Betting on Terrorism

Wired News had a fairly interesting story (I also heard about it on O’Reilly last night) about “Terrorism Futures.” Essentially, people at DARPA came up with this idea that they could open up a lottery where people could place bets on tragic world events happening. They could then use this information to help define what events are most probable and stop them before they happen.

Some interesting quotes:

“The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it’s grotesque,” fumed [Democratic Senator Ron] Wyden.

“Among the many things we do for intelligence, this is one of the least reprehensible,” [Economics professor Robin] Hanson said. “Paying people to tell us about bad things. That’s intrinsic to the intelligence process.”

“Market mechanisms are more accurate than asking people their opinions because they’re putting their money or reputation on the line,” said Ken Killitz of the Foresight Exchange, which speculates on everything from the future of human cloning to the possibility that Roman Catholic priests will be allowed to marry. “It gives people an incentive to reveal what they know.”

Some think this would encourage people to commit terrorism and bet on themselves, and others disagree stating that doing so would tip their hands (voting would not be anonymous) and get them in trouble (or at least warn us about it so we could stop it). My question is: if we don’t expect those linked with the terrorism to vote because it’s not anonymous, how would they expect to get good information?

Old Friend May be Famous

So I recently learned from my brother that one of our neighbors we grew up with is going to Dartmouth to play hockey. The kid was always into hockey, although we lost touch when I went to high school about 10 years ago.

Now I see his name here. Mike Hartwick, #208. Pretty freakin’ cool.

Posted in me |

DirecTV out of control

This story reported on Slashdot is pretty incredible.

DirecTV is suing anyone known to have purchased a smartcard programmer, regardless of whether or not they’re actually using the device to enable stealing their programming. They’re sending out letters & when people call to clear up the confusion, DirecTV is demanding a $3500 settlement as well as the programming device. They’ve filed 9000 federal lawsuits against alleged pirates thus far.

This sounds just plain crazy. I think this poster has the right idea though.

Instant Runoff Voting

Not exactly like Callahan’s system, but not unlike it either is a movement to introduce Instant Runoff Voting into American politics.

Instead of just casting one vote for one candidate, voters rank the candidates: 1,2,3, etc. If no candidate receives a majority of the #1 votes, the candidate with the least total of #1 votes is eliminated. The second choice votes from these ballots are then transferred to the other candidates. The ballots are recounted, and candidates are eliminated in this fashion until 1 winner emerges with a majority of the vote.

Worth considering/supporting, I think. The fact that third parties are realistically nothing more than “spoilers” in this country is disappointing.

Status on Schulte's Bachelor Party

Well, the invite (or should I say, Evite… bahahaha) was sent out almost two days ago, and so far 5 people are coming and 3 aren’t, with 7 “undecided.” So, so far it’s the goodfellas plus Schulte’s older brother. Goodtimes.

Anyhow, if you want to come to Foxwoods Casino on the 26th and see some strippers, and help pay for them, just contact me and we’ll hook you up. At this point it’s just fine if it’s the goodfellas and a bunch of strangers.