The past seven days have seen some serious action on PPX. First, the three “Labor Day stocks,” TRANSF, HIGAS and SUBPC, all closed at POP$0. Then on September 5, Apple announced the iPod Touch, which signaled a payout of POP$100 for the NEWIPOD stock.

Today, an unexpected announcement by the National Snow and Ice Data Center prompted the close of NOICE, with a payout of POP$100. The proposition stated that the stock would pay out if Arctic ice levels dropped to a level below 4.25 million square kilometers before October 15, and according to a new study by the NSIDC, the ice level has now dropped to an unprecedented 4.24 million square kilometers.

The striking thing about this payout is that the stock was trading at only $46.75 at the time of close— meaning that the market believed there was only a 46.75 percent chance that Arctic ice would drop to this new low by October. Thus far, every stock that has closed on PPX has carried a price that reflects an accurate prediction on the part of the market. So what was different about NOICE? Did the politically-charged issue of global warming play into the way traders bought and shorted this stock? Were we all unpleasantly surprised by how rapidly Arctic ice is actually melting? The upshot is that today’s news was a rude awakening not only for environmentalists and the scientists working to slow down global warming, but also for all the PPX traders who lost POP$ by shorting this stock. —Megan Miller