August 26, 2009

Something that always bugged me about Statistics/Odds

Let's say that your odds of winning the lottery are something like: 1 in 23,000,000 - There seems to be a view that if you buy two tickets that your odds are now 1 in 11,500,000. But here's what bugs me about this.....and leads me to think that reducing odds fractions (2 in 23 million) is nothing more than a lie when it comes to talking about odds.

A random sample of 11,500,000 tickets has a 50% chance of containing one of your two tickets. Independently for each one. Your odds in that random sample of 11.5million tickets may be one of the following:
0 in 11.5mil (25% chance)
1 in 11.5mil (50% chance)
2 in 11.5mil (25% chance)

If you buy 11.5million tickets, your odds reduce to 50%, or 1 in 2 - but there's still a chance that if you pick 2 tickets from the 23 million tickets that one of them isn't yours....
0 in 2 (25% chance)
1 in 2 (50% chance)
2 in 2 (25% chance)

And once you've picked the two tickets - and then pick the winner.....
100%*25% (2 in 2)
+50%*50% (1 in 2)
+0%*25% (0 in 2)
Totals to 50% overall for the drawing, but the majority of that remaining 25% is when the '2' in your 1 in 2 chances don't contain any chance of you winning whatsoever.

Reducing odds from 2 in 23million to 1 in 11.5million seems to me to be a form of self-delusion...

August 21, 2009

Unfinished Posts, Random Thoughts and Life

Time - the one thing that I cannot obtain more of - as I fill my life with pursuits, time quickly runs out. Working out every day feels great, but it soaks up a full hour and a half each day. Of course, if it adds years to my life, I can imagine that it's worth it. I'll have to go and do the math on that....Let's see - a year of working out is about 365*1.5 = 547.5 hours - would need to extend my life by 23 days to be worth it. Yeah - I can see that working out in the end. Of course, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I'll just leave a prettier corpse.