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Lottery Confusion

A British Lottery scratch-off game sold by Camelot stores had to be pulled from circulation after the math involved confused too many players. The Cool Cash Lotto ticket dealt with temperatures, often below zero. To win a prize, the temperature number under the scratch off had to be lower than the one displayed on the card.
Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.

"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it."

This may be the definitive proof of the old saying: the lottery is a tax on people who aren’t good at math. Link -via reddit

I actually find it shocking that people actually struggle with simple mathematics like this!

No offense to those that play lottery for the fun of it, I do, but people who need the money from lottery are there for a reason :P. Got no job, got no money, got no maths.

Enjoy your day.
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Very funny post, Miss C! But even the Romans did not conceive negative numbers or even the number "zero"! And they were once the biggest empire in History! :-)
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Had this been in the states, there would have been some heavy irony - most state lotteries provide the funding for public education.
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My goodness... I thought it was only we Americans who are so retarded in basic mathematics.

True story: At the end of the season, a local home center had some unsold shrubs marked down and the price kept dropping as time went on. They had been 50% off, but then they had a special to take ANOTHER 50% off. The cashier was dumbfounded on how to handle this -- she was very concerned I would be getting the shrubs for free since that would be 100% off, right? Try as I might, she couldn't understand that 75% off the original price was the correct answer. I had a very difficult time keeping a straight face.

The kids use calculators in 4th grade, but can't figure out even a 10% discount without one. They have NO IDEA where to start. Frankly, it's little wonder the Red Chinese will technologically pass us very very soon.

It's yet another example of our government school monopolies at work. Thank the teachers' unions and a plethora of lazy administrators for the sorry state we are in. I don't feel better knowing the Brits are likewise afflicted. The Western democracies are screwed and it's our own fault. We better learn Mandarin soon.
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"The kids use calculators in 4th grade, but can’t figure out even a 10% discount without one. They have NO IDEA where to start. Frankly, it’s little wonder the Red Chinese will technologically pass us very very soon."

Although what Sid has said here has merit, the fact that he, like many other people, blame everyone else. If your kid can't do it, then what did you do to prevent it? Why didn't you teach them? Kids don't look up to teachers. They look up to parents.

I'm sure your generation sucked too. Don't act like your generation was the all high and mighty that made no mistakes. I'm sure your elders said your generation was going to cause the world to go down the toilet. And, even though your generation was close, you still managed to pull through, like every other generation before hand. Give me a break Sid. At least your elders got one thing right. You whine too much.
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I taught my kids about negative numbers as part of money management. Your debts and/or outstanding bills are negative numbers. It will be easy to shift that to temperature... but I hope it doesn't get that cold!
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Yes that's right - but I know the saying as "lotto is a tax on the stupid"! But I think that's pretty unfair, because who can balme anyone from trying to improve their lot. However, as I always tell my lotto systems clients, always, always only spend as much as you are prepared to lose - that way, if when you do win a prize, it's a bonus. Of course, what most people don't know is that you CAN win regular prizes along the way - it's just not common knowledge how... so scratch tickets are just perfect for those who don't want to think....

cheers, Mark
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@everybody---
OK, let me clarify myself... I was being overly brief when commenting on a complicated problem. Yes, if you grow up to be an ignoramus, ultimately you have NOBODY to blame but yourself. There are plenty of ways to improve yourself and blaming your crappy deal in life on poor teachers is never going to help you or your descendents escape that. Plenty of history's successes were auto-didacts. Never stop learning.

Also, while I didn't state it, lackadaisical parents who don't care if their kids are idiots is a huge part of the problem as well (Thanks, aj, you are correct and I suspect we probably agree more than you realize). Said sad excuses for parents are all about getting "free" pre-school (really just group babysitting) and all day "free" kindergarten (group babysitting plus coloring books & alphabet learning) for their kids, but they don't take control and *ensure* their kids have the best education possible and take steps that that education doesn't end the minute they get dropped off the school bus. Whatever you do with your kids offers opportunities to be a learning experience. I certainly remember having my parents "help them" (they were really teaching me) how to figure out percentage discounts and calculate tips, whenever I was out with them. Such "real world" math would have helped this lottery nitwit as well.

I will however, continue to harp on the abysmal sham that is the public school system in the U.S. They are an ill-performing government monopoly, that only continue to exist because so much government (taxpayer) dollars are continually dumped upon their heads. In the absence of this, competition from secular private schools, parochial schools, and home-schooling would have decimated them years ago. And, I include the teachers' unions (though not all teachers) in my attacks, because they vehemently oppose any measure that would improve results and/or enable competition (pay-per-performance, school vouchers, end of tenure system, charter schools, &c.) The unions like cushy protected employment without standards or accounting for results. Exactly what are they afraid of?

