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Update at 12:25 p.m. ET: Since we first posted, the jackpot's been increased to $550 million from $500 million when the day began, so we've changed that figure below. That doesn't do anything to change the odds of winning.
Our original post:
Though many of us are buying tickets in the hope of winning tonight's $550 million Powerball jackpot, we should do our civic duty and remind everyone that the odds of winning it all are 1 in 175 million.
And that means it's more likely, at least judging from one sort-of-old but widely cited statistic, that you'll be crushed to death by a vending machine as you try to shake loose a stubborn candy bar.
The supposed odds of such a death? About 1 in 112 million.
What's more, you're much more likely to die from a bite or blow inflicted by man's best friend than you are to have the winning ticket in tonight's Powerball drawing. The National Safety Council says the odds of dying from a dog bite or blow are 1 in 144,899.
Of course, if you don't buy a ticket then your odds of winning (if our math is correct) would seem to be zero.
Tonight's jackpot — which, of course, may not be won by anyone — is the second-largest in U.S. history. The only bigger one was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March.
Meanwhile, our question is still open.