## The Chances of Winning the Lottery

Winning the lottery is how many people believe they will become financially secure in their lives. In fact, about one person in 4 believe  this.

The chances of winning a lottery like the Massachusetts Megabucks lotto or the Ontario Lotto 6-49 are based in the idea that, out of 49 numbers available, you choose 6 numbers once each. Chosen that way, there are 13,983,816 ways of winning, or close to 14 million ways. If you have only one lotto ticket, then your chances are 1/13,983,816 = 0.000000715, give or take a billionth or two.

It would be fun to summarize what those chances are actually like in relation to other things.  Here we go, from my research:

• You are 500 times more likely to die by murder or execution
• You are 248 times more likely to be struck by lightning
• You are 140 times more likely to die from a bee sting or a snake bite
• You are 21.5 times more likely to be killed by terrorists
• You are 20 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident on you way to buying a lotto ticket
• You are 14 times more likely to correctly guess someone’s PIN number
• You are 14 times more likely to be consumed by a rare strain of flesh-eating bacteria
• If you buy 50 tickets a week you could win once every 5000 years
• You are 6.992 times more likely to die when our Earth collides with an asteroid, ending all life on Earth as we know it

But any non-participants out there don’t need my lecture. They have something better: What if you spent \$10.00 on lotto tickets for 35 years? Multiplied out for thirty-five 52-week periods, becomes \$18,200.00 If you had instead invested that same money in, say, a mutual fund over the same number of years at \$10.00 per week, you would have \$100,314.56, which is about \$80,000 in profit.

Apart from it being a sure thing, it is a significant gain in wealth over what would have happened if the money was squandered on lotto tickets.

## 9-11 Conspiracies

I wish to give my \$0.02 on my take of the 9-11 tragedy. First of all, there are indeed a lot of questions regarding the tragedy, all legitimate. Such as: the buildings collapsing demolition-style on their foundations, a rare event, in fact an event which has never happened historically with any burning skyscraper. Unless it’s being deliberately demolished. Who would want to demolish the skyscrapers? Who would gain from such demolition? No one has a clear answer, although I feel that the buildings could not have burned in that way, and buildings 1, 2, and 7 all have coincidentally fallen in the same manner, falling straight down as they did on their foundations. It would seem to defy probability, as well as physics.

But was the Government in on it? Could any government seriously keep a secret on something involving thousands of emergency response personnel and many more in the armed forces? Not to mention the CIA (CIA personnel had offices in Building 7), and other branches of government? Anyone remember the conspiracy headed by Nixon into Watergate? How long was that a secret?

But if we simply look at what is obvious, we see things that ought to alarm us. Governments around the world, including the United States government and the Canadian government, have used the spectre of terrorism to scare us into having our rights taken away on many other things, not all having to do with terror. Our police forces which are equipped to fight crime, not terror, have been funded to the hilt and expanded at a time when crime is at the lowest it has been in decades. Should we really be afraid that the next 7-11 bandit could be a terrorist as well?

I don’t think that the Bush government of the day had the skill or competence to pull off a 9-11. What we all must agree to, however, is that they knew how to exploit the opportunity to take away the rights of its citizens, and detain them without warrant or trial. This is a violation of  habeas corpus, a law which is as old as 13th century England. It is a law that protects a person from arbitrary detention by the state. Violate that law, and you have Gitmo in a nutshell.

Keep your eye on the ball, and let’s not get ourselves distracted with the niggly details of 9-11 physics and any associated conspiracy theory, no matter how much that keeps us up at night thinking. The taking away of your rights is more obvious than any falling building. In the end, your rights are what matter more than the event of almost 10 years ago.

In addition, I would also like to add that while we may easily dismiss the “government” conspiracy theory for 9-11, this does not allow us to say that “conspiracy theories” should always be suspect. For that matter, if we say we are against conspiracy theories, then we should be against saying that the “Al-Q’aeda did it”, since that is a conspiracy theory too.