Uncertain predictions

Robert Hickson Feb 19, 2015

“Active open-minded thinking” and “massive ignoramus”. Those are views on what makes a good forecaster according to two  “super-forecasters” from Philip Tetlock’s and IARPA’s Good Judgment Project.  It also helps if you forecast as part of a team with other good forecasters. But some things are more predictable than others. Michael Burnam-Fink, in a paper in … Read More

Amazon buys Santa’s workshop

Robert Hickson Dec 22, 2014

Following on from the Listener’s highlighting of employment condition concerns at Santa’s workshop Amazon has just announced that it has acquired the global manufacturing and logistics enterprise for an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be in excess of US$15 billion). Alibaba would not confirm whether it too had attempted to buy the family-owned company. A combination of impending industrial … Read More

Christmas 2024

Robert Hickson Dec 17, 2014

I’m starting to get the hang of Holoblogging now, though usually the holographic images are more disquieting than informative and they leave me feeling queasy. People don’t seem to spend as much time reviewing the “year that was” now. They’re more interested these days in sifting the data streams to predict what’s coming up. But for me the four biggest … Read More

State and trends of carbon pricing

Robert Hickson Dec 10, 2014

The World Bank’s just released its report State & trends of carbon pricing. Thirty nine countries and 23 sub-national jurisdictions (eg, regions or states) have or are planning to introduce carbon pricing schemes, such as carbon trading schemes or taxes. The European Union has the largest carbon market, followed by China.   Countries or regions with … Read More

Transport Futures

Robert Hickson Dec 07, 2014

Thirty billion, 60 billion, one billion, 10 billion. Those are some of the numbers from the Ministry of Transport’s recent Future Demand project. 30 billion kilometres travelled a year on New Zealand roads (excluding trucks) – that’s 100 round trips to the sun.  $60 billion is the cost of the road network (that’s about four times the total … Read More

Big data do do

Robert Hickson Nov 20, 2014

“Smart” toilets aren’t new. But there are smart toilets and smarter toilets. Several Japanese companies are selling models that will lift the lid, have anti-bacterial nanoparticles, give you a wash and do the flushing for you. But that’s more politeness than smartness. Another Japanese company, Toto, sells models that can do a simple urine analysis, as … Read More

Post-mortem futures

Robert Hickson Nov 03, 2014

With Halloween just past it’s a good time to consider end of life futures. While we are getting better at postponing death (including getting better at bringing those close to death back to life, transplanting “dead” hearts, as well as some successes against cancers), we’re not cheating it. People of European ancestry have in … Read More

A nose for the future

Robert Hickson Oct 23, 2014

It’s been a big time for noses recently. Who would have picked that? First up, a paper in PLOS ONE  indicated that losing one’s sense of smell may be a predictor (statistically speaking) of your demise (at least if you are older than 57). The authors speculate Olfactory function is thus one of the strongest predictors of 5-year … Read More

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