Tag Archives: game theory


Duels, Truels, and Game Theory Gunslinger Rules

Gary Cooper in his most famous role, as Mitt Romney …

Game theory is a branch of mathematics that I both love and hate: I hate it for the license it has provided for a certain breed of Strangelovian “strategic analysts” to shed their humanity in deference to an extended, bloodless exercise in mental masturbation whose presuppositions are frequently far removed from reality and which all too often serve to justify a pre-existing pro-military ideology, and I love it for the opportunity it pr…


Games Redwoods Play

I’ve just returned from an excursion to the California redwood country, where – like everyone else – I’ve been bowled over by the redwoods themselves. They are, to use a word much abused these days, nothing less than awesome.

It’s easy to see why John Muir described them as constituting “nature’s cathedral,” and for me, at least, it doesn’t diminish that sense of awe (if anything, it enhances it), to inquire how this particular cathedral was constructed, which is to say, why have these…


Rogue Elephants Play Congressional Chicken

Elephant in "musth"

“Don’t get into a pissing contest,” we are advised, “with a skunk.” Duly noted. But what about a game of chicken with a rogue GOP elephant?

Such zoological metaphors come to mind when contemplating the current competitive stand-off in Congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling. We’re witnessing—whatever else it may be—an almost textbook case of presumably intelligent people playing a truly stupid game: chicken. Students of game theory identify two different kinds of t…