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# Is Luck Real?

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http://www.authspot.com/Thoughts/Is-Luck-Real.255107

This is something i found and i was wondering if someone could explain the math in the third paragraph.

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Well, a one in a million chance event happens, on average, once every million times. If a lottery sells a million tickets and only one is a winner, that's a one in a million chance. However, there are three hundred million people in America; therefore, if the lottery sold three million tickets and one in every million was a winner, there would be three hundred winners.

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that would only apply if there were 1 million possible combinations of numbers.

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Really, though, you do many things in one day, not just one, so there are a lot more than 6000 1-in-a-millions per day.

See Littlewood's Law.

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Hey thanks i understand it perfectly now.

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that would only apply if there were 1 million possible combinations of numbers.

Well yes, but it was a simplification. I guess I should have said "if only one in every million was a winner..." Regardless, he understands now so it did its job.

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The hizenberg uncertinty principal can apply to Destiny vs. Freewill. That being said, there could be luck, but there will always be the illusion that there is none.

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The hizenberg uncertinty principal can apply to Destiny vs. Freewill.

Not really.

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I knew id catch some flak on this one. Let me clarify, you have to use alittle bit of philosophy...

The summary from wikipedia:

"In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that locating a particle in a small region of space makes the momentum of the particle uncertain; and conversely, that measuring the momentum of a particle precisely makes the position uncertain."

summary Definition of luck from wikipedia:

"Luck (also called fortunity) is a chance happening, or that which happens beyond a person's control"

If luck is chance, it negates a persons freewill, Aswell it could be considerd to negate the universes freewill, and could be placed in the realm of destiny... this Depends highly on what you consider luck to imply...

As to HUP, if it didnt exist we would still be debating: "could you see all time frames, back and forth in entirity, in a given sytem to which you could compute?" Which would imply destiny if answerd yes... the dominos would have been set during the big bang... and they keep toppling, and they would keep toppling, exactly in the manner they were set, theorys like quantum foam and of random fluctions would still be able to negate this however....

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If we define luck as being random chance, then I would like to mention a common misconception (of course, not held by any of the highly intelligent and rational people on this forum).

Random chance operates in a manner describable as 'clumping'. If you toss two dice, you get a result between 2 and 12. If you record the results over, say, 2,000 throws, you can plot the results on a graph.

Every time you throw the two dice twice, use the results to put a dot on a graph, with the first result on the X axis and the second on the Y. Most people expect that the long term result will be a spread of dots that are pretty even over the graph. Not so. In fact, the random result is dots that appear to be 'clumped' into groups.

This 'clumping' has effects that gamblers are well aware of. They call it a 'run of luck'. If playing poker, for example, you can get a bunch of superb hands, followed by a bunch of terrible hands. This is still the result of good shuffling and hence random selection. Where gamblers go wrong, of course, is in assuming that a run will continue. It does not matter how many good hands you have received, your next hand has a random chance of being good or bad.

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h

Every time you throw the two dice twice, use the results to put a dot on a graph, with the first result on the X axis and the second on the Y. Most people expect that the long term result will be a spread of dots that are pretty even over the graph. Not so. In fact, the random result is dots that appear to be 'clumped' into groups.

I found this very hard to believe... I looked for some lititure on it to no avail. This seems to go against what I know, may I present that it could be Enviormental/mechanical issues or a weak sample size... I would think this would be the premier unsolved problems in mathmatics if it was easily proveable to be true.

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Sorry to interject but my little bro is the luckiest person I have ever met in my lifetime. Its not that he lucked out once incredibly but often comes out on top in all kinds of situations where chance is involved. Gambling, monster drops, work. In real life, not a game he once traded a straw hat for two gold coins, combined they had over an ounce of pure gold in them. We were once discussing things that keep coming up in our dreams and one of his was finding treasure I thought that was strange as I never find riches in my dreams. Maybe I am destined to be poor.

I certainly don't like to admit to believing in superstitions cause I think its bad luck.

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Is this luck? I just realized alot of you seem to be from Aus/NZ, the one good freind i have scientific conversations with is of Austrailian decent... Luck? Coincidence?, or Nature?

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If luck is chance, it negates a persons freewill, Aswell it could be considerd to negate the universes freewill, and could be placed in the realm of destiny... this Depends highly on what you consider luck to imply...

As to HUP, if it didnt exist we would still be debating: "could you see all time frames, back and forth in entirity, in a given sytem to which you could compute?" Which would imply destiny if answerd yes... the dominos would have been set during the big bang... and they keep toppling, and they would keep toppling, exactly in the manner they were set, theorys like quantum foam and of random fluctions would still be able to negate this however....

