Say four people are drawing straws for a prize. My friends and I agree that the first person to draw has a 1 in 4 chance of getting the short straw. However, if he or she does get it, the second person’s chances drop to zero. And if the first person doesn’t get the short straw, the second person’s chances increase to 1 in 3, and so on. Our disagreement: Is it better to draw first, last, or does it make any difference?
—Nancy P., Newport, N.H.
The order makes no difference. Envision all four people drawing straws, but instead, not looking at them yet. At this point, each person has a straw. Does it help to be the first or last one to look? No.
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Solve online (thanks to J. Eric Ivancich)View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+