Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Wednesday October 1, 2003. This morning, I dreamed intermittently about an event at Jonathan Adams and Carol Kennedy's home. I kept waking up (once, just before ice cream was served) and then going back to the dream.


I woke up realizing what I needed for "The Caterpillar on the Leaf". A character who had no center now has one. She wants to avenge her father's death, and she wants to do what's right for her world.

Later: And she's probably more interesting than my protagonist. But his story is a short story, and hers is a novel I don't yet feel up to writing.


By evening, I felt well enough to walk to the East Harriet-Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA) annual election meeting.

The meeting started with a talk by a former board member who is now mayor of Minneapolis.
R.T. Rybak gave a good folksy speech, and also did well with answering questions.

With a different audience, some of what he said wouldn't have gone down well. He advocated a "return to the streetcar city," for example. This group probably had a higher percentage of bus riders and bike riders than most. And the drivers among them were interested in getting _other_ people off their streets and out of their parking spaces.

He said "We are the engine that drives Minnesota" several times. Offhand, I'd guess that this is more popular in Minneapolis than it would be in St. Paul or anywhere else in Minnesota.

Short speeches from the CCP Safe Team. This project used to be two cops making local contacts with the public. It's now one police officer and one civilian, and it covers a wider area.

Board elections. Seven board positions (out of 11) to be filled. Seven candidates. Followed by electing board officers -- chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary -- from among the board members. One candidate for each position.

Election for elector for NRP Policy Board election. There was one candidate.

At least in my area, anyone who wants to get a start in local politics would do well to begin by serving on a Neighborhood Association board.

Ceremonial thanks to departing board members, including those just been re-elected.

Food was donated by area businesses,including Pizza Luce.


Mail: Wedge Co-op newsletter. It included a surprisingly even-handed article on Genetically Modified Organisms.

Also the ballot for the annual election, with candidates' statements.


Pun alert!! From EurekAlert.org:

Public Release: 1-Oct-2003
Turkey genome research may help producers breed a better turkey
To the average person, the turkey genome may seem to be a lot of "gobbledygook." But a just-published study in the journal Genome, will help to ensure that the turkey that we "gobble down" at our Thanksgiving feasts will be a bird that is truly best of breed.

Predict the Future? You Can Bet on It

....Fortunately for Mr. Peters, he is not playing for real dollars. He is trading play money on the Foresight Exchange (www.ideosphere.com), one of several Web sites that let people speculate on world events by imitating the futures and options trading pits. Instead of investing in the price of hog bellies or the S.& P. 500, the almost 2,000 members of the Foresight Exchange gamble on such questions as whether a space elevator will be built, whether the European Union will expand, or whether a certain cardinal will be the next pope.

Sites like the Foresight Exchange captured the headlines last summer when Congress discovered ["Discovery" made several months after a report was made to Congress containing all the "secret" information -- DSG] that a Pentagon office under the direction of Adm. John M. Poindexter was planning a similar system in which anonymous players could bet on the likelihood of events like acts of terrorism. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which financed the project in the belief that it might help predict the probability of future terrorist attacks, retreated rapidly as congressmen started calling it ghoulish. The Pentagon office, the Information Awareness Office, has since been shut down.

But in fact, marketplaces like the Foresight Exchange and the one envisioned by Admiral Poindexter are darlings of economists, who describe their workings with sophisticated terms like "price discovery," "opinion aggregation" or "risk analysis." They argue that the constant betting is an efficient way for distilling the opinions of many people into one number.

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