July 8, 2017 9:53am CST
A story I read today got me thinking about how inventive people can be when it comes to ways of making a living without having to work hard for it. A guy in the US pleaded guilty to making changes to the computer system that picked the numbers drawn in certain US state lotteries, in such a way that the numbers drawn on particular days and dates could be "predicted". Having made the changes over a decade or more ago, all he had to do was get one or more accomplices to buy a ticket bearing certain numbers in any of several state lotteries for draws that happened at certain times on those days and dates, in return for a share of the winnings. I don't know enough about the case to say how the guy and his buddies got caught, but it did make me wonder how many other such "random" events might actually not be as random as you might think... The UK national lottery uses sets of numbered balls in one of a number of special tumbling machines to draw the numbers, making it more difficult to sway the results. A computer, however, is actually quite difficult to program so that it gives truly random numbers - as I found out years ago in my undergraduate days. If you play a lottery game, how do you select your numbers? And does your system work in your favour ever? If you found a way to tip the odds in your favour, would you use it? As this is my 200th post here, I had to write about numbers...
Eddie Tipton, who helped write the computer code behind several U.S. lotteries, including some of its biggest, pleaded guilty Thursday to masterminding a scheme through which he rigged the winning
14 people like this
• Aurora, Missouri
20 Jul 17
Congratulations on your 200th post, pgn! I hope MANY more are in your future! I've never played lotto or any of the games like that. (I may have told you I once started to buy a lottery ticket when I was working at a convenience store. I tore the ticket off the roll but a customer told me he wanted one, so I handed him the ticket I tore off. (I had not rung the ticket up yet.) I started to ring up a ticket for myself when that customer yelled he won $200. I put my money back into my pocket!)
• United Kingdom
9 Jul 17
The odds of winning the lottery are phenomenally high these days since a Canadian firm took over increased the price and added even more numbers. I would say a fool and his money are soon parted. I do not do the lottery as you can probably tell so it won't be me as the advert goes!
• Carthage, Tunisia
8 Jul 17
I had not considered that the story might relate to the choice of numbers on the ticket, or "lucky dip" as it is called here, as well. Just think... Get the computer to issue the winning numbers if you buy your ticket at exactly 8pm on a particular day...!