Friday, November 30, 2012

Odds of winning the Powerball? 1 in 175 million. Struck by lightening? 1 in 5,000.

Getting hit by lightning or winning the lottery.  Which is more likely?  Not even close. 
It's true to say that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Powerball. But that woefully understates the danger of lightning.

Tim Norfolk, a University of Akron mathematics professor who teaches a course on gambling, puts the odds of a lightning strike in a person's lifetime at 1 in 5,000. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 175 million.

While weather is the go-to analogy for such astronomical odds, Norfolk suggests there are better ones.

For example, you'd have a slightly better chance of randomly picking the name of one specific female in the United States: 1 in 157 million, according to the latest census.
 A problem with all of this is you have the government enticing people to waste their money on this gambling.

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