Episode 15: New Year Forecasts

We start our first podcast of 2017 (recorded on 1/4/17) by estimating the over/under on the number of times Donald Trump will mention Rosie O’Donnell on Twitter in 2017. We go on to talk about policy-making an era when people don’t trust scientific expertise. Roberts wonders if the fate of the European Union could turn on the presidential election in France. And we all agree that Trump is more likely to strike the North Korean nuclear program preemptively than Clinton would have been.

We finish by sharing our New Year’s resolutions: Robert wants to write a book; Scott wants to get his Ph.D. dissertation done; and Atief wants to have the hosts of the Atheist Community of Austin radio show that is our namesake (“The Non Prophets”)  come on our podcast as guests. The intro music for this episode is a clip from Death Cab for Cutie, “The New Year”.

You can find NonProphets on iTunes here. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episode 14: Seth Baum on Trump Presidency Risk

In our last podcast of 2016 (recorded on 12/22/16), we talk for a second time to Global Catastrophic Risk Institute Executive Director Seth Baum (our first interview with Dr. Baum is here). We discuss Dr. Baum’s recent column in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on the risks associated with a Trump presidency. We discussed whether Trump believes in Nixon’s “Madman Theory”of foreign policy, how much damage Trump could do to the global climate change regime, and what ordinary citizens could do to mitigate the risk of catastrophe.

We also look back at our holiday-season predictions. The Pantone 2017 color of the year was “greenery”, which was the color that Scott thought was second most likely. Robert managed to come within $5 million of the opening weekend domestic box office of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We finish up by talking about our holiday plans and also about vampires. Happy New Year and thanks for listening to NonProphets!

You can find NonProphets on iTunes here. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episode 13: Holiday Forecasts!

In Episode 13 (recorded on 12/7/16), we try to predict the 2017 Pantone color of the year (go here to read about how Pantone selects its color of the year). Robert and Scott guess primrose yellow while Atief bets it will be island paradise. The day after we recorded Pantone announced the color of the year will be greenery, which Scott had as his alternate choice.

We then try to forecast Amazon’s 10 top holiday best-sellers and the opening weekend domestic box office of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We close the podcast with a brief discussion of the chance that Democrats could push through Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court in the brief recess before the new Senate is sworn in.

The intro music for this episode is a clip from Hilo Hattie, “Santa’s Hula”. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episode 12: Fake News, Real Consequences

In Episode 12, we look at how “fake news” and affects politics and our ability to forecasting political events. We share how we go about figuring out what to trust in the news. We also recommend going to AllSides to see how stories are being covered by media outlets with different partisan orientations. Then we go on to talk about national elections in Austria and France in light of the the surge of far-right nationalism around the world. Next week we will be back with a special holiday forecasting podcast!

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episodes 10 and 11: Election Post-Mortems

We’re releasing two new episodes today! Our first post-election podcast was delayed by technical difficulties, so we’re posting two podcasts at once.

In Episode 10—recorded two days after the election—we conduct a post-mortem of our election forecasts (Robert also wrote about how wrong his forecast was here). Scott describes election night at the US Embassy’s party at a Romanian Hard Rock Café. We start to look at what effect Trump’s election is likely to have on foreign and domestic politics. We also consider whether Obama will preemptively pardon Hillary Clinton.

In Episode 11—recorded the following week—we talk about the Oxford English Dictionary’s selection of “post-truth” as its “word of the year” and how we can forecast post-truth politics. We try to answer a listener question about how we know whether our forecasts were good or bad. We speculate about the possibility of electoral college reform, a national Election Day, faithless electors, and a Trump impeachment. We close the episode by talking about Trump’s foreign policy and whether it’s a good idea to name your child “Kermit”.

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episode 9: Short, Pre-Election Survival Guide

In this episode, we give our listeners some advice for how to survive the last few days before the election. We discuss the most recent polls, speculate about whether there will be any more surprises over the weekend, and generally try to put the last-minute horse-race coverage of the election in context.

We also talk about the erosion of democratic norms in US politics and try to guess how long it will take for either candidate to concede the election. Atief argues we should take a Mean Girls approach to restoring norms and Scott goes into the history of Transylvanian Saxon divorce customs.

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episode 8: US Election Best Bets

This episode begins by following up our interview with Global Catastrophic Risk Institute Executive Director Seth Baum with a discussion the Fermi Paradox—why don’t we see evidence of other intelligent life in the galaxy given the apparently enormous number of places in the galaxy where life could have evolved? We briefly consider Robin Hanson’s argument that there is a “great filter” that keeps most places where life could evolve from producing stable advanced civilizations.

Next we update our estimates of each candidate’s chance of winning the US election, talk about the erosion of norms in US politics, and give our US election “best bets” on public political betting sites. We close the podcast with a discussion of whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump would win if they were to fight behind a gym.

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

Episode 7: Seth Baum on the Risk of Global Catastrophe

In this episode we interview Dr. Seth Baum, the executive director and co-f0under of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute about how to forecast the possibility of catastrophes that could threaten human civilization. We also talk briefly about the US election, discuss how to forecast a few technological questions, and consider whether Atief is likely to die on Mars. We end by previewing next week’s podcast, in which we will give our “best bets” on US election questions taken from political betting sites and submitted by listeners.

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

October 14, 2016 Podcast

In our latest episode, Robert and Scott argue that at this point Donald Trump has almost no chance of winning the election. Atief makes the case that recent news has not hurt Trump that much among his core supporters and that he could still win if Hillary Clinton’s supporters don’t get out to the polls. We play “too-high-too-low-or-about-right” with a bunch of PredictIt politics questions and also talk about driverless cars, longevity escape velocity, and the possibility of a cashless economy. We end the podcast about by thinking about what might happen after the US election.

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends.

September 28, 2016 Podcast

In this episode, we update our US presidential election forecasts in the aftermath of the first debate. We disagree on how much the debate is likely to matter, but agree that Trump’s chances of winning the election are getting smaller. Then we talk about some interesting and surprising US politics forecasts on the PredictIt market and agree that it’s unlikely that Hillary Clinton will face a federal criminal charge in 2016. Finally, we look at how recent developments could affect the possibility of black swan instability in Saudi Arabia that we considered in an earlier podcast.

As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, use the contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophets [at] nonprophetspod.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us on iTunes and recommend us to your friends!