F. Scott Fitzgerald would tell you there’s nothing more obnoxious than other people’s luck. But then, he should know: How would you feel if you wrote The Great Gatsby only to watch it languish in obscurity — not even sell out its first printing! — and then get made in to a pastiche of party gifs long after your bones get subsumed into Maryland’s daisies. You make your own luck in this world and you start by knowing the odds.
1. You Probably Won’t Get into All Eight Ivy-League Schools
If you’re heading back to college, where mood-altering substances meet mind-numbing lectures, consider for a moment Harold Ekeh, the 17-year-old incoming Yale freshman who got into all eight Ivy League schools. Oh, and M.I.T., N.Y.U., and Johns Hopkins. But don’t worry — not everyone needs to be like Mr. Ekeh. You know how many Ivies you need to get into to become an Ivy Leaguer? If you answered “just one,” why, you’re on your way. Here’s the likelihood of getting into each Ivy.
Odds of getting into Brown: 1 in 1,062, odds of getting into Columbia: 1 in 1,039, odds of getting into Cornell: 1 in 571, odds of getting into Dartmouth: 1 in 870, odds of getting into Harvard: 1 in 1,786, odds of getting into Penn: 1 in 910, odds of getting into Princeton: 1 in 1,328, and odds of getting into Yale: 1 in 1,438
2. Get Struck by Lightning, Win the Lottery
Some odds you beat, some odds beat you. Take Peter McCathie, a Canadian man who recently won a $1 million lottery prize. Not out of the ordinary, right? Well, McCathie already survived a lightning strike when he was 14 years old. The odds of those two things happening are minuscule, but it just so happens that McCathie’s daughter was also struck by lightning a few years ago, completing the bizarre lottery/lightning triangle. Some odds are flat-out odd.
Odds of winning the lottery after you and your daughter were struck by lightning: 1 in 2.6 trillion
3. Straight Outta Compton Straight Up Killed It at the Box Office
It’s been a great year for Universal Pictures, and this past weekend was kind to the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, which raked in over $60 million at the box office. (Ice Cube, unfazed, already knows something about good days.) The R-rating slowed it none. People were ready to get their “Fuck Tha Police” on, and they loved its meme generator. For now it looks like Straight Outta Compton is more 8-Mile than Notorious, so look for it to keep making bank until an objectively worse movie supplants it in September.
Predicted over/under on Straight Outta Compton’s first weekend box office: $40 million
4. SeaWorld Probably Won’t be Around for Much Longer
If you’re a zoo or an aquarium: Don’t mistreat your animals or even let people think you’re mistreating your animals. Hurt by the continual fallout from the 2013 film Blackfish that uncovered instances of the park mishandling its charismatic sea creatures — not to mention its employees — SeaWorld’s profits have tanked by nearly half in the past year. SeaWorld better do some soul searching or face an ocean of hurt. An 84 percent profit loss isn’t something to swim yourself out of easily.
Over/under on how much longer SeaWorld will be in business: Five years
5. Google’s Solar Power Tool Will Show You the Power of the Sun
Google Engineer Carl Elkin has launched a tool called Project Sunroof to help people outfit their homes with solar energy. Elkin came up with Sunroof as a “20 percent project,” the amount of time Google allots for employees to devise side hustles beyond their regular job. The tool uses information in Google Maps and local weather histories to determine how much money you can save if you switched to solar energy. So far it works only in San Francisco, Boston, and Fresno (where Elkin’s mother lives), but he wants to eventually roll out Sunroof in other cities.
Over under on how much money you could save over the next 20 years by using solar power: $14,000