Movember love

I participated in Movember this past year like always but given the state of my prostate, and the fact it hates me, Movember took on a whole new meaning.  Anyway when the survey about Movember came out I wanted to voice my opinion regarding the gifts or milestone prizes for raising funds, but the survey didn’t have that option.

So being the prolific letter writer that I am (everyone is entitled to my opinion) I sent them a note saying how much I appreciated everything but that I felt the gap between prizes was too big.  One was at $25 I believe you got the razor and the next was at $1000.  I raised $711 and felt a little…jaded.

Well, not only did I get a reply within a few days.  But this arrived in the mail the other day. I honestly started to tear up.

movember_love

 

The card reads,

Hi Dave,

We wanted to take a moment to day thank you for sharing your story wiuth us. Please know that are thoughts are with you while you fight the good fight.  Thanks again for your amazing efforts and allowing Movember to be part of your hairy journey.

Mo love,

Team Movember

Now if anyone asks you how you build a devoted fan base, that’s fucking how!

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Second biopsy

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So I had my second biopsy this week.  Just like last time I took an Ativan and got a local anesthetic. It hurt more than I remembered but less than I have read some guys experience it.

This time however I took the day off. It made it better not to have to deal with this nonsense at work.

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Lotto Simulator

I just wrote about playing in the Office Pool.  Well Here is a lotto simulator.  Do quick pick or play your own numbers.  Either way, you won’t win.

lotto

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Seems unnecessarily archaic

DRE

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Office Lottery Pool

I participate in the office lottery pool. I know better. I work in analytics and I understand statistics. Lotto max consists of 7 numbers each of which can be 1-49. This leaves some 85 million possible combinations. However, they say because you have three chances to play the odds are 1 in 26 million.

That is bad statistics.

I know that but I still play. Really because if my office ever won the pool and I didn’t play I would be crushed as my co-workers celebrated.  But it brings up an interesting topic.

Why are we so bad at statistics?

There is a case in the UK where a woman had a child die of SIDs, the chances of which are about 1 in 8,000.  Later she has another child die of the same condition.  At her trial a doctor testified the chances of having two children die of SIDs was 1 in 64,000,000.  Again, bad statistics.  We don’t know what causes sudden infant death.  It could be genetic, or it could be environmental.  We don’t know.  When they say the chances of your baby dying of SIDs is 1 in 8,000.

What they mean is for every 8,000 births one results in death from this syndrome. However if you meet the conditions, your chances could be much higher.  You may have 1 in 10 children die, it’s just that only 1 in 8000 of the general population actually do. Thankfully the woman was exonerated during her appeal, but imagine what an ordeal it was to first lose two children and then get tried for murder.

We continually run numbers in our heads.  We estimate chances, and studies show we are terrible at separating risk and emotion. This is why some charities such as breast cancer make huge money, but only affect a few people while other dangers such as heart disease, which is a leading killer of men and women, receive proportionally minute attention.

We also fear things that are flashy.  Terrorism is an example of a greatly exaggerated threat.  They are loud and flashy and spectacular but really, auto-accidents puts them to shame in terms of sheer body count. And you are much more likely to be killed by your dog than a shark, but sharks are flashy and scarey.

How good is your grasp of risk?

  1. What’s more common in the United States, (a) suicide or (b) homicide?
  2. What’s the more frequent cause of death in the United States, (a) pool drowning or (b) falling out of bed?
  3. What are the top five causes of accidental death in America, following motor-vehicle accidents, and which is the biggest one?
  4. Of the top two causes of nonaccidental death in America, (a) cancer and (b) heart disease, which kills more women?
  5. What are the next three causes of nonaccidental death in the United States?
  6. Which has killed more Americans, bird flu or mad cow disease?
  7. How many Americans die from AIDS every year, (a) 12,995, (b) 129,950, or (c) 1,299,500?
  8. How many Americans die from diabetes every year? (a) 72,820, (b) 728,200, or (c) 7,282,000?
  9. Which kills more Americans, (a) appendicitis or (b) salmonella?
  10. Which kills more Americans, (a) pregnancy and childbirth or (b) malnutrition?

Click here to see the answers on Psychology Today.

Back to the lottery, 1 in 85,000,000 is outside of our realm of understanding and everyday experience so we focus on the jackpot.  When it gets up to 50 million more people play. The more people play, the higher the chance you will need to share the pot, even though your chances of picking all 7 numbers remain the same.

There is also the small pots and near miss rules coming into effect.  Small pots are the free play and minor payouts like $5 and $10 dollars.  People win these and think, just one more number and the payout would have been larger. plus it puts money back in their pockets.  They remember the few wins, and ignore the many losses.

By just barely missing a big payout, say choosing 13, 24, 41 when numbers 12, 25, and 42 are picked will make players feel they were close.  In actuality they were no closer than if 1,2,and 3 where chosen.

The media also contributes to this by splashing the winning ticket buyer’s photo across media. They don’t show the millions of people who lost money, or even the 70% of winners who spend all their winnings in 5 years.

Still I will continue to play with the office, but I don’t buy on my own anymore.  This way I get the thrill of playing, don’t have to worry about being upset if other win and didn’t participate and there is a good chance the win would be modest and not radically change my lifestyle.

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Je suis Charlie, Je ne ai pas peur

Charlie Hebdo published it’s cover amid  world wide attention, and it’s largest run ever – a million copies. The cover depicting Mohammad with the phrase “All is forgiven” shows the French resistance to anything smacking of tyranny.

BN-GK083_Charli_JV_20150112182529Canadian publications including the Star, the Globe and Mail and the CBC have refused to show or republish the cover. The reasons for this reticence is varied but all equally cowardly. While many support Charlie Hebdo they have no desire to become the next one. 

Many have stated staff safety as their priority. Some have stated they can support CH without having to publish the comics. And the weakest of the lot have used the excuse they don’t want to publish material some people may find offensive.

These arguments while understandable are weak hearted.  It is reminiscent of Chamberlain’s appeasement of the Nazi. The fear of violence is so strong that we’d rather give up a fundamental right and rationalize that fear than risk physical harm.

The extremists claim it is revenge for the prophet or some such nonsense. Like their religion is so fragile a cartoon could shatter the whole thing.  By extension they claim “don’t publish this and we won’t have a reason to kill you.”  But that is only for now.

Extremists will find any reason to impose their own crazy version of Islam on the world.  Yesterday it was comics, tomorrow it will be something else;  music, television, internet, the color blue. Who knows,  they’re insane. Which is all the more reason to not give in to their demands.

Their violent brand of Islam doesn’t mean we should capitulate, rather quite the opposite.  Muslims, or anyone for that matter has the right to be offended by the cartoons. People can get offended by anything they like. But that doesn’t mean we have to care, agree or even respect their indignation. Offense is taken, not given.

Every publication in the world should say  “No.  You don’t dictate what we publish and such ridiculous violence will be counter-productive.”  Yes, some people may die because of it.  I may die for republishing the cover. They may attack other newspapers, or bloggers, or T.V. station but you know what? They are going to attack someone anyway.  They are extremists,  that is all they can do.

George Washington said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

I don’t know about you, but if I am to be led to the slaughter,  I want it to be kicking and screaming.

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