian Hart)
I’m taking college level courses at UCLA to complete my education. I was sitting, an hour before class, and reading in our Anthropology book, a chapter about primates. I had no idea there were so many species around the globe. Anyway, one of the Old World species I had never heard of before, the Vervet Monkey, native to Africa, was mentioned in the book along with it’s picture. The chapter I was reading was about sexual reproduction, populations, groups, etc.
I closed the book and headed on to my Anthropology class and put George Hrab’s skeptical show, The Geologic Podcast, episode #383. In the amusing segment called, Interesting Fauna, Geo started talking about a species of primate and it’s mating habits. Can you guess which species? Yep, the Vervet Monkey.
I’ll be a Monkey’s Uncle (or, I share about 96% of my DNA with my Monkey Uncle)!
Below are the extended notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 254. Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, please be sure to listen to the podcast for our own hilarious commentary. Also, visit Barbara’s blog ICBS Everywhere, and Insight at Skeptics Society.
It’s a cute story, but there is absolutely no way to calculate the odds of this happening. It’s highly likely that the author would read about vervet monkeys in an anthropology book, but the likelihood of the topic being discussed on a podcast is a pretty difficult thing to quantify. George is not an anthropologist, zoologist, or any other profession that would be expected to talk about primates. He is a musician by trade and his podcast is about science and skepticism. There are many potential topics for his show and while monkeys certainly aren’t a strange thing to discuss, it’s not exactly a commonly-discussed topic, either.
I think we just have to tip our hat to nature for this one and accept that this is one of those funny, unlikely coincidences that we just can’t quantify.
That and thank the coincidence gods or the opportunity for endless puns about monkeys.
(Submitted by friend of the blog, George Hrab, of Geologic Podcast)
Leave it to our good friend George Hrab to send us a music-related coincidence, and one of the nicest ones you’ll ever see.
According to the source article, this Berlin street performer was minding his own business playing “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat when who should walk by? Jimmy Somerville, the group’s lead singer. I’ll let the video (sadly filmed sideways) explain the rest:
I can only imagine both people were just as thrilled by the moment, but for entirely different reasons.
(Submitted by friend of the site, and our sound engineer, Brian Hart)
A while back I was listening to a George Hrab podcast, and he related a joke about bassoon players.
The joke itself is not too funny, the gist is that it is not a sexy or practical instrument to learn as a career choice in music.
The next day I randomly chose to listen to a 3 month-old WTF Podcast hosted by Marc Maron, this one featuring The Office’s Rainn (Dwight Shrute) Wilson. A few minutes into the show Wilson mentioned that he played bassoon in High School.
In a Universe this large, and vast, and old, this must happen occasionally, bassooner or later.
[EDITOR: This was submitted by Brian Hart. Brian submits a lot of our stories and is our producer and sound engineer for our podcast. It’s for this reason that we’ve chosen to post his story and not flog him publicly for his awful, awful pun.]
Last week we were excited to learn that George Hrab mentioned us in episode 251 of the Geologic Podcast. We’re definitely fans of his wide range of work, so the shoutout was a personal moment for the team. Some of us were even mildly verklempt, which was all the more relevant thanks to his mention of Gefilte fish, though less so since we’re not actually Jewish.
After a brief conversation with George via email, he graciously provided us with permission to post a transcript of his thoughts on the subject which I’ve placed below, followed by some additional thoughts by me, assuming you care. Please validate me by caring. Also, please listen to the podcast if you haven’t already since you get the nuances of George’s delivery, along with his general Georgeness.
Geologic Podcast #251 – Coincidence Transcript
I saw an interesting web site–no, a little blog post. There’s a place called The Odds Must Be Crazy. We’ll try to link to that in the show notes. But someone went onto The Odds Must Be Crazy–Brian H–he wrote this. He said, “I was listening to George Hrab’s podcast (episode 240) on my iPod while heading out to one of my familiar lunch spots in Santa Monica, California. In this episode George did a bit called the History Chunk where he tells what happened on this particular date in history, usually in chronological order, and the makes some kind of joke about it. He mentions how in 1982, boxer Duk Koo Kim died after a bout with Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini. Thirty seconds later I see Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini having lunch in the very restaurant I was walking into. I clandestinely snapped his picture.”
This site is really interesting, and it talks about sort of the odds of things happening and how it can seem that the odds of something must be so astronomical that there must be some kind of a sign. So this Brian was listening to the show, I say “Boom Boom” Mancini, he looks up, and there’s “Boom Boom” Mancini. Now how could we calculate the odds of that occurring? I don’t know, but they’re astronomical. They’re astronomical. And yet if you think, “how many people that listen to the show didn’t see Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini when I said it?”, that would help to demonstrate the odds being not quite as horrifically set against as you might imagine.
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I’ve been busy preparing for and carrying out a move over the last week. So what were the odds that the one week I was too busy to listen to one of my favorite podcasts, THAT’s when we’d get mentioned on it? The answer: I have no idea. But it happened.
George Hrab hosts a very funny podcast about… well, whatever on earth he feels like making it about. It’s a solid hour of chatter about whatever comes to mind, and while that sounds as though it would make for a dreadful show, George never fails to make it hilarious, clever, thought-provoking, and worthy of the time. And now, thanks to him finding the a post on our site by regular contributor Brian H, he’s tracked us down and mentioned us in the latest episode of his show! And he definitely seems to grasp the goal of the site and does a great job of giving some examples from his own life, along with ideas of what others may be experiencing. It’s worth a listen. Check it out here.
So anyway, the TOMBC team is very thankful to George for checking us out, and we’d also like to thank Brian H for leading him here, not to mention drawing our attention to the episode since some of us were too self-absorbed with a life-changing event to catch it on time.
(Submitted by friend of the blog, Brian Hart)
I was listening to George Hrab’s Podcast (episode #240) on my iPod while heading out to one of my familiar lunch spots in Santa Monica, CA. In this episode, George did a bit called “The History Chunk”, where he tells what happened on this particular date in history, usually in chronological order, and then makes some kind of joke about it. He mentions how in 1982, boxer Duk Koo Kim died after a bout with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.
Thirty seconds later I see Ray Mancini having lunch in the very restaurant I was walking into. I clandestinely snap his picture.
Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini
You could have knocked me over with a boxing glove!
[EDITOR: You’re lucky Ray didn’t knock you over bareknuckled for taking clandestine photos of him while he’s trying to have a nice meal. Watch your back…]