Crazy numbers, equal chances

I (well, I think, in the main, “we”) are quite crazy about certain things.

Here, we have the Superenalotto – like the National Lottery in the UK. The payout, for tomorrow night, if someone wins the jackpot will be in the region of 135 million Euro!. This is an extraordinary sum of money, I think you will agree. If 1 person were to win it, it would change their life, for sure.

You select 6 numbers (from 1 to 90, I think). Now, here’s the thing.

I should go and get a ticket. I should choose, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6. Why not? After all, it has the same probability as, for example, 8, 25, 48, 49, 72, 85. They are random numbers and as just as random as the first choice.

And, yet, I won’t. I won’t because, however much I KNOW that there is the same chance of the two sets of numbers coming up, my head tells me that the first set is ‘less likely’. It has no rhyme nor reason since the logic side of me knows that there is equal chance.

You see? I (we) am crazy!

Spam comments; Mantova; Facebook and the changing of Social Networking

I’m getting more spam on here at the moment – all captured and not published but I still have to check it, so it’s a pain.

Usually, the English is terrible. Often, in spite of links to different sites, the messages are the same. I think the best one I have ever had was the one that just said ‘I hate you’ the other details of this were: (being the link), (being the email address) and (being the IP address). I kept that one, even if it isn’t published. Most tell me what a wonderful site this is and how wonderfully I write and how the ‘post’ was so informative and was the perfect answer to some life-long question that the supposed person had had.

A few offer me ways to make this web site something that can generate so much cash that I would never have to work again. A few offer pornographic sites that are, of course, the best.

Still, the ‘I hate you’ one was by far the best and, strangely, I really love it!

Actually, I think I’m getting more spam because of my ‘Elton John is Gay!’ post. It has been the one most favoured by Google searches as of late. It seems that if you type in ‘William Hague Gay’ and search for images – the image I posted comes out as the first one! Who would have known?

Even though that image is used by a number of other newspaper sites, mine is first :-D


I had a very nice comment from Saruk to say that Mantova will be waiting for me next time! I am so happy about that. The weather, this weekend, will be very nice and I remember so many nice years being at the Festival – even the year where an African artist, doing some rain-evoking chanting/dance thing meant that the heavens opened and the storm was so bad that the event had to be cancelled, people walking over chairs as the auditorium was flooded (perhaps God was looking down after all! :-D) – enjoying both the Festival and the fine weather, meeting friends from Mantova and the UK. Ah, good times.


Facebook, the popular social networking site is losing some of its function – at least for me.

There are many applications (games) on there and, having moved on from Farmville, I am now playing Camelot. This is Farmville with wars which makes it a little more interesting.

Every time something happens (like you complete a quest or get a token from Merlin or ask for help building a castle or searching for your destroyed army after some battle), it is posted on your wall for all your friends to see. Since the purpose of this game is to grow and become stronger then encourage you to become friends with as many people as possible and so, now, I am ‘friends’ with people all over the world – people who I have never met and am unlikely to meet and who, in real life, are unlikely to be friends.

And, yet, since you ‘speak’ to a lot of these people almost every day, since you have common goals, since you are sharing experiences (albeit fictional ones within the game), they feel the same as real friends and provoke the same emotions.

There is laughter, crying, anger, frustration – in exactly the same way as if they were ‘real people’ (yes, I know they are real people but they are only ‘virtual’ friends, so you know what I mean). Recently, when the leader of my alliance was verbally attacked by other members of our alliance it caused a rift every bit as real as if we all lived in the same village. The hatred was just as vicious, the outpouring of emotion from all sides, just as real and vivid.

And, for me too! I was surprised at myself and noted how much I felt, how much, inside, I was upset or angered. The edges of the virtual and the real were blurred.

Originally, Facebook (as far as I was aware) was intended for a way to keep in contact with friends from real life; to see how they were doing; to share photographs; to tell everyone how you were doing, what you were doing, etc. But this ‘gaming’ thing is different. It never was quite the same with Farmville – but with Camelot the virtual world becomes another ‘real’ world, even if it isn’t. Friends are not friends but more like colleagues in the game with all the political and emotional ‘games’ that people play in real life work situations or, even real life social situations. Although it does tend to be a little more like school with it’s excess of pettiness, etc.

The major downside is that, with all these Camelot friends, posting all this stuff on the main page, the real purpose of Facebook has changed and it’s difficult to see what your real friends are doing, so lost are their few posts to the hundreds generated by Camelot each day.

So, whereas Camelot started as a subset of Facebook, now it almost seems as if Facebook has become a subset of Camelot! Of course, I could ‘hide’ all these Camelot posts. But to do that would mean that I lose out on free Merlin’s tokens and not be able to help these virtual friends of mine (and in turn they will not help me, perhaps?). Mixed in with these posts are the Farmville posts and the Frontierville posts (which, although I don’t play that, come up as some ‘friends’ do play it), etc., etc.

And, so, Facebook, instead of telling you anything about your real friends, tells you so much about what they are doing in these virtual games.

Of course, there is a solution to this (Facebook – if you’re listening?). That is to have two ‘front pages’. The front page for games and the other front page for sharing photographs, posting things of real interest rather than the fact that you are building a castle or have found, on your farm, a party duck, etc.

But, back to the game and how much real life is there in this virtual world. Is this what the social network founders had in mind? I suspect not. The creation of a world, bringing together people who will never meet and who, if they had, would never be real friends has, I suspect, modified the function of social networking, creating something that is similar to social networking but cutting across the boundaries of the real world.

But, then, this IS like the real world, I suppose, just on a global scale and in a virtual world that, to all intents and purposes, is a mirror of the real world. This gaming is much like school or work. People from different backgrounds and with different (moral) standards, forced into a small, inner world, where, here, they have something in common as one does in school or at work. The only danger that I see is where the virtual world of the game is taken too seriously (and I assure you that it is) by some people. There is a danger that the emotions in this world become too real and people lose the ability to see it for what it really is – a game and not really the most important thing in life.