I’m not being overly self-critical, I’m examining the California Lottery.
The lottery, voted into existence though the initiative process in 1996(ish), was going to provide a huge chunk of $$$$$$$$ for California schools. Instead of using the extra money generated by the lottery to supplement and increase the education budget, the state government soon pulled a bait and switch; as the lottery generated more school funds, the ass-embly subtracted general funds money slated for education and squandered it elsewhere. But that is not the point f this post.
In 2000, the California lottery commission, in their infinite wisdom, changed the lotto format from a six number format, with the highest number of 52, to a five number series reduced to a high 47, and added a separate set of numbers, the Mega Millions Numbers, 1 to 27, to choose. This was done to increase the size of the jackpots… by making it harder to win (as if it wasn’t hard enough). The government makes more money if there is a larger amount in the jackpot, through interest on the accumulated booty of cash, paid out over time. The public though soon realized the lottery was even more impossible to win, so people, myself included, started playing less, which means the state started getting less $$$$$$ for education that the government had already budgeted. Woops. This is the part of the education budgetary woes they don’t like to talk about. Oooops, I’m off track again.
Anyway, since its inception, up until the last couple of years, I was a regular player. Sometime during the first year the state lottery first came on line, I had this wonderful dream, or vision, or something, that showed me what my winning lottery numbers would be – 6, 8, 17, 22, 23, 49. I had to change the 49 to 25 when they changed to the Mega Millions system, eliminating the number 49 from the numbers choices altogether, and I started using 22 as the Mega number, since I now was required to have a Mega number even though I didn’t want one. OK. Tonight I decided to check if my numbers.
This is what I found.
Two things stood out. First, in seven years, the maximum amount of numbers from my dream list that have appeared on any drawing the painted ping-pong balls is, drum roll please , three. Yes, that’s right, three. And it’s only happened six times in seven years. Lets see, we have drawings twice a week for seven years… that’s 52 x 2 x 7 = ….. uhm math is not my strong suit…. uhm…Â 728. So in 728 drawings, three of my numbers have been chosen six times. Never five or four of them, just three. The other thing that stood out is the amount of times the number 23 has been chosen as the Mega number. Too many times to count. It’s pretty strange, but in statistics it’s called a random cluster or something, where you get, by chance, random groupings that defy normal scattered patterns. I understand this is also why there are certain areas where a specific cancer is seen at much higher levels than normal (here in the San Joaquin Valley, McFarland is an example of one), where, though the large number of cases would seem to indicate an underlying cause, there may be no environmental trigger found for the abnormal amount of the disease found in the community. But were talking numbers here – my numbers – and the apparent futility of playing the lotto. Based on the horrible performance if my numbers, chosen by vision quest, it would appear that I don’t stand a chance of winning the lotto… EVER!
So much for dreams coming true.
This morning, driving home from the morning workout, I was listening to an interview of Ted Koppel on NPR, who was talking about the work of journalist David Halberstam, who died this week in a car crash. I’m not very familiar with his work, but he was said to be on the forefront of rebuking the US spin of success in Vietnam during the early stages of the war, thus fostering development and support for the anti-war movement in the late sixties. While listening to this I had a thought (Uh Oh!); does this type of reporting, where reporters do not even try to accommodate the goals of our government during war, spell doom for the notion of Nationalism in a true democratic society? And is that a bad thing?
Of the presidential elections held today, resulting in a run-off between conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Segolene Royal (love her name, but a commie, and a girl – yuck), here is the knock against Sarkozy:
Mr Sarkozy is hated by the left as a reformer who many fear would change the French way of life by making the nation work harder and longer….
Oh, my! We can’t have that!
PS. BTW, just so no one accuses me of cutting out something that might damage or somehow mute the snarkiness value of this post, the rest of the post read:
…and by cutting back on its generous welfare state.
UPDATE: In the election, the conservative Sarkozy lead with 31% while the socialist Royal garnered 26%. Well, now the leftist are uniting in cause against the electronic voting machines used in the election. They are not right-out claiming the machines are responsible for Sarkozy’s lead, but there is an underlining inference that the new electronic voting machines are to blame for their losses. I’m not a fan of these new machines either; why not stick to the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid) and use tried and true methods of voting, such as the hard to screw up fill-in-the-bubble type ballot we use here in Fresno County. But still,has anyone noticed there are never voting machine problems when leftists win?
(I don’t know if this will work, but here goes nothing)
This is a tree.
Within the tree is a most boisterous mockingbird.
OK. On two linux desktops, Ubuntu and Mint, the video plays but has no audio. The video plays fine plays on XP desktops, so most of my friends should be fine. It’s a codec issue. I’ll explain.
A codec is, in a nutshell, the format that the video and audio are displayed with. Mp3 is a codec, as is WAV, DIVIX, MPEG, JPEG, and GIFF. When you shoot video, or record audio using a digital device, camera, phone, etc, the recording is store in 1′s and 0′s, and the codec is the thing that tells all digital devices how to convert those 1′s and 0′s into something you can watch and or listen to. One codec is not compatible with another. Think of it as the difference between VHS and DVD; they both contain video, but one won’t play on the other machine (try sticking a VHS tape into a DVD player and you’ll know what I’m talking about). Computers are cool because, unlike the VCR or DVD player, which are limited by physical hardware issues, you can download and install the different codecs to allow the different formats to play on you computer.
The video I posted is in a codec called 3gp. It is used on many cell phones, including my Sony W810i. Unlike Mp3 or MPEG, this is not a common codec and is not included in the Ubuntu or Mint Linux (which is based on Ubuntu) software package. I will convert the vid to a more common format so everyone, including myself, will be able to see, and hear, the video / audio thingy I posted.
PS. The video for RareForm is on being converted even as we speak.