A while ago I sent my brother Peter Bernstein's book Capital Ideas.* I was trying to get him interested in becoming a "financial engineer," i.e. one of the Wall Street whiz kids who can tell you how safe mortgage-backed securities are. (Now you know why I cannot charge for my advice.)
Anyway, he was looking at it again and noticed a pretty dumb mistake. I reproduce the relevant excerpt below. The author is referring to Cowles (whose first name I forget):
[Cowles] must have been a fiendish bridge player. Here is one passage from his notes on the game:
"If each of 50 million bridge players in the US plays 200 sessions of 40 deals each, this adds up to 50 million*200*40 = 400 billion hands dealt each in US (sic). The probabilities on any given hand being dealt with 13 cards of one suit are .00000000000156. The chances of a hand with 13 cards of one suit being dealt in the US in any given year, therefore are 400 billion times .00000000000156=.624."
I will post the first comment to this thread, giving a hint from my brother.
* Isn't it odd that in that sentence, it seems for a second that my brother is Peter Bernstein? Cuz he's not.