The odds of the winning today's Powerball lottery are one in 175 million. There will still be a giant dose of hope in the country as people line up and pray for their day in the sun, despite people knowing better.
Statistician Ronald Wasserstein helps us mortals visualize how crazy those odds are: if 175 million one-dollar bills were laid end-to-end you could, "go all the way south [from Washington D.C.] to Disney World in Orlando ... still have enough to go clear across the country to Disneyland ... go north and make it all the way to Portland, Oregon... [continue on and] make it all the way east to Portland, Maine. And, fortunately, we'll have enough to make it back to my house near D.C., completing the loop." Twice.
Instead of despairing about how much money you're not going to win, check out this list of all the things far more likely to happen to you than winning today's Powerball.
(h/t Desert News for the odds)
1. Picking a Perfect NCAA bracket
Odds: 13,460,000 to 1
If you have an extra dose of hope after today's lottery drawing you can use it to convince yourself of winning your NCAA pool. Usually I go for whoever is going to beat Georgetown.
2. Visiting the ER due to a Pogo Stick Injury
Odds: 115,300 to 1
With all the time you have not spending the $600 million of the powerball you could pick up a new hobby, like pogo sticks. But even the odds of you getting beamed on one are far higher. That is, unless you're one of these talented folks.
3. Scoring a Hole in One
Odds: 5,000 to 1
The next time your long-time golf buddy gets a hole in one, just tell them that was an eventuality than actual talent. This could also serve as a new type of trash talk.
4. Becoming Pope
Odds: 20,000,000 to 1
I'm going to assume this applies to primarily to men, and the odds for women are going to be far less favorable. But hey, you get to sit on a nice chair.
5. Being Audited by the IRS
Odds: 175 to 1
Maybe the IRS should use this in their defense against the Tea Party targeting?
6. Finding a Four Leaf Clover
Odds: 10,000 to 1
The luck of the Irish is fairly achievable compared to some of the other items on this list. After finding a four leaf clover you could even attempt that hole in one with the double power of luck and statistics on your side.
7. Winning an Academy Award
Odds: 11,500 to 1
I'd like to thank the Academy for making these odds far more achievable than the Powerball lottery and kickstarting my acting career.
8. Being Hit by a Meteor
Odds: 182,138,880,000,000 to 1
That is of course, unless Bruce Willis is there to save the world!