Are you feeling lucky, punk?
If you believe in luck then you’ll love this story about the Orknes family from Norway who’ve put their third giant lottery win down to falling pregnant.
Each time 28 year old Hege Jeanette announces she’s expecting, her brothers and father have bought a winning lottery ticket. Current prize winnings: 1.2 million kroner, the equivalent of $2 million.
“It’s inexplicable,” said Hege’s 19 year old brother Tord Oksnes, the most recent lottery winner. Who also said he’s encouraging Hege to have at least ten children to keep the money rolling in.
You’ve got to wonder what Hege thinks of that plan, particularly when, as Sydney University professor of mathematics Clio Cresswell told The Punch today, there is no such thing as “luck”.
“Humans find patterns where there are none. We look for patterns around us to explain things that are essentially completely random. For example, if someone told you that 99 per cent of all convicted felons ate bread, then would you believe that all people who eat bread commit crime?” she said.
The other problem with trying to explain random events with the notion of “luck” is the skewed emphasis we place on what happens around us.
As Dr Creswell explained when a woman is pregnant, all she tends to see are other pregnant woman. Same with someone who has a broken leg; they start noticing everyone around them with a broken leg.
“What we should be asking is what wasn’t happening at the time. For example, how many times did the Orknes family buy a lottery ticket when Hege was not pregnant? Or what else were they doing at the time of each purchase,” she said.
Objectively this makes complete sense - but there’s something a bit sad about completely casting off the notion of superstition altogether. Then again, I have hung upside down on a precarious ledge to kiss the Blarney Stone in the name of good fortune.
But now over to you. Spill the beans Punchers, what’s your lucky charm?
Follow me on Twitter: @lucyjk
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