==> For those in the Houston area, I’m going to be at the Mises Circle on January 30. Other speakers include Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, and Jeff Deist. Details here.
==> Speaking of the Mises Institute, they’re trying to get updates from any alumni who have been through Mises U.
==> A lot of people were passing around this FEE piece by Daniel Bier on Powerball, which was fine as far as it went. Yet it too overlooked the pretty simple (but important!) point I made: That if the pot gets so big that “now it’s a good bet,” everyone else can do the same arithmetic and would also buy a ticket, if that were actually the full story. In other words, the probability of splitting the pot with someone else goes up, the bigger the pot gets. And sure enough, there were three winners. If you look at the history of Powerball jackpots–assuming I’m interpreting the results correctly–the jackpots with multiple winners tend to be large. For example, in 2015 the biggest jackpot was the only one that was split (three ways). In earlier years the pattern isn’t perfect but it’s pretty close. Of course, ideally you’d really want to test to see how many tickets were sold, as a function of jackpot size, but I think looking at the actual splits is pretty good to make the point that the probability of splitting is clearly not independent of the size of the pot.
==> This was a really good–and hilarious, near the end–Glenn Greenwald piece on the U.S. media’s treatment of the Iranian government seizing American sailors.