Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A STATISTICIAN?

    Filed at 5:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Or a reporter?

    I heard on the radio news last night that some state’s pick 3 lottery had yielded the same winner winning number two nights in a row. According to “some statisticians,” the odds of this happening are one in a million. If s/he really said that, the authorities ought to pull her/his stats license.

    I’m sure, though, that there are some missing data.

    Here’s my imagined Q & A of the unknown statistician:

    Reporter: What are the odds that 6-4-2 would be drawn two nights in a row?
    Statistician: 1,000,000 to 1. But is that really the question you want to ask? Or did you really mean what are the odds of drawing the same number twice in a row? That’s a different question with different odds. That one’s only 1,000 to 1.
    Reporter: Errrrr. 1,000,000 to 1. Got it.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    January 23rd, 2009
    at 8:40 am

    But WAS it the same number/numbers, at all?
    The way you’ve written this, it was the same winner two nights in a row. As in the same person who had picked the right numbers at the right time.

    So the odds would in part depend on that person’s playing habits, how much skin got put in the game?

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    January 23rd, 2009
    at 8:45 am

    Same winning number. I’ve fixed it. Thanks.

    Comment by
    January 23rd, 2009
    at 11:37 am

    Delaware has some special lottery drawing in JAN for a New Year Prize. This year 2009 somehow the winning numbers from last year 2008 were re-announced instead of the winning numbers drawn for this Year 2009.
    People were so upset as many had already thrown their tickets away before news of the error was announced & the correct drawing numbers posted. True Story!!!

    Comment by
    January 27th, 2009
    at 4:01 pm

    Is the order significant?

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    January 27th, 2009
    at 7:04 pm

    The order of what? The winning digits?