The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

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The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:19 pm

.

So many keywords and phrases mixed in here -- how can one decipher them all? May be easily confused for an Onion piece..

Image

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11 ... s-takeover

President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as "Delphi" to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That's according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.

On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body's majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: "How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to 'save the earth.'"

The meeting consisted of a PowerPoint presentation followed by a 90-minute screening of the anti-Agenda 21 documentary, Agenda: Grinding America Down. It was emceed by Field Searcy, a local conservative activist who was forced out of the Georgia Tea Party in April due to his endorsement of conspiracy theories about the president's birth certificate and the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7. The presentation also featured a special video cameo from conservative talking-head Dick Morris in which the former Clinton aide warns that Obama "wants to force everyone into the cities from whence our ancestors fled."

About 23 minutes into the briefing, Searcy explained how President Obama, aided by liberal organizations like the Center for American Progress and business groups like local chambers of commerce, are secretly using mind-control techniques to push their plan for forcible relocation on the gullible public:

They do that by a process known as the Delphi technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation during the Cold War as a mind-control technique. It's also known as "consensive process." But basically the goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.

How perilous is the situation? Here's a slide from the presentation comparing Obama's record to that of Mao and Stalin:

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Obama, of course, has taken no steps to bring the United States under the control of a United Nations sustainable-development-themed dictatorship. (Environmental groups complain that he hasn't even taken sufficient action to combat climate change.) But that hasn't stopped state legislatures and local conservative groups from taking aim at the perceived threat. In May, the Kansas Legislature approved a resolution blocking Agenda 21 from being implemented in its state, following in the footsteps of Tennessee. Rogers, the Georgia Senate majority leader, introduced legislation in January that would have blocked the nonbinding UN resolution from being applied to his state. Among other things, the resolution noted that, "according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded by society and the environment which would be accomplished by socialists and communist redistribution of wealth."

If it seems as if Rogers is just repeating John Birch Society conspiracies, he is—literally. As in Tennessee, large portions of his 2012 bill, SR 270, were lifted word-for-word from draft legislation prepared by the Birchers.

But as Seth Clark, the Better Georgia volunteer who filmed the Capitol conspiracy bash, points out, Rogers' warning extended well beyond the actions of liberal politicians. According to one slide that was featured at the presentation, "Smart Growth and Sustainable Development are often promoted by NGO's, Chambers of Commerce and [public–private partnerships] that are unelected and unaccountable to the people." In August, when the Georgia Chamber of Commerce handed out its official grades for state legislators, Rogers got an A+.

Apparently the conspiracy is coming from inside the Capitol.


and -

http://gawker.com/5960846/gop-lawmakers ... nd-control

Last month, the watchdog group Better Georgia managed to record nearly a full hour of a four-hour closed door meeting of Republican state senators which was convened by Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) to discuss President Obama's efforts to brainwash Americans on behalf of the United Nations.

The briefing, held on October 11th at the Georgia state Capitol, was led by truther/birther Field Searcy, a conservative activist deemed too extreme by the local Tea Party, and revolved around Agenda 21 — the voluntary, non-binding UN effort to promote sustainable development that has riled conspiracy theorists for years.

In the video Better Georgia volunteer Seth Clark managed to capture before being "escorted out," Searcy can be heard describing Agenda 21 as a "conspiracy to transform America from the land of the free, to the land of the collective."

Of course, he isn't alone in believing in a sinister UN plot to transform its members into communist dictatorships through forced urban relocation and population growth suppression: Alabama, Tennessee, and Kansas have all passed legislation banning the implementation of the Agenda 21 action plan (Arizona and Georgia have also attempted to pass similar legislation). But the interesting twist unveiled in last month's session is President Obama's involvement by way of Cold War-era brainwashing techniques. Searcy explains:

They do that by a process known as the Delphi technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation during the Cold War as a mind-control technique. It's also known as "consensive process." But basically the goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.

