Jane Austin, Game Theorist

Jane Austin 

Jane Austin, a game theorist? Oh yes, apparently she was exhibiting in her stories some of the traits we value in game theory today…and this is 100+ years before the concept became science.

The Freaknomics podcast talks to Michael Chwe.

Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.”

The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II.

 

Science

Fun Activities for Geeks

Geek

I was asked recently what I and my friends like to do in our spare time, so I thought I’d write a top ten list of some of the fun geeky things you can do in your spare time.    Most of these don’t require any money, so try them out and let us know what you think!  I’ve included a URL for each, so you can check them out.

#10  TV/Movies -  Who doesn’t like a good movie or TV show to get the juices stirring?   Whether it’s Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Horror or Thrillers, a good show is a great way to spend time!  IMDB

#9    Games -  I have a lot of geeky friends, and let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than a good game to have fun in.  Board games, video games and even card games are favorites among many.  For video games – Steam  For board games – BoardGameGeek

#8    Comics/Books -  Waaaay too many to name!  A good read is a good read.  Simply put.  Immerse yourself in another universe to take your mind off your troubles!  For books -  GoodRead’s Geek Books  For Comics – Den of Geek

#7    Gambling -  Yes, I said it.  Who doesn’t like to take a risk with a chance of great reward??  Lot’s of casino games out there.  Here’s a favorite superhero game of mine – Marvel Jackpot

#6    Cons -  Attending a good Con can be a otherworldly experience – truly!   ComicCon, DragonCon, GenCon and Star Trek conventions are going on the world around all year long.  Check your schedule, and choose a good Con to attend for some great fun with your friends!  Geeky247 Events and Cons

#5  Baking -  Yes, baking.  I have met many a cake and cupcake artist that have made some pretty spectacular pieces of art with food.  What kind of baked goods would you want for your birthday?  How about a World of Warcraft themed cake?  Or Super Mario cupcakes!  Take a tour of this place -  Geeky Chef  Too many options!

#4  Cosplay -  No it’s not just for Halloween.  I’ve seen some pretty elaborate costumes in the past, some of them better than the originals!  Whether you like Furry, or dressing up like your favorite superhero, a costume is a labor of love for those that like to wear them.  Check out some awesome cosplay here!  Trendhunter – Geeky Costumes

#3  DIY – Do it yourself?  Why not?  Your imagination is the limit when it comes to solving problems, and many a geek minded person have done just that.  Most DIY projects are not costly and just take time to piece together.  Why buy a laser pointer, when you can build one from the parts from an old CD drive?  DIY.org

#2  Beta Testing -  You know you want to get your hands on that latest game!  Plenty of companies are looking for experienced gamers, casual players, and even total noobs to try out their newest software.  Jump on the bandwagon and get your game on!  Check out Centercode and sign up to be a beta tester today!

#1  Create a blog -  Shameless plug here.  Writing a blog can be extremely fulfilling, and a great way to share your latest exploits with your family and friends!  Lots of ways to begin a blog, why not try here?  WordPress

So these are just a few of the plethora of activities you can immerse yourselves in when you’re not too busy at the 9 to 5 job!  Do you have a favorite activity?  Why not tell us about it?

Misc.

In Medical News

 DNA Robots in Roaches Tiny, Logical Robots Injected into Cockroaches [Popular Mechanics]

Scientists have built robots that mimic cockroaches and even implanted electronics to remote-control these bugs. Now researchers have devised DNA nano-robots that prowl around inside cockroaches, the first time such DNA robots have found use in living animals.

DNA origami nano robots could one day carry out complex computer programs in the human body, helping to deliver cancer-killing toxins only to cancer cells while leaving the rest of the patient unharmed, according to their paper in Nature Nanotechnology.

3D printed skull 3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman [NBC News]

Another day, another advance in 3-D printing technology.

Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human’s skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman’s life in the process.

News Links

Here Come The Night Vision Contact Lenses

Those night-vision devices used by hunters and soldiers may soon get a lot smaller — small enough, in fact, to be built right in to contact lenses.

From the Navy Times:

Night-vision goggle technology has become more effective, streamlined and nimble in the past 10 years. But what if you could ditch that bulky headgear and pop in a pair of night-vision contact lenses?

It may sound like science fiction, but such dime-sized, lightweight optics may be possible in the future, thanks to researchers at the University of Michigan who have created a material that absorbs infrared rays at room temperature and translates them into an electrical signal, much like a silicon chip works with visible light inside a digital camera.

Gadgets / Devices

Old Bones Found Along Rail Line Yield Secrets Of The Black Death

human bones

Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers.

Evidence from skulls in east London shows plague had to have been airborne to spread so quickly.

From the AP:

You can learn a lot from a tooth.

Molars taken from skeletons unearthed by work on a new London railway line are revealing secrets of the medieval Black Death — and of its victims.

This week, Don Walker, an osteologist with the Museum of London, outlined the biography of one man whose ancient bones were found by construction workers under London’s Charterhouse Square: He was breast-fed as a baby, moved to London from another part of England, had bad tooth decay in childhood, grew up to work as a laborer, and died in early adulthood from the bubonic plague that ravaged Europe in the 14th century.

Science