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Old 02-08-2015, 05:27 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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How is it statistically more likely to die in an apocalyptic asteroid strike than win the lottery?

If obviously we have lottery winners every few months or so and never in recorded history, as it is my understanding has any human died of and asteroid, then how is it statistically more likely to die in an asteroid apocalypse than win the lottery?
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:37 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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It might help if people know the source of this statement, which I assume is here:

Quote:
15 Things More Likely to Happen than Winning Mega Millions

The odds of winning the Mega Millions are a long shot at 1 in 176 million. From landing dream jobs to unfortunate demises, The Daily Beast lists much more likely occurrences.

<snip>

Dying in an Asteroid Apocalypse

Odds: 1 in 12,500

The good news is that this will probably never happen. That is, until the year 2040, when it’s totally going to happen!
Seems like they are saying IF a big asteroid hits, that's your odds of dying. But clearly it would depend on the size of the asteroid.

Last edited by John Mace; 02-08-2015 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:39 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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Or here http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/02...killed-anyway/
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:44 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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I'm not sure that the statement is true. For one thing, you'd have to define what you mean by "lottery winners."

But let's say that there's a dino-killer asteroid impact every 50 million years. If it hit today and wiped out the human race, that would kill 7 billion people, so we could conclude that the expected average asteroid deaths per year is 140 people (7 billion / 50 million). If there are fewer than 140 expected average lottery winners, then you're more likely to be killed by an asteroid than to win the lottery.

This is grossly oversimplified in many ways, of course, but it's the basic strategy you'd use to build the argument.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:58 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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I guess I'm looking at it in an entirely unhypothetical way. Of all recorded history no one has died from an asteroid while at the same time there have been probably thousands of powerball winners (or similar lotteries). That alone would say that any persons chance of winning the lottery are better than any persons chance of dying by asteroid strike. lottery wins = frequent. Asteroid deaths = never in recorded history.
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:00 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
I'm not sure that the statement is true. For one thing, you'd have to define what you mean by "lottery winners."
At least as important, you have to define "apocalyptic asteroid strike".
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:22 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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I would argue that apocalyptic means total annihilation of mankind.

The article i linked above makes a similar claim that on average there are 91 asteroid deaths per year. I assume they are figuring a potential asteroid strike every 100 million years to get that figure. I also have to assume they are figuring worldwide human population at a constant instead of the reality which is that homo sapiens evolved roughly 160,000 years ago with short life expectancies. As well as the fact that we haven't always had a world population of 7 billion. In fact as of 200 years ago the world population was 1/7th that. In 200 more years it could be twice that. Statistically would twice the population make an asteroid apocalypse more likely?

I realize the wording of the question can mean completely different results in statistics. Such as the statistical likelihood of the same number being drawn twice in a row in the lottery is astronomically unlikely. But at the same time, per game it is statistically just as likely to happen than any other number since the numbers have no memory of the previous game.

I don't think the statement is true nor do i believe the statistics.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:11 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Originally Posted by erocked View Post
I guess I'm looking at it in an entirely unhypothetical way. Of all recorded history no one has died from an asteroid while at the same time there have been probably thousands of powerball winners (or similar lotteries). That alone would say that any persons chance of winning the lottery are better than any persons chance of dying by asteroid strike. lottery wins = frequent. Asteroid deaths = never in recorded history.
But my post already shows how this line of thinking is wrong. The fact that it hasn't happened yet is completely irrelevant. As long as we know the odds of it happening, we can calculate the expected number of deaths per year. Using my very simplified method, that's 140 people per year on average.

Maybe I can phrase it differently...

If 100 people win the lottery every year, then after 50 million years, we'll have 5 billion winners. (Assuming no asteroids cause mass extinctions first).

If 7 billion people die every time an asteroid hits the Earth with one asteroid every 50 million years, then after 50 million years, we'll have 7 billion deaths.

