Tuesday, 21 May 2013


I have not blogged for four days. This is the longest I've not blogged for since I started, and it feels weird not to be able to fill up what I am certain you are hoping will be hours of your life with words, but the fact is that of these past few days, half have been exceedingly boring and the other half I've spent with my girlfriend, and that's about as much detail as you're going to get regarding that.

I have been writing essays and storyboards, which are slowly coming together, and reading a book I picked up  on impulse in Relay and finding to my enormous gratification that I can actually read it. It's entitled Prisoners' dilemmas and dominant strategies: Game theory, and it's a pretty brilliant read. If you're interested in game theory (and why wouldn't you be?), read the following explanation and then watch the video. You may well learn something.

The video below shows the final round of a UK TV show called Goldenballs, in which contestants do their best to lie to each other to get to this point. At this point, a sum of money is up for grabs, but there's a catch - the players must decide how to split it. Sort of.

Each player has a choice of two balls; Steal or Split. The scenarios play out in the following way:

  1. Both players choose Split. The money is split between the players fifty-fifty. Everyone goes home happy.
  2. One player chooses Split and one chooses Steal. The player who chose steal walks away with everything; the player who didn't doesn't get anything.
  3. Both players choose Steal. Nobody gets anything.

The players, as you'll see below, are given 1 minute to convince the other to choose Split, because that's obviously the most beneficial choice for your opponent to make. Once you've convinced him/her to choose Split, you can then choose Steal and walk away with all the cash.

Of course they're trying to do the same to you. So the pair of you are doing your best to manoeuvre around each other, convincing the other with weasel words and trying not to give away the fact that you're definitely going to choose Steal. This happened a lot, and a lot of people walked away with nothing.

In essence, the question is this: How do you force someone to choose Split, even when they know it's in their best interests to choose Steal?

Like this: (zoom to 2:19 for the start of the tactic)

If you're not impressed with that, game theory's not for you, but in my opinion that's some seriously clever strategy.

Not much else is new; I'm actually starting to pack things away again, but books are hard to keep in boxes - they should be on shelves or, as they are with me, in stacks on the desk. I'm confident about getting a job next year, having spoken to some old pals in the bar trade at home, and decent looking flats roll into my inbox every week or so - so again, some of the stress has gone from there. 

My essay, too, is done and dusted, so I'm suddenly without stress and, without any sense of irony, it's stressing me out. I'm sure I'll come up with something to do before long.