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Schrodinger's Lottery

With apologies to [liamdelahunty] for unintentionally stealing the name.
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Just like a regular lottery, except the prize is assigned by lottery as well. So you don't know what you're going to win, until you win.

This would actually make fairly good sport if the public were involved in assigning the prizes. The assignments would have to be within reasonable bounds*, but beyond that, prizes could be anything you can imagine. What's more, the bounds might vary depending on how big the pot is. People would watch, not so much to see who won, but rather to see *what* they won.

From the promoter's point of view, there's a good chance the payout will be significantly less than what's been collected, so there's a good chance of large profit.

Possible prizes:
$50,000,000
A stapler
$5,000,000
10 acres of land in Canada
$(etc with the money values)
A jar of sea water
A house full of new furniture

*Within the limits of local law and fiscal robustness of the lottery pot. You can't win a human, spare body part, the Mona Lisa or the Presidency - i.e. those things without a pricetag. You could win a date with a supermodel, a prosthesis, a postcard or a tour of the White House.

phoenix, May 27 2003

Schrodinger's Cat http://www.phobe.com/s_cat/s_cat.html
This describes a lottery for cats. [dijontoothpaste, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       Sounds just like the annual church raffle. "Mrs. Blodgett, congratulations, you've won the all expenses paid trip to Sandals. Here, let me help you with your cane. Next up, Nigel! You've won a matching set of embroidered egg cosies! You lucky lad!"   

       I foresee scenes like those in "Bruce Almighty".
DrCurry, May 27 2003
  

       I'm uncertain about this idea.
Aristotle, May 27 2003
  

       Aristotle: because you're confusing it with the Heisenberg Lottery?
DrCurry, May 27 2003
  

       I would have expected Schrodinger's Lottery to have involved winning pets in boxes that have an indeterminate state of health. Ideally you would be unsure that you have won and possibly unsure that you have even entered.
Aristotle, May 27 2003
  

       // I'm calling this one Baked - it's a common or garden raffle. //   

       Ah, it's good to know the spirit of PS still lives on.
waugsqueke, May 27 2003
  

       I like it even if you are sorry you ever had anything to do with it.
po, May 27 2003
  

       I would be pretty pissed off if last week the 6 number winner got $35 million, and this week, my 6 number winning ticket gets a toaster. But then I guess that's the chance one takes participating in this.
waugsqueke, May 27 2003
  

       Or, you win a chance to decide whether to open the door or not, and the 'prize' may be a very good thing or a very bad thing, (such as a huge pile of the winner's bills), which by opening the door might be initiated or averted. But I don't know.
RayfordSteele, May 27 2003
  

       [phoenix]: Who says winning the presidency doesn't have a pricetag?
Cedar Park, May 28 2003
  

       <10 acres of land in Canada >

  

       C'mon let's not go overboard. It's just a lottery after all.   

       Can you swap the stapler for the 10 acres in canada?
Supercruiser, May 28 2003
  

       [Cedar Park] I was referring to the Australian presidency.
[2 fries shy of a happy meal] Note I was vague about whether the land was above or below the Arctic Circle.
[Supercruiser] No. The only prize you know about is the one you win.
phoenix, May 28 2003
  

       I would like to know what the probability is of my winning a poscard of a supermodel in front of the White House wearing a prosthesis.   

       But according to Schrodinger's model aren't we to be constantly in flux, not knowing whether we've won or lost? Wouldn't we be half-winner and half-loser all the time? I think it would be impossible (not to say improbable) to actually give prizes. So, no, a vote for you, half fish and half bread, but you'll never know which it is at any given time.
k_sra, May 28 2003
  

       You should be able to determine either the location of the prize or the nature of it (i.e. a picture or something) but not both. In otherwords, if you won, (and therefore the location was in your hands) you'd never be able to find out what you'd won.   

       On the otherhand, if you lost, you'd have a chance to know what it was you'd lost.   

       You can't make this into entertaining television event without violating Schrodinger's Uncertainty principle at some point along the line. Eventually, in any good lottery, the winner finds out what he or she has won. Usually. I think. Don't they?   

       //Note I was vague about whether the land was above or below the Arctic Circle.//   

       Right, so in this example, you could own the land, but never know where it was. Or you could visit the property if you lost.
dijontoothpaste, May 28 2003
  

       Schrodinger's Uncertainty principle? Try again.
waugsqueke, May 28 2003
  

       Oh. I guess I was confusing this with the Heisenberg Lottery.
dijontoothpaste, May 28 2003
  

       Well, this would work with the Publishers Clearing House envalopes where they say "You may already be a winner!!" but until you open the envalope you exist in a state of winning or not winning.   

       You are perhaps thinking of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle where by giving you the prize it changes due to their interaction with it. This is already baked in many places since you never get the full amount of money because as soon as you win they take out taxes and such.   

       Or they could have a further lottery where by winning it you either get the prize listed or they place you in a dark room and shoot you.
sartep, May 28 2003
  

       Apologies accepted gracefully ;)
liamdelahunty, Jul 18 2003
  

       I like the idea of winning a prize whose location you know but whose content you don't. Or vice-versa, I guess. Sounds like reality television at its finest. I also recommend the works of Ian Banks to the originator of this idea.
cloudface, Jul 19 2003
  

       Actually thats a good idea. You can either be told what the prize is and given a rough location, or you can be given a precise location but you would have to go there to find what you had won.
RobertKidney, Jul 20 2003
  
      
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