Thus, by the end of the 50 million years, we expect that more people will be dead by asteroid than rich by lottery. For purposes of the math we don't really care which year all these people die in; we just know it'll happen eventually.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:27 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Although there's no recorded cases of people being killed by being struck by meteors, there were two cases of people being struck and injured by them. There were cases where animals have been killed by them. There was a case where a car was struck by one.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:32 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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I do understand what your saying. i do think i was thinking about it wrong, or better yet the stat itself is misleading. This stat only even makes sense when based off population. if the stat is based instead off any other population number or better yet counts mankind as a single unit then the odds suddenly become much different. 1 apocalyptic asteroid event every 100,000,000 years or .0000007 apocalyptic events every year. When that is compared to the number of lottery winners per year i think that is a more accurate statistic.
  #11  
Old 02-08-2015, 08:32 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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There was a case where a car was struck by one.
I imagine that was listed on the insurance claim as "damage by falling rock".

Last edited by Lumpy; 02-08-2015 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:41 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Well, but if you look at it right:

An apocalyptic asteroid strike would, by definition, kill everybody, wouldn't it? (or arguably, all but 110,000 people.) So, in the event of an apocalyptic asteroid strike, you've clearly got a 100% (or as near as makes no difference) chance of dying .

In the event of a Megamillions drawing, for which you have purchased a ticket, you have a 0.000000003863% chance of winning the full jackpot. (Cite: http://www.durangobill.com/MegaMillionsOdds.html because I'm much too lazy to do the math myself.)

So, as you can see, the chances are much better with the asteroid. . . er . . . or something.

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Old 02-08-2015, 08:51 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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In the event of a Megamillions drawing, for which you have purchased a ticket, you have a 0.000000003863% chance of winning the full jackpot.
That is interesting. I guess i was assuming any lottery winner rather than myself in particular winning the lottery. Statistics are tricky.
  #14  
Old 02-08-2015, 09:03 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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I think the two linked articles are making a mistake in that they're comparing the chances of being killed by an asteroid in an average lifetime with the chances of a single lottery ticket winning. It seems like comparing your lifetime chances of both would be a better comparison.

The article linked at post #2 says your lifetime chances of being killed by an asteroid are 1 in 700,000. The odds of winning the grand powerball prize is 1 in 175,223,510. So figuring an average life expectancy of about 80 if you bought a ticket every week (once you turn 18 of course, so 62 years) you'd play 3224 times which would make the chance of winning in your lifetime about 1 in 54,000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
I'm not sure that the statement is true. For one thing, you'd have to define what you mean by "lottery winners."

But let's say that there's a dino-killer asteroid impact every 50 million years. If it hit today and wiped out the human race, that would kill 7 billion people, so we could conclude that the expected average asteroid deaths per year is 140 people (7 billion / 50 million). If there are fewer than 140 expected average lottery winners, then you're more likely to be killed by an asteroid than to win the lottery.

This is grossly oversimplified in many ways, of course, but it's the basic strategy you'd use to build the argument.
Don't forget you cannot win if you do not play. The pool of potential lottery winners is a whole lot smaller than the pool of potential asteroid apocalypse victims.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:56 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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The number of lottery winners in the world is certainly way more than 140; Canada alone, based on my back of the envelope calculations, hands out more than 140 lottery prizes every year of at least one million dollars. The worldwide total is surely many times that.

And of course, it depends how much you play. Every lotto 6/49 ticket I buy confers about a 1 in 4.6 million chance of winning millions (49 pick 6, times three because you get three sets of numbers.). It draws 104 times per year, making my chances about 1 in 45,000, which beats the asteroid odds.
  #16  
Old 02-08-2015, 10:27 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
. . .

Don't forget you cannot win if you do not play. The pool of potential lottery winners is a whole lot smaller than the pool of potential asteroid apocalypse victims.
Why is it only the good things in life are optional?!?
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:56 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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So figuring an average life expectancy of about 80 if you bought a ticket every week (once you turn 18 of course, so 62 years) you'd play 3224 times which would make the chance of winning in your lifetime about 1 in 54,000.
How do you figure your chances move to 1 in 54000 if you buy a single ticket every week? Each individual ticket still only gives you a 1 in 175 million chance. Your lifetime odds of 1 ticket per game still never net you any better odds than that.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:53 PM
Obtenebrate Obtenebrate is offline
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Originally Posted by erocked View Post
How do you figure your chances move to 1 in 54000 if you buy a single ticket every week? Each individual ticket still only gives you a 1 in 175 million chance. Your lifetime odds of 1 ticket per game still never net you any better odds than that.
Basic statistics. Although the odds of any one ticket winning its game are as you said, the potential of the event occurring is increased the more you play. Let me explain how it works using probabilities you're more familiar with.

