Thursday, July 01, 2004

Worth reading

Polarization and nastiness are not side effects. They are the game. You feel good about yourself because the other side is so fanatical, misguided, corrupt and dishonest. Because real differences between party programs have narrowed, remaining differences are exaggerated. Drab policy debates become sensational showdowns -- one side or the other is "destroying" the schools, the environment or the economy. Every investigation aims to expose the other side's depravity: One side's Whitewater becomes the other's Halliburton.

"My feelings haven't changed," said Brown, who lives in Apple Valley. "Being there was a great experience and now I'm excited for the Iraqis.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I stood across the Hudson River, watching the Twin Towers burn, knowing that if the plane had struck at 9:46 a.m. instead of 8:46 a.m., I would be dead. As a survivor and witness to the attack on the World Trade Center, I am more than insulted by this film. I am outraged. This film is based on conjecture, hearsay and propaganda. At a time when this country desperately needs to rally in support of our brave soldiers and our strong leaders, Moore is content to spread discord and divisiveness. The base of his argument is that the Bush administration had strong ties with the bin Laden family. However, sound facts are conspicuously absent from this "documentary."

Strategy: In classical game theory, players have strategy sets from which they choose particular strategies. In biology, species have startegy sets (genotypic variants), of which individuals inherit one or another variant (perhaps mutated), which they then play in their strategic interactions. This extends nicely to the treatment of culture in human society. We say that society has the strategy set (the set of alternative cultural forms) and individuals inherit or choose among them.

Equilibrium: In place of the Nash equilibrium, Maynard Smith and Price used the evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) concept. A strategy is evolutionary stabel if a whole population using that strategy cannot be invaded by a small group with a mutant genotype. Similarly, a cultural form is evolutionary stable if, upon being adopted by all members of a society (firm, family, etc.), no small group of individuals using an alternative cultural form can invade. We thus move from explaining the actions of individuals to modeling the difusion of forms of behavior (strategies) in society.

Player Interactions: In place of the one-shot and repeated games of classical game theory, Maynard Smith introduced the notion of the repeated, random paring of agents who play strategies based on their genome but not on the previous history of play.1

Posted by Mahmoud the Weasel at 3:45 AM |

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