1. 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)