Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

(Not) winning the lottery

While 1 in 10,000,000 doesn't seem so impossible if you see people on the news winning all the time, its recognizably hard to wrap your mind around just how many people are in major US cities.  Fortunately or unfortunately, a simulation program is available to help you see how screwed you are.

Webmath has another take on this: some other odds for the sake of comparison:

You have about a 1 in 2,000,000 chance of being struck by lightning.
A pregnant woman has a 1 in 705,000 chance of giving birth to quadruplets.
Someone eating an oyster has a 1 in 12,000 chance of finding a pearl inside of it.

Alternately, there is one method that's a sure thing:

If you want to win big, consider taking that $10 a week you might spend on lottery tickets and investing it. After 35 years, you will be guaranteed $100,314.56 — if you get an eight per cent return on your investment. With a 10 per cent return, your weekly $10 would be worth a guaranteed $166,742.59. Make it $12 a week and at 10 per cent, you've squirrelled away $200,091.10 after 35 years. Again, guaranteed.

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