Watching NUMB3RS on TV tonight. Tonight’s show involves stolen lottery tickets. The show is surprisingly critical of state-sponsored lotteries.
CHARLIE: I was right.
ALAN: Still, some of the the money helps fund schools and support teachers.
CHARLIE: That’s the irony. The money funds schools that teach, among other subjects, mathematics. But if more people understood probabilities, fewer people would play the lottery.
ALAN: People give more if they think they’ll get something in return.
CHARLIE: They’re buying into a game that’s designed to make players believe the odds are better than they are. The lottery makes you pick six numbers between 1 and 49. But it’s the same as asking people to pick a number from 1 to 14 million.