Wednesday, December 26, 2018

I'll take Bashkirtsev's can't-lose side of the bet with James Annan

James Annan is low-key:

The bet - final outcome

You may be wondering what had happened with this. As you will recall, some time ago I arranged a bet with two Russian solar scientists who had predicted that the world was going to cool down. The terms of the bet were very simple, we would compare the global mean average surface temperature between 1998-2003 and 2012-17 (according to NCDC), and if the latter period was warmer, I would win $10,000 from them, and if it was cooler, they would win the same amount. See here and here for some of the news coverage at the time.

The results were in a while ago, and of course I won easily.....

So this should be the point at which I ask my blog readers for ideas as to what to spend the $10,000 on. I was hoping to do something that would be climatically and environmentally beneficial, perhaps something that might garner a bit of publicity and make a larger contribution. But they are refusing to pay. More precisely, Bashkirtsev is refusing to pay, and Mashnich is refusing to even reply to email. With impressive chutzpah, Bashkirtsev proposed we should arrange a follow-up bet which he would promise to honour. Of course I'd be happy to consider such a thing, once the first bet is settled. But it looks unlikely that this is going to happen.

Clearly, James was out-maneuvered, and that's why I prefer Bashkirtsev's position. You make a bet with someone honorable, and if he loses, he pays, while if terms come out wrong for you, then you refuse to pay and instead offer him a new chance to lose his money. Repeat as needed.

I'll take a bet that gives me a one-in-a-million chance of winning and zero chance of losing. Bashkirtsev, I salute you!

More seriously, Nature magazine covered the original bet and should cover the resolution. Better yet, they should fly James to Russia and do an ambush video of the two Russians. Or fly ME there, I'll pretend to be James and scream WHERE'S MY MONEY, DENIALISTS??? WHERE'S MY MONEY?!!!

As a side note, I've criticized my own bets with David Evans as being over-complicated, but we did address this issue via an escalating series of bet amounts over three time periods, so there's that. And David seems honorable to me, however wrong wrong wrong, dangerously wrong, he may be on climate.

Another side note, here's a blog on climate betting: I kind of think the moment has passed due to denialists being mostly unwilling to pony up (I've probably challenged over a dozen, and I know many others have done the same), but good for this blogger for publicizing it.


Suwannee Dave said...

I am 13 feet above sea level and 70 years old. The bet is with myself as to whether I will live long enough to remain in place.

Entropic man said...

Perhaps the mistake was to make the bet so significant.

$10,000 is a couple of month's pay for a scientist. If I put that much money on a scientific bet, then my wife would scrag me.

The amount should be symbolic rather than more than one can realistically pay.

Past scientific bets have been for a steak dinner or similar.

Kip Thorne and Stephen Hawking bet John Preskill that information leaving a black hole was not related to past information entering. The stake was an encyclopaedia.

Hawking finally conceded the bet and presented Preskill with an encyclopaedia of baseball statistics.

The real win was Preskill's ability to say "I was right".

If you really want to make climate bets for money, I would suggest that both sides place the money in an escrow account, payable to the winner when the victory conditions are met.

David B Benson said...

And who will guard the guardian?

Donald Gisselbeck said...

My bet with myself (age 63) is that my knees will last longer than skiable August snow on the Salamander Glacier.

Russell Seitz said...

The fine green cyrillic print on the back side of the email says Bashkirtsev will pay up when Ehrlich gives him the $10,000 he won from Simon.

Hautbois said...

Thank you for the mention Brian. I'd better add some new content - next up will be the strange story of Annan vs Whitehouse, which features a BB radio programme about stats, a superceded dataset and (gasp) a win for the Coolists.

Russell Seitz said...

The Guardian has unleashed some related atmospheric rabbit science news: