Could It Happen to You?

My friend Farida posted a quiz question yesterday, and my considered response was that the graphic in her question looked like a lottery ticket, and I suggested that she should one day ask, what are the chances?

I’m gonna pre-empt that question, by answering it myself, today. In the UK, we have a lottery where you need to choose 6 numbers, from a possible 59. That 6/59 format seems quite a common combination globally.

So, let’s assume you chose your six numbers (their name is a line).

On the night of the draw:

  • before you start, there are 59 balls in the pot, so you have one chance in 59 of a particular number coming out of the hat. But you have six numbers, don’t forget, so the chance of the drawn number matching any of the numbers in your line 59:6
  • Now, let’s assume you got a hit.
  • It preparation for the second number, there is one less ball to pick from the hat, there are only 58 balls. But equally, you have one less number in your line, because you already crossed one off. So the chance of a particular number coming out of the hat is 1 in 58. But remember, you have five available numbers, so the odds of matching one of them is 58:5.

Now, at that point, let’s take a timeout. What are the chances of both the first number coming out, and the second number coming out?

Well, we know that the chance of the first of these is 59:6, and the chance of the second is 58:5. In fact, to work out the chance of both these things happening, you need to multiply those two numbers, so the chance of both balls being hits is

(59 x 58):(6 x 5), which is 3,422:30. That’s about 115:1, that’s how much chance you have of matching two numbers. That’s for two hits, so let’s keep going.

  • Now, there are only 57 balls in the pot, so the chances that the next ball drawn will be a particular number is 57:1. But you still have four numbers to choose from.
  • So, the odds of matching all three balls so far? You got it, they are (59 x 58 x 57) : (6 x 5 x 4). I won’t bother working that out, because we’re not finished yet. And it’ll make my head explode. Let’s work it all out at the end. Let’s say you match this one too.
  • Let’s move on to the fourth ball. Now, there are only 56 balls in the pot, so the chances of the next draw matching one of your numbers is 56:1. But you have 3 numbers, so that makes the odds 56:3.
  • And, you’re gettin used to this, the chances of having matched all four balls to this point are (59 x 58 x 57 x 57 x 56) : (6 x 5 x 4 x 3). But let’s assume you keep matching the numbers.
  • Fifth ball. One chance in 55 for any given number. The number of balls is going down by 1 each time. But now, the draw has to be one of two numbers. So the chances of this ball matching one of yours is 55:2. And the chances are getting all five hits is (59 x 58 x 57 x 56 x 55) : (6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2). Nevertheless, assume a hit.
  • Sixth ball. One chance in 54 on a particular ball coming out. But you only have one ball, because the other five numbers were all hits, and are therefore out of the game You have Chances of getting all six numbers are (59 x 58 x 57 x 56 x 55 x 54): (6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1).

So, where are we at? We started off with 59 numbers in the pot, but you had 6 numbers in your line. Each time we draw a number, the pot gets smaller by one. /but at the same time, you cross another number off in your line, so it gets shorter by one. And it we end up crossing off all six numbers in our line, we just won the lottery! We’re millionaires! There are, of course, prizes for matching fewer numbers, But the chances of actually winning the thing are more than 1:22, 5oo, 000. Would you back a horse at those odds?

That’s not as impossible as it seems.People here do win the lottery, maybe every month or so. But more often, nobody wins. I presume it are pretty typical at the moment, and if I go to the lottery web site, they are adverticing the next draw as a triple rollover – so that is the last two draws, where nobody has won.

Now, people in the UK have gradually seemed to lose interest in the lottery, and I’d guess that ticket sales have fallen over time. The lottery company is aware of this, so they also have a rule of no more than five rollovers. After the fifth, they share the prize money out between the people with the most matches.

Did you get all that? Beware, I might be asking questions! But judge for yourself – could it happen to you? (Not to me – I don’t buy a ticket, which I figure is the most profitable move of all!)

Big and Small (2)

Just as a follow-on from my earlier post, where I got as far as having discovered that virus particles are about 0.02 microns in size.

A bit more time today, and a bit more digging.

I didn’t bother with Denier, overnight I decided that was probably a red herring.

I did, however, find a UK company called Filtrex. I had in my mind something like DIY masks for sanding etc. but these guys seem far more upmarket – clean rooms etc. On their site, I found a useful page which talked about standards. Apparently there is one, ISO 16890. It only came about in 2016 so I suspect it isn’t ubiquitous yet. Bottom line, it splits filters into four levels, and even the highest quality of these only filters particles of 0.3-1 micron. That’s still an order of magnitude bigger than COVID-19. Imagine trying to get a yardstick through a 10-yard gap…. Conclusion – I’m looking in the wrong ballpark.

I then started looking at other standards. I came across FFP1, 2 and 3, which I think are EU standards. FFP = filtering facepiece. The masks gradually restrict smaller particles. with FFP3 offering the highest level of protection.

FFP3 masks are what is used by our NHS to care for COVID patients, with a big caveat that if you’re working in the NHS, these masks are supposed to be fitted to your face, so there’s no gap. With all the hoo-ha here about PPE, I have no idea whether that is actually happening, but it is what is supposed to happen.

FFP3 is also the type of mask recommended by the WHO to treat COVID patients – reassuring that in this case at least, we are fitting in with international standards. On some sites I have seen that it is the equivalent of N99. Funny, Jim Adams mentioned an N-rating after my original post, yesterday, but I couldn’t dig up any info. I’m guessing it is the corresponding US standard.

FFP3 masks seem to be retailing on eBay at around GBP20 minimum. That’s not far different in USD or EUR, and that’s each. Pretty blatant profiteering, most likely.

Nevertheless I might get one with a view to washing it between trips out, although that is bloody expensive just for a mask. And before I buy anything I’ll need to be clear whether it is washable or not.

