# 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.

- 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]
- If you want to see some math on expected values of lottery tickets and what the odds are for someone to win a given lottery, check out this advice from a mathematician. “
*If you play Powerball every day, stop playing Powerball every day.*” [url] - It’s likely that there will be multiple winners (2.5 according to the math), but even so, the expected value of a Mega Millions ticket is greater than the cost of the ticket ($1.23). Still, the probability of zero winners is about 10%. [url]
**To discover more stuff related to economics, check out what’s currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe.**[url]

As always, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

Filed Under: lottery, mega millions, powerball, probability, statistics, winning

## Comments on “DailyDirt: Taxes On The Mathematically Challenged”

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

## Re: Re:

cannot tell if trolling…

## Re: Re: Re:

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

## Re: 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

## Re: Re: Re:

^{2}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…

## Re: Re: Re:

^{3}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.

## 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).

## 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)..

## Re: 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?

## Re: 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…

## Re: Re: Re:

^{2}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?

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.

## Re: 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.

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.

## 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.

## Re: 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.

## Re: winning without a ticket is still impossible.

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

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.

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 !!!!

## 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

## 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…

I’ll just leave this here

http://www.borowitzreport.com/