The odds of a coin flip are 50/50. No matter how many times you flip it, the odds stay the same, and I'm assuming you're thinking that I'm proving myself wrong here. But while the odds of the individual flip stay the same, if you look at a series of flips, the chances of getting a given result at some point in the series increase as it gets larger. If you only care about it coming up heads once in all the flips, then more flips equals a higher probability- it's possible to flip a coin ten times and not come up heads, but it's unlikely. Flip it a hundred times, and getting tails every single time usually means something is wrong with the coin or the person flipping it.

So let's go to a die being rolled, standard six sided cube. Getting a six on a single roll is improbable. Getting a six on the one hundredth roll is equally improbable. But getting at least one six, somewhere in a hundred rolls? VERY probable. Move to a deck of playing cards, without jokers. Drawing a specific card, like the ace of spades, is incredibly unlikely, 1 in 52. If we use a new deck each time, it's always the same probability, the odds of any draw don't improve- just like drawing against a new set of numbers each week in the lottery. But eventually, if you draw one card from a whole bunch of decks, the odds of having drawn the ace of spades at least once keep going up, and eventually it will become almost certain that you will have drawn it at least once.

Playing the lottery each week doesn't mean that the odds of the final ticket someone buys the week they die is special and has a 1 in 54,000 chance, it's still at the one in 175 million odds. But the odds that one of the tickets bought, over all those years, could have won it's drawing are.... well, still really improbable, but more reasonable than before.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:41 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Trucelt writes:

> An apocalyptic asteroid strike would, by definition, kill everybody, wouldn't it? (or
> arguably, all but 110,000 people.)

I assume you mean all but 144,000 people (since there are religious groups that believe something like that).
  #20  
Old 02-09-2015, 06:03 AM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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I have personally known two people who won big money on lotteries, one of whom won multiple millions (and didn't piss it all away, contrary to the cliché).

Since no people ever have been killed by asteroids, and I have strong evidence that ordinary people do indeed win lotteries on a regular basis, I'm going to say you can keep your bogus statistical arguments and I'll keep on buying the occasional lottery ticket.

Last edited by Shakester; 02-09-2015 at 06:04 AM. Reason: spell fix
  #21  
Old 02-09-2015, 06:52 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
... The article linked at post #2 says your lifetime chances of being killed by an asteroid are 1 in 700,000. The odds of winning the grand powerball prize is 1 in 175,223,510. So figuring an average life expectancy of about 80 if you bought a ticket every week (once you turn 18 of course, so 62 years) you'd play 3224 times which would make the chance of winning in your lifetime about 1 in 54,000. ...
I agree completely with your logic. But Powerball draws are twice a week so in 62 years one could play 6448 draws and thereby double your odds of one success per lifetime to 1 in about 27,000.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:25 AM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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By comparison, Wikipedia's article on coin-flipping cites an estimate that the odds of a coin landing on it's edge is about 1 in 6000.
ETA: the study cited gives the odds for a nickel, which is unmilled and comparatively wide; the odds with a quarter would be worse.

Last edited by Lumpy; 02-09-2015 at 07:28 AM.
  #23  
Old 02-09-2015, 12:31 PM
sbunny8 sbunny8 is offline
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In order to cause an apocalypse, the asteroid doesn't need to be big enough to destroy the ecosystem; it only needs to be big enough to damage civilization long enough to cause huge numbers of people to starve. All big cities consume way more food than they produce, and they import the food by trains and trucks. Disrupt the supply lines and the citizens have about a week to either leave the cities or starve.

