- This paper starts off badly, in claiming that it’s less likely for you to win the lottery than to be killed by a meteorite. This seems to be such obvious nonsense that I thought I’d check it out. In a sense it’s true. The chance of winning the (UK National) lottery is 1 in 1 x 10^14 from a single ticket. The chance of being killed by a meteorite in your lifetime is 1 in 1.6 x 10^6. Also, the chance of meteorite death isn’t of you personally being smitten by a single meteorite, but being caught up in some mass killing of a “local / regional” event – ie. small to large events less dramatic than a mass extinction event. Your chance of being killed in a mass extinction event is 1 in 7.5 x 10^4. The reason the chances are relatively high is that when these very rare events happen, they kill an awful lot of people (everyone in the mass extinction case). One of the lessons of the paper is to understand what’s being said when such probability-claims are made.
- There’s much of interest that I’ve not yet commented on.
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