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Martin, Engineer
Category: General
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Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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What is the probability of the following

Resolved Question:

What is the probability of the following:
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Martin replied 7 years ago.
Hello, can you complete your question, we only got "What is the probability of the following:"
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
yeah, it confused me some how and I didn't get to complete the question when I hit enter.

The question is as follows:

"What is the probability of seeing a license plate with the number sequence 777-XXX or XXX-777 where X can be any alphanumeric character (i.e., A-Z and 0-9). within a single day?

The reason I ask is that I have seen this so many times over the last year that it seems to be non-random.
Expert:  Martin replied 7 years ago.
That is really complicated to calculate as different states have different kind of plate number (some have only number and no letter, some have 7 elements instead of 6).

for 777-XXX in an alphanumeric format, it give 36!/(36-3)! = 1 on 42840 chance. As you also include XXX-777, it give 2 chance on 42840 or 1 chance on 21420. The formula for this is called a permutation formula.

Another thing that make this really impossible to calculate is all many small factors. for example, the whole thing is not really random to begin with. When you take your car you usually do it on a certain pattern (you go to work, you go to the grocery store at semi-regular interval etc..). Also, if one of those 777 live close to your home, it increase the chance you can see one.

There is also the peripheral vision that can play trick. The same can happen with 11:11 on a clock. You think you see it more often than other times, but in reality it's just that your peripheral vision pick it up and give you a hint that something is there (probably because a pattern is detected). You then look thinking it was your will to check the time, but really your brain guided you to look that way.

You might think it's some kind of omen, and it could be. The current science model of reality is still not 100% demonstrated and it's still possible that we create our own reality. If so, creating cue like this in our existence might be possible.
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