The Daily Mail just reported that Professor Marcus du Sautoy recommends you pick your lottery numbers consecutively – because it ‘increases your chances of winning’.
Unfortunately, whilst it made a good headline, the Daily Mail got their conclusions entirely wrong from the facts Professor du Sautoy gave them.
Yes, Marcus did recommend you pick consecutive numbers. But he specifically said the reason to do that was because most people don’t pick numbers that way. Which would mean you are less likely to share the jackpot.
In the very same breath he actually said consecutive numbers were:
just as likely as any other combination
The Daily Mail turned that into the Professor saying combinations with consecutive numbers were more likely to win! Which is simply untrue, and not what Marcus said at all.
It’s a shame as the rest of the article was a really interesting view on probability in our daily lives, and why we often see significance in something that really is just a coincidence.
But instead a lot of people are going to take that headline at face value, and walk away spreading more useless misinformation about choosing lottery numbers. Of which there is far too much out there already.
What do you think of the article (apart from the plain misleading headline)?