DailyDirt: Taxes On The Mathematically Challenged

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Every so often, a lottery jackpot reaches such an insane amount that everyone starts to wonder if it's worthwhile to thrown down a couple bucks on a ticket. If you haven't heard yet, it's that time again, and the Mega Millions multi-state lottery drawing could hand a lucky winner over half a billion dollars. Here are just a few reality checks if you're thinking about playing. As always, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 5:16pm

    Hello,

    My name is Ugabatu Hugotyu and I am recently inherited access to the system that picks lottery numbers. I am in Nigeria, therefore unable to purchse the appropriate lottery details necesarry. I am willing to compensate a friend up to $20 million USD if they assist with helping me. In order for me to provide you with the numbers that are certain to win this biggest lottery, you must first send it to me $10 thousand USD so I know you are serious and want to make a lot money. This is real and a great opportunity for you so act with haste. Send me an email with your bank account info, name, address, phone number, social security number, home address, work address, mothers maiden name, name of first pet, name of first school, city you grew up in, favorite color and your favorite hobby to ssabmudami@zte.net

    You cannot lose the lottery if you have my numbers!

    Salutations,

    Mr. Hugotyu

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    A Guy (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 5:38pm

    Re:

    cannot tell if trolling...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, it borders on Ironic Troll/Real Scam artist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    My curiosity got the better of me. The e-mail is a dud. I just popped off a blank and it immediately bounced back

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Could not hold out any longer... the email backwards is a tribute to Charles Barkley's "I'm a dumbass" quote.

    Sorry, I was bored and thought it was funny when I was writing it. Threw in zte to add the international element. Cracked myself up on the data request and enjoyed the loose grammar stylings.

    Mr. who got you...

     

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  6.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 6:50pm

    You Could Always ...

    ... apply the Martingale system to the general case where your odds of winning are 1 out of N: each time you lose, multiply your bet amount by a factor of N ÷ (N - 1).

     

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  7.  
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    simple simon, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, thanks a lot. I already sent all the info and was anxiously awaiting my numbers. I was sure it was legit, so I started charging things on my credit card right away. Now how am I going to pay for all that stuff! You've ruined my life. I think it is only fair that you send me a check for $10,000.00 to cover my losses. Please send it via email to: iamadumbass@zte.net
    Thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Douchebag, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    Dear good sir, not only lightning his twice the same spot, but it OFTEN his the same spots.
    Usually those are the highest spots in the surroundings and or spots covered in conductive material.
    People put lightning rods in tall places precisely so they can get hit by lightnings over and over and over again.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 10:01pm

    I don't buy those things, but I just wondered if anyone compared the chances of winning with a ticket versus winning without a ticket? The chances of winning with a ticket might be low, but I'm sure that winning without a ticket is still impossible.

     

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  10.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Chances without a ticket

    Yeah, but your chances of winning without a ticket are only a _tiny_ bit lower than with a ticket.

    And you save $1.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    Dear good sir, not only lightning his twice the same spot, but it OFTEN his the same spots.

    Not only that, but it hit the same guy 7 times in different spots! Now if I was that guy, I would play the lottery (regardless to the fact that the probabilities are not cumulative and being unlucky enough to be struck by lightning 7 times has no effect on choosing the right combination of numbers to win the lottery.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 9:58pm

    There are some interesting coincidences in the history of lottery drawings. For example, in one Bulgaria lottery, the same numbers were chosen twice in the same week. Lightning actually does strike twice... [url]

    The odds of that occuring is exactly the same as the odds that some other set of number will come up.

    what numbers have come out in the past have no effect on the numbers that will come out the next time.

    The odds of you winning are only SLIGHTLY higher if you buy a ticket than those odds are if you do not buy a ticket at all !

    Therefore you have almost as good a chance of winning the lottery if you DONT buy a ticket as you would have if you did not buy a ticket.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 10:20pm

    Re:

    I would assume quite a few people have won lotto without having purchased a ticket.

    Lotto tickets are often given as gifts for example.

    You could therefore win lotto without buying a ticket or without even knowledge that a ticket has been purchased on your behalf (it might be in the mail) !!!

    Certainly not impossible, but comparable odds to a person who has purchased a ticket.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 10:30pm

    if you have "a million to one" odd of something occuring, then for example if you have 300 million Americans in America, and you have a million to one odds of breaking your leg when you walk up a stair, that means that 300 times (per walking up stairs, in America) people will break their leg.

    If every american walks up one stair per day, there will be 300 broken legs per day.

    Million to one events occur ALL THE TIME !!!!

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 10:33pm

    Re: winning without a ticket is still impossible.

    Nothing is impossible, in an infinite universe everything is possible except infinity !!

     

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    Stig Rudeholm (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 2:47am

    Million to one?

    It's more like 175 million to one, actually... :)

    But don't take my word for it. Here's a video from Khan Academy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyqodNhM3EU

     

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    abc gum, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 8:24am

    I'll just leave this here

    http://www.borowitzreport.com/

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Million to one?

    I was not talking about lotto, just statistics.

    what is 175 million to one ? (actually) ??

    yes, with the lotto it is about that, but was I talking about lotto, No, notice I was talking about the odds of breaking your leg when you walked up a stair.

    No, I wont take your word for anything...

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re: You Could Always ...

    so you believe, (because sometone told you) that the odds of you winning are related to the amount you bet !!!!! ???

    The odds of you winning do not change, regardless of the fact that you have won before, lost before, or never played before.

    And regardless of the amount you bet..


    If your odds of winning are 1 out of N, you would have to PLAY N times to ensure a win.

    if N = 5000 you would have a 50/50 change if you played 2500 times. (or purchased 2500 DIFFERENT tickets)..

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 2:34am

    Re: so you believe, (because sometone told you) that the odds of you winning are related to the amount you bet !!!!! ???

    Where did I, or anybody else, say that?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: so you believe, (because sometone told you) that the odds of you winning are related to the amount you bet !!!!! ???

    ... apply the Martingale system to the general case where your odds of winning are 1 out of N: each time you lose, multiply your bet amount by a factor of N ÷ (N - 1).

    That is making the assumption, that because you lost last time, that changed how you will bet next time...

     

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  22.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 4:17pm

    Re: so you believe, (because sometone told you) that the odds of you winning are related to the amount you bet !!!!! ???

    >That is making the assumption, that because you lost last
    >time, that changed how you will bet next time...

    That’s how the Martingale system works. And that backs up your claim (see subject line) how, exactly?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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