World’s Strangest

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Chinese Lottery Winners in Silly Masks

Common advice on what to do when you win the lottery is to not tell anyone. That’s especially hard to do in states where you are required to make a public appearance or have your name published. In China, lottery winners are required to appear on camera accepting the prize, so they have developed the [...]

A Little Bit of Lotto History (Including Thomas Jefferson’s Take on Lotteries)

EPA/ERIK S. LESSER /LANDOV Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is up over $500 million—the biggest lottery prize ever. Whether you call it the poor man’s dream, a casino without walls, or a tax on the stupid, the lottery has deep and widespread roots. Here’s a look at three quick stories about the numbers game. Lotteries of Yore Lotteries have [...]

How to Beat the Lottery with Statistical Certainty

Someone very smart once told me that the lottery is like a tax for the mathematically stupid, but apparently you can make playing lottery a profitable venture … if you’re good at math (kids, this is why you should stay in school). Here’s the story of how a loophole in the Massachusetts lottery game Cash WinFall [...]

10 Interesting Numbers in American Culture (Plus or Minus a Few)

From the number that defeated the Nazis to the one that put a smile on the faces of drunken sailors, here are 10 digits with real value. 1. Nine-tenths of a cent: The fraction that makes us pump more gas Every time we fill up our tanks, we wrestle with one of life’s thorniest mysteries: Why [...]

Jousting on Segways

(Video Link) Actually, the Segway would be a fairly sound vehicle for modern jousting, as this commercial for the State of Washington’s lottery illustrates. But buying lottery tickets is probably not a likely route to this most excellent goal. via DVICE

A Cat’s Aspiration

(YouTube link) Everyone has dreams. This cat dreams of being a cosmonaut. If he’d read yesterday’s post on that same subject, he might not have been so ambitious. This is an ad for a Russian lottery. -via The Daily What

A Statistician Solves a Scratch Lottery Code

A Canadian geological statistician came to the realization that the numbers on some scratch lottery cards could not be random. “It wasn’t that hard,” Srivastava says. “I do the same kind of math all day long.” “… I start looking at the tic-tac-toe game, and I begin to wonder how they make these things,” Srivastava says. [...]

How Random are Scratch-Off Lotto Tickets?

I’m not a lottery player — I don’t like throwing my money down a statistical hole in the ground — but I’ll admit that on occasion I have been the recipient of a scratch-off lottery ticket, and I have scratched it, and haven’t won anything. What a bummer. But I recall one occasion as a [...]

Single-Fingered Dinosaur Discovered

80 million years ago, the Linhenykus monodactylus scratched its lottery tickets with only one finger: Meat-eating dinosaurs were very good at finding food, thus their evolutionary success over some 165 million years. But during their time on earth, they kept losing something that might seem important: their fingers. The earliest carnivorous dinosaurs had five fingers, although [...]

Psychic predicted £1 million lottery win

Psychic Ocean Kinge says she predicted her big win on the lottery several months in advance. “Out of the blue one day I just said ‘let’s start a lotte…