Sure, you can estimate that a KT Extinction Event sized asteroid will hit once every 100 million years, but it's also likely that asteroids 1/10th that size hit ten times more often and asteroid 1/100th that size hit 100x more often. I would argue that 1/100 the size of the KT asteroid would be sufficient to disrupt our food supply long enough that 90% of the humans would starve. But we wouldn't go extinct.
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:18 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is online now
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The difference is that once the asteroid strikes, everyone's wiped out. So if you look at the thing from a long-term (like, really long term, over a time horizon where it's quite likely that an asteroid strikes) perspective, it's possible to have a situation where you have a total of seven billion people (or whatever the world's population will be at the time) dying from the asteroid strike, but the total number of lottery winners in recorded history will be lower than seven billion. Hence, the probability of being killed by the asteroid strike is greater. The fact that we have, so far, not seen people killed by asteroid strikes is simply a result of the facts that we haven't made observations long enough for the law of large numbers (over the long run, the percentage of events actually observed will approximate the theoretical probability) to kick in.
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:51 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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Quote:
The difference is that once the asteroid strikes, everyone's wiped out.
We all win the grand prize.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:03 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Since we're clearly not going to accept the GQ answer to the original question, at least this thread has conclusively proven that people who play the lottery have a poor understanding of statistics.
  #27  
Old 02-09-2015, 02:28 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitte View Post
The difference is that once the asteroid strikes, everyone's wiped out. So if you look at the thing from a long-term (like, really long term, over a time horizon where it's quite likely that an asteroid strikes) perspective, it's possible to have a situation where you have a total of seven billion people (or whatever the world's population will be at the time) dying from the asteroid strike, but the total number of lottery winners in recorded history will be lower than seven billion. Hence, the probability of being killed by the asteroid strike is greater. The fact that we have, so far, not seen people killed by asteroid strikes is simply a result of the facts that we haven't made observations long enough for the law of large numbers (over the long run, the percentage of events actually observed will approximate the theoretical probability) to kick in.
I think this is the correct way to analyze the situation. One day an asteroid will hit Earth, and kill all humans. On that day were there more lottery winners in the history of humanity than the number of people killed? If so, then it's more likely to win the lottery than be killed by an asteroid, if not then the reverse.

The fly in the ointment is that it's entirely possible that human beings will be already extinct before that asteroid hits earth. If the sun goes nova tomorrow and wipes out humanity then nobody--aside from maybe a few unknown individuals in prehistory--will have been killed in an asteroid strike, while there have been thousands and thousands of lottery winners.

Also note that "winning the lottery" is not very well defined. Unless we define it as winning a particular lottery, like the Mega Millions lottery mentioned in the article cited by John Mace.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:31 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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Since we're clearly not going to accept the GQ answer to the original question, at least this thread has conclusively proven that people who play the lottery have a poor understanding of statistics.
I think you dracoi, had the answer. But I still think that formula is based entirely off population. And I dont think the population makes asteroid apocalypses more likely, nor does it increase my chances of dying in such an event. That formula could not be used as a comparison to winning the lottery.

If the population today was only 100,000,000 we would have an actuarial record of 1 death per year over the proposed 100,000,000 million years between asteroid strikes, making my odds of survival (or at least not being alive when the strike occurred) much better. On the other hand if the population was 100 times what it is now, my chances of dying would be much higher while my chance of winning the lottery exactly the same. That does not compute.
  #29  
Old 02-09-2015, 02:41 PM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erocked View Post
Of all recorded history no one has died from an asteroid while at the same time there have been probably thousands of powerball winners (or similar lotteries).
This reminds me of a Simpsons quote:
Quote:
Homer: Oh Lisa! There's no record of a hurricane ever hitting Springfield.

Lisa: Yes, but the records only go back to 1978 when the Hall of Records was mysteriously blown away.
Which is to say that "recorded history" is perhaps a bad way of looking at events that could wipe out records. (Not that that's the issue here, but it's worth keeping in mind.)
  #30  
Old 02-09-2015, 03:15 PM
dunkleosteus dunkleosteus is offline
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Grabbing impact frequency data from wikipedia, throwing it into wolframalpha and extrapolating for the odds of winning the mega millions (given a draw twice a week that you always enter) you have a 1 / 2482515 chance of winning the jackpot (according to the data also listed on wikipedia) each year. According to the graph, an impact of ~964 GT happens on average once in this period of time, this is just less than 1% of the estimated impact proposed for the KT extinction.


http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i...%2C47000%7D%5D

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i...+x+%3D+2482515

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_...uency_and_risk

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega_Mi...nd_probability

Last edited by dunkleosteus; 02-09-2015 at 03:17 PM.
  #31  
Old 02-09-2015, 04:18 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
This reminds me of a Simpsons quote:
Which is to say that "recorded history" is perhaps a bad way of looking at events that could wipe out records. (Not that that's the issue here, but it's worth keeping in mind.)
LOL, that is funny. I only mentioned the fact that "Of all recorded history no one has died from an asteroid while at the same time there have been probably thousands of powerball winners (or similar lotteries)" because it is accurate to say that lotteries are literally guaranteed to be won on a regular basis and on a relatively short predictable timetable. Asteroid apocalypses on the other hand are not guaranteed or on a short predictable timetable.

