Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
I’ve chosen to attempt to enlighten myself about the true mathematical probabilities and expectations that are involved with the lotto. It wasn’t easy either. Check out the state lottery’s homepage. See anything about true odds and probabilities of winning a certain prize? It’s not there. That kind of information is kept with the rest of JFK’s brain somewhere in Bethesda. Thankfully, there are people like Susan at the offices who can’t fathom that there are evil geniuses like me out there who can put together a string of lies just long enough to get that information from her over the phone.
Ready? Here we go. I think that, perhaps, the biggest scam perpetrated on humanity of all time (besides Milli Vanilli, of course...oh, and GW being "elected" twice) are those “Scratch and Win” tickets. So, as I usually do, I started out with a couple of basic questions:
1. How much money actually gets paid back to the players?
2. What percentage of tickets will pay out more than $100?
3. How much money would you have to spend to guarantee that you will make more than you loose?
Without bogging you down with all of the numbers that I was able to get from Susan, here’s what I figured out. This is based on an average, $1, Scratch-and-Win game with a max payout of $5000. If about 15 million tickets are sold there will be about 3.8 million total winners, which means that there are 11.2 million LOSERS. Half of the winners will get $1 back. (I figure that really doesn’t count, because you just bring it back for a free ticket and lose eventually anyways, but for argument’s sake I left it in my calculations). This means that about 60% of all of the money that is paid in gets paid out. Only about .002% of all tickets will pay out more than $100. So this leads to the answer to question #3. How many tickets would I have to buy to guarantee winning more than I lose? The answer is: zero. It is not mathematically possible to do so, if you don’t count the change that you manage to dig out of your car seat to scratch off the poisonous film on the ticket.
It gets worse. Lets suppose that there are 60 Grand Prize tickets ($5000). That’s 60 out of 15 million. Odds are about 1:240,000. Now let’s suppose that 50 of those winners go out in the first three million tickets. That means that your new odds are 10 out of 12 million or 1:1.2 million. That’s about the same as getting audited by an IRS agent that has the same birthday as you. On top of it all there is something called the mathematical expectation of benefit. The average winner gets $2.40, and your odds of winning are about 1 in 4. So the expectation of benefit is about $.60. So, you’re paying a dollar to win 60 cents. Knock it off.
The big lottery is worse still. Odds of winning are 1: 135,145,920. So for a 6.5 jackpot your expectation of winning is $.05. You spend a dollar to get five cents. It’s even worse than that if you want your money in a lump sum. You’ll only get half of that 6.5 million. You spend a dollar to get two and a half cents. Seems silly right? Just as a comparison, your odds of being killed by an animal are 1: 2 million. So maybe you should start giving your money to the squirrels to hedge your bets both ways. Not enough? Well, you are 61 times more likely to be attacked by a flesh-eating virus and 25 times more likely to be executed by the state even if the worst crime you've ever committed is drinking milk straight out of the jug.
Didn’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but at the end of the day you’d be better off donating the couple of bucks to a charitable organization. At least then you could write it off of your taxes. Or, if you really want to gamble, just send the money to me, and I’ll bet it for you...honest.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
- Misuse of the merge lane. It’s called a MERGE lane, Jaggoff! Millions of dollars were spent on creating a mile-long lane so that you could increase your speed to match the speed of the oncoming traffic and merge easily into traffic. It’s not there for you to pull into and park while looking confused and spinning your head around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Step on the gas, and quit getting pissed that I’m honking. I’m not going away. You’re blocking the lane.
- Turn signals that aren’t signaling anything. Are you deaf? I can hear the thing ticking, and I’m three cars back. Turn the damn thing off. When I feel a sense of civic duty, I’ll turn mine on as well in order to attempt to show Mrs. Oblivious that she’s forgotten her signal. I usually just end up getting more pissed off because it turns out she’s blind as well.
- Driving slowly in the passing lane. The sign says “Slower Traffic Keep Right.” Notice the word slower. They say, “I’m not driving slow.” No you’re driving slower…just like your reading comprehension, apparently. This is why widening the roads will never work. For every lane created, it just takes one of these stubborn simpletons to kill billions of dollars of highway improvements.
- People who don’t know where the hell they are going. I think people should have to file a flight plan before they can start their cars. I’m convinced that 50% of cars in traffic are just arseholes that don’t know how to get to the nearest big box store. “Is this the street? It’s a right here…NO! It’s left!” Jesus! Do us all a favor and drive into the nearest lake…if you can find it.
- People who turn at about .0000001 miles per hour. Are you transporting the Mona Lisa? Come on! Grandma’s head isn’t going to fall off if you take a curve at normal speed. Move it!
- People that drive well below the speed limit. You see them every day. They drive so slow they can’t even keep going in a straight line. It looks like they are playing Pong in between the lines. Hey, sober up, Hippie. And if you aren’t stoned then pull over and take a nap.
- Confusion in a parking lot. What makes people’s brains shut off in a parking lot? Hey, folks, whenever you are in your vehicle normal traffic rules still apply. It’s a strange concept, I know.
- Putting on the turn signal as you turn. The idea of a turn signal is that you indicate your intentions before you turn. If you have to hold the signal lever up to keep it on, then you’ve turned it on too late, Jackass. Why waste the effort?
- Shitty parking. I don’t know how you managed to get out of your car, but normal people can’t squeeze through three inches of open door. Center it up, Man. If you don’t then quit bitching when your door gets caved in as I make an honest attempt to enter my vehicle. And you asses that take up more than one spot are really just asking for it. I like firing heat-seeking shopping carts at these cars a dozen at a time…especially Hummers.
