Kleene Star (kleenestar) wrote,
Kleene Star

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Boggled By Math

So I've been reading this book called The Winner's Curse which my brother recommended to me - it's a book about how and why psychology tends to mess with traditional economic models. It's a little on the dense side, but absolutely fascinating. For example, it addresses issues like why there are wage differences between industries, even when people are doing the exact same job. (A secretary in a leather-goods business makes less than one who works for an auto manufacturer, which shouldn't be - the value of a human being's productivity ought to be the same across all markets, according to strict economic theory.)

Anyhow, so I'm reading along, and all of a sudden I come across something that boggles me: sometimes it makes financial sense to buy every single ticket for a lottery, if the pot is big enough, just to make sure you win. And not only that, but there are at least two criminal syndicates that do just that. Can you imagine getting the call? "Hey, Vinny. We got to go buy ten thousand lottery tickets." I have to use that in a story someday.

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