Davos Newbies Home

Game theory: applied to both the Tour de France and the EU 

It’s an interesting day for game theorists. Two Polish academics, Karol Zyczkowski and Wojciech Slomczynski, reckon the EU voting systems disadvantage mid-sized countries (via Mahalanobis). And Marginal Revolution reports on Lance Armstrong’s use of game theory in winning the Tour de France.

(Personal note: Lance Armstrong’s well-deserved fame keeps knocking me on to the second page of Google searches for “lance”. I’ll have to put up with that for some years to come, I reckon.)

Weblogs at the DNC 

Jim Moore has a cogent critique of The New York Times’s angle on bloggers at the Democratic convention.

“Here is a story she missed: The convention bloggers include a number of really thoughful people, from political analyst and blog activist Matt Gross, to grassroots genius Zephyr Teachout, to techno-social-visionaries like Dave Winer and Dave Weinberger. These people will be reflecting on politics and political culture in ways never heard beforeĀ…

“Another story she missed: Any person who is attending the convention can also be a blogger. Thus there may be hundreds and hundreds of non-official bloggers who will be blogging the convention, and who will be heard because they are in a shared RSS-based electronic community that incorporates in real time the unofficial bloggers, the official bloggers, and a wide world of political bloggers who are not physically at the convention but will be reading feeds and commenting on what those at the site are writing.

“She doesn’t understand that the blogosphere is a densely linked ecosystem of conversationalists–not a few freaks with web sites. Feeds and aggregators and specialized search sites like Feedster, plus intense human relationships and an ethos of discourse (electronic Talmud?) enable this diverse, fast-moving ecosystem.”

Far more useful to me, in any case, was The Wall Street Journal’s roundup of some of the DNC bloggers. It introduced me to a number of interesting sites I hadn’t encountered before.

Understanding Darfur 

The best explanation I’ve read of events in Darfur, and a possible solution, was by Alex de Waal, director of Justice Africa, in yesterday’s Observer. Like all the best analyses, it defies simplification. Read it if you want to understand what’s going on.

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