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I think it is odd that Google put $20 million behind the Google Lunar X Prize, but it does not appear to have subsidized a prediction market about the outcome, even though Google is a notable user of prediction markets. The intrade contract is already reasonably liquid (10% spread), but it would be interesting to see a more liquid market. A more liquid market would give people who think about the future of space exploration an easy way to see how hard or easy it is to go back to the moon (right now the probability is 20%-30%).

Google Trends is my new favorite tool for tracking the popularity of political party primary candidates. Here is a comparison of five of bigger Democratic candidate (including Bill Richardson, currently my personal favorite). Here is the same for the Republican party. It is difficult to say exactly what high or low search volume indicates about the popularity or name recognition of a candidate. I would think that search volume would be indicative of some combination of the current popularity of a candidate and rate of new interest in the candidate, while news reference volume is indicative of media support for a candidate.

If I could figure out a way to pull data off of Google Trends, I would compare these results with polls. Also, the data seems only to go up to February.

My friend Jeff directed me to an article about new advances in combustion engine technology. Reading about new technology has always been pleasurable for me. It’s almost like I can sense the future rushing past. It’s very refreshing. Maybe I should be a journalist who writes about new technology. Would be pretty nice — I could travel, meet interesting people. Alas, I have chosen to be an economist. But then I am pursuing something brighter on the horizon in that field, too; a world in which unimpeded commerce and trade ties us all together in peace and allows us to have as much of the things we value as possible.

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