Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Pandemic series: reported theft of a potential bioterror agent in US by 2020?
The potential for the deliberate release of a human pathogens for purposes of war or terrorism is well known. Here we look at one of the precursors to such a release.
The US select agents program regulates the identification, acquisition, use, transfer, and disposal of select agents. Certain labs are designated as "select agent labs" and are part of this program (though apparently even the CDC is not entirely clear which labs are in the program; see the rather disturbing investigative report by USA today.)
A significant concern is theft of these select agents, which could potentially be used in a bioterror attack or as raw materials for a more sophisticated attack.
By 2020 will a credible journalist or government source disclose that a viable sample of a Select Agent has been stolen from a (or during transport to/from) a US Select Agent lab?
Here we will leave a relatively low burden-of-proof as to whether a lab is a designated Select Agent lab, and assume that a reasonably sophisticated university, government or industry lab doing research with Select Agents is such a lab. (Note that it is entirely unclear whether such a theft, if it occurred, would be reported or disclosed; we shall include theft events up to two years prior to question launch as long as no public disclosure has taken place prior to question launch.)
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.
Embed this question
You can use the below code snippet to embed this question on your own webpage. Feel free to change the height and width to suit your needs.