Most people either aren’t aware how big a role chance plays in striking it rich, or prefer to remain in the dark as much as possible. But the fact is, you have pretty much the same chance of making billions as the newest Silicon Valley tech zillionaire as you do of winning a hefty lottery. In fact if played every week, the lottery probably edges out the Valley. A recent study showed how this works:

The results are something of an eye-opener. Their simulations accurately reproduce the wealth distribution in the real world. But the wealthiest individuals are not the most talented (although they must have a certain level of talent). They are the luckiest. And this has significant implications for the way societies can optimize the returns they get for investments in everything from business to science. 

The computer model charts each individual through a working life of 40 years. During this time, the individuals experience lucky events that they can exploit to increase their wealth if they are talented enough. However, they also experience unlucky events that reduce their wealth. These events occur at random.

It should really be read by everyone, especially scientists as there is a surprise tie-in near the end. The gist of it is, as the article notes; no one is a billion times smarter than average, no one works a billion times harder than average, no one is a billion times more talented than average, and yet some people are worth billions of times more than average. This occurs naturally, because a few individuals experience many wealth building events and few to no wealth reducing events over the course of their lives. IOW, they are lucky.

Please, SpaceX, set up worldwide wireless Internet and cell phone coverage, and deliver from us from the shitty, overpriced land-based monopolies we currently endure.
As a chronic pain patient (Anklyosis spondalitis, bad) I think I’m going to call bullshit on this study, and also mention there are millions of pain pax who can’t take INSAIDs of any kind.
It came from the deep!
David Grinspoon, author of Earth in Human Hands, and Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizon’s Mission to Pluto, have teamed up to tell the story behind the success of the mission and its future in a new book to be released soon:

How did this happen? Chasing New Horizons is the story of the men and women behind this amazing mission: of their decades-long commitment and persistence; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission; and of the plans for New Horizons’ next encounter, 1 billion miles past Pluto in 2019.

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