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## Wednesday, June 16, 2010

### Wednesday 6/16

Odds

Does anyone really know the odds off getting struck by lightning?  Nah, probably not.  And are those odds really better than winning the lottery?  Nah, probably not.  And in any case, aren’t there infinitely too many variables to even keep up with in order to determine just how astronomical those odds are?  Yeah, probably so.  The fact is, is that it doesn’t take much poking around the internet to see how inconsistent the claims are.  I went ahead and did all the work for you.  Here’s the useful truth:

Lightning

The simplest way to determine your odds of being stuck by lightning in any given year is to take the United States Population and divide it by the number of lightning strikes in the United States that year.  So you’ll find a fairly common number somewhere around 1 in 500,000 or so.  (Some are as high as 1 in 900,000 or 1,000,000.  Some as low as 240,000).  Obviously that’s quite a range, but you get the idea.  No matter what the odds, no one really wants it to be them.

My advice?  Go live in Hawaii, New Hampshire, Washington, Alaska, Delaware, or D.C. where there are no recorded deaths-by-lightning in the books.  (And I hear Hawaii is nice this time of year.)  Does that help you at all?  Not me.  Not here in Texas.  As for the other 45 states, well, don’t go swimming in a lightning storm.  Just go inside.  (And no, you’re car doesn’t count.  And who swims in the rain anyway?)  The almost surefire way to not die by lightning: don’t do anything stupid.

Lottery

I could throw math at you all day for this one.  Basically, winning the jackpot lottery in most states is give or take 1 in 80,000,000.  The multi-state lotteries are depressingly worse than that.  (Those facts don’t sway too many players, however, because governments still bring in billions per year selling tickets.)  (Maybe we could have a national lottery.  Then we could etch away at that multi-trillion dollar debt…just a thought).

BUT if you must, then there’s only one way to win when the odds are 134,435,197 to 1.  Buy 134,435,197 different tickets.  (Then, you don’t need luck.)  So…good luck with that!

By: S. Cole Garrett

Rocket said...

1 in a 1000 babies will develop Autism, 1 in 9 woman -breast cancer, 50% of men=prostate cancer.
37,000 people get pancreatic cancer each year-less than 8% survive more than 2 years. one out of every breast augmentation results in uneven breasts.
playing the roulette wheel-betting on black or red is actually less than 50 - 50, because of the green "zeros"
Smoking cigarettes "usually" will kill you although some people live to be a ripe old age.
puffing away.

if birth control pills are 99% effective- does that mean every 100 times you have sex you'll get pregnant?
half the people who drown have NO water in their lungs.
A rattlesnake only uses venom 50% of the time with any snake bite. however a baby rattle snake will give you the " whole load" when it bites you-due to it's life inexperience.
lastly....
the lotto is nothing more than a tax on the poor and the stupid.

Cole Garrett said...

Yeah, I guess you're right about lotto being basically a tax for the poor and the stupid.

Just curious, you said 1 in 1000 babies will "develop" autism. Call me ignorant, but aren't they born with it, or am I missing something?

Anyway, I got to thinking, I wonder if anyone has ever been both struck by lightning and won the lottery...