From the Editors
The Mega Millions lottery drawing this Friday night will reach an all-time record jackpot of $500 million, give or take a few megabucks, giving millions of Americans reason to stop resenting the wealthy one percent and instead believe that they may join the much more elite .00000000569 percent (the odds of winning the jackpot are 175,711,536 to one). With so much at stake, mathematicians and economists have relished the opportunity to have people actually read their blogs. After a gigantic load of calculations on his blog, David Torbert concludes that "for your 'investment' of a $1 lottery ticket, your expected return is 88.2 cents for this Friday's drawing." Which on its face doesn't sound so bad, though it essentially means the more you buy, the more you lose. But opinions are mixed. "At some point it becomes what a friend calls a 'utility bet,'" says The Spectacle Blog. "In other words, the possibility, almost no matter how small, of winning such an enormous prize makes it worth taking a flier with some modest amount of money." Cunctabundus has noted that the .00000000569 percent chance of winning with one ticket "rounds to zero" - and so do the odds of winning if you buy two tickets. "And 20 tickets? Your chance of hitting the jackpot is a just over a hundred-thousandth of a percent. Say it with me, round to zero."
Stephen Bronars at Bronars Economics seems to be worried that after you win you may have to split the jackpot with others - logic that seems to be leaping ahead a little - but he concludes that "even after taking the likelihood of multiple winners into account, the expected value of a one dollar Mega Millions ticket is more than a dollar." So get in line! Everyone's an expert now, apparently. Says the Pinch That Penny blog: "As math is a fuzzy subject for me, I deferred to my buddy the math whiz (he wrote a post for me on the NBA lockout a few months ago)." Well, maybe not everyone.
It does as if like an undue amount energy is being expended wondering what everyone will do after they all win. Business Insider is on top of the topic with strategies for taking your winnings ("make sure to decide between lump sum and annuity.") and seven things you could do with the winnings ("Buy 952,000 new iPads. Donate $475,999,999 to Planned Parenthood and $1 to Susan G. Komen.")The consumer finance blog Life Inc. warns unemployed job seekers not to admit in job interviews that they'd quit after winning the jackpot: "When you answer the lottery question - or any interview question - you want to leave out any inkling you're not excited about working hard, no matter what the circumstances." The Economix blog has noted the correlation between high unemployment rates and high lottery sales: "Can't Find a Job? Play the Lottery."
Anyway - the sound you are hearing now is the alarm clock going off on Saturday morning. You didn't win Mega Millions. The next bandwagon leaving the stations appears to be...Pinterest. Yes. Says Naked D.C.: "Pinterest is the new social media revolution - an electronic scrapbook that allows you to 'pin' pictures, ideas, quotes and the like from various websites around the Internets. In short, it is the greatest invention to ever befall young, unmarried women who are looking to creep the sh*t out of their imaginary boyfriends by completely planning their wedding before they ever meet anyone." Ok, there's that, maybe. The newest Pinterest adopter appears to be Mr. President, Barack Obama, who has the worst Pinterest page ever, Naked D.C. says. Jezebel, in a comprehensive analysis of the PObama Pinterest presence, adds: "while I bet Barack Obama's got some totally cute DIY wedding flower ideas, this move makes sense in light of what appears to be the President's reelection strategy: personally befriend every woman in America."
"President Obama Joins Pinterest, Wants All Your Themed Cake Recipes," laffs WebProNews. "Obama has always had a huge presence on both Twitter and Facebook, but in the last six months, Obama has checked-in to Foursquare, started blogging away on Tumblr, went a little hipster by joining Instagram, joined Google+ and almost immediately hosted a Hangout, made his campaign playlist available on Spotify, and switched his Facebook profile over to the new Timeline." The Dallas News Trailblazers blog notes that Obama "isn't the first to use Pinterest for political purposes. Groups like liberal-leaning Think Progress have employed it to poke at GOP candidates. Ann Romney, wife of GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, has a page of her own to collect recipes and post campaign photos." VentureBeat gets to the real point, figuring Obama's pinning will "likely be a bigger boon for the social networking site than for the campaign. Consider this yet another defining moment for the still-small, 30-person, Palo Alto-based company." Pinterest certainly is attracting a crowd. The Daily Dot broke news that a Pinterest spammer may be making $1,000 a day: "Spammers are turning innocent users' clicks into cash by running thousands of automated Pinterest profiles, and they're getting away with it for longer than any of them expected." That's $30,000 a month for doing hardly anything, says Mashable. Hey, who needs the lottery?