Completed Bets
for Don Geddis

6/19/2023: UFOs

Within 5 years (expires 6/19/2028) or 12 years (expires 6/19/2035), there will be public scientific consensus for at least one specific concrete artifact or technology of non-human origin, or a humanoid visitor.

The artifact or technology will be determined to be neither of natural origin, nor a product of ordinary human civilization. The origin could be aliens, or time travelers, or extra-dimensional. "Consensus" could be shown by a poll with >50% agreement from the relevant US or worldwide scientific community. (For example, if the object is a metal alloy, the relevant opinions are professional academic materials scientists.)

Possible alternatives include explicit public statements by organizations such as NASA or the National Academy of Sciences, or the relevant scientific academic organization, establishing the new agreed consensus of non-human advanced origin. The statement cannot merely be that non-human origin is "possible". It has to be "clearly the most plausible explanation", essentially ruling out any possibility that the object or technology could have been produced from current human civilization. There should be sufficient confidence that the new consensus would be expected to be integrated into and taught to students in upcoming introductory college courses. (As an example, in 2023, "climate change is happening due to human activity" is a statement that is not conclusively proven, and legitimate criticisms can still be raised ... but it is certainly a consensus of a clear majority of climate scientists.)

As an example of a relevant argument, this bet was spurred by Win's endorsement of this article: Intelligence officials say U.S. has retrieved craft of non-human origin, which claims that the US government already possesses (secretly) an "intact or partially intact" non-human vehicle. Win supports that claim, but no such vehicle has yet been released for public (or even 3rd party) examination or study.

It is Win's responsibility to demonstrate that the consensus has been reached. Win loses if he has not so demonstrated by the end of the time limit. Disputes over whether Win's evidence shows a "consensus of the relevant experts" can be resolved by a mutually-agreed mediator.

Don Geddis says NO; Win Ark says YES. Stakes: For 5 years, Don offers 25:1 odds for $500 vs. $20. For 12 years, even odds for $500.

Update 8/9/2023: Eliezer Yudkowsky makes a very similar bet — but at 150:1 odds (!), $150K vs. $1K — against Less Wrong user RatsWrongAboutUAP. Also, Scott Alexander (Astral Codex Ten): "It's unlikely that any civilization advanced enough to travel through space would still be primitive enough to use macroscopic, biologically-piloted craft that sometimes crash."

Update 9/23/2023: Don agrees that if Eliezer Yudkowsky concedes his (very similar!) bet, according to the terms described by RatsWrongAboutUAP, that will be counted as a proxy for resolving Don's bet vs. Win, and Don will concede on his UFO bet against Win as well.

9/23/2020: Crocker DL

In the 2020-2021 school year, Crocker Middle School started in the fall with distance learning, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Trimester 2 will begin in mid-November, and families will be asked to commit to either in-person learning, or else continue with the virtual classroom. Louann was concerned that very few families might choose distance learning (which would make it challenging to create virtual classrooms). The bet: if any of the grades (6, 7, 8) wind up with fewer than 15 students opting into distance learning, then Louann wins. If all three grades have 15 or more DL students for trimester 2, then Don wins. Stakes: Don receives a delicious chocolate dessert (no fruit tart!) delivered to his home, or Louann receives a "fluffy coffee" (espresso, foam) delivered to the district office.

Result: The three Crocker grades had 79 students opt in to virtual classroom out of 378 responses: 29 in 6th, 19 in 7th, and 31 in 8th. So none of the three grades had "fewer than 15 students" in DL. Don wins.

5/9/2019: Game of Thrones

We have passed Episode 4 of Season 8; only two GoT episodes are left. Who will kill Cersei Lannister? Louann bets: Tyrion Lannister. Don bets: Jamie Lannister (or Arya Stark). If Cersei lives, or if someone else kills her, the bet is off. Stakes: Root beer floats for a group meeting at the district office.

Result: Cersei died (with Jamie), from the collapsing Red Keep, while attempting to escape. She wasn't killed by any of the other characters. Hence the bet is a draw.

3/19/2019: School Bonds

School districts are allowed to ask voters to approve borrowing money for facilities bonds. One limitation is that any bond initiative can only project to require $30 per $100,000 of property valuation during repayment. Louann has learned that a district once put two different bond measures on their ballot, in order to overcome that limitation. (Each one had its own $30/$100000 limit.) Don believes that HCSD is subject to an independent bond limitation: the total outstanding debt cannot be more than 1.25% of total property valuation. Hillsborough's valuation is (a little more than) $10B, so this limit would be $125M. Given that the previous bond measure has left about $68M outstanding, this would limit a near future bond initiative to no more than $57M. Louann believes it would still be possible to borrow more than that, by using multiple bond initiatives. Bet: is it eventually ruled legal for HCSD to ask the voters for more than $75M in 2020 (possibly via multiple initiatives)? Don says NO, Louann says YES. Stakes: a box of high quality donuts provided to the district office, with a large sign saying "Donuts provided by [name], because I lost a bet to [name]."

