Right now, as Hurricane Irene nears the end of its lumbering trip up the East Coast of the U.S., someone is making money. At the same time, other people are losing money — not in property damage or lost income from a closed business, but because they lost a bet against nature.
Why do some people like to take risks by playing "longshot" payoffs while, on the other hand, taking the opposite tack by buying insurance to reduce risks? A team of economists and molecular geneticists says the answer can be found in our genetic makeup.
No one can predict the future, but the powers of probability can help. Armed with this knowledge, a high-school mathematics education and £50, I headed off to find out how Thorp, and others like him, have used mathematics to beat the system.