Category Archives: politics

Wizards Rule! Join the Good Judgement Project

The Good Judgement Project is a large-scale, government-funded prediction game. Similar to the markets where you can bet on who’s gonna be elected president, but with no actual money. You can read more about it in this Freakonomics article from a few years ago.

The project only accepts a limited number of participants at a time, because participating includes free, ongoing training on becoming a better prognosticator. You see, the researchers behind the GJP have actually distilled prediction down to a science, and they’re happy to share it with you.

Perfectly predicting the future still requires a crystal ball, but their training has helped me realize that good forecasting is a skill that one can cultivate, with practice and guidance. In other words, anyone can become a wizard.

I’ll give you a little peak into what I’ve learned: non-wizards tend to focus on the unique qualities of a situation, but wizards increase their forecasting accuracy by abstracting the situation and looking at outcomes of similar past situations. This is called reference class forecasting, and it also involves learning how to reframe problems and hunt for the right information.

Forecasting is a really awesome talent to have, so I’m totally pumped about leveling up.  The GJP is open for enrolment now. Register if you want to become more wizardy: http://www.goodjudgmentproject.com/

Just a heads-up,  registration includes a timed knowledge test that is rather rigorous. It mostly covers politics and current-events, and also includes brain-teasers and a few “personality test” questions. Nobody ever said becoming a wizard would be easy.

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Mitt Romney is a surprisingly frugal guy

This isn’t a post about politics. Vote for whoever you want. This is a post about some of Romney’s frugal habits:

Romney duct-tapes the holes in his gloves, duct-tapes the gap in his campaign bus ventilation system. He rinses and stacks the dishes at the sink before loading the dishwasher after family holiday meals. He picks up his own dry cleaning, pulls his own suitcase, eats at burger joints, counts his change.

While other rich people flaunt their acquisitions, the Romneys tend to flaunt their frugality. When another one of his sons fetched free wood pallets advertised on Craigslist, broke them down and used the discarded rough planks to repanel his “man cave,” his wife proudly chronicled the do-it-yourself project with photos and text on her blog.

I don’t agree with most of his politics, but I’d be glad to have a president who isn’t afraid to “flaunt his frugality.”