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Intrade and the Dow Drop

The intraday fluctuations on Monday (using Intrade's contract for a bailout passing in September) imply the bailout makes a bigger difference (closer to 25% on the S&P 500). That evidence should be better because the news changed 3 times while the markets were trading. But I'm unconvinced that Intrade and the stock market had the same expectations - Intrade had been saying since Sunday evening that the bailout had about a 20% chance of passing in September, but all the comments from supposedly informed people said the vote was more surprising. If the bailout passes and unemployment exceeds 7.5% by the end of 2009, that will be weak evidence that the bailout was desirable. I'd still say there were better alternatives, such as briefly relaxing bank capital requirements, unless the government claims to have made money on the bailout in five years. Or maybe we could tie some of the compensation paid for the people running the bailout to how much money the bailout makes or loses.

Ban the Bear

Jason, they banned all short sales of those stocks (except for "certain bona fide market makers" and some option exercises). From

IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to our Section 12(k)(2) powers, all persons are prohibited from short selling any publicly traded securities of any Included Financial Firm.
Dreams of AI Design

Eliezer, what destroy-the-world issues do you see resulting from whole brain emulation? I see risks that the world will be dominated by intelligences that I don't like, but nothing that resembles tiling the universe with smiley faces.

I'd take it

Mike, I'd certainly make some use of prediction markets. But I expect them generally to not create clear-cut recommendations. It's certainly possible that they would cause big changes in my plans, but I'm starting with the assumption that there's too much uncertainty to get more than a crudely educated guess from any approach to deciding how to spend the money. I've posted how I'd allocate the money here.

Principles of Disagreement

Here's one simple rule which I hope you're following, and to which I suspect you should give more weight: If you are already aware that many apparently intelligent people disagree about an issue, hearing another person's conclusions about that issue should have little effect on your beliefs about that issue. If you hear an intelligent person disagree with a belief for which you weren't aware of intelligent disagreement, give more weight to that person's belief than your instincts suggest. I'd give more weight to your opinions if it were clear that you relied heavily on rules such as this.

I object to your advice that "if any of these reasonable-sounding principles turn out not to work, don't use them." The evidence about what works for investing is sufficiently noisy that it's dangerous for investors to think they can get anything resembling conclusive evidence about what works. I'd suggest instead advising them to "assume these rules are necessary but not sufficient for success."