While most players know they won’t win—the odds are a joke—the latex coated ticket is a cheap permission to daydream, to think about the possibility of a better life. Not surprisingly, those without lots of money are more interested in such escapist pleasures. As I note in my recent Wired article on the statistician Mohan Srivastava, state lotteries have become a deeply regressive tax. On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5 percent of their income on lotteries. Of course, this makes no rational sense: People without lots of money should be the least willing to squander their hard-earned cash on games of chance.
More than 1,000 years ago, Mesoamerican societies conducted one of history’s most interesting experiments in commodity money.
Many were expecting extremism survivor and free speech advocate Salman Rushdie to take home the Nobel Prize in Literature, but Annie Ernaux beat him to it.
Einstein always loses in the quantum realm.