Electronic Replication

Something new has happened. Someone has written a post about me. An entire post! Sure, people write posts about each other all the time. But since this is kind of a first for me, I’m still going to find it exciting–.and interesting! In a remarkable coincidence, the other blogger’s name is also Erik, and he’s gay and a robot enthusiast. What are the chances of that?

Well, let’s find out, shall we? A quick visit to howmanyofme.com reveals…

  • There are 101,989 people in the U.S. with the first name Erik.
  • Statistically the 518th most popular first name. (tied with 5 other first names)
  • More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Erik are male
  • There are 299,968,595 people in the U.S.

So, what are the chances of being named Erik? Well, if you’re female, the chances apparently approach zero. However, if you’re male, which I assume exactly half of the population is, then the chances are 101,989:149,984,297, or approximately 1:1500, or 0.06%. That may seem low, but remember, it’s the chances of being named Erik, not Eric (the 52nd most popular name.)

Next, a visit to Google reveals that nobody can quite agree on the percentage of the population that’s gay. Depending on who is asked, what is asked, and how it’s asked, the results seem to be anywhere between about 1% to 10%. Therefore there should be anywhere from 1.5 million to 15 million gay men in the U.S. But let’s assume the correct answer is 5%, since it lies between the two extremes. That’s 7.5 million, about 4,000 of which should be named Erik. The chances of that are 1:1875.

That’s more than I would have thought, but I never claimed to be good at math. Rather I vaguely remember just enough to be dangerous.

Finally, what are the chances of someone being a robot enthusiast? On that subject I have found nothing. Surely there exists, no doubt behind some impermeable corporate firewall, some closely-guarded marketing demographic database that would quite plainly show that out of X customers, Y purchase robot-themed products. Certainly, Amazon and Google would both have such data. But I doubt either of them would tell me the answer without charging handsomely for the privilege of asking.

However, I’ve run a quick and dirty experiment which could vaguely amount to a survey. I did a search of Flickr profiles for "a" and "a robot"– which is somewhat misleading since I, myself, don’t have the word robot in my profile. In fact, it’s pretty much blank and would thus have been excluded from this search. Anyway, the a-only search returned 72,519 members, and the a-robot search returned 607. I conclude that the chances of being a robot enthusiast are 0.83%. And therefore out of the previous 4,000 Eriks, only 33 will probably consider themselves robot enthusiasts.

Now, to find the other 31…

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