Fusking Boing Boing

Here's another BoingBoing post that shows quite staggering disregard for mathematics, science, or even correctly copying information from the original story. For some reason this has particularly irritated me this afternoon.

A group of British mathematicians Where in the story does it say that these people are mathematicians? Sure, they may do mathematics, but there is no evidence one way or another that their job is to do maths.

have hit on some kind of secret formula for playing the lotto Where in the story does it say that they have "some kind of secret formula"? It says that they tried a particular heuristic they apparently won the jackpot (assuming that it refers to the most recent drawing on Saturday, whose jackpot of 5.3M GBP = the 13M AUD in the article.

and are raking in millions They won once. That's hardly raking in the millions, any more than someone who puts in 6 randomly chosen numbers and wins the jackpot 'rakes in the millions'.

So, the facts: syndicate of people who work at Bradford Uni plays the lottery every week for eight years, using a particular system for four years wins the lottery once. Not particularly newsworthy, and certainly not worth the screaming hype and spin from BB.

Lastly, from the original article: "Most of us believe winning lotto is down to the luck of the draw. But a syndicate of university professors and tutors in Britain thought it could also be related to the principles of mathematical probability. "

That has to be the most inane tautology I've seen in a long time...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's ok, BB have since updated the story in their standard fashion.

Update: These guys aren't math geeks, just some guys who came up with a "system" and got lucky. Thanks, Joel!

I trust 'Joel' isn't another of your pseudonyms.

Personally, I'm not sure BB is any different from the mainstream press in this regard - it's just that the newspapers don't usually provide a convenient link to where the story was nicked from.