What are the odds?
1) A New York woman recently won a million dollars on a scratch-off lottery ticket for the second time in four years. The odds of that happening have to be incredibly slim.
They are, at more than 1 in 3.6 trillion. To put that in perspective, we've all heard about how reliable DNA evidence is and how it's virtually impossible for two persons to have identical DNA. Well, the odds there are only about 1 in 3 trillion.
2) A 50-year-old man recently set a new world record for skydiving. Isn't that just tempting death?
The odds here are better than you might think. The man's name was Jay Stokes, and last weekend, he set a record by completing 640 parachute jumps from an airplane over a 24-hour period. Most sources say the odds of a fatal skydiving accident are about one in 100,000, so by jumping 640 times, his overall odds for the day increased to a little more than 1 in 150. And while those odds certainly won't send me on a parachuting vacation anytime soon, Stokes finished the day with nothing more than a few pulled muscles.
3) We've posted before on the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, AL. What are the odds of a major airline losing your luggage for good?
A 2005 report indicated that 30 million bags were lost by airlines last year. That sounds like a lot, and it IS a lot, but it's only about one percent of all the bags that they handled during those 12 months. And all but about 200 thousand of those bags were later reunited with their owners, so the odds of an airline misplacing your bag for good is about one in 15,000. Definitely room for improvement but it does mean that you're more likely to lose your luggage than the airlines are.
4) What are the odds that Pluto will regain planet status? Don't ask, we're still too sad to talk about it.