Happy Birthday, Ed Snowden?

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Today marks the apparent birthday of Ed Snowden as well as the Summer Solstice. Amid the usual speculation of whether Snowden accessed true information or was pranked by an official via bogus documents, there is a train of thought suggesting astrologically obsessed political and cultural gatekeepers choose people born on an equinox, solstice, or other nature-oriented day of note to be operatives or to otherwise be publicized far more than others aspiring to fame.

The same people also claim frenzy-fueled shenanigans such as human liquidation are more likely to occur on those astronomically noteworthy dates, whether by automobile accident or by apparent suicide. As explained by Chicago Tribune reporter Annie Sweeney, cyanide is fairly easy to purchase and almost never tested for in an autopsy; about half the U.S. population cannot smell the tell-tale almond scent of cyanide, thereby making it less apparent than a hanging staged to appear self-inflicted.

However, the only Americans to practice human sacrifice on the Summer Solstice were the Inca; you’re at risk for being immolated for the gods only if you cross paths with a bunch of well-armed, overzealous Inca cosplayers. Here is my calculation of the probability of ANY combination of three dates — sponsored via BuyMyStats.com, whose motto is, “We run your stats so you don’t have to!”:

365 dates in a year X {[(2 solstices + 2 equinoxes) / 365 potential birth dates] X [(2 solstices + 2 equinoxes) / 365 potential death dates]} =

365 X (.011 X .011) = 365 X .0001 = .0365 =

3.65% chance or likelihood that an individual’s birth date, death date, and either solstice or equinox all coincide.

Distribution of birth dates and frequency death dates should be nearly uniform due to chaotic lack of pattern or coordination of pregnancy or fatality among members of the population. The null hypothesis presumes birth and fatality rates of 68.27% — one standard deviation — of the respective means for all births and deaths in a year to occur during 249 days of that year and birth and fatality rates of 95.45% — two standard deviations — of all the respective means for all births and deaths in a year to occur during 363 days of that year. We therefore expect two days to have above- or below-average birth or death rates which differ from the applicable mean by plus 95% (almost double) or minus 95% (near-complete negation).

To adequately sample birth rates and death rates for each date for comparison, we would need to examine at least 30 years of daily births to population and deaths to population. Then, a difference of at least enough percentage points relative to year-long volatility would be necessary for the effect size to be significant to 99% confidence due to:

Effect Size = (Mean2 – Mean1) / {sqrt[(Standard_Deviation2 + Standard_Deviation1)/2]} =

(Longitudinal_Mean_of_Date – Longitudinal_Aggregate_Mean) / {sqrt[(Longitudinal_Mean_of_Date*0.6827 + Longitudinal_Aggregate_Mean*0.6827))/2]}

We would be able to further proceed if the date-by-date birth rates and death rates were known and input to the equation.

For there to be a non-random distribution of birth dates and death dates — such as by alleged timing of procreation by the parents / “breeders” of intended patsies / cultural change agents and/or planned assassinations consistently aligned with certain dates — the number of individuals having a birthday and deathday on the same solstice or equinox would need to be of substantially powerful effect size and sampled from enough records to be statistically significant. Even if there were to be a persistent mortality uptick on certain national holidays or the day after, then I surmise the primary cause would be deaths from drunk driving.

Notice that if the potential values of assignments were dependent on whether prior selections “removed” certain dates from availability, such as if we were picking and immediately discarding dates from a bucket containing exactly one physical representation of each date, then combinations of duplicate dates would be impossible because each date could be chosen only once.

So, there’s a four-in-365 chance that not only the aforementioned birthday-death-solstice trio of dates could overlap in a given year but also that any three dates could. How appropriate that some would say the Summer Solstice is also opportune to hone your sense of humor!

My memory of famous people’s birthdays and deathdays from years of reading biographies and online articles does not indicate a clear clustering or noticeable non-uniformity to the distribution of famous people’s date of birth or death. The weekly number of obituary notices following a solstice also does not reliably increase relative to the week preceding the same; I’ve not seen data to the contrary or documentation supporting an argument of statistical significance or size effect.

Therefore, I predict that Edward Snowden will NOT be assassinated or “commit suicide” by day’s end; the overlap of birthday, deathday, and solstice sounds conspiratorial or mystical but is no more likely than any other triple date combination. Remember that by “dates” I mean the combination of month and 1-30/31 day of that month without any year designation, or else no overlap of birthday and deathday would occur except by miscarriage or abortion.

With that lighthearted observation in mind, I’ll have a more serious post in another week or so explaining why there hasn’t been an Exodus of Americans going “off the grid” following the Snowden leak and will also summarize my feelings on the same.

Mortality statistics, solstice probability, equinox probability, no sacrifices — human or otherwise — were made.

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