Man loses life savings on New Hampshire carnival game trying to win Xbox

Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:43 AM | Contributed by Vater

Henry Gribbohm says he attended a Manchester carnival run by New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows and wanted to win an Xbox Kinect at a game called Tubs of Fun where contestants toss balls into a tub. When he practiced he says it was easy, but something changed when he started playing for the prize and the balls kept popping out.

Read more and see video from WBZ/Boston.

Sunday, May 5, 2013 10:13 PM
sws's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

I don't believe in luck.

I believe in luck. In the scientific/academic community it is called random chance. We have to deal with it every time we do an experiment, conduct a study, publish a paper, or submit a grant. We have to run statistical analyses on our results to show they are real and not the result of random chance (luck). Even then, our peers will accept results with p values < 0.05, which means that 5% of the time, we just got lucky.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013 11:14 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I believe in Luck.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013 11:22 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

GoBucks89 said:

Seems to me to be a narrow definition of luck. Certainly narrower than what most people mean when they say luck (including all of the successful business people I know).

Yeah, this seems to be the contention. You're probably right. But in a way that's my point - people tend to attribute things to luck much more broadly than I do...or think is reasonable if you really dig into it.

I'm talking philosophical ideas to a room of academics. It's the coasterbuzz curse, I should know better by now. Broad strokes and abstarct imagery don't play well in this room.

Still I'd like to answer a few posts, but after that I'll do my best to drop it and find some stoners who will be wowed by this stuff. :)

ApolloAndy said:

But the choice you make is completely meaningless and there's nothing of consequence actually in your control.

I just disagree with this in principal. You seem to say the coin toss result determines the outcome. I say your choice dertermines it...at worst, they both contribute an equal amount to the outcome.

What if I flip two coins and you win if they're the same (in which case you had no decision making capacity). Is there luck then?

No, not really, but that gets into the person flipping the coins, the mechanics of coin flipping and all the stuff that opens the can of worms. And I don't want to go there any more than you do.

In a broader sense, choosing to accept those conditions instantly puts you in an advantageous position over someone who didn't in that you now have the possibility to 'win' and they don't. If you do win, were you luckier than that person or did you manipulate the situation as best you could to your advantage?

That's what I'm getting at when I say I don't believe in luck. Obviously, events occur that are beyond your control - to me that isn't luck, it's simply the conditions in which you have to perform.

Brian Noble said:

I'll agree with you that the odds of success are almost never "zero". But, you can't possibly be suggesting that my kids' odds are the same as someone born in Sudan---or even most parts of Detroit.

I dunno. Odds of what. Being happy? Making six figures? Marrying a goat? All three?

Obviously, I know what you mean and I agreed that birth conditions do seem to be pure chance as far as we know. But it feels a little like you're challenging me by asking why the quarterback can't get a home run. I mean, no, that kid born as you read this in the Sudan won't ever be the president of the US. Is that bad luck? I don't think I'd define it as such.

sws said:

Even then, our peers will accept results with p values < 0.05, which means that 5% of the time, we just got lucky.

Or got results that are beyond our ability to explain and/or understand. All that says is the analysis can't account for the result. Perhaps our analysis isn't sufficient?

Why did that happen? I dunno. Luck, I guess. Random chance.

Is it luck that the crops grow every summer? At one time it probably was. :)

Like I said, it's a little hippy-dippy. I'm not going to apologize. I'm trying to think outside the box. Seems like a little too often the crowd around here can get hung up on what is. I like to think sometimes about what might be.

At the very least take it as the general idea that I believe I control more of what happens to me than most people do.


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Monday, May 6, 2013 12:22 AM
sws's avatar

I've got nothing against luck. Luck gets a bad rap. Kind of like the number 13. Luck gets blamed a lot for people's stupidity. "It's not my fault; I just had bad luck." It's not lucks fault, you're an idiot. Luck just needs a better PR agent.

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Monday, May 6, 2013 12:55 AM
sirloindude's avatar

Man, this is some deep motherlucking stuff.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Monday, May 6, 2013 8:53 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

Either way, the moment you pop out you start playing your hand...and I think life has shown us that it's only at the extreme ends of the sprectrum that you can't overcome the hand that you were dealt by playing smart.

Which is interesting to think about, because Trump was very much born into the far end of the "lucky" side of the spectrum, and his stupidity wasn't able to overcome his initial position in life as the son of a wealthy real estate developer.


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Monday, May 6, 2013 9:26 AM

Is it too late for me to put $100 on the Sudan kid, over the Detroit kid?

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Monday, May 6, 2013 9:32 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

But in a way that's my point - people tend to attribute things to luck much more broadly than I do...or think is reasonable if you really dig into it.

At the very least take it as the general idea that I believe I control more of what happens to me than most people do.

I agree 10000000%. Like, all those people sitting around in casinos thinking "I'm just getting unlucky" while pissing away thousands of dollars. Or they stand in the middle of a field during a lightning storm and get hit by lightning and say, "That was just unlucky." Most things in life are not completely random and there are ways to tilt the odds in your favor (though even after tilting, the final result is assigned randomly).

However, to deny that there is a random (i.e. completely out of my control) assignment at the very end of the tilting or to deny that there's ever a random assignment in anything...I just can't go that far.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, May 6, 2013 9:35 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

In the end, all roads lead to Kenny.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, May 6, 2013 9:56 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

My problem with the term 'luck' is this:

...Luck is a deterministic concept that there are forces (e.g. gods or spirits) which prescribe that certain events occur very much the way laws of physics will prescribe that certain events occur.