Result: In August 2019, Louann received an official recommendation from the district's bond council to suggest asking the voters for $109 million. Don's mistake was that a bond measure can ask permission for more debt than is legal on the first day. However, actual bonds are generally borrowed over time, and the town can grow into larger cap sizes during the lifetime of the bond series (e.g. via inflation). Don lost, and brought a box of donuts to the district office.

9/26/2018: Kavanaugh

Third alleged assault victim has gone public. Roger Avedon: Kavanaugh will be seated on the Supreme Court within Trump's first term. Don Geddis: Kavanaugh will not make it to the Supreme Court. Stakes: $1.

Result: Kavanaugh was confirmed by the US Senate. Roger wins $1.

3/26/2018: Fusion power

Within 20 years (by 3/26/2038), a power generation plant will be constructed that generates energy via nuclear fusion.

This plant will produce at least 100 megawatts of net power (output greater than input) on a sustained basis (can continue producing excess power indefinitely). The plant will also be "financially viable", in the sense that it is plausible that a commercial enterprise might consider paying for its construction, in order to recoup the costs by selling the resulting excess electricity.

Don Geddis says NO; Win Ark says YES. Stakes: Steakhouse or Brazilian Churrascaria dinner (loser pays for both of us).

Also see this good MIT overview of the current state (2017) of fusion power.

Result: TBD.

7/16/2017: Boxing: Floyd vs. Conor (#4)

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing on August 26. 10:1 odds. If Floyd wins, Don wins $1. If Conor wins in round 5 or later, Win Ark wins $10. (If Conor wins in rounds 1-4, this bet is a draw.)

Result: Floyd TKOs Conor in 10th round (of 12). Don wins $1.

7/14/2017: Boxing: Floyd vs. Conor (#3)

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing on August 26. 2:1 odds. Don has Floyd @ $100, Win Ark has Conor @ $50. (By comparison, the current professional betting odds have Mayweather at -500, and Conor at +350, as of July 12. I believe that's approximately equivalent to Mayweather having about an 80% likelihood of winning, and Conor 20%, which would imply fair odds of 5:1. Betting opened Nov 17 with Mayweather at a huge favorite at -2250, and Conor at +950. But the betting has slowly gotten closer as time has gone on. Oddshark suggested on 7/17 that Conor is a 7:2 underdog.)

Result: Floyd TKOs Conor in 10th round (of 12). Don wins $50.

7/13/2017: Boxing: Floyd vs. Conor (#2)

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing on August 26. Don has Floyd, Win Ark has Conor. $5 stakes, even odds.

Result: Floyd TKOs Conor in 10th round (of 12). Don wins $5.

6/17/2017: Boxing: Floyd vs. Conor (#1)

MMA champion Conor McGregor is going to fight against undefeated 49-0 boxer Floyd Mayweather, in a boxing match, on August 26 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Don is betting that Floyd will win, at 10:1 odds ($10 vs $1). Danny Gong took the odds, and Conor.

Result: Floyd TKOs Conor in 10th round (of 12). Don wins $1.

10/20/2015: Nov 2015 election

Anthony Ranii believed that the fall campaign generated a lot of interest in the town, and voter turnout would be higher than usual. Typical (off-year) school board elections had 2500-2700 voters. Anthony bet $5 that more than 3000 ballots would be cast for the school board candidates in Hillsborough in the November 2015 election. Result: 2748 ballots cast, Don wins. Anthony paid $5 in nickels and pennies.

8/19/2015: Gifted OLSAT testing

In fall 2015, for OLSAT-8 gifted testing in HCSD, K & 2nd grades were "opt-out". 1st & 3rd-8th were "opt-in". North Principal (and HCSD gifted committee co-chair) Angela O'Donnell believed that "most" (75%?) parents would decide to opt their kids in to testing. Don believed that "few" (25%?) would do so. The bet was agreed at 50%. Stakes: Lobster lunch at Kincaid's. Result: In 1st & 3rd-8th, 493 students out of 1161 total, chose to opt in to OLSAT testing. As 42% < 50%, Don wins.

11/2014: Urbanathlon

Anthony Ranii pressured Don into running in the 2014 Urbanathlon, an 11-mile race with 15 obstacles. Don used to run 3 miles daily, and often 10K (6.2mi) races -- but that was 20 years ago. Back then, Don had tried a single half-marathon (13mi), and hated it.

