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... The Fifth Prophet

TFP Lottery Ticket.png

Probability

    On the New York State Lottery pages you can find that the chances of winning the jackpot are 1:175,711,536. Since you choose five numbers from 1 to 56, and a mega-ball number from 1 to 46, they arrive at this figure using mathematical combinations. The order of the first five numbers you choose does not matter, so you are choosing 5 numbers out of 56, or (56 5) = 56! / (51! * 5!) , AND 1 number out of 46, or (46 1) = 46! / (45! * 1!) .

This couldnít be happening. He felt split into pieces. One copy of Sam was inside the ping pong ball with their sixth number, like Da Vinciís Vitruvian man with outstretched arms and legs inside the circle, or on one of those amusement rides to spin you around and make you dizzy. One copy of Sam sat on the couch next to his hysterical wife. Sam and the sixth number, the megaball, bounced and rolled, rolled and bounced, and yet he wasnít dizzy at all. Then he was falling, falling down the chute and approaching the already chosen numbers at a great speed. When he hit, there was an explosion, like the Big Bang at the creation of the universe. Annie had knocked over the lamp, and Yolanda was screaming, "And the megaball number IS ..."

Annie was yelling, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh ... my ... God!!" Sam tried to breathe. Yolandaís review of the winning numbers disappeared before he could check them, but Sam knew there wasnít any doubt. In his head, Einsteinís face appeared and said, "God doesnít play dice with the universe." Samís face appeared inside Einsteinís and responded, "Maybe God decided to get back into the game!"

  However, recall that Sam's numbers were called out in the same order in which he had submitted them to the clerk. That increases the odds against winning to 1:56*55*54*53*52*46 = 1:21,085,384,320.