"Observation of a randomly tossed coin remaining vertical"      

  by G. D'Agostini

  (this is not a joke, at least as far as facts are concerned)

     The observation of this rare event is one of the dreams 
  of all those interested in probability: one says, in fact,  
  "probability of head and probability of tail are 1/2, IF
  the coin does not remain vertical". 

  The facts: 

     - Place  : Autogrill Fiano (Roma, Italy); 
     - Date   : November 15, 1998, short after 12:00 (noon);
     - Coin   : 50 lire (usual big one);
     - Surface: a stack of paper shopping bags, practically flat;
     - Motivation of the experiment: none; no intention to have
                that result.     
  Conclusions: perhaps a Frequentist would say that a 50 lire
               coin, tossed in that place and at that precise hour
               has 100% probability of remain vertical...

  Side remark: I was driving to my parents for lunch. When the event
               happened, I decided to take note of the date, and 
               realized that it was my mother' birstsday, which
               I had absolutely forgotten that morning!!
               Had that event exoteric meaning? I do not believe it, 
               but I cannot exclude it ...

      "Can a can of beans contain tomatos?"

      The facts: 

     - Place  : Ferney-Voltaire (F), close to Geneva (CH), 
                by Carlo Bosio (Carlo.Bosio@cern.ch), where 
                we had organized a "pasta e fagioli". 
     - Date   : November 21, 1999, evening (and Sunday).
     - Can    : can of beans bought at La Placette store, Geneva, 
                nominally containing beans ("Fagioni borlotti"), 
                from a never heard before Italian make Fiorino.
     - Result : at the moment where we had to add the beans to the sauce,
                and opended the can, the can turn out 
                to contain pealed tomatos !!
                As no other can of beans was available in the house, 
                we were rather disappointed (first case of "fagiolus
                interruptus" with unpredictable psycological results...).
                The basic sauce of olio-cipolle-cotiche-pomodori-sedano
                was used for an unconventional "pasta e lenticchie". 

      Comment:  Thanks, Luck Godness (Dea della Fortuna), for letting 
                us experience such a very improbable event, but we 
                would have preferred a $10,000,000 win.
                And, expecially, we hope this does not exaust our turn .... 


      General conclusion from a frequentistic point of view: this kind
      of strange events ALWAYS happen Sundays of November...