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Your Letters

15:36 UK time, Wednesday, 16 January 2008

I've suggested this before and current weather conditions make it necessary to again raise the idea. We need signposted flood escape routes. OK, we get flood warning signs. It's good to know of areas liable to flood, but you can still get trapped in a maze of roads cut off by floods. REMINDER - avoid going through flood water. If you can't, use high revs & low speed via clutch control. This reduces the chance of water getting to your engine and stalling the car.
Colin Nelson, MK, UK

The articles on the floods was interested especially when I read that "In Dorset, a road leading to Bournemouth airport was blocked after a man became stuck in his car in 46cm (1ft 6in) of floodwater." I would have thought 46cm of water alone would have made the road impassable enough myself even without a man in a car in the middle.

Re Apple announces ultra-thin laptop. Call me cynical, but I don't think that "it does not have a CD or DVD drive in order to save space" because, according to Steve Jobs, it was built to be a wireless machine. It wasn't possibly done so that people couldn't copy music onto it from CD, forcing them to have to download more from the iTunes store and thus more money in Steve's pocket, was it?
Mike Harper, Devon, UK

Whoever is playing Scrabble in the second picture is clearly struggling for ideas and hasn't quite grasped the rules...
Steve, Evesham

With the picture included in the "Facebook asked to pull Scrabulous" article, are you suggesting the the makers of Scrabble should just 'Turn the other cheek?'
C Turner, Southmoor, Oxon

Facebook to pull Scrabble? And still no return of Punorama or the Caption Competition?
What use is an internet connection any more?
Pix6, Vienna, Austria

Re 10 things: "Circumcision does not reduce sexual satisfaction". Sorry to come SO late to the party, but circumcised people would be bound to say that wouldn't they?
Hazel Love, Brighton, England

Would any of your other readers like Tom Cruise's comments on Scientology translated into some semblance of English? On second thoughts, perhaps not.
Clive DuPort, Guernsey

Do you deliberately lay traps in Magazine articles to ensure a steady flow of letters? I think I found one in the Banksy article: "It's very difficult to fake that authentically" Oh rats, you caught me!
Sherlock, London

No, Octopi is a useful plural. A millipede is not a plural of a monopede, but a single creature with many feet. In reverse, an octopus is still an octopus if (sadly) it loses a leg - it doesn't become a septopus. In any case, Octopi is a nice word and deserves to remain in use. Octopie would be delicious too, if anyone ever made one.
Lewis Graham, Pedantville

With all this talk about Greek myths and the plural of octopuses/i/odes, was Paper Monitor exhibiting Tiresias's gift for prophecy with a gnomic reference to Ovid's Metamorphoses in Monday's roundup?
Alex, London, UK

Tuesday's Monitor (Your Letters) - "reckless emoticon useage". - Would that possibly be a reckless way to spell usage? The G-site has no definitions for useage and scrabulous also doesn't allow it.
Anne, Jersey

I think I might be addicted you know. Dreamt about getting letters published last night. It was a really involving dream about the best time to send my letter (I've found earlier in the day is better) and how to judge the level of wit/sarcasm/pedantry. Is there some kind of Magazine Monitor Anonymous I can join?
Kevin Langley, Derby, UK

Simon, Milton Keynes (Letters, Tuesday): my brother got married recently and both him and his wife share exactly the same birthday. Although that is pretty amazing, his previous girlfriend shared his exact birth date as well! Any idea what the chances of that are?
Paul W, Leeds

I wonder if Simon of Milton Keynes could also calculate the chances of any halfway decent female falling in love with me ?
Peter Guide, Bruges

Re Simon, and the likelihood of marrying your twin story - I can't comment on your calculations, and have never been struck by lightning, however when growing up, my next door neighbours had a son with exactly the same birthday as me (was born two hours later) and yes we did date for a while (although no wedding dress was required in the end). So perhaps the story is more statistically realistic than you think - strangely his name was Simon too - it's not you is it ?

Simon, I think you're overlooking something in your calculations. The people we meet are not randomly picked. Most people tend to gravitate towards people their own age and meet many other people, so meeting someone with exactly the same birthday is actually not at all unlikely. Let's conservatively assume that an average person meets about 100 other people aged within 5 years either way of themself during their lifetime. That's a 10 year age range, with 3562 possible birthdays, and you have 100 chances to meet someone with the same birthday as you. That's about a 1 in 36 chance of meeting someone with the same birthday, considerably less than 1 in 1^6. And as for your figure for meeting and falling in love with your twin, then assuming you have a long-lost twin in the first place and that you fall in love with at least one person in your lifetime, the chances of that person being your twin really can't be any less than 1 in about 6 billion, given that there are only 6 billion people on the planet. And probably much higher than that, given that someone born in the UK is a lot more likely to fall in love with someone else born in the UK than, for example, someone born in Outer Mongolia. However, given the astute observation in James's letter, this is all completely irrelevant anyway.
Adam, London, UK

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