Sunday, December 2, 2012

Measurement and Accountability

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science."

- Lord Kelvin

I know many of us atheists don't give an at's rass about pro sports. But a) some of us do and b) I bet your religious uncle/co-worker/etc. does! Pundittracker is an awesome site which is exactly what it sounds like, and they're tracking (among many, many other things) NFL predictions. This is a real nice back-door way of getting people who are not otherwise used to systematically examining and tracking truth claims to do exactly that. It would make a great Christmas email to that confirmation-bias victim in your life!

While on this topic, Intrade (a prediction market, which allows large numbers of people to buy and sell "contracts" based on their truth claims, and win or lose money based on their accuracy) has been shut down by regulators at least in the U.S. Why? Supposedly the Motion Picture Association of America lobbied for it, because its member companies' executives had their egos bruised too many times by accurate predictions of box office flops. More on political prediction markets on my politics and economics blog, The Late Enlightenment.

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