Now, I am a religious person, don't get me wrong, but I also don't believe in luck. Randomness, yes. Chance, yes. The bible itsself talks about time and unforseen occurance. I do not believe that someone that wins the lottery, no matter how religious they are, no matter how badly they need money, was given that as a blessing.

As a religous person, and I'm trying not to delve into that so much here, I do believe in certain instances that could best be described as providence, but, and this also comes from my beliefs, most things are indeed the result of time and unforseen occurance (Circumstance). The choices we make still guide our lives.

If you choose to stand in a field during a lightning strike, that was the result of a choice.

If you choose to play 4 8 15 16 23 42 in the lottery and get on a plane, your crashing on a mysterious island was the result of a choice.

Jacob had nothing to do with it.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Monday, May 6, 2013 10:38 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

It seems like we may be talking about two different kinds of luck here:

1) Luck as opposed to providence. That random outcomes exist which have no meaning or purpose.

2) Luck as opposed to control. That random outcomes exist of which human beings have no reasonable way to affect the outcome.

I am a very religious person and I still am not sure that 1) doesn't exist. I am also a very scientific person, and whether or not 2) exists, it is an incredibly useful notion and shorthand.

I'm not sure how to talk about 2) in a philosophical way or 1) in a scientific way.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, May 6, 2013 10:45 AM

What most people call luck is randomness resulting from choice.

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Monday, May 6, 2013 10:45 AM

But it feels a little like you're challenging me by asking why the quarterback can't get a home run.

No, I'm just trying to get you off of your absolutist position. You aren't a very interesting debate partner when you refuse to do this.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, May 6, 2013 10:46 AM
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Monday, May 6, 2013 11:05 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

It seems like we may be talking about two different kinds of luck here:

Yes. I actually meant to add to the original post that I prefer not to use the term 'luck' for:

...random outcomes exist which have no meaning or purpose.

I also don't think the term 'luck' is a good word for:

...random outcomes exist of which human beings have no reasonable way to affect the outcome.

When I hear the word 'luck', I always take that to imply 'fate', or something that was in a higher power's design for mankind. I don't beleive in fate.

I do believe that there are random outcomes that we have no way of affecting. I choose to go to the bathroom, but if someone stops me in the hall and slaps me, it had nothing to do with me being unlucky. I could have went to the bathroom at a different time and not ran into that person. That person could have been on the way up to slap me. Or I could have tripped. It's random, but it's the outcome of the decision I made to walk to the bathroom. If I get slapped, it's the outcome of a decision someone else made.

If I flip a coin, it has a 50/50 shot of heads or tails. Regardless of the outcome, the 50/50 shot at heads or tails comes after you decide to flip the coin. Otherwise it's a hypothetical situation, like Scrodinger's Cat.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Monday, May 6, 2013 1:57 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:

No, I'm just trying to get you off of your absolutist position. You aren't a very interesting debate partner when you refuse to do this.

I gotta be me. :)


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 9:43 AM
kpjb's avatar

Tekwardo said:

My problem with the term 'luck' is this:

...Luck is a deterministic concept that there are forces (e.g. gods or spirits) which prescribe that certain events occur very much the way laws of physics will prescribe that certain events occur.

I think this is the problem with the argument here. In my mind what you described there is not luck at all. It's predetermination, God's will, whatever you want to call it. In my mind, that's the opposite of luck.


Hi

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:03 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I think part of the semantic issue going on is the use of the term "lucky" in contrast with the use of the term "luck."

I understand luck to be the absence of determination (or an event complex enough to simulate the absence of determination). Perhaps "chance" or "random event" is an adequate synonym for this defintion.

But then people say, "I'm lucky" implying that there is some determination in those events (i.e. they win more often than expected). Perhaps you could use the words "fate" or "fortune" or "curse" as synonyms for this.

I definitely believe in the first. I definitely do not believe in what most people understand as the second. (I believe in many forms of providence but not in "God wanted me to win the lottery.")

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:06 AM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:19 AM
rollergator's avatar

^...event complex enough to simulate the absence of determination...

Now THAT is where I put my ducats...

Life is complex, the butterfly effect is in full force - just because someone is unaware of the nature and extent of the factors involved in a particular outcome, it doesn't negate their involvement in the situation.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:33 AM

But if someone cannot meaningfully map from their actions to events, it does not matter whether or not the two are related.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:34 AM
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 1:07 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

...just because someone is unaware of the nature and extent of the factors involved in a particular outcome, it doesn't negate their involvement in the situation.

Brian Noble said:

But if someone cannot meaningfully map from their actions to events, it does not matter whether or not the two are related.

But it sort of does. This is exactly the abscense of luck I've been trying to get at. You may not be able to accurately map the series, but the series still took place.

And that's kind of sws's experiment thing - we can't explain it, it's luck. Random chance.

I don't define things beyond my understanding as lucky. (I was going to crack a joke about all the pretty common things we use/do that I don't totally understand being luck...)

I think it's entirely possible to possess a 'feel' or a 'vibe' for those things. It's not that you have mapped each event - it's more like estimating the answer to an equation. I didn't do all the work, but I'm in the ballpark with the answer.

I believe that people who generally get called "lucky" are good at this...for whatever reason and in whatever way.

And now that I'm typing this out, It feels like I'm not far from describing "God's Will" or "Fate" or whatever you use to reconcile this concept in your mind...and, frankly, I'm kind of pissed about it.

I dunno. I believe it's totally possible to put yourself into advantageous situations. That you create your own 'luck' in life. You've made a series of decisions to play against the world's series of decisions. It may be complex, but it's happens.


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