It’s easy to write or talk about an issue without staking anything on its outcome. After all, that’s what casual forecasters do all the time. But having something in play — reputation or money or something else — can make sure that people remember their claims. This can keep us honest.
There are obviously a whole set of games that typically include betting. And there are many famous bets, from Ashley Revell gambling his life savings on one spin of the roulette wheel, John Gutfreund and John Meriwether’s proposed but then aborted $10 million bet on a single hand of liar’s poker, and even the dice bet over the sailors’ lives in Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The following three examples are a bit different. The people making these wagers are trying to drive research, prove their model of the world is correct, or use logic to guide decision-making. It’s something we might consider when we make our own wagers.
In 2017 a strangely shaped object moved through the solar system. It was named, ‘Oumuamua, a Hawaiian word for “scout.”