Anthony bet lunch that, "overall", Don would judge that the experience had been a positive one. In January 2015, Don reluctantly, grudgingly, admitted that, on net, the one event was a positive one. Despite hating the 10mi training runs.

Don loses, and buys Anthony lunch.

12/25/2012: Hillary Clinton testimony

The Republican Congress wished to investigate the terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Benghzai, Libya, and in particular the Obama administration's response at the time. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was scheduled to appear before Congress to testify. On Dec 15, Clinton fainted (due to illness), and suffered a concussion. She was in the hospital for awhile, released, and then re-admitted after the discovery of a blood clot, stemming from the concussion. Some Republicans openly questioned whether the concussion was really a conspiracy to avoid testifying about Benghzai. On (Christmas) December 25, 2012, (my father) Jim Geddis bet me $5 that Clinton would never testify before Congress, in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

On January 2, 2013, Clinton was released from the hospital. On Wednesday, January 23, 2013, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared before Congress to testify about Benghazi. (To be fair, this was three days after Obama's official January 20 inauguration for his second term, and two days after the public Monday January 21 Inauguration ceremony. Clinton has also publicly stated that she will not serve as Secretary of State in Obama's second term, and it is expected that John Kerry will soon be appointed to the post.)

Result: Don wins $5.

11/25/2012: Go #3 (man vs. machine)

Vs. Joe Mathes. Full details are available here.

5/15/2011, Submission grappling: Geddis vs. Harvey

This occurred during one of the Go matches. Full details are available there.

5/28/2010: Go #2 (man vs. machine)

Vs. Dusty Leary. Full details are available here.

5/8/2010, UFC 113: Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun (II)

Win Ark says that Lyoto will win via KO or TKO (if I give him 4:1 odds). If so, Win gets a Machida walk-out t-shirt (~$40). If Shogun wins (by any means), or there is a decision (for either fighter), then Don gets 8oz Truffles (~$10). If Lyoto wins by submission, or some other thing happens (e.g. No Contest), then the bet is a draw. Result: Shogun by KO 3:35 R1, Don wins.

1/31/2009, UFC 94: BJ Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre

Win Ark bets ($1) that GSP will win by submission. Don gives 10:1 odds (hence risks $10) that either BJ will win, or else GSP will win by some method other than submission (e.g. decision or KO). Result: GSP wins by BJ's corner conceding after the fourth round. Hence, Don wins $1.

5/24/2008, UFC 84: Tito vs. Lyoto

Lyoto Machida is an MMA fighter with a karate background (and also a BJJ black belt). He's fighting the ground & pound wrestler Tito Ortiz, who was the #1 ranked light-heavyweight a few years ago. Tito's nearing the end of his career. Ryoto is undefeated so far, but most of his fights have been against substandard competition, and until recently he usually won via a "boring" judge's decision. I'm taking Tito, and Win Ark is taking Ryoto (against anyone!). Stakes: Win wants two 8.8oz cans of Blue Lavazza ground espresso; I'll take a 1lb box of See's Truffles. I consider this a 50/50 bet; very hard to call the winner. Result: Lyoto wins a clear 3-round decision (and thus Win wins the bet).

5/5/2008 Medical Prayer

Don: Mainstream peer-reviewed medical journals will not publish studies showing the medical effectiveness of 3rd-party religious prayer. Winfred Ark: yes, they will. Time limit: December 31, 2013. Stakes: 50:1 odds on $10 (if no studies, vs. $500 if published studies).

Resolved: May 17, 2009, as "yes, positive studies have been published", with Win's citations (and thus Win wins $500):

  • Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial. (eng; includes abstract) By Leibovici L, BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.) [BMJ], ISSN: 0959-8138, 2001 Dec 22-29; Vol. 323 (7327), pp. 1450-1; PMID: 11751349
  • Does prayer influence the success of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer? Report of a masked, randomized trial. (eng; includes abstract) By Cha KY, Wirth DP, The Journal Of Reproductive Medicine [J Reprod Med], ISSN: 0024-7758, 2001 Sep; Vol. 46 (9), pp. 781-7; PMID: 11584476
  • A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit. (eng; includes abstract) By Harris WS, Gowda M, Kolb JW, Strychacz CP, Vacek JL, Jones PG, Forker A, O'Keefe JH, McCallister BD, Archives Of Internal Medicine [Arch Intern Med], ISSN: 0003-9926, 1999 Oct 25; Vol. 159 (19), pp. 2273-8; PMID: 10547166
  • Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Care Unit Population. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 1/20/89, Vol. 261 Issue 3, p372, 1/9p
  • Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population. (eng; includes abstract) By Byrd RC, Southern Medical Journal [South Med J], ISSN: 0038-4348, 1988 Jul; Vol. 81 (7), pp. 826-9; PMID: 3393937

4/24/2008, Obama wins election

Don: Obama will win the US Presidential election held on November 4, 2008. Bill ("gichoke"/"sportfighter") Mahoney: Obama will not win. Stakes: $100. Public declaration on the Usenet newsgroup rec.martial-arts. Result: Obama (and thus Don) wins in a landslide, 365 electoral votes to 173. (Although not important, the popular vote was 52.7% for Obama, to 46.0% for McCain.)

