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Posts Tagged ‘University of Nevada Reno

Luck be a lady tonight…


Joan R. Ginther, pictured above, who has claimed four separate multi-million dollar jackpots from the Texas lottery, just may be the luckiest woman alive.  Or not.  The Daily Mail explains:

First, she won $5.4 million, then a decade later, she won $2million, then two years later $3million and in the summer of 2010, she hit a $10million jackpot.  The odds of this has been calculated at one in eighteen septillion and luck like this could only come once every quadrillion years.

Harper’s reporter Nathaniel Rich recently wrote an article [here] about Ms Ginther, which calls the the validity of her “luck” into question. First, he points out, Ms Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD from Stanford University specialising in statistics.

A professor at the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, told Mr Rich: “When something this unlikely happens in a casino, you arrest ’em first and ask questions later.”

Although Ms Ginther now lives in Las Vegas, she won all four of her lotteries in Texas.  Three of her wins, all in two-year intervals, were by scratch-off tickets bought at the same mini mart in the town of Bishop.

Mr Rich details the myriad ways in which Ms Ginther could have gamed the system – including the fact that she may have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets. He believes that after Ms Ginther figured out the algorithm, it wouldn’t be difficult to determine where the tickets would be shipped, as the shipping schedule is apparently fixed, and there were a few sources she could have found it out from.

The residents of Bishop, Forbes reports, believe that God is behind Ginther’s good fortune.  As for the Texas Lottery Commission– which professes to suspect no foul play– they suggest that Ms. Ginther was “born under a lucky star.”  Indeed.


As we rethink the meaning of “scratching that itch,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1999, during celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the coup that brought him to power, that Mu`mmar Qadhdhafi unveiled the “State of the Masses Rocket,” (Sarukh al-Jamahiriy), a five-seater car in a metallic Libyan revolutionary green with tinted windows.  Dukhali al-Magharyal, chairman of the Libyan Arab Domestic Investment Company which produced the prototype, billed it as a first in automotive history, saying it was developed from safety ideas conceived by Qadhdhafi: “The leader really spent so many hours of his valuable time thinking to find a solution, an effective solution. It is the safest car produced anywhere, any place in the world.”  Ten years later, a revised prototype (in white) was shown at an African Union summit in Tripoli.  As far as anyone knows, they are the only two “rockets” on the road.

The Rocket Car (source)


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