1827: "Survivorship Bias"

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Ranbot
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Re: 1827: "Survivorship Bias"

Postby Ranbot » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:11 pm UTC

(I've lurked around xkcd for awhile... but first-time poster)
Several of you were musing about how to "win" a lottery, but there actually is a man who did. He figured what value the lottery had reach to make it worthwhile to buy every single number combination to guarantee a win. He did this several times and made several million until lotteries around the world wised up to him and changed their rules (you can't do it today). NPR's Planet Money podcast about lotteries and interviewed the man behind it all. It's all pretty interesting and the guy spoke very candidly about what he did. Here's a link to the Planet Money podcast

rmsgrey
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Re: 1827: "Survivorship Bias"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:47 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:(I've lurked around xkcd for awhile... but first-time poster)
Several of you were musing about how to "win" a lottery, but there actually is a man who did. He figured what value the lottery had reach to make it worthwhile to buy every single number combination to guarantee a win. He did this several times and made several million until lotteries around the world wised up to him and changed their rules (you can't do it today). NPR's Planet Money podcast about lotteries and interviewed the man behind it all. It's all pretty interesting and the guy spoke very candidly about what he did. Here's a link to the Planet Money podcast


Yeah, it's a real "rich get richer" thing - taking the UK National Lottery from the 90s (back when I knew the rules), the prize fund for a given draw was half the number of tickets sold plus the rollover jackpot amount from the current run of draws with no jackpot winner. Buying every combination would be 49C6 or roughly 14 million tickets at a pound each - if you miss the jackpot, you're getting back less than half your stake, so you want to be at full coverage (or at least pretty close).

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Jorpho
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Re: 1827: "Survivorship Bias"

Postby Jorpho » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:58 pm UTC

eviloatmeal wrote:I'm curious if anyone ever did any large-scale analysis of self-help / motivational media like this. There are of course some obvious correlations, such as luck, confidence, perseverance, making up a system at sticking to it, and a propensity for writing books telling other people how they should live, as well as all the other common sense things most people say louder than they do themselves (consume in moderation and what-not).

But maybe there's a less obvious and more tangible thing that might pop out if one were to rigorously scrutinize a large sample of self-help guff.
I recall there was some study, ten or twenty years ago, in which it was found that self-help books can have an addictive quality, and that a user may have a surprisingly predictable pattern of ups followed by downs followed by a need for another "hit". A cursory Google search does not turn up a reliable reference at the moment.

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mathmannix
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Re: 1827: "Survivorship Bias"

Postby mathmannix » Tue May 02, 2017 8:05 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Title Text: They say you can't argue with results, but what kind of defeatest attitude is that? If you stick with it, you can argue with ANYTHING.

Firefox says "deafeatest" is spelled wrong. Think it'll get fixed?


It's "defeatist".
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.


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