THE MYSTERY OF THE DOUBLE-YOLKED EGGS. Tim Harford (The Underground Economist) had an article in the February 5 Financial Times based on a report in the Daily Mail that a woman had opened a carton of six eggs and found that all six eggs had double yolks. The BBC and the Daily Mail debated the probability of the woman’s experience. The Mail argued that since the chance of a single egg with a double yolk is one in a thousand that this was a one in a trillion event (in British terms) or one in quintillion (using the American definitions). The problem: this would surely be the first time this had occurred in recorded history, but several callers had reported the same experience. Harford notes that this event is like the claim by Goldman Sachs at the beginning of the financial crisis which I posted on here back on August 18, 2007. I said then that: “Goldman’s Chief Financial Officer called the events of the last few days “25-standard deviation events”, which would make them the kind of thing that occurs once every 100,000 years. It is always tempting for model builders to blame the world rather than the model when the model doesn’t fit the world.” That is what happened here. The solution to the mystery: Workers in egg-packing plants sort out twin-yolk eggs for themselves. If there are extras they put them into cartons. In other words, the eggs are not distributed randomly. The model doesn’t fit.

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