My Sure-Fire Lottery Strategy

Today the Powerball lottery jackpot hit $700 million.  That’s the highest jackpot ever, and it will go even higher before the next drawing on Saturday evening.

gasstationI don’t play the lottery, unless I see a news story that a lottery jackpot has soared beyond the half a billion dollar mark.  When that happens, as it did today, I actually entertain the notion of paying for a lottery ticket.  I figure that the odds against winning any multi-state lottery are astronomical in the normal course, so why not wait until the promised payout is equally astronomical to even things out a bit and make it worth my while?

But, what’s the best strategy for picking the numbers?  Because I normally avoid the lottery like the plague, I don’t have a set of lucky numbers that I play each time like the regulars do.  So I’ve come up with a different strategy — to try to replicate the surrounding conditions that inevitably seem to apply to prior lottery winners, based on the news stories I’ve seen.  A careful analysis suggests that, if the following conditions apply to your purchase, you’re much more likely to win:

  • Drive a battered pick-up truck with a gun rack to a gas station in a remote rural area
  • Pick up a pint of whiskey or a fifth of MD 20-20 and a bag of Cheese Puffs when you buy your ticket
  • Flash at least three missing teeth and use “y’all” repeatedly when giving the attendant your numbers
  • Get into an uncomfortably loud public shouting match with your spouse as you head back to the pick-up
  • Display a “Trump ’16 Make America Great Again” bumper sticker as you drive away

Are there any others?

Lab Rats

Forbes has reported that Facebook “conducted secret tests to determine the magnitude of its Android users’ Facebook addiction.”  In the tests, which apparently occurred several years ago, users of the Facebook app for Android were subject to intentional crashes of the app. without being informed of the tests.

Why would Facebook want to provoke crashes that would frustrate users who were trying to wish a Facebook friend happy birthday or post their latest selfie?  Purportedly, to test the “resilience” of Facebook users.  If your app suddenly crashed, would you just say the hell with Facebook, or would you try to access Facebook through an internet browser instead, or through a different app?

paralyzed-ratsWhen you think about it, intentional crashes aren’t really testing “resilience” — they’re testing obsession and addiction.  After a crash, a rational person would avoid Facebook, for a while at least, reasoning that time was needed for anonymous techno-geeks at some far off location to address the cause of the crash and fix it.  Only somebody desperate for an immediate Facebook fix would spend time searching to get to Facebook via alternative means, because nothing time sensitive ever really happens on Facebook.  You can always send your friend an email expressing birthday wishes, or save that choice Throwback Thursday photo until next week.

But the point, of course, isn’t whether it’s resilience or obsession that is being tested — it’s the fact that Facebook is intentionally frustrating its users at all.  It sounds like the kind of experiment some evil scientist with a futuristic base on a remote island might use on hapless prisoners.  After all, why would you knowingly thwart the efforts of somebody who is trying to access your website?  Facebook no doubt would shrug and say the tests provided needed information — but really, it did the tests because it could . . . and it was confident that Facebook fans would keep coming back.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this:  Facebook has done similar kinds of tests before, and other companies do, too.  On the internet, we’re all lab rats.  Our movements are tracked constantly, but instead of scientists in white coats checking when we take a sip from the water dropper or stop running on the wheel or are responding to the electrodes placed on our hind quarters, data is compiled about which websites we visit, how long we stay there, what we click on, and whether we’re showing an interest in one product or another so that we can be bombarded with pop-up ads for that product forever.

Time for another spin on the wheel!