May 11, 2005

Not a fraud, just a fortune cookie.

How 110 persons got 5 of 6 numbers right on Powerball. And what's with the middle initial of the reporter on this NYT article? Should I be placing a bet somewhere?

12 comments:

Palmer said...

A reference to the film Jennifer 8, perhaps.

Matt said...

No. That's really her name. See her wikipedia enty.

littleredroadster said...

Jennifer 8. Lee is a 20-something "it" girl who has parlayed a talent for networking and throwing parties into a career as a journalist and semi-celebrity. Wonkette has had a bunch of posts about her recently - she's been sued because of some damage to a rental property where she threw a raucous party. I read some interview with Ms. Lee where she explained the 8 but I can't remember her reasons.

littleredroadster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I figured it really was her middle initial/name. (Why the period after the 8 if it's the whole name?) But I just thought it was pretty funny that she was the reporter writing about numbers...

Bruce Hayden said...

I think the saying that Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword is accurate here.

I have always had a hard spot in my heart for state lotteries, including the one at issue. You constantly hear that "You have to play to win" and that the jackpot is up to xxx million dollars.

But you never hear that your odds of winning are typically around 50 cents on the dollar, as compared to the average slot machine which return somewhere around 90 cents on the dollar. This would be false advertising except for one small thing - the lotteries are run by the states.

Worse - the people who tend to play are precisely those who most shouldn't. There is a significant negative correlation between frequency of play and wealth or income. Duh.

The result is a severly regressive tax on these people in their vain attemt to get rich.

I should also note that statistically, the lotteries in question have surely made up for this in all the times that the fortune cookies were wrong - as they are guaranteed to be. After all, their hot numbers are typically generated by random number generators - very similar to what is done in most slot machines today.

amy said...

One has to wonder why she didn't just go with Jennifer Ba Lee. Ba being the way to wright her middle name in English.

Some people are so weird.

amy said...

Er... write.

I swear I went to college. (At least for a while!)

Ann Althouse said...

Here's one of the Wonkette pieces.

BTW, the deleted comment was just an accidental duplicate.

Amy: I think 8 is cooler than Ba. Ba is kind of cool though -- if you can avoid thinking of a sheep.

Gary Farber said...

Lee has been reporting in the Times for over three years, and is one of their more well-known reporters.

Try here.

I recommend a nifty new tool on the interweb; it's called Google, and it can help answer deeply puzzling mysteries such as this.

Ann Althouse said...

Gary: there's a nifty new rhetorical device. It's called humor. I was using that.

Be said...

(Snort) I detest my job, which pays me very little and causes me much stress. I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. The guy who sells me my coffee every morning, Ali, every now and again sells me a lottery ticket when the jackpot gets ridiculously high. I tell him that I'm statistically more likely to win by not playing, but he always returns with the Omar Sharif line when he was hawking the French National Lottery: "Tous qui ont gagné ont tenté leur chance." (The winners were those who took a chance). A couple dollars a month isn't going to kill me, I guess.