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Algeria make history

Today sees the start of the final round of group games in the 2014 World Cup. Each day, there are 4 games, the final 2 games from each group. Both matches in each group will be played simultaneously, after a scheduling rule change by FIFA after an infamous 1982 World Cup Finals match. But last night, Algeria qualified for the knockout stages after beating South Korea 4-2. This is the first time in history an African team has scored 4 goals at the World Cup Finals.
posted by marienbad on Jun 23, 2014 - 530 comments

Pay just 99 cents to read the rest of this post

The Year of the Crush: How the Radically Unfair Candy Crush Saga Took Over Our Lives We are clearly drawn to structured entanglements with chance. We use rules and money to define the stakes, and we use cards or dice or candies not as generators but as channelers — mediums — of the chance we believe is already out there, secretly running the show. Despite whatever other beliefs we have about fate or God or a deterministic universe, we often act as if luck is quite real in our daily lives. Candy Crush Saga has capitalized on this to become the mobile game of the year. Not the best, nor the worst, but the mobile game that dominated the charts, that succeeded at free-to-play in a way that will be studied for years, that penetrated the wider culture and came to stand in for all of addictive, time-wasting mobile gaming in 2013. And yet Candy Crush is not simply game of the year in the way that Stalin was once Time’s Person of the Year. It’s a genuinely compelling game that fully commits to radical unfairness. In fact, this is the primary source of its appeal.
posted by Room 641-A on Dec 25, 2013 - 138 comments

I was young once. Make it quick and get out of here.

"My friend Nick and I planned another prank. We thought it would be funny to scare a couple of friends while they were hanging out with some girls. We drove over to their house and crept up to the living room window with ski masks pulled down over our faces and realistic-looking water guns in our hands..." Participants in We Are All Criminals tell stories of crimes they got away with. via [more inside]
posted by postcommunism on Dec 5, 2013 - 24 comments

Animals Were Harmed

Animals Were Harmed On the American Humane Association's relationship with Hollywood.
posted by turbid dahlia on Nov 26, 2013 - 28 comments

Being a fair sport

In athletic competitions, what qualifies as a sporting chance?
posted by Gyan on Sep 4, 2013 - 41 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

"I'll get up and bury this telephone in your head."

Actor Dennis Farina, known for his roles as cops, crooks, and crooked cops, has died. [more inside]
posted by Rangeboy on Jul 22, 2013 - 93 comments

$100 Invested in 100 $1 Lottery Tickets

The thrill and rush of possibly winning started to wear off after about the twentieth losing ticket. Each card had a couple of “Life” symbols on them, and every time you got a second you just dreamed of seeing the third one under the remaining graphite. However it never appeared and never will and it just kind of turned depressing. How could people put themselves through this humiliation and teasing every day of their lives?
The classic criticism of the lottery is that the people who play are the ones who can least afford to lose; that the lottery is a sink of money, draining wealth from those who most need it. Some lottery advocates . . . have tried to defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy—paying a dollar for a day's worth of pleasant anticipation, imagining yourself as a millionaire. But consider exactly what this implies. It would mean that you're occupying your valuable brain with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero—a tiny line of likelihood which you, yourself, can do nothing to realize. . . . Which makes the lottery another kind of sink: a sink of emotional energy. [via]

posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on May 18, 2013 - 154 comments

The hands are dealt; we get to see how we play them.

Luck was a David Milch-created show on HBO last year. It was cancelled after one season. Some of you might have dug it. If so, you might also dig Out of Luck: "The following blog is the writer’s depiction of an imagined racetrack-based story, an ongoing saga, which includes some of the characters depicted in the ill-fated Luck series." It's written by John Perrotta who was a writer/producer/story editor on the show.
posted by dobbs on Feb 19, 2013 - 15 comments

"A lesson about the success of Great Men"

And Now Let Us Praise, and Consider the Absurd Luck of, Famous Men [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 14, 2013 - 32 comments

Skill-Luck Continuum

"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
posted by vidur on Nov 20, 2012 - 16 comments

Richard Wiseman: quirky tricks, science, & jokes

10 bets that you will always win is a video collection of clever tricks (& science) from Richard Wiseman's Quirkology YouTube channel; see also top 10 quirky science tricks for parties, 10 more science stunts for parties, another 10 quirky science stunts, and 5 amazing mind tricks (previously: 10 practical jokes). Wiseman is a psychologist, magician, and author who created LaughLab: the scientific search for the world's funniest joke; the final report & top jokes* are available here (PDF) and over 1000 LaughLab jokes (all clean!) here (also PDF). Previously: his research on luck. (via voices + gizmodo)
posted by flex on Jun 16, 2012 - 16 comments

Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie

"My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck—especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either." Michael Lewis's address to the Princeton Class of 2012.
posted by vidur on Jun 4, 2012 - 58 comments

An industry running out of luck?

