March 31st, 2005

Loon

Another good thing from my Wisconsin trip ...

OK, for ages I've referred to a particular quote about the Lotto, but had "lost" the name of its author, which really bugged me. Well, the restaurant we were eating at on Saturday night had all sorts of "ironic" things up on the walls of the booths, and the one we were in had this:

"My favorite animal is steak" - Fran Lebowitz

I was thrilled to see this, as Fran Lebowitz is the source of that Lotto quote:

"The Lotto is the only game I can think of which actually playing it doesn't significantly increase your chances of winning!"

Now, according to a source of her quotes, I appear to have been embellishing this somewhat, as it shows her actual quote as "I've done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not." ... both, of course, indicating that there is no "significant difference" between the odds of 0.000000000 obtained by not playing and 0.000000007 by playing a individual set of numbers (which, of course, does not stop me from religiously playing the Mega Millions game, as I prefer to look at it from a different mathematical perspective, i.e. that the odds of a set of numbers being picked from the same "universe" of possible sets of numbers is essentially 100% and that the odds of any one set of numbers being randomly picked is no greater or less than any other set of numbers, so that my randomly generated, via "quick pick", set of numbers is just as likely to be match the set that is eventually drawn as any other set, and by getting a quick-pick ticket I am at least "keeping the probability envelope open", as minuscule as the specific probability might be for any given number set!).

As I do play the Mega Millions game twice a week (ooh, a "gambling habit" of just over $100/year, how scandalous!), the Lebowitz quote (or my version of it) came often to mind, and it bugged the heck out of me that I couldn't remember who came up with it ... so you can imagine my relief for getting this both "back in my mind" and immortalized in here!


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