Friday, March 30, 2012

Unless You've Been Living Under A Rock Lately... probably know that tonight's drawing for the Mega Millions lottery is the largest in the history of America.  All told, it is estimated that the final prize will be north of $600 million, with a lump sum take-home of somewhere around $400-450 million.  For an interesting discussion on how to calculate your odds of winning, check out this Forbes article.  To save you some time, I think the two most important details are that your odds of winning are about 176,000,000:1, and this: do you improve your expected payoff in Mega Millions? Pick numbers between 32 and 56. They are no more likely to be picked than smaller numbers, but they are less likely to be shared. That's because a lot of buyers play hunches that involve birthdays.

Gizmodo offers some additional perspective on the odds of other things happening to you:

New York Mets Win the World Series 100-to-1

Chainsaw Injury: 4,464-to-1

Fireworks Injury: 19,556-to-1

Date a Supermodel: 88,000-to-1

Struck by Lightning 576,000-to-1

Suffocate in Bed 2,000,000-to-1

Killed by Lightning 2,320,000-to-1

Killed Using a Right-Handed Product (If You're Left-Handed) 7,000,000-to-1

Killed by the Escape of Radiation From a Nearby Nuclear Power Station 10,000,000-to-1

Dying in a Plane Crash 11,000,000-to-1

The good news is that I saw one analysis earlier in the week that if you buy 25 tickets you improve your odds of winning to about 7,000,000:1.  I'm pretty sure they made up that right-handed/left-handed thing, but in any case that's much better than dying in a plane crash and dying of radiation from a nearby nuke plant.  Sweet!  Time to get some tickets...

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