You haven't really defined "free will," so there's not much to say about that. Don't feel bad, though, most discussions of "free will" don't end up actually saying anything meaningful. The options are predestination (the dominos) or random chance, and it's amazing how many people have a problem with one or the other because they think it "violates" free will, without noticing that the other does too, or clearly thinking about what free will actually is.

I found this very hard to believe... I looked for some lititure on it to no avail. This seems to go against what I know, may I present that it could be Enviormental/mechanical issues or a weak sample size... I would think this would be the premier unsolved problems in mathmatics if it was easily proveable to be true.

It's actually pretty straightforward. The bigger the sample size, the more often you're going to have long, improbable runs. Flipping a coin and getting 10 heads in a row has 1/1024 chance of happening. Flip a coin a million times and long strings will likely happen thousands of times.

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Luck has to do with the time element by which one views the result. For example, going into a lottery, before the drawing, everyone may have a 1 in a million chance to win. After the drawing, the winner actually had 1.0 chance since they won. There is no uncertainty in this final result or else every lottery winner would face legal battles, which does not occur.

The net result is probability is like an oracle for predicting the future. Using 20/20 hindsight it always invalid. All the losers will turn out to have 0.0 probability of winning and not 1 in a million. It is only an approximation for final reality. Luck is final reality, which with 20/20 hindsight will defy the original prediction.

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To blazarwolf, re random clumping.

If you do not believe it, do the experiment yourself. Random distributions are not even. They are 'clumpy'. This is a result of chance alone. The idea that randomness equals evenness is only a fallacy of the human mind.

Psynapse talking of little brother is simply mentioning an example of this clumpiness. One individual seems to get more good luck than his share. Others get less. The danger, of course, comes from Little Brother relying on this good luck, because his chances of being lucky next time are exactly the same as for anyone else.

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If we define luck as being random chance, then I would like to mention a common misconception (of course, not held by any of the highly intelligent and rational people on this forum).

Random chance operates in a manner describable as 'clumping'. If you toss two dice, you get a result between 2 and 12. If you record the results over, say, 2,000 throws, you can plot the results on a graph.

Every time you throw the two dice twice, use the results to put a dot on a graph, with the first result on the X axis and the second on the Y. Most people expect that the long term result will be a spread of dots that are pretty even over the graph. Not so. In fact, the random result is dots that appear to be 'clumped' into groups.

This 'clumping' has effects that gamblers are well aware of. They call it a 'run of luck'. If playing poker, for example, you can get a bunch of superb hands, followed by a bunch of terrible hands. This is still the result of good shuffling and hence random selection. Where gamblers go wrong, of course, is in assuming that a run will continue. It does not matter how many good hands you have received, your next hand has a random chance of being good or bad.

Depending on who you think gamblers are, I'd say you have this backwards (this an argument of semantics, not statistics). Gamblers fall prey to this precisely because they believe in luck rather than understanding statistics. They think that the dice have memory, so if they've come up 7 ten times in a row, that somehow the next roll the odds will be less than 1/6. Casinos love people like this.

Professional poker players are not gamblers, per se, because they understand the odds and bet accordingly, so that in the long run, they are betting on a proposition that is better than 50-50. Blackjack can be treated this way as well, if you can count the cards.

—————

Luck, or the perception of it, also tends to bring the "remembering the hits and forgetting the misses" fallacy into play.

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Luck, or the perception of it, also tends to bring the "remembering the hits and forgetting the misses" fallacy into play.

Often described in psychological research as "perceptual salience." The hits tend to be more perceptually salient than the misses.

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You haven't really defined "free will," so there's not much to say about that.

I will have to think of difining "free will", you are very correct. A basis would be that a free-will universe allows cause & effect to exist on a macro level, that is that if you drive fast, your more likely to die in an auto crash.

In a destiny universe... (i point out its a principal, not a theory) Everything that is, was, and we cant do anything about it... Though thanks to hizenberg we will never know.

In a destiny universe + quantum foam... This is the random universe, there are known outcomes (dominos) being influeced by unknown varibles (random fluctiuations), it doesent nessesaraly negate "macro cause & effect", And indeed that would make a third variable... this would be the "luck" universe.

It's actually pretty straightforward. The bigger the sample size, the more often you're going to have long, improbable runs. Flipping a coin and getting 10 heads in a row has 1/1024 chance of happening. Flip a coin a million times and long strings will likely happen thousands of times.

You made it click, thank you.

To blazarwolf, re random clumping.

If you do not believe it, do the experiment yourself. Random distributions are not even. They are 'clumpy'. This is a result of chance alone. The idea that randomness equals evenness is only a fallacy of the human mind.

