An Edi'vial 2
They Don't Advertise
Economists describe this as a virtu- your next poker game, you will be
ally impossible task: explaining dealt a royal flush. (Odds: 1 to
lottery odds in TV spots that promote 649,739.)
play. : Chances are 2,700 times greater
How, then, to illustrate the follow- you will be killed this year in a car
ing concept to a public deprived of crash. (Odds: 1 to 5,100.)
information: In all likelihood you will N Chances are 389,000 times great-
never, ever win the jackpot, even if er you will encounter, and acquire,
you buy dozens of tickets each week. one of three sexually transmitted dis-
At best, the odds of picking the eases this year: chlamydia, gonorrhea,
weekly Lotto's winning six-digit com- or genital warts. (Odds: 1 to 36.)
bination (1 to 13,983,816) are difficult U Chances are four times greater
to fathom. But when you compare you will be killed by a venomous
them with odds of other events, ordi- snake. (Odds: 1 to 3.4 million.)
nary and extraordinary, a picture of U You are considerably more like-
improbability emerges. ly to die before your 25-year mort-
Everyone knows the heavens are gage i1 paid off. (Odds apply to people
far more likely to explode with light- age 30 or older: 1 to 8.)
ning that strikes you than that the a You are 824,000 times more
weekly Lotto drawing will result in a likely to report a brush with the su-
match. Here's what else Rebecca Paul pernatural. (Odds: 1 to 17.)
never told you about winning: married, you are
Chances are 2,000 times greater If you are married, you are sev-
/ Chances are 2,000 times greater eral million times more likely to be
you will be killed at work this era! million times moreiklt
you will be killed at work this year. cheated on by your husband or wife.
(Odds: 1 to 7,292.) If you are a con- Odds? They're much too dishearten-
struction worker, 8,000 times greater.
ing to share.
(Odds: 1 to 1,768.) ig to
Also in the span of a year, if you To really put things in perspective,
are a Marine, changes are 105,000 consider a nugget of information sup-
times greater you will be court- plied by Ignacio Bello, who teaches at
martialed. (Odds:. 1 to 133.) Hillsborough Community College and
M Chances are 21 times greater, in writes textbooks in math:
.-.Many players believe, sooner or
^ later, "their" number will come up.
But can you guess how long it will
take for every possible six-digit com-
bination to surface, even if none is
repeated from one week to the next?
Professor Bello knows: 270,000 years.
Ah, reality! It takes a little fun out
"of the game, doesn't it?
If you wish to unearth more such
sobering facts, consult What Are the
r Chances, a hardback, and The Odds
on Virtually Everything, a paperback.
And, of course, the Florida Lottery.
SFully briefed, as you stand in line
to buy your Lotto ticket, you'll know
just what a long shot your entry is. Or
maybe you won't. According to What
Are the Chances, 33 percent of adults
are incompetent in math.
Come to think of it, isn't that some-
thing the Lottery Department is coun-