Although I do realize that as this thread has advanced, my thinking has changed and i realize we arent talking about just anyone winning the lottery but rather a specific person winning the lottery, which is definitely not a relatively short or predictable process.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:34 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkleosteus View Post
you have a 1 / 2482515 chance of winning the jackpot (according to the data also listed on wikipedia) each year. According to the graph, an impact of ~964 GT happens on average once in this period of time
Wait, what?

A 964 Gigaton impact happens on average once every year?

Like, were there 65 million of them all at once 65 million years ago to make this average, or is this an error?
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:39 PM
dunkleosteus dunkleosteus is offline
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Wait, what?

A 964 Gigaton impact happens on average once every year?

Like, were there 65 million of them all at once 65 million years ago to make this average, or is this an error?
the fraction I gave was the probability of winning on a given year, so I calculated the impact with the same probability.

Last edited by dunkleosteus; 02-09-2015 at 04:40 PM.
  #34  
Old 02-09-2015, 04:58 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
This reminds me of a Simpsons quote
The quote I'm reminded of is:
Quote:
Trying to get rich by playing the lottery is like trying to commit suicide by flying on commercial airlines
  #35  
Old 02-09-2015, 06:14 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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what if there were a single immortal human on earth doing nothing but playing mega millions twice a week. He gets 104 games a year with the probability being 1 in 285m of winning. Over the course of a 100 million year cycle he would've won approximately 36 times for every 1 apocalyptic strike. That should show that he is 36 times more likely to win the lottery than to die by asteroid strike. With his life shortened to only 80 years his probability drops to 1 in 2482515. At the same time the probability that the asteroid will strike in the same 80 year time frame is 1 in 89,370,540.
  #36  
Old 02-09-2015, 07:59 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Lemur866 writes:

> . . If the sun goes nova tomorrow . . .

We know quite about what point in their lifecycle stars go nova, and it will not happen to the sun tomorrow. In fact, it won't ever happen to the sun. The sun is not the right sort of sun to go nova.
  #37  
Old 02-10-2015, 12:15 PM
Buck Godot Buck Godot is online now
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Originally Posted by erocked View Post
I think you dracoi, had the answer. But I still think that formula is based entirely off population. And I dont think the population makes asteroid apocalypses more likely, nor does it increase my chances of dying in such an event. That formula could not be used as a comparison to winning the lottery.

If the population today was only 100,000,000 we would have an actuarial record of 1 death per year over the proposed 100,000,000 million years between asteroid strikes, making my odds of survival (or at least not being alive when the strike occurred) much better. On the other hand if the population was 100 times what it is now, my chances of dying would be much higher while my chance of winning the lottery exactly the same. That does not compute.
But presumably there would also be 100 times as many people playing the lottery, and so 100 times as many lottery winners over time. The common sense that is being refuted is that since I have heard of people who have won the lottery but haven't heard of people being killed by an asteroid, then for an individual winning the lottery must be more likely than being killed by an asteroid, but that is just because the lottery winners are statistically independent of each other so a few can dibble in now and then, but in an asteroid impact, we all go together when we go.
  #38  
Old 02-10-2015, 12:49 PM
sbunny8 sbunny8 is offline
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No matter how you tackle this one, you have to make some assumptions with affect your answer. But it certainly is possible to use certain assumptions which make death by asteroid more likely.

NASA estimated that a meteor 1km across or larger could cause the extinction of the human race. [cite] Such impacts occur on average once every 440,000 years. [cite] So the probability of it happening in the next 100 years is approximately 1/4400. Multiply this by 10 billion (expected human population) and we have 2.3 million dead. Do you think there will be more than 2.3 million people who "win the lottery" in the next 100 years?

My back-of-the-envelope estimate is that somebody somewhere wins more than 1 million USD in a lottery about 100 times per week. That's 5,200 per year or 520,000 in the next 100 years. I'm assuming the number of lotteries won't increase or decrease. So half a million people win the lottery in the next 100 years, which is quite a bit short of the 2.3 million expected to die from an apocalyptic asteroid strike in the next 100 years.

