March 30th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot

“Never tell me the odds.”
Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back"

Look. We know that you're aware the odds of winning Friday night’s record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, or any Mega Millions jackpot, are astronomical.

We also know that for the people who win it, the odds matter not one bit. Someone is going to win at least a share of the prize if not Friday, then in some subsequent drawing. But since we’re covering the historic jackpot and showing people in long lines giddily talking about how many cars or yachts or Dippin' Dots they’d buy if they win, we feel compelled to remind you:

It’s not going to be you.

The odds of a ticket winning a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,711,536 to 1. As Han Solo’s talkative robotic friend would tell you, you have a much, much better chance (1 in 3,720!) of navigating an asteroid field successfully. We didn’t exactly vet that, but you know you’d smash your ship into the rocks. And who are we to question protocol droids fluent in more than 6 million forms of communication?

To hammer home the point, here are a few other unlikely scenarios that, we’re sorry to say, are far more likely than you taking home a jackpot.

From the Harvard School of Public Health:

Chances of dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Chance of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From U.S. Hole in One, which insures golf prizes for holes in one:

The chance of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole is about 1 in 12,500. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

The chance of a golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:

 The chance of hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely, is 1 in 6,267. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the National Weather Service:

The chance of being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics in 2000:

Chance of drowning and other beach-related fatalites: 1 in 2 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

Chance of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

What are the odds you will win? Weigh in below, or on Twitter using #whataretheodds.

Libya, and Gadhafi's fall, by the numbers
Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed Thursday after being captured by revolutionary fighters.
October 21st, 2011
03:06 PM ET

Libya, and Gadhafi's fall, by the numbers

A look at some key figures relating to uprising that led to the ouster and the October 20 killing of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and the challenges that Libya faces as it transitions to a new government:

42: Rough number of years that Gadhafi ruled Libya, starting with a coup d'Ă©tat in September 1969.

69: Gadhafi’s age at his death.

3: Days after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that calls went out on Facebook for peaceful demonstrations in Libya against Gadhafi.

33: Days after those calls that a coalition of nations including the United States began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya – an operation, later led by NATO, that was authorized by a U.N. Security Council resolution to protect civilians. The air and missile campaign helped halt an advance by pro-Gadhafi forces on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

159: Days between the calls for protests (February 11) and Libyan rebel forces entering Tripoli (August 21).

219: Days between the calls for protests and Gadhafi’s death after his capture by revolutionary forces near his hometown of Sirte (October 20).

3: Number of Gadhafi’s sons reported to have been killed since Libya’s civil war began in February.

8: Number of Gadhafi’s biological sons and daughters.

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Filed under: Libya
Digits: Libya by the numbers
Libyans take to the streets of Benghazi late Sunday to celebrate the rebel advance on Tripoli.
August 22nd, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Digits: Libya by the numbers

18 – Countries in the Middle East and Africa with widespread anti-government protests in the Arab Spring.

3 – Days after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that calls go out on Facebook for peaceful demonstrations in Libya against leader Moammar Gadhafi.

162 – Days between Mubarak’s fall (February 11, 2011) and Libyan rebel forces entering Tripoli (August 21, 2011)

42 – Years Moammar Gadhafi has been the leader of Libya.

6,597,960 – Population of Libya estimate as of July 2011

3 – Sons of Moammar Gadhafi who are reportedly in custody of rebel forces as of August 22, 2011

10 – Total number of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons and daughters

1970 and 1973 – The United Nations Security Council Resolutions that authorize “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.

19,977 – Number of NATO sorties that have been conducted since March 31, 2011 to August 22, 2011.

3 – Volumes of Moammar Gadhafi’s Green Book, where he outlines his philosophical views

5 – Times Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has delivered official remarks about Libya in 2011 to date.

31 – Members of the Libyan National Transitional Council that represent cities across the country.

1959 – Year oil was discovered in Libya.

1,542,000 barrels per day – Amount of oil exported daily from Libya (2007 est.)

1,704,000 barrels per day – Amount of oil exported daily from the United States (2008 est.)

25% – Percentage of Libyan’s GDP that is earned from the oil sector

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Filed under: Libya • World