I've been using Forecast since the beta and enjoy it! A few thoughts:
Phew, this was hard! 50 is pretty hard, there's a lot of value in pushing yourself to do even 30. Another option for next time is to time limit instead: "you have 15 minutes, how many ways can you think of?"
Here are my 50:
Dig a hole and bury it
Disassemble it and give each piece to a trusted family
Place it into a lockbox at a reputable bank
Store it in a drawer and include detailed instructions in my will
Find Einstein's parents and give them the pen
Place it in a drawer with a sealed letter describing what should be done if found
Put it in a tree's branches
Carve a hole in a tree trunk and place it in the hole
Seal it in a chest and drop it in a lake with an anchor
Glue it to one of those tortoises that lives a long time
Photograph or draw it, make a replica in 50 years
Keep it in an important document like my passport, moving it each time I renew
Convince the Pope the pen is holy and must be preserved
Convince a museum the pen is fine art and should be displayed
Carry it everywhere I go
Give it to a stranger with a promise to pay them if they return it in a year. Repeat 50 times
Become a head of state and pass a law to protect the pen
Start a pen manufacturing company and produce millions of copies of the pen
Start a pen-worshipping cult
Negotiate with the evil forces to return the pen to me later
Convince the evil forces to give the pen to Einstein
Place it in a sewer
Start a family and teach my kids to protect the pen
Join the evil forces, work my way to power, and change the organization's objective
Infiltrate the evil forces and assassinate their leadership
Give the evil forces a counterfeit pen
Change my name so the evil forces can't find me
Become a hermit living in a cave
Learn self-defense to protect the pen if attacked by evil forces
Hand the evil forces the pen and then take it back, as they "obtained" it
Give the evil forces the part of the pen they want and replace it
Invent time travel and send the pen to the future
Invent space travel and send the pen to space
Place the pen in a body to be buried
Place the pen in the foundation of a new building
Shoot the pen high into the atmosphere so that it circles the earth for 50 years before landing
Place at the bottom of a jar of pennies
Place at the bottom of a chewing tobacco spittoon
Disguise as a record player's needle
Just keep it on my desk amongst my regular pens
Hide it in a residential attic
Hide it in a mattress
Hire a private security team to guard the pen
Protect the pen in a secure facility with booby traps
Convince the evil forces they don't really want the pen
Hide the pen in the handle of a sword
Ass pen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w12RKy966OU)
Start a foundation and place the pen in trust
Tag someone else "it", now they have to hide the pen
Forget about the pen, Einstein will probably write his papers anyway
That's a great catch, thanks! With that correction as a final step, I feel much better about my initial estimate!
How many miles of train tracks exist in the world?
Radius of Earth = ~3,000 miles
Surface area of earth = 4 x pi x r^2 = 1.13 × 10^8 = ~10^8
25% of the earth is land
10% of the land "needs" tracks
.1% of that land actually is tracks
10^8 x .25 x .1 x .001 = 2,500 miles
This feels obviously wrong, so let's buff the numbers:
Radius = 5,000 miles, 30% of the surface is land, 25% "needs" track, .5% of the land is tracks
3.14 x 10^8 x .35 x .2 x .005 = ~110,000 miles
Let's round that off to 100,000 miles.
Edit: Thanks to the comment from @philh, I see that I calculated square miles rather than linear miles. Assuming the width of a track is 1/1000 of a mile:
2500 x 1000 = ~2.5 million miles
This feels reasonable, so if I had performed that step, I would not have done a second round of estimation.
How many metric tons of air freight cargo shipped globally in 2009, and in 2019 (either by commercial airlines or specialized freight companies)?
How much stuff did I order? Everything I use was shipped from somewhere.
Amount of stuff I ordered last year: 200 pounds
That feels low when I think about heavy food and drink containers, so let's bump to 1,000 pounds
My share of infrastructure "stuff" feels smaller than that, so no modifier.
Most of the world uses less stuff than I do (age, affluence), so nudge it down to 700 pounds.
A ton is 2,000 pounds
Population of the world: 7 billion
7 billion * 700 / 2,000 = ~2.5 billion
Let's assume 2% growth per year
1.02^10 = 1.22
2.5 billion / 1.22 = ~2 billion
2019: 2.5 billion tons
2009: 2 billion tons
After reading the answers from others, I've realized that I assumed all freight was by air. If I had considered that, I would apply a discount factor, revising significantly downward. Keeping my original answer in the spirit of the exercise.
Thanks for posting these updates regularly! One quick formatting note: region ordering in the Positive Tests section is different from the earlier sections.
Have you seen https://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/best-in-show-whats-the-top-data-dog/ ?
I purchased zinc lozenges, high dose Vitamin C, and HCQ many months ago. I am trying to decide for action now, or as a pre-commit for later, on what is most appropriate to take.
For shopping, the internet exists!
I've loved Wirecutter's reviews for many years, but have occasionally been disappointed by their recommendations. It's hard to say whether their quality has actually gone down or if the success/miss ratio is constant.
External hard drive (pre-2016): no mention whatsoever of RPM, which is widely regarded as critical information when choosing a non-SSD hard drive. They didn't even include a blurb saying that RPM doesn't matter.
Bath towels (2019): Pasting my own comment: "I ordered a set of Frontgate towels based on this recommendation. After fewer than five washes (cold normal cycle with standard detergent, line dry), the towels aren't plush at all. The towels arrived feeling luxurious and spa-like, but after only a few uses they feel drab and normal." They updated their towel recommendations a week ago and Frontgate remains their top choice. I feel like I wasted several hundred dollars on an extensive set of pretty average towels. If I'm washing them wrong, it would have been nice for them to reply and update their care instructions.
Broom (2020): It's...fine. Maybe my expectations were set too high, but I thought it would be the Best Broom, not just a broom.
I think pointing at anything you want better conveys the nature of L4. You could describe L0 as "I don't point".