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Jamie Briggs

I'll never understand either side of the arguments about whether a person *should* buy a ticket.

Is there a compelling argument that at some point the odds are actually good? of course not.

Is there a compelling argument that the chance of winning a huge amount of money is never worth the $2 ticket cost? That's a personal decision for which the statistics are, frankly, immaterial.

What's the cost of this bad advice?

Still $2 :D

(unless, of course, such an article convinces someone to drop their electric bill check and buy as many tickets as they can with it... :( )


JB: Of course, data and math provide only a tool to aid decision making. The two interesting points to me about that Slate column are (a) from the perspective of the underlying mathematical analysis, there is good and bad math out there, especially so if we also consider bad assumptions leading to bad analysis; and (b) the cost I'm talking about is from the viewpoint of the columnist dishing out this advice to millions of readers. I recall writing a blog post, imagining that a company like Walmart just adds random 50 cents over-charge to a small proportion of transactions. One can say it doesn't hurt anyone materially but it does generate, in aggregate, a substantial chunk of money to Walmart's bottom line. What do you think of that?

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