A slide then shown to the senators compared Obama efforts to improve conditions in rural communities by encouraging collaborations and partnerships to Stalin's "Five Year Plan" and Mao's "Great Leap Forward," with the overt suggestion being that the president was leading the country down a path to genocide.

Whether the Georgia lawmakers in attendance took Searcy's mind-control conspiracy to heart remains to be seen, but they certainly got their money's worth. Literally: According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "several senators claimed their per diem for attending the session."
"All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man." - H.L. Mencken
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:21 pm

...and only Leo Wanta can save us from the Delphi Technique...
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby yathrib » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:47 pm

Didn't real Communists like the Maoists and Khmer Rouge try to reform rootless urban cosmopolitans by shipping them out to the countryside? I don't think these people even know anything about communism.
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby Nordic » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:52 pm

Same nutty people who feared the "black helicopters" and "UN troops hidden indide secret bases under the mountains". What's really amusing this time is the notion that chambers of commerce are anything other than extremely right wing.

These people give conspiracies a bad name. Probably why its getting some press.
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby Iamwhomiam » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:00 am

"What's really amusing this time is the notion that chambers of commerce are anything other than extremely right wing."

Seems to be a perpetual thing, Nordic. 'Twas long ago in the halls of those very chambers that I had the most impressionable meeting with our present chief justice. I was there with a few thousand people who came from across the country to demand jobs and our leadership had just moved on to negotiate the terms for our departure and I was occupying the chambers chief of security. At this point I should add that I had very long hair and wore a beard. Just as the folks left off, this gentlemen, our present cjscotus face a deep red crossed a hall and sprayed in my face with a rare vehemence "The sight of you in my workplace makes me want to puke!" and then immediately walked away. Afterward my conversation with the security chief was rather amusing; we were both like WTF was that? Such slander! my, my my. The story goes on, that about the entire demo, involves cops and threats of jail and our departure and one hell of a party that evening.

Yeah, perpetual right wing cheapskates, and often crass.

@ yathrib, yes, or they executed them on site.

Freaks like this guy they need out there to make Rove appear a bit more rational. And then those that see Rove as the more rational think they're moderates and therefore reasonable republicans.
They're all nuts. Service to self rather than service to others. Not good. Sons of Belial.
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby brainpanhandler » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:14 am

Here's the video:

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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby brainpanhandler » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:50 am

Being unfamiliar with the Delphi Technique and it's interest to right wing whackos as a brainwashing tool I looked it up on Wikipedia, more on guard about what I find there than usual, especially after reading, "The name "Delphi" derives from the Oracle of Delphi. The authors of the method were not happy with this name, because it implies "something oracular, something smacking a little of the occult".[citation needed] ".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method

Sigh. So a methodology for surveying a pool of experts on a subject which is designed in a way that "avoids the negative effects of face-to-face panel discussions and solves the usual problems of group dynamics." is actually being used to indoctrinate the braintrust into following Obama's totalitarian liberal agenda. Glaring example is of course AGW, though i don't know that the insidious delphi method has ever been used to survey climate scientists. I'll bet it has though. That's why there's all this scientific consensus.

In the video Better Georgia volunteer Seth Clark managed to capture before being "escorted out," Searcy can be heard describing Agenda 21 as a "conspiracy to transform America from the land of the free, to the land of the collective."


These guys aren't very good at this conspiracy thing. Don't they know Obama will send out his agents and they need to be on guard?
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:26 am

brainpanhandler wrote:Being unfamiliar with the Delphi Technique...


I have the opposite problem and I made a thread about it:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=34423

Wombaticus Rex wrote:This is a response to Terry Bain's recent contribution to the #Occupy thread, a response to this blog:
http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/com ... ccupy.html

The Delphi Technique is presented as such:

Guy Who Doesn't Like to Read Source Material wrote:Essentially, the Delphi Technique, which was originally developed by RAND in the 1950s as a psychological weapon and infiltration mechanism, is also a proven method by which movements can be co-opted and redirected for ulterior purposes.


