Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Coffee!! A lesson in design detection, or in not being stupid enough to buy lottery tickets



Srivastava had been hooked by a different sort of lure—that spooky voice, whispering to him about a flaw in the game. At first, he tried to brush it aside. “Like everyone else, I assumed that the lottery was unbreakable,” he says. “There’s no way there could be a flaw, and there’s no way I just happened to discover the flaw on my walk home.”

And yet, his inner voice refused to pipe down. “I remember telling myself that the Ontario Lottery is a multibillion-dollar-a- year business,” he says. “They must know what they’re doing, right?”

Oh yes, Mohan, that’s something you can count on for sure. The government around here knows what it’s doing. Or someone knows what they’re doing. Or anyway …

Oh, go ahead, losers. Believe everything is due to chance and buy those darn tickets. Maybe we’ll finance a hospital out of it. Still, …

Barb at 4,you seldom said a truer word! Note Lehrer's heartrending stats on who buys the most lottery tickets: poor, uneducated people. Idea! Instead of incorporating senseless yay-hooing for Darwin into biology classes, why don't we incorporate simple explanations of probability re lotteries into adult nite school remedial math classes? We can't, because lotteries, at least where I live, supposedly fund "good works" like hospitals. I've always said it would be better for lotteries to fund violent beer bashes in public parks than to fund hospitals. Responsible people will fund hospitals because they need some no-fooling place to go when they are sick. Who wants to fund violent beer bashes in public parks, and the resulting tab for police services? O'Leary
A lottery is a tax on people who can't do math. Barb
Personally, I have managed to exceed the life-time net earnings of close to 99% of lottery-players by closely adhering to the following simple and fool-proof strategy: Don't buy a tickt. SCheesman
It is, in fact theoretically possible to make money playing lotteries, assuming the lottery is not "fixed" in any way. You could exploit the tendency of people to choose lottery tickets in a non-random fashion, it will not form a perfectly flat distribution from the set of all possible solutions. Assuming you had a good enough knowledge of the sort of distribution actually selected by real lottery-participants, you would then concentrate your investment in tickets in the smaller parts of the distribution (perhaps in numbers that, to the average lottery player, have "less chance" of winning). Of course, the advantage gained by this procedure must exceed the percentage of winnings skimmed off the top by the lottery organizer. This assumes an awful lot, but it does make it possible, at least in theory, and with a large enough stake, to make a living off playing the lottery. SCheesman
For some reason that reminded me of this: Evolutionismist wins millions in casino! (Also quickly escorted to city limits) http://satirizingscientism.blogspot.com/2009/09/evolutionismist-wins-millions-in-casino.html bornagain77

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