Red Sky at Night

…shepherd’s delight, yellow sky at noon – guarantee of doom? An eerie yellow murk that hung over cities across the UK earlier this week, coinciding with a tornado in Morecambe and a deluge of foam in Cleveleys, has led to predictions of an imminent apocalypse. But what are the odds? Having failed to materialise in 2000 (Isaac Newton) or 2012 (the Mayans), the frequency of end-of-the-human-race predictions is now running at a rate of more than one every year. Crackpots aside, statistically assessed predictions include: in 300,000 years’ time (supernova), and in 800,000 years’ time (our evolution into a new species). So probably not worth reflecting the risk in your cashflows. However, for those of us investing in long odds (above say 250,000 to 1), it is worth noting that the risk of death on any given day is greater than the prospect of success. Hence, only ever buy a lottery ticket on a Saturday if you want to maximise your chances of being able to spend it.