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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Saturday August 23, 2003. I went around the corner to the Southwest Senior Center. (By their standards, I won't be a senior for another five years. The AARP says I've been a senior for ten years.) I picked up my FARE For All food, and ordered next month's.

FARE For All is a program which provides food for an hour of volunteer service and a small amount of money.

I slept a good part of the day, which at first seemed rather useless. However: for a couple of months, I'd had the feeling that I'd lost my ring. Which, since I hadn't been wearing a ring, disconcerted me. When I woke up, I no longer had that feeling.

I also felt more comfortable in my body. I don't yet know if there's a real (and lasting) difference.

Email: On ss talk, Fred Capp reports that Taco Bell is doing a California Recall Election promotion. Buy a crunchy beer burrito, and you vote for Arnold Scharzenegger as governor. Buy a soft chicken burrito, and you're voting against recalling Gray Davis. No menu items for any of the Hispanic candidates.

I'd sent Sharon Kahn a list of futures markets in predictions. Here's an expanded version, which I've now sent to Sharon.

http://www.ideosphere.com/fx/ Foresight Exchange
Uses play money, though some people make side bets. Almost anything goes; if it's possible to say when the prediction has come true or turned out wrong, and if someone volunteers as judge, the claim goes into the market. One person maintains that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be elected President of the United States; the Constitutional amendment needed to make him eligible will be passed.

http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem/ The Iowa Electronic Markets
Uses real money for political markets. The people running the market decide what goes up. One market is for the Democratic Presidential nomination; another is for winner of the Presidential race. Both have Hillary Clinton as claims, but not Howard Dean (except for inclusion in the Other Democrats category). There are also two Dutch political markets, with prospectuses in Dutch; they don't seem to be active.

http://www.darpa.mil/ DARPA Home
The market in Mideast events has been closed down. However, you can still see the report DARPA made to Congress on May 20th, 2003 -- some time before a couple of Democratic Senators uncovered this deep, dark secret. (And Administration officials then expressed their shock.) And the press release, which was presumably sent to the press -- well before the news media expressed their surprise. Doesn't anyone in Washington read their mail?

http://www.hsx.com/ Hollywood Stock Exchange
Real money, bet on people in the US movie industry.

http://artificialmarkets.com/ Artificial Game Markets [David Pennock, Steve Lawrence, Lee Giles, Finn Nielsen; NEC Research Institute]
A study of the predictive ability of the Iowa Markets.

http://www.longbets.org/ Long Bets
Real money, but your winnings are given to charity. All predictions must be for at least two years in the future. Not all predictions are converted into bets. Has ties to the Whole Earth Foundation.

http://www.simonmarket.org/ The Simon Market in Science Claims
Not yet set up. Named in honor of Julian Simon. The page has links to other markets, including some I haven't looked at yet.

http://www.americanactionmarket.org/home.htm American Action Market:

Analysts often use prices from various markets as indicators of potential events. The use of orange futures contract prices by analysts of the Florida weather is a classic example. The Pentagon briefly attempted to apply this technique to terrorism, assassination, and war

The American Action Market (AAM) refines this approach by trading futures contracts that deal with the two most important questions facing the world today: (1) What will the U.S. government do next? (2) What is informing the U.S. government's current behavior?

Some of the contracts traded on AAM will be based on objective data and observable events, as on a horse track, e.g.

* the next White House lie to break into the news
* the next country to which the White House will issue an ultimatum, and when
* the next foreign leader to move from the CIA payroll to White House "most wanted" list
* the lifespan of various DARPA projects, such as Total Information Awareness and Babylon * the first White House staffer to resign in disgrace, and when
* the President's approval rating on the day before Saddam is captured or killed

Other AAM contracts will more closely resemble stocks on the market; they will be based on possibilities and scenarios that may or may not be verifiable, but that may be progressively revealed over time (e.g. via journalistic sleuth-work, public statements by concerned politicians, or Congressional hearings):

* how and at what stage the White House officially decided to use the attacks of September 11, 2001 as a reason for invading Iraq
* whether Rumsfeld was the first, the morning of September 12, 2001, to decree that the attacks were the "Pearl Harbor" needed for attacking Iraq, or whether the idea came first from others
* whether the invasion of Afghanistan had been planned from the start as a stepping-stone to an attack on Iraq, or whether the decision to attack Iraq was made only once the troops were massed nearby
* whether or not the President was conscious of overt lying in his various pre- war speeches, or whether the decisions to lie were taken by others, with the President thinking himself to be truthful
* whether or not the expulsion of U.S. and British oil companies from Iraq between 1972 and 1975 was an important long-term factor in the 2003 war on Iraq, and in what way
* to what degree neo-conservatives Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams and other students of Leo Strauss (who may have taught that it was necessary for elites to lie to the public) relie [sic] on Strauss's teachings in their daily decisions
* whether or not Iraq's 2001 switch to the euro as its trading currency, and Iran's and Venezuela's contemplation of similar steps, was a factor in U.S. decisions leading to the 2003 war on Iraq

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