Powerball Odds Visualized

I think I might like stat perspectives as much as storms. Ok not that much. These are ways to look at the powerball odds I came up with so far. I'd basically look at my photos and then come up with ways to do the odds. The math isn't complicated at all. Just finding a few ways to look at 1 in 292 million. I hate the "hit by lightning" or "killed by tornado" or meteor ones. Even as a storm chaser these don't give me much perspective.

It helps massively to use something you are visually fairly familiar with. It also helps to end up with a couple "piles" to the stats. Your brain can sort of see the vastness of something then get wowed by the "stacks" also needed to illustrate it. Really the only way to try and visualize the crazy that is 292 million.

There's a real reason the pot is getting crazy big now. They are making it pretty stupid. In the 90s when it started you had 45 numbers the 5 were drawn from. Your odds were 1 in 54 million. They now have 69 numbers to draw those from, resulting in the 1 in 292 million. Guess what it was January 2014? 59 numbers. They did a 10 number jump to really make it hard, because it wasn't good enough. Only a year ago the odds were 1 in 175 million. By adding 10 numbers they made it almost twice as hard again.

I just like looking at it visually. I've been out there buying tickets myself. Even after realizing what I've now realized for perspective below. I'm a may as well'r too. 1 or 2 tickets. But my few times back at it now, it just feels like they've about killed it. So hard to get one number to feel any hope(even if super false hope). I think the worst thing for me is tying to look at the less than perfect winners involved. Those lesser amounts. If you get immensely lucky and hit 4 numbers, 1 in 36,000 odds, you get $100 for you time. I'd rather hit zero numbers than 4. Knowing I got that crazy lucky but only get $100 would be overly annoying I imagine.

Image by FramedByNature


GEESE: 500,000 is probably "generous", it is probably less, which would just make the stat crazier looking. They use aerial photos at this refuge to estimate these counts. I've been there several times for 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and even 1.7 million snow geese. I have a decent idea how much water is covered from those times. According to that this photo of mine should be about 500,000 and likely even less. If it is actually 300,000, which was my first guess, you'll need a lot more boxes. You get the idea.

24x24 boxes gets you 576 boxes. 24x25 gets you 600. It should be 584x500,000. 576 is close enough, especially given the estimation anyway.

LIGHTNING: That figure is evidently not even cloud to ground bolts, but any flash(so seems not even enough). It is based off satellite data. Still I have no idea how reliable that data is. The 9 times a second part is of course not in question and just math on the odds. 292 million divided by 31536000 seconds a year. The lightning questionability just lead me to figure out that end.

COLOR CHANGE RATE: I then needed a way to try to display 9 times a second, so made the gif animation. Need to redo that as it just looks like pick the right color. But yeah, pretend it is drawing

RAILROAD TIES: 292,000,000 / 3000 ties a mile = 97,333 miles needed to include the ties totaling 292 million. 97,333 miles / 2767 miles LA to NY = 35.1 sets of tracks needed.

TILES: 292,000,000 x 1 square foot = 292 million square feet = 10.4 square miles or essentially 3x3 miles...3 and 1/4 to get picky.

QUARTERS: Really straight forward math that is scary. 292 million times 1.75mm quarter thickness = 511 million mm = 317 miles...of quarters. Or 317 miles x 5280 feet = 1673760 feet / 35,000 jet height = 47.8 or 48 stacks.

CORN: Used 30,000 stalks an acre and 90,000 kernels a bushel. 292,000,000 / 30,000 = 9733.3 acres = 15.2 square miles = roughly 4x4 mile grid. 292,000,000 / 90,000 kernels = 3244.4 bushels / 6 bushels a 55 gallon drum = 540.

SHOT GLASSES: 5cm across x 5cm across = 25 square cm x 292 million = 7.3 billion square cm = 7,857,654 square feet / 24 feet(two lanes) = 327402.25 feet long / 5280 feet in mile = 62 miles long.