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Toward A Bettor Future

A U.S. government betting pool for future terrorism events is gone, but predictive markets are here to stay

6 min read

8 August 2003—The hue and cry over the Policy Analysis Market, a recently revealed and quickly canceled U.S. Department of Defense research plan to use a futures market to help it predict terrorism events, has obscured a couple of important facts. Similar markets have been used for years to predict everything from the next U.S. president to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, and generally they have had excellent track records.

The Policy Analysis Market, or PAM as it’s funding parent, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa; Arlington, Va.) calls it, has been taken too seriously by some and perhaps not seriously enough by others. Quickly quashed after a drumfire of disdain from the U.S. Congress, the idea of a terrorism futures market reappeared in civilian form as the American Action Market [http://www.americanactionmarket.org]. But that Web site, despite being taken at face value by media outlets like Wired News, could be merely a parody of PAM. Evidence points to connection to the creators of a well-known political spoof site, gatt.org.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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