Just so’s you don’t think I’m always picking on The Toronto Star, here’s an example of NOT clear thinking from the old Manchester Guardian. You’ll find identical examples in your local papers.
You remember the story as if it happened yesterday, because it did.
During takeoff, a plane hit a flock of birds and came down in the Hudson River. It was no accident that it came down and all survived – it was the result of meticulous training of the pilot and crew, and of meticulous design of a huge chunk of metal that can function as a glider rather than a stone.
Here’s the rub: It wasn’t a terrible coincidence that both engines went out, and one bronze star to the Grauniad for putting it in quotes.
Birds of a feather flock together, right?
Think of a flock of birds crossing your path. Which bird will you hit?
That’s right – if you are big enough, you’ll hit several of them.
Another way of saying that is “several of them will hit you”, this latter being the awful human-oriented view of things. We didn’t fly a plane into a flock of migrating birds – the flock had the audacity to hit US!
So if you hit one of a flock of birds, chances are strong that you’ll hit more than one of that flock.
This isn’t about a run of Heads in a coin-toss.
No coincidence; in fact, it would be amazing if a plane hit only one bird in a flock of several dozen, or even several hundred.