Stanford University is offering a free online course on Game Theory, class starts in January 2012 and I’m signing up! If you’re not familiar with game theory and how it can be applied to everyday use, here’s the course’s intro:
Popularized by movies such as "A Beautiful Mind", game theory is the mathematical modeling of strategic interaction among rational (and irrational) agents. Beyond what we call ‘games’ in common language, such as chess, poker, soccer, etc., it includes the modeling of conflict among nations, political campaigns, competition among firms, and trading behavior in markets such as the NYSE. How could you begin to model eBay, Google keyword auctions, and peer to peer file-sharing networks, without accounting for the incentives of the people using them? The course will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (which computer scientists call game trees), Bayesian games (modeling things like auctions), repeated and stochastic games, and more. We’ll include a variety of examples including classic games and a few applications.
This is a great article describing what it is about Windows that drew people into personal computing so long ago and why some concepts of Windows used in the new Windows Phone OS bring the same primal needs.
Just in time for Christmas, a couple of enterprising folks created a simple website to determine whether people have been naughty or nice this year. Simply log in via your Facebook or Twitter account and the website’s server parses all the tweets or posts for the year and determines whether you’ve been naughty or nice.
That’s an objective way of determining whether your stocking will see gifts or coal this year.
Head injury is a leading cause of morbidity and death, it’s estimated that brain injuries account for 15% of the burden of fatalities and disabilities in people. It’s also a leading cause of death in young adults. However, the woodpecker does not experience any head injury at the high speed of 6 m/s with a deceleration of 1000g when it drums a tree trunk. It’s still not known how woodpeckers protect their brain from injury.
Slow-motion footage, X-ray images and computer simulations have shed light on how woodpeckers avoid injuries to their brains as they peck. The findings could help design more effective head protection for humans.