As a result of a conversation I recently had, I was curious to know how far two people plucked at random from the population of the world/US would be. I used the data from the R maps package and figured it out.

Answer? Farther (or further?) than I would’ve thought. Assuming the readers of this blog are distributed like everyone else, then you and I are probably around 5000 miles apart.

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I was expecting to see plots of probability density (obtained by weighting the set of all-pair (A,B) distances with city A population x city B population). What is the frequency axis?

Hi,

Thanks for commenting. Sorry for being glib in my explanations. What I actually did in my laziness was sample pairs people from cities according to their population. For each pair of people I computed the distance between them and then plotted the histogram of said distances across all pairs. I probably should’ve just computed all pair distances outright, but I was worried at the time that my battery wouldn’t last through the whole computation =(. Plus I did run the procedure a few times with different random seeds and the histogram came up the same every time.