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Old 02-27-2004, 09:07 PM
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ftg ftg is online now
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 18,380
Ping Pong balls have been tampered with, using white-out/glue type materials injected into some of the balls. I believe PA had the most notorious case. But that involves cheating. If there is no cheating, i.e., the balls are carefully measured to make sure there is no sig. difference in weight, balls are randomly selected from different groups, etc., then no worries.

"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods* of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin." John von Neumann (1951).

*That is, "computational methods" in today's terms.

But there are very good sources of random noise that have been used to produce random bits as add-on devices in computers. Extremely useful for generating random cryptographic keys. But since software can always be easily fiddled with, I wouldn't trust a lottery that used a computer.