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Walter's Walk - Hedging Your Existential Portfolio
September 16th, 2010
05:40 am

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Hedging Your Existential Portfolio
http://www.economist.com/node/16690715?story_id=16690715&fsrc=rss
     Some science bets take "novelty" to a new level. When the LHC was switched on two 
     years ago, William Hill announced it had won £119 from 12 people who had wagered 
     that the start of the giant experiment would trigger the end of the world. 
     In this case, in a departure from normal practice, the bookmaker had allowed 
     the customers in question to set their own odds.

I would love to be an observer in the universe where these guys are high-fiving each other, and then jorj95 walks in.

(Happy Birthday, George!)

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From:jmallick
Date:September 16th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
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Ah, those existentialists.
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From:gunga_galunga
Date:September 16th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
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"The bookies, of course, usually win. That is how they stay in business." Does the Economist not know how bookies work?
From:gijoel666
Date:September 17th, 2010 07:15 am (UTC)
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Advocating for the devil for a moment...

How can the bookie be so sure the wagerers lost? We've been having tornados in NYC this year. Could be a symptom of a slow-working but nonetheless ultimately final effect of the LHC. I guess the bet involved the world ending by time specific, not just being traceable to the device.

Of course, it's a no-lose situation for the bookie. If the world doesn't end, they keep the money; and if the world does end, what's anyone gonna do with money? so they don't care if they have to pay it out. And there's also the issue of at what point a definitive determination can be made that the wagerer has won. It's like looking into a house of mirrors filled with chickens and eggs and weirdly shaped clocks.
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From:rankest
Date:September 17th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)

How many existentialists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

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It takes 2...

One to screw in the bulb, and the other to observe how the light bulb symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity, reaching out toward a vast, empty cosmos of nothingness.
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