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Gambling site places odds on global warming

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

"God," Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, "does not play dice with the universe."

Humans, on the other hand, seem to have no problem gambling on the forces of nature. Livescience is reporting an online gambling service called BetUS.com has started accepting bets on various calamities related to climate change.

As the article says:

One bet gives members 1-to-5 odds that scientists will prove global warming exists beyond any scientific doubt by the end of this year. Another gives 100-to-1 odds that polar bears will be extinct by 2010.

Gamblers can also bet on whether parts of the U.S. will be flooded, including Manhattan Island, which is 265 feet above sea level at its highest point. As the story says, these are not smart wagers.

Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York said, the bets are “designed to part fools from their money.”
It's not the first time the world of science and gambling have collided. Stephen Hawking famously bet physicist John Preskill that black holes destroyed all information about whatever entered them, and lost, later conceding the information was instead mangled beyond comprehension.

And London gambling site Ladbrokes posted odds in 2004 on a number of science questions, placing 6-to-1 odds that physicists would discover the Higgs boson by 2010, and 10,000-to-1 odds (the largest allowed) that intelligent life would be discovered on Saturn's moon Titan, also by 2010.

I'm not sure who took them up on that one, but let's hope for their sake they've already stowed aboard the Cassini space probe and are preparing their dramatic landing.

Then again, the bet did specify intelligent life.

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