Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, December 27, 2004

Asteroid-Earth Collision?

At the Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen has another posting (with this update) about the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth.

The opportunity to bet on the possibility is not on Tradesports, yet, perhaps because there is insufficient interest (though p2p mentions something about NASA bookies)[Thanks to Jack for some of the pointers].

At recently updated 45 - 1 odds imagine the arbitrage possibilities between the time of Tyler's first posting about the CNN statement of 300-1 odds (and which CNN had not updated as of Sunday evening) and the later update from NASA of 45-1 odds. If this event were listed on Tradesports, imagine, too, the jump in hits on the NASA website.

Another reason it hasn't been listed on Tradesports, yet, might have to do with the prediction that it won't hit until 2029, if it does at all. Still another might have to do with phrasing the bet so there would be no confusion or disagreement might be difficult. What about this, for a start:

"An asteroid presently identified as "Asteroid 2004 MN4" will either hit the earth (or be redirected away from the earth out of concern for the possibility that it might hit the earth) before April 14, 2029 (GMT)."

One way to bet on it might be by trading shares of insurance company stocks; I wonder if some insurance companies keep tabs on this sort of thing -- how many of them have individuals specifically assigned to watch the NASA asteroid impact website?

Anyway, what are the odds I'll be around to worry about it (other than for my children, grandchildren, and friends)?
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