This is horseshit, plain and simple. I referred Terry to the wikipedia summary of what the actual RAND Delphi techinque is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method

It's a pre-internet version of crowd-sourcing, with an eye towards consensus. I can see why that word gives anyone with divergent opinions the shivers, and there's a lot of ominously Machiavellian social science research conducted under the banner of that seemingly innocuous keyword. However, opinions and biases don't change facts...just perceptions.

I first came across the Delphi Technique many years ago when I was investigating education in America, and it was first presented to me in the exact same terms: RAND think tank perfects a system for co-opting and controlling public meetings and groups. It made compelling sense.

My problem, as usual, was wanting to know more. This is always when narratives fall apart. The dissolve into a constellation of mere data points, often complex and conflicting. (Nobody wants a 1:1 map of reality, though, we just want to tell each other stories, right? I actually don't enjoy being the asshole who's always saying "actually..." and I hardly ever do in IRL anymore.)

The excellently curated site http://conspiracyarchive.com had some articles that gave a more nuanced, less alarmist picture:
http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/NewAge ... hnique.htm

First sentence: "The Delphi Technique was originally conceived as a way to obtain the opinion of experts without necessarily bringing them together face to face." A reasonable summary, although it omits the impetus behind the whole project: the need to achieve a workable consensus on controversial issues on the frontiers of science where no easy & established answers existed. RAND was playing on the fringes back then, that's now the specialty of other operations as RAND settles into old & august NatSec welfare instead of continuing to pursue innovation.

As the article correctly goes on to note, it was Christian homeschooling activist and researcher Bev Eakman ("Educating for the New World Order") who began to paint the Delphi technique very differently. I like Eakman quite a bit, and she was one of the early authors who made me appreciate how much I can learn from people I vehemently disagree with. Her research was impressively & obsessively thorough, and her conclusions were often laughably hysterical. This is when I started learning to parse my sources and it was an invaluable lesson.

Just the same, man, did she ever bork up the Delphi Technique. She claimed it was directly related to "The Alinsky Method" -- let's just take second to consider the lunacy of that: a military industrial, eminently conservative think tank collaborating and conspiring with a Jewish socialist community organizer to infiltrate and neutralize community activism. I'm a student of spooks, and even by the standard of strange bedfellows, that one is a bit of stretch.

The real problem, though, was that Bev Eakman introduced "rules" for the Delphi Technique that she'd invented whole and passed off as actual documentation. Her version of Delphi appears exactly nowhere in the RAND monographs. That's pretty problematic to me, since it bears a remarkable resemblance to "lying." I'm sure her intentions were pure, though -- zero sarcasm, she was a true believer with a good heart.

It's important to note that Eakman only used these curious mistakes as a foundation -- they were never re-examined, only built upon. She even wrote a whole book about it, "How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics" which is quite lucid and useful despite the poisoned fruit of false assumptions and mangled history. This is a hallmark of the Conspiratainment Complex: all past work is raw material for future product, there's very little critical assessment going on.
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby justdrew » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:20 pm

I've mentioned it before but FYI, John Brunner writes (1975) about public betting on Delphi "pools" in Shockwave Rider. a book we should all read at least once. In there the Delphi "technique" is expanded beyond a few "experts" (though perhaps experts answers are weighted more) into a public internet poll, questions are put up, then people can place bets on what the results of the poll will be. It does seem possible that such a system would tend to reinforce groupthink, in much the same way we worry about 'skewed' polls today. If people are given reason to believe that 'most' people think X about Z they will tend toward thinking X as well and if you can put your finger on the scale, and force X to win over option Y, well, that would be a method for social control, not perfect, but it would be one tool.

That said, I still think these georgia people are fools.

If we want any non-human ecology left on earth, what choice is there but to remove most people and industry from large tracts of land and return it to nature?
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby justdrew » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:32 am

more recent stuff on delphi pools, or "prediction markets" as they like to call them now....

