Earlier this month, two researchers at University College, London, published some surprising findings in the journal Cognition. The gambling phenomenon known as the "hot hand" — the idea that if you are on a winning streak you'll continue to win — is real. And not only is it real, but your chances of winning appear to rise significantly after each winning hand.
Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey reached their conclusion by studying 565,915 online sports bets made by 776 gamblers in 2010. Overall, the gamblers won 40 percent of the time (the house always wins, eventually). But if one of the gamblers won, his odds of winning the next hand rose to 49 percent, then 57 percent in hand three, 67 percent in hand four, 72 percent on the fifth wager, and an insane 75 percent on the sixth consecutive winning hand. This is what that looks like in graph form, via Xu and Harvey's paper:
For losers, flip those charts horizontally: Losers keep on losing and losing. Skill had nothing to do with it either way. What's going on? "I certainly don't want people to think that if you're winning that you're more likely to win and eventually you win, win, win," Xu told says The New Yorker's Jay Caspian Kang. The key is apparently the gambler's fallacy, described by Xu and Harvey as "If you have been losing, you are more likely to win in future."
What appears to happen, according to the paper, is that "after winning, gamblers selected safer odds. After losing, they selected riskier odds." Winners keep on winning, Xu and Harvey say, because they are "worried their good luck was not going to continue, so they selected safer odds." Sure, but if you're losing, looks best to walk away. Peter Weber
An explosion at a bar in Ansbach, Germany, late Sunday killed one person and injured 11 others, police said.
— LBC (@LBC) July 24, 2016
The mayor of Ansbach, a city near Nuremberg, told reporters an explosive device was used, the BBC reports, and a spokesman for the Bavarian Interior Ministry said the explosion appeared to be intentional. The area around Eugene's Wine Bar has been sealed off by police, German media reports, and Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann is on his way to the area. Last week, a gunman opened fire in Munich, killing nine, and an ax-wielding attacker injured several people on a train in Wuerzburg. Catherine Garcia
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced on Sunday that she will step down after leaked emails seem to show the committee's bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders. In one email, the DNC's chief financial officer, Brad Marshall, suggested attacking Sanders for his religious beliefs and painting him as an atheist. Marshall apologized on Saturday, but on Sunday, Sanders said the emails were "outrageous" and called for Wasserman Schultz to resign. "I mean there's no question to my mind and I think no question to any objective observer's mind that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton, and was at opposition to our campaign," Sanders said.
The leaked emails, and the resignation, come one day before the start of the Democratic National Convention and at a time when the Democratic Party is showing signs of division after a tense primary season between Sanders and Clinton. Wasserman Schultz will step down at the end of the convention. In a statement following the announcement, Clinton called Wasserman Schultz a "fighter" and thanked her for her service. Jessica Hullinger
In a surprising move, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire media executive and the former mayor of New York City, will endorse Hillary Clinton for president, The New York Times reports. Bloomberg left the Democratic Party in 2000 to become a registered Republican. Earlier this year, he was considering his own presidential run as an independent. While Bloomberg disagrees with Clinton on a variety of subjects, including gun control and immigration, the Times reports he is dismayed at the thought of a Donald Trump presidency, and believes Clinton to be a "far better choice," said Howard Wolfson, a Bloomberg adviser.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg will make his case for Clinton on stage at the Democratic National Convention, alongside other convention headliners like President Barack Obama, and Clinton's VP pick, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). The hope, it seems, is that Bloomberg's endorsement will speak to undecided moderates. "As the nation's leading independent and a pragmatic business leader, Mike has supported candidates from both sides of the aisle," Wolfson told the Times. Jessica Hullinger
Chris Froome won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Briton to win the race three times. After 89 hours, six minutes, and one second in the saddle over the race's 21 stages, Froome, 31, crossed the finish line in Paris almost three minutes before his closest rival. He won in 2015 and in 2013, and is only the eighth man with three Tours under his belt. Jessica Hullinger
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that it will not completely ban Russia from competing at the Rio Olympics, Reuters reports. Instead, the IOC is putting the responsibility of deciding who can compete in the Games on the bodies that govern the individual sports.
The announcement comes after an independent report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping among Russian Olympic athletes. Competitors will need to meet a set of criteria to demonstrate they are clean, and anyone who has previously been caught doping will not be allowed to compete. Jessica Hullinger
German authorities say the gunman who opened fire at a Munich shopping center on Friday, killing 9 people and injuring 35 more, planned the attack for a year. On Sunday, Robert Heimberger, president of the Bavarian state criminal police office, said 18-year-old David Sonboly left a manifesto on his computer. "He appears to have planned this act since last summer," Heimberger said. "He completely occupied himself with this act of rampage."
In planning his attack, Sonboly, who authorities say was "obsessed" with mass shootings, visited the site of a previous school shooting and took pictures, The Associated Press reports. In 2015, Sonboly spent two months as an inpatient at a mental care facility, where he was treated for depression and a fear of contact with other people. He killed himself after the attack. Jessica Hullinger
On Sunday morning, Donald Trump, or whoever was running his Twitter feed, went on a rampage against Hillary Clinton's decision to pick Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her vice presidential nominee. Embedded amongst a flurry of exclamation points and all-caps accusations of "BAD JUDGMENT" was an error that's sure to needle grammar snobs: Where Trump should have used "their," he used "there" instead. And in the same breath — er, keystroke — instead of "waste," he used "waist."
Then again, what more do we expect from a presidential candidate who researchers say has the grammatical sophistication of an 11-year-old?