Saturday, 10 March 2012

Oh phooey


1, In the USA we “spring forward” tonight to enter “Daylight Savings Time”. What a pain -  is there any truly worthy reason for this nonsense. OH PHOOEY

2.     I forgot to turn the radio on this morning, so I missed one of my favourite NPR Saturday shows “Wait, wait, don’t tell me”.  It’s often very funny (‘specially so when Paula Poundstone is one of the panellists.).  She has a wickedly wonderful wit.  (see http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/ ) OH PHOOEY


3.     I drove to the store this afternoon, and listened to a bit of the NPR broadcast of the “Metropolitan Opera” on my car radio.  ‘Twas a glorious production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  When I got home I again forgot to turn my radio on. OH PHOOEY.

4.     At the supermarket a man ahead of me at the service desk spent $58 on lottery tickets.  He was “betting” multiple numbers on the Florida Lottery and on an inter-state “Powerball”.  I wanted to tell him that he had no more chances with (say) 20 tickets on a lottery than he would have with just one ticket.  For the odds are stacked against all those who purchase lottery tickets.

Should the lottery require the matching of seven numbers the odds of winning are 1 in 85900584.00, according to one website.

  It is impossible to beat those odds however many tickets a person might purchase.  So, whilst it may be fun to purchase one $1 ticket just for the heck of it, it makes no sense to purchase (say) ten such tickets – each with a different set of numbers.  For the odds against winning are 1 in 85900584.00 for each and every ticket.

To put it another way. Let’s imagine that the jackpot is $5 million. A person could purchase five million tickets (each with a discrete set of numbers) and still not win. That’s because for each and every ticket the odds against winning are identical.

What makes me mad is that the various States in the USA proclaim two messages.

One is that the key to success is “hard work”.

The other is that the key to success is a lottery ticket.

Most U.S. State Governments offer these as equally valid options, (and they entice “punters” by suggesting that lottery proceeds will benefit “education” – or some other good cause).  OH PHOOEY.

By all means buy one ticket for the fun of it.  But remember that your “investment” of a pound or a dollar is more than likely to benefit the State or the lucky winner. OH PHOOEY.


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