stochastic stə-ˈka-stik , stō- adjective
: being or having a random variable
The word stochastic has appeared in five articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on March 6 in the book review “How Rebecca Solnit Found Her Voice” by Jenny Odell:
… Chance encounters lead to further chance encounters that sometimes turn into a book, or to ideas Solnit revisits from an unexpected angle. One chapter begins with an allusion to “hopscotch,” a metaphor she invokes for returning to the same subject, or point in time, armed with new knowledge. It also describes the memoir’s recursive style, which an impatient reader may find frustrating. Others will see it as true to experience, memory and the process of growth.
The stochastic nature of social change has been one of Solnit’s guiding concerns, and here it’s transposed to a personal register: How does a person change? We rarely know what something means when it happens to us. We may be finding out for the rest of our lives.