Since it's founding, one of the most consistent things about the contest, though least noticed, has been our contest motto — Serving Your Actuarial Needs Since 1978.
The use of the word 'actuarial' conjures up thoughts of faceless insurance company drones, toiling away in some back office to help the company's bookies - agents - set the betting line for your death, injury, malady or loss. What does that have to do with Dead Pooling?
It has to do with the research that is being done; research that is used to determine the likelyhood of a given outcome taking place. The insurance actuary looks at groups of individuals, based upon a fixed criterion like age, to compute the likelyhood of individuals in that group dying in the next two, five ten, twenty, ..., years so that an appropriate premium might be charged that permits the company to make a profit on the issuance of its policies. Compounded criteria — age, health history, occupation — might be examined to set different rate structures for the various sub-groups that exist. The actuary pours over census tables, Social Security mortality figures, public health documents, OSHA reports, etc. in order to determine the most likely outcome scenarious for each grouping.
All of this detailed work and the processes that are entailed could be described as Actuarial Science. Sounds a lot like what a serious deadpooler is doing, but for him, it revolves around specific individuals, not groups. This is where the "science" splits into two logical sub-groups — macro & micro actuarial science.
The Macro Actuarial Scientist performs his analysis based upon large-scale groups of individuals across an entire society. The Micro Actuarial Scientist performs his analysis against specific individuals within that society.
The macro analyst receives the benefit of government & industry largess — all of the compiled data that permits him to set up predictive tables that will tell him about your relative likelyhood of dying, or getting the flu, or having a tornado flip your double-wide or having the Septic River overflow it's banks and fill your basement with sewage.
The micro analyst is on his own, often scorned as a "sicko" for contemplating the death of a specific person — "how dare you predict that «some irrationaly loved figure» is going to die this year". Movie industry completion bonding agents perform this research regularly. Looking through the potential cast of a big-budget movie — faced with the possibility of a major cast member going toes-up before filming has been completed (requiring expensive reshoots of most or all of their scenes), the premium goes up, up, up. Producers shy away from casting actors who have a likelyhood of being an Oscar or Emmy telecast "In Memorium" feature candidate. Deadpoolers, however, will embrace them!
At best, the micro analyst can take the tables used by the macro analyst and try to create a cloud of probability around an individual. And, beyond that, the science usually mutates into a mushy area of "feelings" ... where you just have a "feeling" that this is «some irrationaly loved figure's» time to go. Over the entire history of our contest, the best predictive outcome that any contestant has achieved is just under 35%, much lower than you might imagine for a game that relies upon intensive research for success.
There are several areas where this contest & website aids the micro actuarial analyst in his quest to identify the most likely stiffs in the coming year. Through our Book of the Dead database we remind you of who has already passed on (predicting the death of already-dead people is about the equivalent of predicting the 1929 Stock Market Crash ... been there, done that, a no-brainer). And, if you are predicting future stiffs, it helps to have a starting point of living people (like the Book of the Dead's listing of Grim Reaper Targets of Opportunity).
In addition to these very basic sources of information we additionally provide tables listing those Targets by their dates of birth, places of birth and numerous other miscellanous groupings (Playboy playmates of the month, "nauts", Miss Americas, et. al.). And, since it helps to learn the lessons of history, the Book of the Dead database also has tables of such useful factoids as the causes of death and the ages at death (as well as chronological listings of the dead people found in the database).
So, if we were to be absolutely precise, our motto should read Serving Your Micro-Actuarial Needs Since 1978. You get the idea.
And, if you have absolutley no research
needs, you are still free to browse the databases
just for the fun of it, looking for people that you have heard about, or
stumbling upon people that you had never heard about but now seem to find a