But that's looking at the big picture, including all people on Earth, even those who never play the lottery and people who live in places that don't even have a lottery. OTOH, if you focus specifically on one American who buys one lottery ticket every week with odds of 14 million to 1 against, that person's probability of winning this year is .00037%, compared to .00023% probability of being killed by an apocalyptic asteroid strike this year.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:53 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is online now
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Originally Posted by erocked View Post
We all win the grand prize.
Poor Charlie Brown. "I got a rock."
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Old 02-10-2015, 02:21 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
I have personally known two people who won big money on lotteries, one of whom won multiple millions (and didn't piss it all away, contrary to the cliché).

Since no people ever have been killed by asteroids, and I have strong evidence that ordinary people do indeed win lotteries on a regular basis, I'm going to say you can keep your bogus statistical arguments and I'll keep on buying the occasional lottery ticket.
Using your logic it's more likely that I win the lottery than a woman is ever elected president of the US.
  #41  
Old 02-11-2015, 11:11 AM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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Originally Posted by Snarky_Kong View Post
Using your logic it's more likely that I win the lottery than a woman is ever elected president of the US.
...except that US presidential elections are a heck of a lot more common than asteroid strikes. Given that the US elects a new president every 4 or 8 years, and that there have been no asteroid strikes in the entire history of the human species, and there is zero reason to expect one in the near future, your analogy fails to impress me.
  #42  
Old 02-11-2015, 12:28 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is online now
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Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
...except that US presidential elections are a heck of a lot more common than asteroid strikes.
That's right, butSnarky_Kong wasn't referring to the event of a presidential election happening; he referred to the event of a woman being elected in one of them, which hasn't happened in recorded history. The analogy stands.
  #43  
Old 02-11-2015, 12:32 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
...except that US presidential elections are a heck of a lot more common than asteroid strikes. Given that the US elects a new president every 4 or 8 years, and that there have been no asteroid strikes in the entire history of the human species, and there is zero reason to expect one in the near future, your analogy fails to impress me.
There have been plenty of asteroid strikes, just none that have been documented to directly kill a human being. The Earth gets hit by asteroids all day every day.

As for the sun never going nova, you neglected to consider Alien Space Bats.
  #44  
Old 02-11-2015, 12:35 PM
Velocity Velocity is online now
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I think this is only meaningful if compared in the narrow timeframe of someone's lifespan.


In 80 years, is someone more likely to win the lottery, or be killed by an asteroid? I think the math is overwhelmingly on the side of the former and not the latter.
  #45  
Old 02-11-2015, 01:59 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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Originally Posted by Buck Godot View Post
But presumably there would also be 100 times as many people playing the lottery, and so 100 times as many lottery winners over time.
Your saying that population has any bearing on the probability of an asteroid strike. We are talking about the probability of a specific individual, such as myself winning the lottery. Not the probability of any person amongst the population winning.

It is 1 man guessing the 5 numbers and megaball number that will get sucked up the tube vs an apocalyptic asteroid. Which is most probable?
  #46  
Old 02-11-2015, 02:05 PM
squidfood squidfood is offline
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Originally Posted by erocked View Post
Your saying that population has any bearing on the probability of an asteroid strike. We are talking about the probability of a specific individual, such as myself winning the lottery. Not the probability of any person amongst the population winning.
Look at it this way:

The probability that an asteroid hits the earth tomorrow (LOW) times the probability that it will kill you personally (100% or close to).

The probability that someone will win the lottery tomorrow (100%, or close to) times the probability that it will be you personally (LOW).

So ignore those two "close to 100%" parts, and you're (correctly) comparing the two LOW values to get the answer. The asteroid numbers just turn out to be not as low.

Last edited by squidfood; 02-11-2015 at 02:06 PM.
  #47  
Old 02-11-2015, 02:42 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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Originally Posted by squidfood View Post
Look at it this way:

The probability that an asteroid hits the earth tomorrow (LOW) times the probability that it will kill you personally (100% or close to).

The probability that someone will win the lottery tomorrow (100%, or close to) times the probability that it will be you personally (LOW).

So ignore those two "close to 100%" parts, and you're (correctly) comparing the two LOW values to get the answer. The asteroid numbers just turn out to be not as low.
Thats still comparing population and that has no place in deciding if I am more probable to win the mega millions or if mankind is more probable of being destroyed by the asteroid.

