Friday, November 17, 2006

What diseases can tell us about making girlfriends

Lunchtime. Somebody into mathematical modelling of epidemiology floated a neat idea.

The most fatal infectious disease is not the most dangerous one.

Dangerous in terms of number of people dying. Think of yourself as a virus in Surat. You initially infect 10 people. Now those people die too soon (let us say in one day) without infecting others. Your fatality number is very limited though your rate may be high. Another case. You infect 10 people and you kill them over 10 days. Now those infected people infect so many others and the fataility is so much more higher. Makes intuitive sense! Go ahead ... think about the case-fatality rate (percentage of infected people dying in a particular time frame) of Ebola virus (90%) and the Dengue fever (20%).

All of use were impressed. And then one chap worked further on it.

You want to have a girlfriend. You have two ways.
Either you propose every girl you meet with a 50% chance of acceptance.There are no friends after rejection of a proposal.
Or you make friends (not girlfriend in the usual sense) with every girl you meet. You dont propose her. Instead you propose her 2 female friends. Again a 50% chance of acceptance.

It turns out that your chances of having atleast one girlfriend in the latter case is 75%.

Working moral of the story. Just like diseases, it doesnt pay to "kill" the relationship with your "host" too fast. So make lots of friends.

And you are right. PhDs dont have a life!

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