My First Prediction!

So since it seems to be a thing so far for the first prediction to be a self prediction, I would like to submit the following:

Prediction: Every week for the rest of this year 2016, I will write at least one blog post, alternating between posting on AWDE, and posting on my own website; 80%

What’s interesting is this prediction game seems to offer a unique opportunity specifically for self predictions. The above is something I’ve been telling myself I would do for an exceptionally long time…but my expected payoff for writing a blog post was always pretty low; even though I personally gain from writing a post (I normally have to do some research/learn something, and then get a chance to put down and organize my thoughts about it) it takes me a lot of time to write, and very few people will see it and obtain any value from the work. So in the end, my own laziness and lack of time strictly dominates, and I never write anything.

However, this game pretty heavily influences that payoff matrix, for a couple of reasons:

  • There are now people who are publicly aware that I’m attempting this! I can be held accountable now. Expected payoff for writing a post goes up, because in the eyes of my peers, I followed through on something I said I would do. (I have a reputation to uphold here!)
  • Since this is a game, and it’s fun to try and do well in games, it’s in my best interests to make accurate predictions! An 80% prediction should be fulfilled 4 out of 5 times, so for my prediction to be accurate, I better be pretty likely to succeed! This likewise directly corresponds to higher values in my payoff matrix for writing a post.

I hereby call upon and invoke the powers of self-fulfilling prophecies!
Good luck to everyone in their predictions, past and future!
– WildfireXIII

The Prediction Game

Salvete Omnes,

One of the habits I want to cultivate is making my beliefs pay rent. In the interest of encouraging this I am declaring the start of a new game: the Prediction Game. Here’s how it goes,

You have a belief about the future, say “I will write 3 blog posts by December 4th”. Now, you judge how likely that event is to come true.
Maybe, 60% probability. Finally, you write it up in a blog post like so:

Prediction: I will write 3 blog posts by December 4th; 60%

The format is important here. Specifically, the word ‘prediction’, colon, the prediction itself, semicolon, probability of the prediction coming true. If people start doing this I’ll set up a script that scrubs these sentences, parses them, and dumps them into a table. Then we can go over the predictions and see who got what right. If this takes off, I plan to pull and score predictions around once each month and every year we will have a big blog post that looks at everybody’s predictions and calibrations. This will be fun!

Best of science!
-Darkar

Tesla Coil Guns are now a Thing

Salvete Omnes,

So. That is a gun that shoots lightning bolts. Please take a moment to process this.

Done? Good. Lets make this cooler.

First of all, ‘gun’ is a bit of a generous term for that thing in the video. It is roughly gun-shaped, true, but it doesn’t exactly aim well. A splattering of electric arcs in the air may¬†look impressive, but it lacks the ability to hone in on a target. My suggestion? Stick a laser on it. Maybe one of these. The idea is to create a path of high-conductance plasma for the arcs to follow. Typically, these weapons rely on microsecond precision timing to produce the path and then immediately release the current from a capacitor. However, our Tesla gun++ need not be so limited. It could fire constantly and the laser could pulse to direct that fire when needed.

But wait! Couldn’t that also cause an arc back to the wielder of the gun?
Yes.
So, perhaps it would be smart to build some kind of guard? Maybe a metal brace that is grounded through the device and catches stray arcs like a lightning rod. Perhaps along with a rubber glove to protect the user’s forearm.

Okay. I really want one of these, now. How hard could it be?

Keep tempting fate,
-Darkar