Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why I love the internet

Today is the birthday of Paul the Octopus, who “was a common octopus from Weymouth, England. Paul lived in a tank at a commercial attraction, the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, and became internationally famous after his feeding behaviour was used to correctly predict the winner of each of the Germany national football team’s seven matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as the outcome of the final.” So says Wikipedia.

Here are some other interesting facts from the article:

1. For the mathemetically inclined:

“Assuming Paul’s predictions were no better than fair independent coin flips, the probability of at least 12 successful predictions from 14 attempts is p = 0.0065, or 0.65% (154 to 1). And the probability of his 8 successful World Cup predictions out of 8 attempts is 1/28 = 0.0039, or 0.39% (256 to 1).”

2. For the politically aware:

“Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the reporting of Paul several times during a speech in Tehran, which took place in the weekend of 24–25 July 2010. Ahmadinejad accused the West of using the octopus to spread "western propaganda and superstition," and lamented western decadence.”

3. For the zoologically informed:

“Some other oracles did not fare so well in the World Cup. The animals at the Chemnitz Zoo in Germany were wrong on all of Germany’s group-stage games, with Leon the porcupine picking Australia, Petty the pygmy hippopotamus spurning Serbia’s apple-topped pile of hay, Jimmy the Peruvian guinea-pig and Anton the tamarin eating a raisin representing Ghana. Mani the Parakeet of Singapore,Octopus Pauline of Holland, Octopus Xiaoge of Qingdao China, Chimpanzee Pino and Red River Hog Apelsin in Tallinn zoo Estonia picked the Netherlands to win the final. Crocodile Harry of Australia picked Spain to win.”

On a sad note, Paul died in 2010.

In other interesting news, on this day in 1564 the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the Tsardom of Russia in the Battle of Ula during the Livonian War, and in 1788 the British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on the continent. This latter event is commemorated as Australia Day.

Happy Saturday, everyone.


  1. Paul was delicious though I wish I had asked for him to be griddled with a few clams.

  2. Glad to see we got a mention even if we were last cab off the rank !!

  3. Your comments are always appreciated.

    I think because I included the label "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" with this post that I have gained a new follower today (#111) whose thumbnail photo shows a woman with a veiled face. Her blog, cnUr mItoDosHi, is not written in a language I recognize. Can anyone help?

  4. The language is Octopian - I recognise it from Paul's final words which translated were "Don't forget the lemon juice!"

  5. Thanks, Pudding, I can always count on you.

  6. So much information – I had not heard about this octopus. I wonder if bookies used him for their bets.