Slashdot regular contributor bennett@peacefire.org writes
My last article
on prediction markets contained an erroneous assumption, one whose implications are far-reaching enough that they deserve their own article.
(And if you read to the end, I'm offering $100 to be split between the readers who submit the best alternative solution or the best counter-argument to the points made here.)"
Read below for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

I wrote:

There could be rules and safeguards to prevent abuses of the system (rules that could be imposed by U.S. law, even if they're not enforced by overseas betting markets), such as not allowing individuals to bet more than $500.
(This is already enforced by the Iowa Electronic Markets.) That's small enough to stop individual bettors from trying to manipulate the market through enormous wagers (although they might find ways to do that anyway). It's also small enough that it wouldn't be worth it for any one individual to try and influence a political outcome just to win a bet. You could try to enlist your friends to help you place a collective $10,000 bet on a single outcome, but the more people you rope into your coalition, the greater the chances of someone (a) turning you in for violating the betting laws, or (b) taking the $500 you lent them, and then refusing to pay it back if they win their portion of the wager.


There's an error here, but one subtle enough that even all the commenters (with no shortage of the usual snark) missed it. To begin with, consider what happens if two different betting markets are taking bets at different odds for the same event.


Suppose CappedEx, a futures exchange that limits each user to betting $500, is publishing 4:1 odds of an Obama victory. If you bet $40 that Obama will win and he wins, you get paid $10 (from other users on the exchange), but if he loses, you pay out $40. Meanwhile FreedomEx, an exchange that has no betting limit for any user, is publishing 6:1 odds for Obama winning. Bet $60 on Obama, and you get $10 if he wins, but pay $60 if he loses. On both markets, of course you can bet in the other direction as well.


What do you conclude from this? That the un-capped FreedomEx probably has more accurate odds, and that as James Surowiecki (author of The Wisdom of Crowds) said, betting limits "make [the markets] less accurate" and "real money is what makes it work"? Or that CappedEx, with its safeguards against manipulation, is more reliable, and FreedomEx is being manipulated by someone trying to change the reported odds of their favored candidate winning? Or that there is simply some random fluctuation in the odds as reported by various markets, so they'll naturally diverge at times?


The correct answer is: you should stop wasting time "concluding" things, and get online as soon as possible and make bets in both markets, because if they're allowing bets to be placed at different odds, you can guarantee yourself a profit.


Make a $50 bet in CappedEx on Obama to win (4:1 odds), and a $10 bet in FreedomEx on Romney to win (1:6 odds). If Obama wins, you win $12.50 in the CappedEx market and lose your $10 in FreedomEx, for a $2.50 profit. If Romney wins, you lose $50 in the CappedEx market but win $60 in FreedomEx, for a $10 profit. With a little algebra, you can show that any time the two markets allow you to place bets at different odds ratios, you can make a guaranteed profit by picking a ratio somewhere in the middle (in this case, the two ratios were 1:4 and 1:6, so we picked 1:5) and making separate bets in the two markets in opposite directions, for amounts in that ratio.
(A commenter on the Marginal Revolution blog describes exactly how he made an almost risk-free profit through this kind of "pure arbitrage play". He said it was "almost" risk free because of other factors like currency conversion fluctuations.)


Now, any time a good is trading for a lower price in market A than it is in market B, and the costs of shifting the good between the two markets is negligible, traders will start to buy the good in market A and re-sell it for a profit in market B (the traditional definition of "arbitrage").
This increases demand in market A (driving the price up) and increases supply in market B (driving the price down) until the price difference disappears. In the same way, any time two prediction markets have different "market odds" for the same event, as arbitrage players lock in guaranteed
profits by placing opposite bets in the two markets, the market odds in the two markets will converge toward each other until the gap is negligible. This is true even if one of the markets has a cap on what people can invest or how much they can stake on any particular outcome.


For Intrade, there couldn't be a worse time for someone to be pointing this out, but it seems logically inescapable: As long as there is a prediction market anywhere in the world that allows unlimited wagering on a particular outcome, all other prediction markets (whether they are capped or not) can be manipulated indirectly, by playing a large wager in the non-capped market. I was wrong to say that you would have to "enlist your friends" to place bets in the capped market, building a large coalition of market-manipulators (and hoping that none of them would rat you out for using them to circumvent wager-limiting rules). By placing a large wager in the non-capped market, and shifting the market odds there so that they're different from the odds in the capped market, you can indirectly "enlist" all the users in the capped market, to place arbitrage bets and make a guaranteed profit. When this happens, the odds in both the capped market and the non-capped market will shift, as the gap between them narrows -- which means you have manipulated the market odds in the capped market, without ever going near it yourself.