After three horses used in the production of Luck had to be euthanized due to injury, HBO decided to pull the plug on the horse racing drama. Perhaps for the first time since Eight Belles broke down following the running of the Kentucky Derby in 2008, the deaths and subsequent decision to cancel the show have again cast a national spotlight on the darker side of the US horse racing industry, a business “still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world.”
posted by lovermont on Mar 26, 2012 - 41 comments

It's actually not a good day to die.

An amazing video compilation of narrow escapes from death (via)
posted by desjardins on Sep 13, 2010 - 123 comments

Resting transparent in the spirit which gave him rise.

David Milch, creator of Deadwood, John From Cincinnati, and NYPD Blue reads from Luck, his Michael Mann-directed upcoming show for HBO. Following the reading there's a Q&A. (mp3)
posted by dobbs on May 7, 2010 - 26 comments

The Secret

Lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good Those who think they're unlucky should change their outlook and discover how to generate good fortune, says Richard Wiseman (Via Lisa Hoover at Lifehacker) [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Feb 16, 2010 - 130 comments

what the luck

OMG (SLYT)
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Jan 17, 2009 - 74 comments

The great horseshoe controversy

The stranger asked to see the shoe; The farmer brought it into view; But when the old man raised his head, He laughed outright and quickly said: "No wonder skies upon you frown, You've nailed the horse-shoe upside down; Just turn it round, and soon you'll see How you and Fortune will agree. In some cultures, the horseshoe is hung points down (so the luck pours onto you); in others, it is hung points up (so the luck doesn't fall out). Some think this controversy has precedes superstitious Pennsylvanian farmers. And lets not get started with hex signs.
posted by 445supermag on Mar 5, 2006 - 14 comments

Yardsale!

The most expensive record in the world! Another music post for today's MusicFilter. The true story of a yard sale, a couple of quarters, and one happy lad's good fortune. Velvet Underground included.
posted by underer on Mar 6, 2005 - 15 comments

Chain Letters in History & The Paper Chain Letter Archive

Luck Chain Letters Predecessors: Ancient documents that advocate their own perpetuation. The Letters from Heaven. Transitions to chain letters.--from Chain Letter Evolution, which is part of the Paper Chain Letter Archive via History News Network's Cliopatria
posted by y2karl on Nov 7, 2004 - 4 comments

But I know my luck too well Yes, I know my luck too well

Born Slippy Lucky? (via BBC via memigo)
posted by shoepal on Apr 6, 2004 - 9 comments

Come here boy, and let me rub your head.

Charges of racism have been leveled against this president in the past. But this stunt even surprised me. Then I remembered a similar scene on the Capital steps. There hasn't been much media about it, so I'm wondering...is this a regional racism, such that it slid under the radar of the east and west coast news machines, or has the myth of rubbing the head of a black man for luck thankfully faded from the cultural unconscious?
posted by dejah420 on Mar 10, 2004 - 65 comments

Pickup Lines for Lady Luck

Want to get lucky? Just start thinking like you already are.
posted by thomascrown on Dec 31, 2003 - 8 comments

Lucky Cat

Maneki Neko is a cat figurine, sits and has it's front paw raised as if it is calling for luck, fortune and customers to your store, and invites happiness to your home.
posted by riffola on Dec 5, 2003 - 15 comments

Movie Discussion

Intacto - An interesting foreign language film about the mechanics of luck as a commodity. I just wanted this film last night and am trying to understand all of the possible permutations of how luck worked in this movie. Anyone interested in discussing it is encouraged to do so.
posted by Wong Fei-hung on Jul 18, 2003 - 7 comments

The world's luckiest man?

Is he the world's unluckiest man or the luckiest? Either way, Croatia's Frane Selak, who had already gained attention for escaping death seven times, has just hit the jackpot with his first lottery ticket in forty years. How can we normal mortals compete?
posted by rory on Jun 19, 2003 - 13 comments

High-wire act

God did it? I'm not usually one to accredit daily occurrences to the whim of the Almighty, but in this case, one has to wonder. A young man is thrown from his vehicle in a rollover crash, ejected, and saves himself from impact by catching the telephone lines 25 feet overhead.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Jan 29, 2003 - 101 comments

Just another nail in the head

Just another nail in the head Don't mind me. I will just be posting sites that are really crazy for the next month.
posted by aj100 on Aug 2, 2001 - 40 comments

I bought 3 Quick Picks for the Lottery

I bought 3 Quick Picks for the Lottery this week, thinking that if there were any balance in the universe I'd be due for a big payoff... If SuperLotto was High/Low, I'd have nailed it. I got one number. ONE. 5 number for lotto x 3 quick picks = 15 potential correct numbers. I got ONE. On the upside, I'm still due. Touch me now, I'm jam packed full of luck potentiality...
posted by CrazyUncleJoe on Mar 4, 2000 - 5 comments

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