As I was watching an episode of Only Connect the other day, I learned an (almost) interesting fact about London tube stations:
St. John’s Wood is the only tube station not to share any letters with the word mackerel
Someone, for some reason, some time.
This was such a delightfully pointless fact, that my curiosity was instantly piqued. Why this station? That word? Is it unique, or unusual for this to happen? Let’s, dear reader, find out for ourselves.
Way back when I was analysing London house price data for the Summer Data Challenge, I made a histogram of the distances from a random point in London to the nearest tube station. I noted that it peaked around half a kilometre, but ignored the shape of the distribution itself. This is an unfortunate faux pas for the accomplished procrastinator, so let’s right that wrong with the help of some stochastic geometry.
I was reading the other day about the Tube Challenge, where people attempt to visit all 270 stations on the London Underground in the quickest possible time. Apparently successful routes are a closely-guarded secret, which got me thinking about how difficult an optimisation problem it must be to find the best route.