Straight talk from Sid.
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The Romans were pretty rubbish at maths to be honest. They stole most of their technology from the countries they invaded. Maths was mainly developed by the Greeks, until the Romans invaded them and killed all their best scholars... and the earthquake that destroyed their greatest city and most of their technology... and I think they DID have negative numbers.
Romans make better soldiers. Greeks make better scholars. ^_^
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WHat idiots look 5,4,3,2,1,0,* -1,-2,-3,-4,-5,-6,-7,-8
five is the highest well duh. if you think -6 is smaller then -7 you would be wrong because if numbers go on forever what would be were the star is?
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Way to go Sid.
No accounting for results in school means big slap in the face when kids come out in the real world. Good ol'business will keep'em where they belong.
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It's funny that Sid insists on complaining about the education system in America when the entire article is about adults having poor math skills IN BRITAIN.

Maybe if he had better teachers when he attended school he'd have better reading comprehension...
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@Alex

right on man! so many people think higher math is just a more complicated version of synthetic division. It took me a while to understand a laplace transform but it was also a completely different way of thinking than factoring an algebra problem
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You'd think that temperature would be relatively easy for people who otherwise have no math skills to get. I guess that's one of the many wonders of the Fahrenheit scale (less likely to have to deal with negative temperatures), but it's still a useful, "non-mathematical" skill that you'd think more people would have, like dividing things into groups or vaguely estimating distance.
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Hooray! Now lotteries are a *literal* tax on the mathematically-challenged!

And props to JD for pointing out that higher math *isn't* a more convoluted form of algebra. I'm not at that level in mathematics (I'm a lowly Calculus 3 student instead of in signal processing classes), but JD has a good point. Whenever I tell people that I'm in calculus, they just ask, "so you're really good at factoring, eh?" ... lol @ them :)

Anyway, I don't it's representative of schools as much as the lack of reinforcement at home. I don't know about the older generations since I'm 17, but from what I've seen far too much football and not enough reading takes place at home. My proof is the HUGE drive at my school for any kind of sports, including dedicated assemblies to champion the efforts of the sports teams while demand for FIRST Robotics is 8 kids out of 2400, and 0 recognition goes to the Science Bowl teams when they get into the national competitions every year.

When parents are more focused on sports than they are on educating their children, serious problems occur. Children, especially when they're around 5-10, pick up on their parents values. When little Johnny comes home from school and sees his dad watching football with a can of beer every day, so will little Johnny he grows up. My parents never liked sports and they were driven by their parents (who had college degrees and whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents also had degrees) to get the best education possible. Guess what happened? They read to me every day, helped me with my homework and rewarded my academic successes with little parties. Guess what? I'm pretty bright myself :)

I've grown up side-by-side with someone in my Scouting troop who has a family of sports-addicts, always going to sporting events. He's in the varsity football team, but he's running straight C's and he never does homework. He's just as smart as I am, but he's going to a local community college instead of one of the top-notch private schools despite his parents' obscene amount of wealth.

On that note, Sid's comment about how China is going to pass us up soon has a fair amount of truth. EVERYONE in China and India wants to be an engineer, scientist or mathematician. In a nation that has more honors kids than we have kids in the first place, East Asia poses a pretty big threat. I don't mean to be one of those "zOMG CHINA WE R SCREWED!!1!" people, but even though the US and Western Europe are far better off, the Chinese and Indians are catching up fast. How this "race of nations" works itself out is anyone's guess, but the outlook isn't too bright when the most successful nations can't figure out a lotto ticket. Then again, China's number of unemployed is worsening as well so we'd all do well to take the above factoid with a grain of salt :)

I do realize that this is a post about Britain and I ranted about the US, but the links between this lotto ticket and "Verizon Math" (Google it; it's hilarious) are unmistakable... it seems to be a growing problem across the Western nations. And there you have it, a day's supply of food for thought!
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#24 (sickb*stard) -
Apparently, you aren't too hot at reading comprehension, either. Read my first paragraph in which I wrote: "I thought it was only we Americans who are so retarded in basic mathematics."

Let me explain the complicated irony here... I recognized that the article was about math-morons in the UK and was saying basically "hmmm... I thought that was only a problem in the US", and then expounded further upon that. Hope that helps. Thanks for playing.
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you all must have real sad lives.....to be on here commenting about something soooo small.....have you not got noyhing better to do with you're lives????and 9/10 yanks are as thick as fuck.......comment back to that wankers.............................................
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