In this case, why have caps on the amounts wagered in prediction markets at all? (The Iowa Electronic Markets have a maximum investment balance of $500, and a 2008 paper, "The Promise of Prediction Markets, authored by several prominent economists, advocated the creation of prediction markets with a maximum investment of $2,000.) Presumably the cap is not to prevent unlucky investors from losing their life's savings, since the law already allows multiple ways to do that, by betting on volatile stocks in the stock market. And it won't stop market manipulation, if the capped market can still be manipulated by using another non-capped market as a proxy.
Robin Hanson, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and one of the co-authors of the 2008 paper, candidly told me that the cap was just a matter of selling the idea: "As a practical matter, many people's comfort with such markets increases when there is a cap, so they are more likely to accept the proposal with a cap. So it makes one seem more reasonable to propose a cap, if one can get most of the benefits one wanted from such a system that has a cap, relative to one without it."


So is there a solution to the manipulation problem? Actually, is it even a problem? Robin Hansen and Ryan Oprea wrote another paper arguing that manipulators can improve prediction markets, by subsidizing the existing players in the markets and rewarding them for paying attention. (If a "manipulative" bet causes a sudden shift in the reported odds, opportunistic investors can place bets essentially wagering that the odds will return back to their previous level.) Economist Alex Tabarrok makes the same point here. This opportunism also means that the market shift caused by a manipulative bet usually corrects itself within a few minutes.


Presumably, if more people start to take prediction markets seriously, the incentives to manipulate them would increase. As Tabarrok adds, "prediction markets have truly arrived when people think they are worth manipulating". At the same time though, as more people start to take prediction markets seriously, presumably they'll attract more actual users, and since the amount of money required to shift the market is proportional to the amount already invested by everyone else, this means it will require larger amounts of money to shift the market odds to the same degree.


So these economists all seem to think that prediction market manipulation is a good thing, and that the prediction markets themselves are an even better good thing even when they can be manipulated, but now I'm not so sure. If people do think that market odds are worth manipulating, presumably the point is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy:
People think that Romney's chances have gone up, so they become more incentivized to support him and vote for him, and soon his chances actually have gone up (although possibly not to the full extent of the boost in the manipulated market odds, so the manipulator may still lose money).
If you can boost Romney's market odds even for a few minutes just by spending a few tens of thousands of dollars, how much would it cost to sustain the higher odds for several hours -- and what if those hours were at a crucial time in the election or in the news reporting cycle?


What if, contrary to my last assumption, people start to take prediction markets seriously enough to be influenced by them, but the prediction markets don't see a proportionate influx of actual investors and money -- so the cost of manipulating them remains about the same? IF prediction markets gain more influence in people's actual voting decisions, BUT those markets don't see an influx of new users, AND an election is close enough that the market odds could make a difference depending on when they're reported, AND someone spends enough to sustain the manipulated odds during crucial periods during the election... Well, that's a lot of assumptions you have to grant, but individually they're quite plausible -- and if all of them hold true, you could change the outcome of a presidential election for just a few million dollars spent on the prediction markets.


And in fact, if you successfully swung the election, you'd actually win all the wagers you had just placed -- which means that now rich manipulators can throw their election to their preferred candidate, and make a bundle. It also means that all those opportunists who usually act to "correct" the market odds deviations, by taking your free money when you start placing manipulative bets, could realize that your bets might actually change the outcome, and would decline to take your money -- which in turn means it would be even cheaper for manipulators to change the outcome, creating a self-reinforcing cycle. If smart bettors see that once a behemoth starts the market moving, the behemoth will probably win, they'll just get out of its way and clear an easier path.


