Friday, December 6, 2019

Lottery Odds




I saw the title of the article and I couldn't click on it fast enough,
since I have sold many lotto numbers in my day.
I'm always the first person to start bleating about how the lottery
is a tax on people who are bad at math so when I saw a list of 15 things more likely to happen
than picking the winning numbersfor the upcoming Powerball drawing, I was all over it.

To start with it appears that the chance of winning this particular lottery is 1 in
175,000,000. I won't argue the math; I assume they know what they are doing over at
"jackpot central." It was some of the other odds that had me thinking.
For instance, this article says the odds of losing an appendage to a chainsaw are only
4,464 to 1. That cannot be right. Are they talking over the course of a lifetime or on any
given day? Are we assumed to be living in logging country? Or in a horror flick?

There are 314,000,000 people living in the United States. According to this 70,340 of
them have lost or will soon be losing an appendage to a chainsaw. If this number truly
reflects the odds of something happening on a given day, for example choosing the right
lottery numbers, then America only has 12 years until every man, woman and child has
had a limb chain sawed off. Certainly the manufacturers of gloves have to be concerned.
Although it's possible that some people will have both arms lopped off and some people
will get off scot free. It sort of makes sense really; handling a chainsaw with only one
arm would be a lot more dangerous ... although if you've already sawed off one of your
arms you'd think that you'd be a bit more careful.
Part of me thinks that this can't be right. At what point would the government step in and
make chainsaws illegal?  Certainly before it became impossible to vote on the issue
with a show of hands. Unless of course people could bring their hands in with them in baggie
and hold them up. I know what you're thinking ... "14 more of these stupid freaking
examples of what's more likely to happen than winning the lottery?
No way hosea, I can't take 14 more."
Relax.

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