Even after that, I’m not sure that they will be a barrier, but I’m guessing that since the NHS use this standard of mask, it’ll be the best I can get hold of. I might have to settle for that. Given this appears to be a European standard, and we have been in the EU for forty-odd years, I wouldn’t expect to have to look for any other standards.

Mister Bump

In the UK people have been talking about lifting lockdown, with the mandatory wearing of masks in public places. My gut feel is that our government is libertarian in nature, so won’t go near that. They might advise, but I doubt they’ll mandate. “Experts” seem split on whether they are effective or not (the masks, not the government. Everybody is pretty unanimous about the government!) I think it is a case of choose an expert who fits in with what you already think. So one of the questions I have had on my list of things I really need to do, (and sooner rather than later) has been to evaluate the question of just how much use a facemask would be.

I started off, I must admit, thinking: particles small, gaps in the mesh of facemask fibres big, so really did not see the point in wearing one. But I…

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Big and Small

In the UK people have been talking about lifting lockdown, with the mandatory wearing of masks in public places. My gut feel is that our government is libertarian in nature, so won’t go near that. They might advise, but I doubt they’ll mandate. “Experts” seem split on whether they are effective or not (the masks, not the government. Everybody is pretty unanimous about the government!) I think it is a case of choose an expert who fits in with what you already think. So one of the questions I have had on my list of things I really need to do, (and sooner rather than later) has been to evaluate the question of just how much use a facemask would be.

I started off, I must admit, thinking: particles small, gaps in the mesh of facemask fibres big, so really did not see the point in wearing one. But I might be changing my mind.

My plan this morning was to find out the size of your average COVID-19 particle, then to research the denier scale, previously encoutered only in the context of women’s tights! My gut feel was that gaps between fibres would be enormous in comparison to the size of this virus.

I ran out of time (I needed to call people) so I never got to find out about Denier. For all I know, it could be the wrong thing entirely. I did have some success, though. My very first hit yielded me a virus size of 0.02 microns. A micron is just 10-6m. That’s actually quite large – okay, well, it’s small, but it is more than a million times bigger than an atom, say, which comes in at roughly 10-15m. Something like my water filter claims to trap particles of that kind of size. If only I could breathe through my water filter, I’d drown instead 😆

Actually the graph that came with that number was interesting. They might have already done the work for me. I don’t own the copyright on any of this, so will just link to their graph and cross my fingers that it stays good.

from https://health.ebsco.com/blog/article/covid-19-ten-things-you-need-to-know

So the material used to make a surgical mask will filter out 89% of particles which are the same size as COVID. Now, I have no idea who the authors are, how reputable they are, but I thought the image represented a useful start point for later. They at least read as pretty serious.

The thing I picked up from this is that even just a (presumably knitted, common-or-garden) scarf might halve the flow of covid-sized particles. So maybe I will be changing my mind after all about masks.

Probably, more to come on this one.

Imprisoned

I read a couple of posts yesterday, and have been speaking to several people over the last few weeks, who mentioned about how the isolation due to lockdown is driving them crazy.

My wife doesn’t like it for the same reason. She explained to me, It’s not that I’d go out anyway, but just the feeling that there is somebody there saying “you can’t do that”.

I can kinda see that. But it is never something I felt. To be honest, I have never really felt as though I am locked down.

Now, this is not to say that I have been out partying every night. At the start of all of this, I decided that my best ploy was to understand the virus, as best I can. From that point, I have been happy to stay indoors. But I feel that I have made that decision for myself. I don’t feel like a politician made it for me. In fact, looking at the timeline, I was isolating for a full two weeks before BoJo!

I’m quite convinced that this is a factor, at least, in our respective mental health. I don’t feel any imprisonment whatever, I am quite happy that I can walk down the lane outside my house, to go for a walk, as often as I feel like, and not meet anybody. After all, it is the not meeting anybody here which is important. As it happens, most days I have just stayed at home, or gone into the garden, but this is not because I feel somebody is standing over me saying no.

In a similar vein, I have decided that, whenever BoJo opens the shops, it will still be unsafe. He never wanted to shut anything in the first place, so his instinct will be to re-open asap. So, my decision is that whenever things open, I will stay locked down for another six weeks. Even then, I’ll only come out if the numbers look good. Six weeks? Because that should be long enough to start seeing new spikes. But again, my decision. So, BoJo might be firing the start pistol, but I’m the one deciding when to go.

I don’t know. Maybe I am the worst kind of idiot, the guy who wants to understand everything for himself instead of just doing what he is told. But the stakes are my life or death, let’s not forget. Am I really going to entrust that to some guy I never even met? Not to mention that in the UK at any rate, the politicians have distinguished themselves just in terms of one thing – their irrelevance.

I’m kinda reminded of that old quote attributed to FDR: Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. If one day you read about me getting banged up in jail, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.

Grand opening: Stinewriting on Etsy

I picked up my wife’s christmas present two years ago from Etsy. Some custom soft leather labels for her to sew into the clothes she was making. Came all the way from an artisan in Vladivostok! I thought they were quirky and unique.

I don’t know if I spelled her name wrong or something but after Christmas Day, I never saw these labels again!

Anyway I share Christine’s post with you:

Stine Writing

https://www.etsy.com/listing/813236079/handbound-journal?ref=listing_published_alert

Only a few items for now but the inventory will be growing!

Handbound journals

After watching a video https://youtu.be/pb5ckTXwCwY via someone else’s blog post, I have begun making hand-bound journals. They will be for sale on ETSY. I can make them customized for a more personal gift. I will be adding more, with different details to each one. Right now I have each listed as a single product because I make them all differently.

Please check my shop out and share!
Thank you for your support!

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