Using dunkleosteus sourcery (post #30)

Quote:
Grabbing impact frequency data from wikipedia, throwing it into wolframalpha and extrapolating for the odds of winning the mega millions (given a draw twice a week that you always enter) you have a 1 / 2482515 chance of winning the jackpot
And his post #33

Quote:
the fraction I gave was the probability of winning on a given year
Your odds of winning the lottery do indeed increase if you play consistently. But by the same token, i dont think your odds of being killed by an asteroid would increase by consistently being alive everyday. Especially over the 80 years of your average lifetime.

Also, "The probability that an asteroid hits the earth tomorrow (LOW) times the probability that it will kill you personally (100% or close to)." Doesnt matter because its assumed that the asteroid kills everyone (apocalyptic).

I think this is the proper way to compare them:

Quote:
what if there were a single immortal human on earth doing nothing but playing mega millions twice a week. He gets 104 games a year with the probability being 1 in 285m of winning. Over the course of a 100 million year cycle he would've won approximately 36 times for every 1 apocalyptic strike. That should show that he is 36 times more likely to win the lottery than to die by asteroid strike. With his life shortened to only 80 years his probability drops to 1 in 2482515. At the same time the probability that the asteroid will strike in the same 80 year time frame is 1 in 89,370,540.
  #48  
Old 02-11-2015, 06:10 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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The OP is ambiguous about whether he's talking about a population or a single person. And also whether he's talking over the length of a single lifetime or the entire duration of humanity.

The OP seems to be referring to something he read someplace. We really don't know what basis those folks used to derive their conclusion.

Until we can at least define what the question really is there are lots of possible answers, many of which are mutually contradictory. And most are as correct as any other.


My bottom line: Hey erocked, please decide what question you want to ask. Then tell us what it is. Then we can get to a single good answer.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 02-11-2015 at 06:12 PM.
  #49  
Old 02-11-2015, 06:54 PM
erocked erocked is offline
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My bottom line: Hey erocked, please decide what question you want to ask. Then tell us what it is. Then we can get to a single good answer.
OK. As the thread has evolved the original question has changed somewhat i suppose. It's definitely gotten more precise, as in what an average lifespan is and how many people exist..... so heres the summary:

This link shows your odds for various things compared to winning the lottery. They show the odds of winning the megamillions is about 1 in 176 million. They show the odds of dying in an asteroid apocalypse at 1 in 12,500. Various other sites have various other odds for the apocalypse. Notably http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/02...killed-anyway/ which claims a 1 in 700,000 chance.

My question was how is it statistically possible for this, which dracoi showed the math used to come to this figure. Although i agree he came up with the likely formula they used i still question the parameters that were used to make that statistic. In other words i think it's a bogus statistic. The question then sort of evolved into, "What would be the proper way to figure out if an individual has a greater chance of dying in an asteroid apocalypse or winning the lottery? "

I have never asked if a population of people has a greater chance of winning the lottery or dying in an asteroid apocalypse as i could unequivocally prove that we indeed have had lots of lottery winners and zero apocalypses in just the past few months. Likewise, since you asked, I'm talking about a single lifetime. And since i haven't specifically stated a number of years that constitutes a lifetime, we seem to have come to 80 years as the average lifetime, so let's go with that.

i don't know what else you might consider ambiguous. This was just something i read last Friday and couldn't stop thinking about.
  #50  
Old 02-12-2015, 12:49 AM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitte View Post
That's right, butSnarky_Kong wasn't referring to the event of a presidential election happening; he referred to the event of a woman being elected in one of them, which hasn't happened in recorded history. The analogy stands.
No it doesn't, because there is every reason to expect a female US president within my lifespan. I fully expect to live to see a female US president. I'd be very surprised if there isn't one within the next couple of decades. I see no reason at all to expect a large asteroid to hit the Earth in the same timeframe. Could happen, sure, but it most certainly isn't anywhere near as likely as a female US president.

My statement wasn't that something never happening before in the history of the human species means that it will never happen in the future. It was that something that last happened 65 million years ago is highly unlikely to reoccur in our lifetimes. Give or take a few million years, sure, entirely possible. Give or take a few decades? Very unlikely.
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