Monday, May 20, 2013

Memorial Day without Miltarism

". . .the intention of Memorial Day is to honor all who died in America’s wars, not to celebrate militarism or bless war. . . . 
Instead [of] letting the holiday be co-opted to perpetuate militarism, let us resolutely focus on honoring those who have given their lives in our nation’s conflicts. . . . . 
This Memorial Day is an opportunity to consider: given the cost in these precious lives, we must find a better way, not just repeat the past again and again. War--and those whose lives are snuffed out or haunted by it--gives us every indication that we have not yet explored or employed our best intellectual, spiritual and material resources for preventing or addressing conflicts."
Thanks to John Frankin Hay (see full article).

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"I didn't win" - the $600 million lottery

The Powerball $600 million lottery just "ended" (actually, no winners have yet been confirmed, thought he winning numbers have been selected.)

I happened to be online to several news-sources, to read the comments within minutes of the winning numbers being posted.  Numerous persons commented, "I didn't win." Others commented, "I won!  I won!" - clearly they did not.  A few posted they wish they would have bought a pizza instead - and several commented that they wished the winners luck and hoped they would share the winnings.

I don't get people who "buy" into lotteries. [I've read numerous sociological or economic studies on those who do "play" so I do "get it" in some way, even while I still do not comprehend it.]

For one, the only genuine and guaranteed way in life, as shaped by years of experience worldwide, to reap any harvest or gain on any achievement is to sow & work and then reap a harvest in due time, hopefully of ample yield.   Long term, diligent, careful work, over time, can yield a result.

What is more, the math of lotteries is phenomenally and outrageously against the simple probability of winning.  Perhaps if I buy a raffle ticket from the local school, and I have a 1-in-1000 to win, it's possible I might win the raffle, but I have to remember I have a 999-in-1000 chance of not winning.

Maybe I'm in a crowd of 15,000 at the local NBA game, and they toss out 20 shirts, I have a 1-in750 chance to grab a shirt (though even that is not true - there are some seats in the arena that will never get a shirt!)  But, in this lottery a winner had a 1-in-175,000,000 chance of winning.   That means 174,999,999 people will not win!!  That's the probable number for persons who "played."  A person thinking about buying a ticket should have said to themselves, "If I buy this ticket, I am 99.999999999 guaranteed to not win!"

At current population rates - California has 38 million people and Texas 26 million people.  That means if I took 3x the population of California (every city, every town, every neighborhood, every person!) and added to that 3x the population of Texas - from all of those persons, 1 of them will win.  1! One!  Only 1!

I don't get why anyone thinks they "have a chance" in any realistic way!

Meanwhile, consider every person who paid $2.00 or $10.00 or $100.00 to buy a ticket.  The total value of tickets exceeds the $600 million given out - and I would guess total sales revenue is closer to $1 Billion for this lottery. Statistics I've read suggest that the powerball lottery alone (not the various other scratch-offs and other forms of gambling that exist) will gross over $5 billion this year.

If every person who played these games of chance would instead contribute to agencies performing acts of justice - we could give 1,000 agencies $1,000,000 each.  Or - we could give $2 million dollars to 500 agencies.   We could fund $20 million dollars to 50 agencies!


I didn't win the $600 million dollar Powerball lottery.

I didn't buy a ticket.

I wish we lived in a society willing to "play" at acts of charity and the transformative work of justice  which could transform our world - instead of "playing" on the nearly impossible chance to win a lottery.

Investment in transformative justice could yield results that would yield returns in predictable and sustainable ways to make our world better!

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.