Third Time’s the Plague

In this episode (recorded 3/22/20), we discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We talk about the Good Judgment/Open Philanthropy dashboard of COVID-19 forecasts; the situations in Missouri, Romania, and Hawaii; travel restrictions and stay-at-home-orders; whether red states will be impacted to a greater degree than blue states; and which of us will be the first to contract the coronavirus.

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 map is here. The Good Judgment dashboard with superforecaster forecasts for the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths is here. Metaculus’ infectious disease prediction markets are here.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Space Force and Star Child

We’re back!

In this episode (recorded 8/17/18), we talk briefly about what we were up to all summer while we weren’t podcasting. We discuss the anti-terrorism conference sponsored by Iran that Scott attended; the politicization of the administrative state; the use of pretexts in political debates; how Robert lost money by bailing out of a bet about Hawaii politics too early; how low expectations are eroding norms; how cute Atief’s baby is; Robert’s news fatigue; corruption and political protests in Romania; and what news stories we’re each following.

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

Everything’s on the Table

In this episode (recorded 4/23/18), we play a game we call “Everything’s on the Table”. In this game, Robert suggests possible news items and Atief and Scott say whether or not they think those stories could plausibly happen in 2018. We weigh important questions ranging from whether North and South Korea might announce they are exploring reunification, to whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller might name President Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in money laundering and bank fraud, to whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions might have the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” destroyed.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunesStitcher and Google Play. The intro music to this episode is a clip from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario”. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Too WEIRD

In this episode (recorded 9/13/17), we review our summer movie and music forecasts. We also discuss predictions we made about US catastrophe losses.

Next we talk about Harvard’s retraction of its offer to Michelle Jones of admission to its graduate history program and Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ suggestion that Jemele Hill should be fired for saying that President Trump is a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.”

We go on to talk about the importance of diversity and collegiality in forecasting teams. We argue that homogenous groups tend to be biased in something like the way conducting research primarily on subjects who are“WEIRD” (western, educated, and from industrialized, rich, democratic countries) has biased academic psychology. Then we discuss recent research that suggests that decentralized, egalitarian groups are less prone to groupthink and the value of the Delphi method in forecasting.

We close with a discussion of Atief’s find-unlucky-people-and-do-the-opposite decision-making strategy and his general inability to take anything seriously.

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

Football With Knives

We kick off this episode (recorded 6/21/17) with a discussion of Romanian politics and tax policy. We move on to the recent special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district to replace Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, the Republican healthcare bill’s prospects in the Senate, whether military action could make President Trump more popular, and whether Nancy Pelosi makes it harder for Democrats to win elections. We close the episode by talking about  “Trump’s Mirror”, Kansas’s experiment in conservative economics, and how the Supreme Court might rule in the upcoming partisan gerrymandering case.

Here’s a link to the Frank Rich interview of Chris Rock we mention in the podcast. You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

The Brief Wondrous Tenure of Jim Comey

In this episode (recorded 5/10/17)—recorded the day after it happened—we look at the implications of President Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey.

We talk about whether we think Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will appoint Special Counsel to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia (which he did this week), what President Trump might do with the pardon power, whether we should expect widespread voter suppression in 2018, what motivates the Republican Party, who the next FBI Director will be, whether President could be removed from office, and how President Trump is like the Mule from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series.

We end the podcast with an anecdote about and a plug for Nigel Shakespear’s book Times New Romanian.

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

Episode 20: A Month in the Age of Trump

In episode 20 (recorded 2/20/17), we cover the first month of the Trump administration. We consider the odds that Trump will put his face on a trillion-dollar coin, debate the limits of presidential power, talk about how we each deal with information overload, and discuss whether Congress will pass a large infrastructure bill this year. We go on to discuss Trump senior counselor Steve Bannon’s theory of American history and the bizarre apparent assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother in Malaysia. We end by guessing that in the next podcast we’ll be talking about a revised executive order on immigration.

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

Episode 18: Hitler’s Mac and Cheese

In episode 18 (recorded 2/1/17), we talk to friend of the podcast and small business owner James about Trump’s “two-for-one” executive order on reducing regulation and about how new technologies like real-time video manipulation might affect our ability to know what is real. Atief goes on to argue that Trump’s supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch is somehow like Hitler’s macaroni and cheese recipe. We close the podcast with a discussion of the recent corruption amnesty protests in Romania.

You can also find NonProphets on iTunes and Google Play. 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 (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). And if you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.