4/17/2008, Peak Oil (bet #2)

If the monthly peak in world oil production (crude + condensates) occurs before 2010, Don wins. If it occurs after 2015, Win Ark wins. (If between 2010 and 2015, the bet is a draw.) Stakes: current price of a barrel of oil, upon resolution of the bet. Result: In late 2016, there was a monthly production of ~82mbpd, which was the highest monthly production in world history. That is after 2015, so Win wins the bet. Current price of a barrel of oil is about $49. Bet conceded to Win on 6/12/2017. More details.

4/15/2008, Peak Oil (bet #1)

Between 2008 and the year 2030, if the world's annual production of crude oil ever meets or exceeds an average of 75 MBD, then Win Ark wins. If the annual crude oil production between 2008-2030 is always less than 75 MBD average, then Don wins. Stakes: the monetary equivalent of the closing price of a barrel of US Texas crude oil at the end of the year when the bet terminates. Bet bought out by Don (without a resolution) on 4/16/2008 for $100 (plus the addition of Peak Oil bet #2), because it looked likely that the 75mbpd was too low. (As indeed it later turned out to be.) More details.

4/14/2007, BodogFight: Fedor vs. Lindland

Fedor Emelianenko (world #1 ranked heavyweight MMA fighter) vs. Matt Lindland (olympic silver medal in wrestling, top middleweight MMA fighter). St. Petersburg, Russia. Fedor destroys everybody, outstriking the strikers (e.g. Cro Cop), and outgrappling the grapplers (e.g. Minotauro). And a guy more than a weight class below him is going to be a threat? I don't think so. But Ben "Dude" Curson bet me $20, and Arash bet me $50, that Lindland will win. With just even odds. Unbelievable. Result: Fedor won by armbar at 2:58 of R1. I win again.

12/30/2006, UFC 66: Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz (II)

I bet $50 on Liddell to repeat, against Arash who is betting on Tito. The main talk is that Liddell might be getting bored with winning all the time, and Ortiz is "hungry". But just looking at the skills on paper, Liddell is a bad matchup for Tito. Tito's only strategy is ground & pound, but Liddell is extremely difficult to take down (or to keep down if you manage to get him down), and his striking is far, far better than Tito's. Unless Liddell gets very lazy and just doesn't bother to train, this should be another easy victory, just like the first matchup. Result: 3rd RD TKO, Don wins.

11/18/2006, UFC 65: Hughes vs. GSP

Batata wanted a rematch from the UFC 60 bet, and had jumped on the Hughes bandwagon. But this time I thought GSP had the edge, despite the dominance Hughes had shown as long-time UFC champion. GSP was winning their first matchup (before getting caught) when he was new to MMA. And GSP had recently dominated Frank Trigg -- even in the wrestling! -- who is almost Hughes-quality as a wrestler. Result: GSP by R2 KO. I win (and Batata loses again).

9/22/2005: Efficient Markets

Following some theoretical discussion about efficient market theory, Winfred Ark bet me that Genetech (DNA) would outperform the market averages over the next year. On 9/22/2005, DNA was $88/share (market cap $94B); DJ 10442, NASDAQ 2111, S&P500 1215. On 9/22/2006 DNA was $78 ($83B); DJ 11508, NASDAQ 2219, S&P500 1314. I won, Win lost. Stakes: loser displays a photo of winner prominently on their mantel for a year.

5/27/2006, UFC 60: Royce vs. Hughes

Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes, May 27, 2006, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA. I've been a fan of Royce since the first UFC, and trained in BJJ myself since 1994. That said, Hughes had all the advantages in this matchup. I bet $100 (in two bets, vs. Arash and vs. Batata) that Hughes will win. Result: Hughes dominated and won easily, and I won the bets.

12/23/2003: Go (man vs. machine)

Vs. Scott Roy. Full details are available here.

April 2002: Overture/Google patent lawsuit

In April 2002, Overture (since acquired by Yahoo) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google. I bet $25 that Google would never pay a significant amount of money. I lost this bet. For encrypted email, use my PGP Public Key. Last updated 09/23/23