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What Are The Odds?

(The Suss-Man (Mike)/Flickr)
(The Suss-Man (Mike)/Flickr)

Here they are: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and 42, with 42.

Those were the winning numbers picked in the Mega Millions lottery Tuesday night. And, since I am here at work today, obviously, I did not win the eye-popping $380 million prize.

But two winning tickets were sold. One in Idaho the other in Washington state. We've heard before of people pooling money and buying dozens of tickets and winning that way. But two different individual winning tickets? In two different states? That just seemed so rare.

So, mathematicians out there in Radio Boston land I'm asking for your help. Given that the probability of picking all six winning Mega Millions numbers is about 1 in 175 million, what's the probability of two different people picking those numbers? And how do you calculate that? We want to know! Post your calculations and proofs in the comment section below.

And while you're at it, consider this: Four of last night's winning numbers were the same four numbers picked by Hugo "Hurley" Reyes in the hit show "Lost". Now, what are the chances of that?

This segment aired on January 5, 2011. The audio for this segment is not available.

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