The same kind of trick wouldn't normally work on the stock market -- if you're wealthy enough that you can increase the share price of a stock by buying enough of it to shift the market, then when you try to reap your profits by unloading the stock, the price will drift back down as you're selling it off. (Or if your purchases do manage to create a self-fulfilling prophecy -- your infusion of cash into the company enables them to realize their plans and become a genuine success -- well, then you're just a successful angel investor, more power to you.) But a presidential election prediction market would be analogous to a stock where if you can keep the price artificially inflated for several crucial hours on November 6th, 2012, then the price becomes permanently locked in at that point and you can sell it off for a profit, regardless of the value of the underlying company.


So, according to my own reasoning, this idea that I was so gung-ho about a few days ago, could not only be used to create a type of financial instrument that rewards manipulation more perversely than anything we've ever seen, but could also let a Saudi prince pick the next leader of the free world on a bet.


I'm not sure if there's a solution. I'm not a libertarian so I was never in favor of prediction markets as a matter of "personal liberty"; I was in favor of them because they're useful insofar as they can harness the wisdomof crowds to convey important information. But if they can be manipulated to influence real-world events, is it worth it?


In keeping with the theory that money does motivate people to think harder about such things, I'm once again offering $100 to be split between the readers who bennett@peacefire.org the best-argued solutions to this problem -- or the best counter-argument to any point I've made here.
Put "prediction markets" in the subject line. If your submission wins a portion of the award, you can either claim the money for yourself, or to be donated to a preferred charity in your name. (I reserve the right to pay out less than the allotted $100 if there aren't enough worthy submissions,
but that didn't happen last time.) Any sufficiently valuable comments are eligible even if they're not strictly counter-arguments or suggested alternatives, and I'll post a follow-up article summarizing what people send in. You can't make as much off of me, as you could have made by taking some market manipulator's intentionally losing bet on Intrade that Romney was going to win the election, but at least it's legal.
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:57 am

The same kind of trick wouldn't normally work on the stock market -- if you're wealthy enough that you can increase the share price of a stock by buying enough of it to shift the market, then when you try to reap your profits by unloading the stock, the price will drift back down as you're selling it off.


Flatly incorrect -- if you're wealthy enough that you can increase the share price of a stock by buying enough of it to shift the market, you're already involved in dark pools around the world and have multiple parallel channels to unload covertly and can afford to buy off journalists to froth up the hype (and FUD) in the meantime.

Very interesting read overall. I do question the value of distinguishing between "manipulation" of a prediction market and simple participation -- ie, the goals and means are the same. I would argue that the outcomes are, too, but that would be a long argument.
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby justdrew » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:18 pm

Wombaticus Rex wrote:
The same kind of trick wouldn't normally work on the stock market -- if you're wealthy enough that you can increase the share price of a stock by buying enough of it to shift the market, then when you try to reap your profits by unloading the stock, the price will drift back down as you're selling it off.


Flatly incorrect -- if you're wealthy enough that you can increase the share price of a stock by buying enough of it to shift the market, you're already involved in dark pools around the world and have multiple parallel channels to unload covertly and can afford to buy off journalists to froth up the hype (and FUD) in the meantime.

Very interesting read overall. I do question the value of distinguishing between "manipulation" of a prediction market and simple participation -- ie, the goals and means are the same. I would argue that the outcomes are, too, but that would be a long argument.


Well, it occurs to me, why worry about it at all, the place to be is RUNNING such a market. The house always wins doesn't it? (from fees skimmed and such, and has no money of it's own at stake.)

What's more, why not SELL access to the information about what is being predicted? What's the value in running such a market if you just give away the results? but the results are only known once the REAL activity being bet on has finished, so access to seeing how the odds are running is the main thing, but if the odds are running against a bet on activity, why wouldn't the capital backing said activity just withdraw and cancel the activity, thus nullifying the bets?

