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game theory

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    Larry David and the Game Theory of Anonymous Donations

    In a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode from 2007, Larry David and his wife Cheryl and their friends attend a ceremony to celebrate his public donation to the National Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group. Little does he know that the actor Ted Danson, his arch-frenemy, also donated money, but anonymously. “Now it looks […]

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    Let Game Theory Tell You When It’s Time to Go Shopping

    By using this methodology, combined with available information from Google maps to measure store size and popularity, one can model the best time to go shopping in a pandemic.Photograph by Diego Cervo / Shutterstock Now is not the time to go to the grocery store, to restock the pantry, to get fresh milk and eggs. […]

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    Larry David and the Game Theory of Anonymous Donations

    What’s intriguing about anonymous giving, and other behaviors apparently designed to obscure good traits and acts, like modesty, is that it’s “hard to reconcile with standard evolutionary accounts of pro-social behavior.”Photograph by David Hume Kennerly / Getty In a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode from 2007, Larry David and his wife Cheryl and their friends attend […]

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    Why Hasn’t the World Been Destroyed in a Nuclear War Yet?

    In broadest terms, the danger facing the world is that the superpowers have institutionalized a major nuclear showdown.Photograph by U.S. Army Photographic Signal Corps / Wikipedia When opposing nations gained access to nuclear weapons, it fundamentally changed the logic of war. You might say that it made questions about war more cleanly logical—with nuclear-armed belligerents, […]

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    Minority Groups Lose When They Collaborate with Power

    Cailin O’Connor—a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician—may not enjoy tense situations, but they fascinate her. Last year, in a Huffington Post article titled “Game Theory and The Walking Dead,” she wrote that the zombie show’s “plot lines are rich with strategic tension.” She goes on to analyze three of what she calls “the most strategically compelling […]

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    Why Hasn’t the World Been Destroyed in a Nuclear War Yet?

    The precariousness of game theory.

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    Internet Rage, the Flip Side of Selfless Heroism

    Human nature is one of those aspects of the world that can seem inexplicable, too varied and complicated to be pinned down by overarching explanations. On the one hand our species includes people like Garrett O’Hanlon, who was standing on a Manhattan subway platform one recent night when someone passed out onto the tracks right […]