- Driving in the mountains. Alright, this one can be a topic all on its own. Here is Daniel P. Daniel’s two-step program that might help you out if you notice 50 or so cars backing up behind you in the mountains. First, pull over to the side of the road and let the good drivers trapped behind you pass at a normal rate of speed. Second, kill yourself. That should pretty much clear it up.
- Dicking around at the light. Hey, a stop light is not the time to pluck your eyebrows, change your clothes, finish a term paper, search for change in the back seat, or beat your kids. If the light turns green while you’re paying the hobo to wash your windshield, you’re going to get such a honking…
- Right turning into a two lane in front of me when I have the right of way to turn left. I have a green arrow, Hogan-Smoker! If I was still in college I would have had no problem at all t-boning your ass into the curb. ‘Course my car only cost $250 back then.
- Roundabout confusion. How is this even a problem? Yield to traffic to your left, just like the sign says. The sign doesn’t say, “Park here, act confused and crash into traffic in the circle.” Maybe I’m just reading it wrong.
- Passing for no reason. I understand that you’re in a hurry to get home so that you don’t miss “One Life to Live,” but, in case you haven’t noticed, there are about a brazillion cars ahead of us. Passing me isn’t going to save you any time at all. If you are really in a hurry then quit being such a wuss and start driving on the median or the breakdown lane, Coward.
- People that drive all the way to the merge point in a construction zone. I’m not sure who is the bigger offender in this situation. Is it the people that wiz by and try to merge in at the last possible second? Or is it the cork-soakers that let them merge in? Probably, they should both be euthanized.
- Gapers. There should be no such thing as a “Gapers’ Delay.” I don’t mind that you want to see some genuine carnage, but quit fekking up traffic. Pull over, get out of your car, grab a stick and start poking around at the guts on the road. Maybe take some pictures, make an oil painting or have a barbeque at the accident scene. Whatever passes for entertainment, but get the f*ck out of the way, Gaper!
- People that freak out in weather. “Wait a minute, Blanche…You’re not gonna believe me when I tell you this, but...something…is falling…out of the sky! Slam on the brakes NOW! Try swerving! That didn’t work?!? We’re doomed!” Again, this can be cleared up if you follow my advice for mountain drivers in #10 above.
- People who swing out into the other lane to make a turn. I’m not sure how big you think your car is, but if you have that much of a problem judging sizes then I feel sorry for your spouse.
- People that don’t know how to drive around bicyclists. Either they are afraid to pass them or they swing out in the other lane to avoid them. What is going on, people?!? There is plenty of room to share the road, and if there isn’t then just run them down. I’m pretty sure it’s legal in most states.
- Four-way stop fools. Here’s my favorite silent conversation that occurs at stop signs millions of times a day: “Go ahead.” “No, you go.” “It’s your turn.” “You go.” “You.” “You.” “No, you.” “I insist.” “Fine I’ll go.” “Wait! I’m going now.” HOLY HELL! Let’s get our crap in a pile here! Quit being a sycophant and just go when it’s your turn, arsehole.
- People that don’t understand who a honk is directed at. If you are three cars back at a light and you hear a honk coming from behind you, it’s a safe bet that the honk wasn’t directed at you unless you are picking your nose or your car is on fire. So quit waving your hands and looking in the rear-view mirror. Instead, you should pass the honk along to the next guy in front of you until the moron at the light wakes the eff up.
- Left turn lollygaggers. These are the people that signal properly then fail to get over into the turn lane. Is there a reason they can’t get their whole vehicle into the turn lane? If they can’t see the lines then I have serious doubts about their ability to navigate a left turn. It’s everything I can do to stop from cramming their bumper into the passenger seat.
- People that slow down when they see a road-side digital speedometer. Are you surprised by your speed? Here’s a tip: there is a small, portable speedometer embedded in your dashboard. I know it’s weird. Check it out.
- Siren confusion. O.K. You’re supposed to pull to the side of the road when you hear a siren. You are not supposed to slam on your breaks in the left hand lane and freeze up like a retard at a spelling bee. Do you think the fire truck is going to be able to drive over the top of your car? Try thinking critically for once. Well, unless you’re a police officer, then I understand that you have that handicap.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Last week we talked about the Democratic National Convention in
The entire mood of this convention was different from the convention last week. The DNC seemed to be filled with hope and actual suggestions about how the candidates might affect change in the nation. The RNC seemed (to me, at least) to be condescending and a complete affirmation that the party isn’t going to move us in a direction that changes anything at all. There were two main recurring themes throughout every speech that was made. Oil and fear. The speakers were often laughing, joking, and pointing to the back-slappers in the crowd. They constantly pressed the domestic oil drilling button, to which the crowd eagerly chanted, “Drill, Baby, drill!” That’s not very thinly veiled is it? Geeze, I wonder if they are really looking out for the middle class and the poor like they say they are? They repeatedly mentioned that we are in danger from our oil dependence on nations like
The highlight of the convention was that we, as a nation, were introduced to the new republican V.P. candidate. The first female candidate in history, Sarah Palin, turn’s out to be quite a spitfire. Take a look at her pic (it's probably a fake, but who cares, really). The first ever Veep Milf? A song comes to mind. What is it? Hmmm, oh it’s...
So, overall I was not impressed with the convention. Sure, the candidates accepted their party’s nominations, but no real ideas about how they are going to change anything were offered. The entire theme of the convention was “Country First” which to me means that they want us to sacrifice everything for this abstract idea of the American dream without actually giving us (middle class and poor) anything tangible like jobs, healthcare, retirement, equal pay, etc. I could be wrong, but it just seems like McMore of the McSame.