1. Statistics from South Carolina highlight the lottery’s reliance on low earners: people in households earning under $40,000 made up 54 percent of frequent players, while constituting only 28 percent of the state’s population. Meanwhile, a PBS report earlier this year showed that, for America’s very poorest, the lottery is a heavy expenditure: Households that earn at most $13,000 a year spend 9 percent of their money on lottery tickets.
    — Natasha Lennard at Salon explains the lottery’s dark side

    (Source: theweek.com)


  2. The Powerball jackpot has reached a record $500 million, causing people in 42 states to flock to their nearest convenience stores to snatch up what could be the winning ticket. A numerical guide to the contest, by the numbers:

    $2 — Price of a ticket

    6 — Numbers that must be matched — five whites and one red — to win the jackpot. (Five what balls are drawn from a drum of 59, and one red is drawn from a drum of 35.)

    1 in 176 million — Odds of winning the jackpot

    1 in 5,000 — Odds of being struck by lightning

    $327 million — Immediate lump-sum payout option, before taxes, if you win the jackpot

    25 — Percent the federal government keeps in taxes

    5 to 7 — Percent of the jackpot held by most states in taxes

    29 — Years winners have to wait to receive the entire jackpot under an annual payment plan

    $365 million — Previous largest Powerball jackpot, in 2006

    More numbers

    (Source: theweek.com)


  3. For a little perspective, we offer the cartoon of the day

    Copyright Gary Varvel, 2012 creators syndicate