I Think I misiterperted... I agree with clumpiness now, becuase i saw what you were talking about... The problem with this is the 11 possible outcomes of the roll, 2-12 (not the sample size of rolls, but the sample size of possible outcomes on an individual roll). Say for example you roll a 2, the next roll you have 1/11 chance of rolling another 2, and on the next roll the same odds apply. These odds do not make it improbable to have "clumps", not at all... Try your expirement with 2 handfulls (say 50) dice, your level of "clumpiness" will decrease (but still be observable)

I thought you were stating overall smothness is effected by clumps, and that would negate statistics (although there could be a mechanical reason dice roll one number more often).

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If you're going to refer to the uncertainty principle and attempt to sound like you understand it, you might wish to start spelling his name correctly. It's Heisenberg, first name Werner.

http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p01.htm

The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.

Studying the papers of Dirac and Jordan, while in frequent correspondence with Wolfgang Pauli, Heisenberg discovered a problem in the way one could measure basic physical variables appearing in the equations. His analysis showed that uncertainties, or imprecisions, always turned up if one tried to measure the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. (Similar uncertainties occurred when measuring the energy and the time variables of the particle simultaneously.) These uncertainties or imprecisions in the measurements were not the fault of the experimenter, said Heisenberg, they were inherent in quantum mechanics. Heisenberg presented his discovery and its consequences in a 14-page letter to Pauli in February 1927. The letter evolved into a published paper in which Heisenberg presented to the world for the first time what became known as the uncertainty principle.

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If you're going to refer to the uncertainty principle and attempt to sound like you understand it, you might wish to start spelling his name correctly. It's Heisenberg, first name Werner.

I dont find spelling so important as you. I find Interpetation of words and thoughts to be of premier importance. I do not pretend to understand it in its entirity, nor even close... I do believe i have a good grasp apon it... If you have misunderstood what i have said or have a counter-argument do present it... I myself try to stay away from 5th grade banter (to which i just slighly engage in).

Edited by blazarwolf
multiple post merged
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Ah. That's what I get for trying to help you look less stupid. Please, do carry on.

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Ah. That's what I get for trying to help you look less stupid. Please, do carry on.

Okay continue yourself... I was wrong, must be 7th grade banter. Ditch the TKD, pickup Judo or just read a bit more.

Im going to make this a clear and simple as possible (in realation to what were supposed to be talking about). That is how HUP relates to destiny right? is that your contetion? apparently the unstupid have an disability to words?

IF you could deduce on the scale of fundemetal particles and energies where something is, its trajectory, and speed.. at the exact moment of the big bang, you could deduce the interactions of all fundemental particles and engergies thereafter. Or run it backwards from todays time and see the past..

Its analogous to a pool table loaded ready for a break. If you have a camera and understand physics you can deduce how the balls react as to speed and trajectory of the cue ball (thats the white one right?) Without HUP it could be considerd things at the quantum level could be predicted in this manner... and we could see the future, the past, all interactions would be known and nothing we could do could change it..... Ofcourse this is impossible do to finite engergy in the universe, thats why i said GIVEN SYSTEM.....

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Is Luck Real?

Only if you make your own luck. Chance favors the prepared mind.

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blazarwolf,

It isn't just spelling for the sake of spelling. In science, spelling a person's name correctly isn't just a sign of respect for them and their work (which it is!), but you want to spell someone's name correctly so that you can reference their work and look up the original papers if you want to.

If you put "hizenberg" into Web of Science (a database of scientific papers by author, journal, and the recent ones have abstracts). Of course "Heisenberg" comes up with many results.

Furthermore, science has many terms that are defined precisely. And, in order to be as clear and unambiguous as possible, it is important to use language as correctly as possible. We all make mistakes, both in terms of misspellings and grammar. But, it isn't that hard to use a spell checker, and it isn't that hard to spell a guy's name correctly. (For example, if you put "hizenberg" into Google, Google suggests the correct spelling.)

If you use words incorrectly, including the spelling because sometimes all it takes is one letter to change the meaning of a word quite dramatically, and punctuation and grammar, too, because a period or comma can change the meaning of phrase dramatically, then to use your own parlance, the words and thoughts won't be conveyed correctly. Since you place them to be of premier importance, you would think that you'd want to give the reader the best possible chances of interpreting the words and thoughts as exactly as you intended. And the way to do that is through proper spelling and punctuation and using the words correctly.

Lastly, I actually want to come back to the respect thing. It's a guy's name, and it's nice to get his name right to recognize the important contribution he made to science. If you ever get something published and make an important enough contribution to science to have a principle or law or theorem named after you, I think that you'd probably be pretty interested in making sure that people spelled your name correctly to recognize your contributions.

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