Michael Shermer is the Skeptic columnist for Scientific American. This month he authored Part 1 of his latest thoughts titled, Folk Numeracy and Middle Land: Why our brains do not intuitively grasp probabilities, wherein a-round-about-way he offers comments regarding the human predisposition to superstition: "... the sum of all probabilities equals one. Given enough opportunities, outlier anomalies-even seeming miracles-will occasionally happen."
I was reading a post the other night wherein one contributor demonstrated a P3 system using a pending draw date divided by pi, then with a bit of "lottery math," correlations were derived with winning numbers when run-up against various State winning draw results - hits were matched by sorting thru the date/pi number group stacks, finding the diagonal and L-shapes along with boxed and straight sequences that coincide.
I have diffiCULTty when correlation infers causation - it hangs there flappin' in the wind ‘cause I'm not smart enuff to do the math.
The first question(s) obviated in gravity impaired brain cells: Why a pending draw date, divided by pi (3.1415926535897932384626433832795)? What significance (value) can be determined, forecasted, and/or otherwise presumed in a pending draw date, e.g., 25082008 (25AUG2008) divided, by pi? What does any pendending draw date divided by pi have to do with predictable certainty and/or probability? Is this apples and oranges?
I am not opposed to using dd/mm/yy/time-space data as benchmarks to track frequency probabilities, precise stats and solid data are essential to informed decisions... I readily suspect that exact times and unordered ball sequences provide the stuff for more precise analysis than standard system dd/mm/yy and ordered ball-draw convention.... Why?
Answer by Question: Why do we track now, using dd/mm/yyyy? Why not just track WHNumbers by the week, or month - leaving days and/or weeks out all together? Ans: because it's about the CLOCK. Not that we have hard evidence that unordered draws and lunar phase correlations, for example, have any direct influence on results; however, access to precise calibrated space/time data takes measurement applications from the yard stick to micrometer, metaphorically. When a historical database of winning numbers is calibrated and slotted exactly, then we have liberated access to broader comparative analysis. Superstition and magic have nothin' to do with it... trust me.
A typical query on HotLotto 5/39 might be: What's the number of each third drawn ball for each third Wednesday in a range covering the last three months? Why the question? Because we want to compare those results with each third draw ball for each third Saturday covering the same range during the last three months - to compare reoccurrence data on what's hot on Wednesdays over the specified range. We may find it useful to know if specific Wednesday frequency reoccurrences match Saturdays within our range, other Wednesday ranges, and/or the entire WHNumber data range.
We want to know the exact time and order of draw, not because any particular belief system thinks the that time and order have any material effect on results -- what numbers come-up -- but because we are curious how numbers and time fall together within tighter measurement constraints - for the same reasons we prefer to know what shakes out by applying the standard dd/mm/yyyy, and ordered draw number data. If we find no difference in results, good enuff... Conversely, if results are not the same as when analyzed by base dd/mm/yyyy and ordered draw number data, the benefit of reason would invite reassessment of pick(s) methods and means.
If Ball 10 is hitting on the third draw for each Wednesday, but not on Saturdays - the information may prove useful.
If Ball 10 is hitting on the third draw at Julian date 2454701.832731, when lunar alignment is Zenith Distance 64.55630, Azimuth (E of N) 78.63964, and Distance to Object 368364.946 km from the Big Bear Observatory in California, and not hitting on same days and times at different alignments, it doesn't take a LUNAtic to see that the information may be useful based not on superstition, but hard, cold numbers.
The hypothetical example below shows the 23AUG2008 draw results in unordered (not exact) draw sequence... assuming time between each ball draw at an arbitrary mean average of four seconds.
Date Time Day Julian Date Day-of-Year
d h m s d d
2008 Aug 23 07:59:00.0 Sat 2454701.832639 236.332639 BALL 22
2008 Aug 23 07:59:04.0 Sat 2454701.832685 236.332685 BALL 38
2008 Aug 23 07:59:08.0 Sat 2454701.832731 236.332731 BALL 10
2008 Aug 23 07:59:12.0 Sat 2454701.832778 236.332778 BALL 16
2008 Aug 23 07:59:16.0 Sat 2454701.832824 236.332824 BALL 15
I hear that two commercial Lottery/Lotto system software designers - gurus who now take the concept seriously - have indicated they are looking at Mayan and Julian calendars in application research and development - no joke! Anyone interested in attaching Julian dates and/or demystified lunar phase correlation data to their own proprietary forecasting system(s) can run a search and find the link to the US Naval Observatory's website - include acronym "MICA" in your search. If we intend to use dates and times worthy of precise systemic number crunching, it would seem that accuracy is elemental. However: where and when is the information useful - where and when does it all wander off into hocus-pocus?
My Experiment: During a recent trip to town, I jotted down license plate numbers from sixteen random vehicles - each plate had four numbers. I then doubled-up the sets of four numbers into eight, eight digit groups - emulating the dd/mm/yyyyy format - and divided each group by pi. I then applied the "lottery math" formula and rounded-off into ten three digit groups. I went online and selected six state's P3 draw results and bounced ‘em off my vehicle license number groups. Did any of my conjured numbers match draw results when viewed thru the prism of diagonals, L-shapes, boxed and straight win results? Sure enuff, four groups came in with 40% hits. You may want to try it yourself.
Shermer writes, "Let's define a miracle as an event with million-to-one odds of occurring (intuitively)... We get 43,200 bits of data a day, or 1.296 million a month. Even assuming that 99.999 percent of these bits are totally meaningless (and so we have to filter them out or forget them entirely), that still leaves 1.3 miracles a month, or 15.5 miracles a year." He goes on to exemplify that 300 million Americans recall 54.7 dreams a year, his examples indicate a power of probabilistic thinking that overrides our intuitive sense of numbers, what he calls folk numeracy: a "... tendency to misperceive and miscalculate probabilities, to think anecdotally instead of statistically, and to focus on and remember short-term trends and small-number runs." He goes on to cite evolutionary biologist author/warrior Richard Dawkins who coined the term Middle World, ".... a land midway between short and long, small and large, slow and fast, young and old... our senses evolved for perceiving objects of middling size."
Shermer suggests that our confirmation bias is a pox on reason, "...we look for and find confirmatory evidence for what we already believe and ignore or discount contradictory evidence, we will remember only those few astonishing coincidences and forget the vast sea of meaningless [incomprehensible] data..." In other words, the human condition includes the propensity to attribute values within a limited, at times superstitious scope of perception(s).
It will-to-be interesting what Shermer comes up with in Part 2.