Bit busy today, folks. Here’s some interesting links. Typo warning level 5.
Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator!
That’s the creator’s name for it: I find it exhilarating and nicely done. His simulator lets you pick numbers for the Mega Millions lottery, as per usual, and then run a simulation of lottery draws. You can do just one or up to 1040 times, which works out to twice a week for 10 years.
Surely you should win the lottery after 10 years of hard work! I chose the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and Mega Ball 6. I lost the first three simulations, but on the fifth—oh boy!—I got the Mega, which won me two smackers. Of course, I had already paid out (in simulated money) $5 bucks at this point, so I’m still $3 behind.
The most I even “won” was $7 for matching three correct numbers; over ten “years” I did this five times, which netted me thirty-five smackeroos. Be sure when you play to scroll down to the bottom, where you can find your summary. Mine: “You played 1040 games of Mega Millions. It cost $1040. You won $82.”
I love it! What a great way to show the futility of lotteries.
But wait. Won’t somebody, just like in real life, eventually win? Sure. In fact (also at the bottom), the site gives this update, “In the 3,240,246 times this simulation has run, players have won $23,872,586
And by won I mean they have won back $23,872,586 of the $3,240,246 they spent (736%). [commas inserted in numbers]” Thus, overall, more money was won than spent.
Although the site doesn’t say so, this positive imbalance surely is just for one, possibly two, of three million plays. I suggest the author include in his update the number of people who came out ahead. That would make the results even more depressing.
At the very bottom of the page, are links to a large number of stories on the site, many of which are amusing.
Martin Robbins entitled his article, “This is a news website article about a scientific paper.” It begins:
In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.
In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.
It goes on, paragraph by paragraph, hitting every trope seen in every science report ever seen. His article—parody? precise summary? template?—is so beautifully done, we suspect that it is genuine, in the sense that Journalism schools teach science “writing” is this format.
For new reports, the only words that have to be changed are at the beginning, where the subject is introduced. After that, the article could be copied word-for-word and I suspect nobody would ever notice. See if you agree:
In this paragraph I will reference or quote some minor celebrity, historical figure, eccentric, or a group of sufferers; because my editors are ideologically committed to the idea that all news stories need a “human interest”, and I’m not convinced that the scientists are interesting enough.
At this point I will include a picture, because our search engine optimisation experts have determined that humans are incapable of reading more than 400 words without one.
From the Daily Mail, “Revealed: The maps that show the racial breakdown of America’s biggest cities.” This has been making the rounds, and it’s easy to see why.
For major American cities, Cartographer Eric Fischer plotted a dot for every 25 people, and colored it based on race. The dots add up to clusters, and reveal inner-city boundaries which are no surprise to anybody. Race being the perpetual lunatic subject that it is, you can imagine what people are saying. Typical is this:
Good magazine’s Andrew Price said: ‘What do we, as a society, want to see in maps like this? I think it’s safe to say that the clear separation of races in Detroit is a symptom (or cause) of serious social problems.
‘At the same time,’ he added, ‘it seems unrealistic to expect perfect integration and it’s unclear if we should want that anyway. It’s great that our cities have vibrant ethnic neighbourhoods.’
Serious social problems forsooth! More like (rational and expected) self-selection in choosing where to live.
Mother-In-Law Jokes Banned
In the It Was Bound To Happen Department, the Daily Mail tells us that The London Borough of Barnet has banned certain jokes, and has put out an earnest pamphlet “Cultural Awareness: General Problems,” in which is says:
‘Humour can be incredibly culture-specific, and is very open to misinterpretation or even offense [sic] by other cultures. And don’t forget when you don’t know what people are laughing at, it is very easy to imagine that they are laughing at you.’
Oh, the pain!