A Cicada that waits 17 years underground to emerge; a Squirrel that can memorise the location of thousands of nuts by value. Meet nature’s low time preference specialists.
The premise of the Litter Lotto is as simple as it sounds. Pick up litter for the chance to win cash prizes. But should we need to incentivise people to clean up their mess?
What is rent-seeking? There’s a strict textbook definition of socially unproductive economic activity and a broader sense of just milking the system. The truth is somewhere in between, where Covid contract VIP lanes meet secondary ticket markets.
How the three sons of a famous Texan oil billionaire tried to corner the global silver market in the 1970s, and brought the entire financial system close to collapse.
Have you heard about the US Conscription lottery that randomly selected who went to war or the Taiwanese Receipt lottery trying to improve its tax take? There’s even a new breed of lotteries trying to form habit loops to nudge beneficial behaviours and lotteries using crypto to rework 19th savings schemes. Welcome to the world’s strangest lotteries.
Variations on cleromancy, the drawing of lots, have been used in fascinating ways across all cultures, including life and death situations like the euphemistically termed ‘custom of the sea’ and could even provide a fair system of future governance.
Survivorship bias explains why big Lottery wins are always accompanied by an image of the ecstatic winners popping champagne and gripping a giant oversized cheque. The salient image encourages us to focus on the outcome – the smiling winner- and ignore the process – millions of losing tickets. Understanding survivorship can help you make better decisions, and there’s no better place to start learning than the Mountain of Hell Downhill Bike Race.
Read the amazing story of Stefan Mandel, a Romanian economist who used elementary maths to win 14 lotteries worldwide.
The most effective way to weigh up decisions that involve quantifiable risk is through a calculation called expected value, or EV for short. So, it’s worth spending 10 minutes understanding how to calculate expected value.
Read the story of how Michael Larson, an ice cream van driver hustled his way to the biggest win in game show history.