I guess I think the whole thing is bullshit and should be illegal as it can't really serve any purpose. How could someone REALLY use the current odds to improve or alter their plans? and if you alter the plans, doesn't that immediately invalidate all the outstanding bets?
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby DrEvil » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:48 pm

Oh yay! The Delphi Technique again. Works best if taken with a large pinch of Orgone.
I'm surprised these folks haven't gone nuts over the Delphi programming language yet.

On the other hand - why would any sane person want to live in suburbia? Maybe it's just me - but I find the average American suburb to be incredibly creepy. It's hard to explain - but to me it feels like someone took all the usual dark crap that comes with humanity and slopped on a thick coating of Disney. It feels fake, and everyone and everything looks the same. Nice shiny surfaces with nothing underneath.
"Some nerve calling me a war criminal! It's called psychological warfare!" - Bob
Also: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=32878&start=285
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Postby wintler2 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:18 pm

Disneyfication is a good word for it, toyist i like too, what is it but the ever greater reliance upon commodified culture, bought prefab and applied uniformly, often without much regard for actual function or context.

Why do we do it? because we're seduced by the symbolic power of these tokens of class/rank/status/tribe, sold on the idea that a new kitchen/garden border/patio setting/vinyl siding/... will deliver the new life i uselessly wish for.

What i find really remarkable is how thin the new veneer can be, and is increasingly getting, and still maintain the illusion of progress. Our toys are getting smaller, but because many of them have got screens on or are cheaper (=crappier build/more toyist), its supposed to be a good thing.
"Wintler2, you are a disgusting example of a human being, the worst kind in existence on God's Earth. This is not just my personal judgement.." BenD

Research question: are all god botherers authoritarians?
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Re: The Plot to Relocate Coddled Suburbanites

Postby justdrew » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:11 pm

Prediction Market Site InTrade Bans US Customers

Tens of Millions of US dollars changed hands on Intrade when Obama was re-elected.

Seems that the many people in the "Fox Information Containment Bubble" thought is they would triple their money. The Obama supporters (and anyone who read 538) realized a 50% return on investment.

OMFG. BRAIN HURTS.

Wish I had gotten in on it in time. It's like a tax on stupid people.


Intrade Shuts Down Under Murky Circumstances

Intrade, the online trading site that specialized in cash wagers on real-world events—who will become the next pope, for example—has shut down under murky circumstances.

The notice posted on Intrade’s homepage gave precious little reason for the shutdown, aside from alluding to “circumstances recently discovered” and possible “financial irregularities.” Under Irish law, the unnamed shenanigans forced the Website’s directors to cease exchange trading, stop banking transactions from company accounts, and settle all open positions and calculate members’ account values.

“At this time and until further notice, it is not possible to make any payments to members in accordance with their settled account balance until the investigations have concluded,” read the notice. “The Company will continue the maintenance and technology operations of the exchange system so that all information is preserved properly.”

Just to underscore the DEFCON-1 nature of the situation, the Website has taken its telephone support and live help services offline, although their email apparently remains live.

As noted by The New York Times, Intrade already faced concerns over insufficiently documented payments to company founder John Delaney and various third parties. Delaney died while trying to summit Mount Everest in 2011. The Times suggested it was unclear whether that audit, and its discovery of the payments, was related to the current shutdown.

Nor was that audit the first time Intrade encountered some trouble: in December 2012, the company found itself embroiled in controversy with the Commodity Futures Trading Association (CFTC), which launched a lawsuit accusing it of violating U.S. laws. “We will intervene in the ‘prediction’ markets, wherever they may be based, when their US activities violate the Commodity Exchange Act or the CFTC’s regulations,” David Meister, the director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, wrote in a statement reprinted at the time by The Verge.

Predictive markets such as Intrade have helped popularize the idea of crowdsourcing, which suggests large groups of people are ultimately better at making decisions than individuals. However, some Websites and pundits have questioned the accuracy of Intrade’s system, pointing to the times when its crowds wrongly predicted future events such as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Despite that debate—and Intrade’s current troubles—it’s unlikely that the use of crowdsourced data will go away anytime soon.
By 1964 there were 1.5 million mobile phone users in the US
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