Sent to [Goddard's Office of Communication](https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/about/email-goddard.html): > Subject: Has Webb's NIRcam captured images, even just for mirror alignment? When were such first captured? > Good day, I'm emailing on behalf of myself and a few other users of Metaculus, the crowd-sourced amateur forecasting website (like PredictIt or Polymarket but with play money). We're trying to resolve a question we ran about the James Webb Space Telescope returning images within 6 weeks of launch – any images, not just externally useful ...

@honeypuppy Yeah, I was about to comment that this is trying to capture "when will Democracy take over China" but is actually much more likely to capture "when will China take over The Economist."

I think it is more likely than not (~65%) that SARS-CoV-2 will turn out to be a laboratory-made derivative of RaTG13 or a close relative, trained on human cells in legitimate (but risky) [gain-of-function research](https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502), and released accidentally. However, we may *never* have definitive proof. I think what is likely is a slow drip-drip of circumstantial evidence, combined with increasingly erratic and self-incriminating behavior from Beijing. Even *no* news benefits the la...

At this point I think we are basically forecasting whether the CDC certifies the Delta variant as causing significantly reduced neutralization by antibodies before the resolution date, right?

@mumpskin God protect this innocent nation from that thug.

That's right, I'm thinking that with careful planning I could GUARANTEE myself five or even SIX imaginary internet points in a mere 30 years hence

The main criticism of the Economist model seems to be that it's overconfident, with excessively thin tails. It seems to me that such a model will typically score a little better than a properly calibrated one, though losing out over time through occasional wild misses. I think this is correct.

@2e10e122 How about forecasting the population of Prospera in, say, 2035?

Report: [Turkey operated STM Kargu-2 drones in lethal autonomous mode against Haftar forces in Libya](https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/was-a-flying-killer-robot-used-in-libya-quite-possibly/) > Logistics convoys and retreating [enemy forces] were subsequently hunted down and remotely engaged by the unmanned combat aerial vehicles or the lethal autonomous weapons systems such as the STM Kargu-2 ... and other loitering munitions. The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator...

Francois Balloux on Twitter:

I would have voted for a ~60% 'intrinsic' reduction of the risk of death for infections caused by the Omicron variant relative to Delta (i.e. averaged over age and immune status), but ~90% doesn't strike me as implausible at this stage.

@(Uncle Jeff) I agree that there is substantial hypocrisy on the left in refusing to condemn BLM- and Antifa-related property destruction and thuggery, but I'm not aware of any examples of e.g. a Minneapolis city councilman whipping up a crowd to march on a police station, which they then burn down. When you say Democratic mayors and governors are "nurturing" BLM riots you seem to have something a lot less direct in mind than what Trump did. In the case of Antifa, I don't know what you've been told, but they absolutely despise Democratic mayors and gover...

Trump hints that he "was all set" to call Bernie a Communist, until Biden won Super Tuesday:

I'll tell you, I was all set for Bernie because I thought it was going to happen. We get ready for things. So mentally I’m all set for Bernie, communist, I had everything down. I was all set and then we have this crazy thing that happened on Tuesday...

I think it's almost all over. I had a draft version of this comment that I saved about 60 hours ago; it was rather adroitly hedged but the gist of it was that the central front along the A2 highway may have stalled, or at least that the Ethiopians are putting up a quite credible delaying action there, to judge by the TDF's average advance rate of 3,000 metres a day. Compare roughly 300 metres for a Western Front-style slog and 30,000 metres for a headlong pursuit by a fast-marching army. Well, since I wrote that the TDF seems to have advanced down the ...

There's a great deal of dispute about what exactly constitutes "gain of function" research. I think it's unlikely to be fully banned under that name, but it's possible there might be bans or restrictions on some activities classifiable as GoF research.

Ryan Matsumoto on Twitter:

PENNSYLVANIA MATH:

Trump +195,953 votes

6,277,135 votes reporting

~88% estimated vote reporting

~855,973 votes remaining

Biden must win remaining votes 525,963 to 330,010.

Biden must win remaining ballots 61% - 39%.

Biden is favored. Mail ballots are HEAVILY D.

Politico reports that "The Newsom recall just got real. The campaign to oust Newsom went from unlikely to unavoidable this week." Not sure why they thought it was unlikely, perhaps they should have been checking Metaculus!

@(SimonM) Compare the IPCC system: | | | |----|----| | 99% | Virtually certain | | 90% | Very likely | | 66% | Likely | | 33 to 66% | About as likely as not | | 33% | Unlikely | | 10% | Very unlikely | | 1% | Exceptionally unlikely | and the Sherman Kent system: | | | |----|----| | 100% | Certain | 93% | Almost certain | 75% | Probable | 50% | Chances about even | 30% | Probably not | 7% | Almost certainly not | 0% | Impossible If I were designing one of my own for Metaculus, I'd perhaps try: | Point | Description | Range | |----|----|-...

I'd be interested in a short fuze question about pardons or commutations for one or more Capitol stormers over the next week-and-a-half.

Related questions: * [Will NASA's SLS launch a person to the Moon before 2024?](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/2795/will-nasas-sls-launch-a-person-to-the-moon-before-2024/)     (Currently **4%**) * [When will NASA's SLS first launch a person to the Moon?](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/2818/when-will-nasas-sls-first-launch-a-person-to-the-moon/)     (Currently **Oct 21, 2028**, with a 35% chance of not before 2030) * [Will China land the next person on the Moon?](https://www.metaculus.com/questions...