Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Some Links!

I'm from your government lottery monopoly, and I'm here to be an idiot. Plus, the guy who discovered this goes all Canadian on us. Nice! (Nod to @mbellemare )

Zero tolerance laws are intolerable. (Nod to Anonyman)

Only those of us who have no interests are pure... (Nod to K-Wine)

Danny Drez drops some truth bombs... (Nod to K-Wine, who is en fuego)

Prof. Barnett, on the Vinson ruling on O-Care

A battle for the scientific soul of anthropology. Me, I suspect the forces of post-modern superstition and anti-science are too deeply entrenched. It's not like they can get jobs in English departments anymore. Those Cult Ant doofuses are stuck for the duration.



Gerardo said...

Hey, if the press can blame the financial crisis on economists (not to mention "our" failure to predict it), I think we should be able to blame Egypt on political scientists.

Or at least Tunisia.

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't understand the problem with the lottery scratch tickets. You still have to buy a random ticket from a random store. The fact that you can predict a winner prior to scratching it off does not improve your chances of winning does it? If you were able to inspect the ticket prior to purchace or return un-scratched tickets for a refund after inspection, then I would say there is a problem.

Mungowitz said...

um...Anonymous, that is EXACTLY what you can do. Did you not even read the article?

They gave him sheets of hundreds, and he got to pick out the ones he wanted, and return the unscratched ones for a refund. From the FIRST PAGE OF THE ARTICLE:

I then ask Srivastava how a criminal organization might plunder the lottery. He lays out a surprisingly practical plan for what he would do: “At first glance, the whole problem with plundering is one of scale,” he says. “I probably couldn’t sort enough tickets while standing at the counter of the mini-mart. So I’d probably want to invent some sort of scanning device that could quickly sort the tickets for me.” Of course, Srivastava might look a little suspicious if he started bringing a scanner and his laptop into corner stores. But that may not be an insurmountable problem. “Lots of people buy lottery tickets in bulk to give away as prizes for contests,” he says. He asked several Toronto retailers if they would object to him buying tickets and then exchanging the unused, unscratched tickets. “Everybody said that would be totally fine. Nobody was even a tiny bit suspicious,” he says. “Why not? Because they all assumed the games are unbreakable. So what I would try to do is buy up lots of tickets, run them through my scanning machine, and then try to return the unscratched losers. Of course, you could also just find a retailer willing to cooperate or take a bribe. That might be easier.” The scam would involve getting access to opened but unsold books of tickets. A potential plunderer would need to sort through these tickets and selectively pick the winners. The losers would be sold to unwitting customers—or returned to the lottery after the game was taken off the market.

Let me note that if this was a troll move, you got me!

Tom said...

Zero tolerance is stupid... but whenever I hear about its excesses, I think "that's one more child escaping public education."

Tom said...

Mohan Srivastava (scratch off lottery wizard) must've milked this as much as he cares to. The only way this can (continue to) work is if darn few people know about it. Well, Wired took care of that!
Now the ticket printers and/or the lottery management will change their practice however they need to in order to prevent this scheme from working.