These were the results:
1. People responded to first messages 44% more often.
2. “conversations went deeper”
3. Contact details were exchanged more quickly.
When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind”. Those conversations melted away.
That said, the people who actually used the “Blind Date App” if anything seemed slightly happier with their dates. The full report from OKCupid is here. Yet here is the combined chart drawn from when people score “looks” and “personality” separately.
By the way, I would never try to match you up with a book I fear you may not like, at least not without telling you or otherwise signaling that incompatibility in advance.
Israel’s major problem is that circumstances always change. Predicting the military capabilities of the Arab and Islamic worlds in 50 years is difficult. Most likely, they will not be weaker than they are today, and a strong argument can be made that at least several of their constituents will be stronger. If in 50 years some or all assume a hostile posture against Israel, Israel will be in trouble.
Time is not on Israel’s side. At some point, something will likely happen to weaken its position, while it is unlikely that anything will happen to strengthen its position. That normally would be an argument for entering negotiations, but the Palestinians will not negotiate a deal that would leave them weak and divided, and any deal that Israel could live with would do just that.
What we are seeing in Gaza is merely housekeeping, that is, each side trying to maintain its position. The Palestinians need to maintain solidarity for the long haul. The Israelis need to hold their strategic superiority as long as they can. But nothing lasts forever, and over time, the relative strength of Israel will decline. Meanwhile, the relative strength of the Palestinians may increase, though this isn’t certain.
Looking at the relative risks, making a high-risk deal with the Palestinians would seem prudent in the long run. But nations do not make decisions on such abstract calculations. Israel will bet on its ability to stay strong. From a political standpoint, it has no choice. The Palestinians will bet on the long game. They have no choice. And in the meantime, blood will periodically flow.
There is more here, of interest throughout, via Eric Reguly.
Here is one way to boost the employment to population ratio, two birds with one stone you might say:
Feng’s 23 year-old son, “Xiao Feng” (小冯) started playing video games in high school. Through his years of playing various online games, he supposedly thought himself a master of Chinese online role playing games. According to his father, Xiao Feng had good grades in school, so they allowed him to play games; but when he couldn’t land a job they started looking into things. He, however, says he simply couldn’t find any work that he liked. Feng was annoyed that his son couldn’t even tough it out for three months at a software development company.
Unhappy with his son not finding a job, Feng decided to hire players in his son’s favorite online games to hunt down Xiao Feng. It is unknown where or how Feng found the in-game assassins—every one of the players he hired were stronger and higher leveled than Xiao Feng. Feng’s idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job.
The full story is here, and for the pointer I thank Michael Smiddy.
In most Darwinian models there is competition across siblings for resources and parental attention, from the womb but also stretching into adulthood. Siblings who do well therefore will be hyper-aware of the strategies employed by their brothers and sisters. They will need to counter those strategies on a very regular basis and furthermore they will on average be deploying similar strategies themselves.
At the same time, siblings probably won’t see each other as so evil by nature. They will be realistic about motives — some would say cynical — while at the same time recognizing that the siblings are probably, on average, no worse than themselves. Plus there is a natural genetic and also family affinity.
How about mothers? Genetically speaking, mothers often adopt the interests of the sibling as “their own.” For instance a lot of mothers died in childbirth before modern medicine, when alternative biological arrangements would have given the mothers greater protection. So the children can commandeer the loyalty of the mother (and sometimes the father) more readily than they can commandeer the loyalties of their siblings.
Mothers are therefore often deceived about or simply tolerant of the manipulations employed by their children on them. In other words, mothers worry less about moral hazard problems with respect to their children. The siblings will in some respects understand these strategies better than the mother will.
The other children may feel that a mother should punish (or possibly but less likely reward) the other siblings more. And “Johnny is being a stinker” will be a more frequent complaint than “Johnny is possessed with Original Sin.”
In turn, mothers may worry more about problems of type. If a mother is hyper-aware of the faults of her children, she may do a better job of protecting them or teaching them how to overcome those limitations.
A world where fewer people have siblings may be a world where recognizing moral hazard problems may be for many people less intuitive. Is it also possible that men may on average be more aware of moral hazard problems than are women? And women more aware of problems of type?
…on July 13, about four days before the actual incursion began, about 67 percent of Israelis supported a ground operation. By authorizing one, Netanyahu has given the public what it has demanded.
That is from Brent Sasley.
Fred Kaplan wonders whether Israel has lost its ability to think strategically. Even Max Boot seems to think Hamas will stay in charge of Gaza.
Or is the fear that even intercepted Hamas rockets will in the long run spur too much Israeli emigration? Are the economics of long-run rocket/shoot-down reciprocity unacceptable to Israel?
A friend of mine suggests that Israel feels the need to send a tough signal to Iran.
Or all of the above?
I am by the way not impressed by various Twitter demands that I should spend more time moralizing about this conflict. I do think it is deontologically wrong on the part of the Israelis, and I also do not understand their strategy from even a purely nationalistic point of view. But my voice will have no influence, and I would rather learn something from the comments section about why such strategies are being pursued. Call me selfish if you wish, I am.
Countless times, I have found that it is only during the physical exam that patients reveal what is truly on their mind. Whether it is the cough that they are reminded of now that I am listening to their lungs, or whether it is the domestic violence, the eating disorder or the genital symptoms that they feel comfortable revealing once we are in a more intimate setting — there is something about touch that changes the dynamic.
That is from Danielle Ofri’s interesting piece on the physical exam in medicine, via Jeffrey Flier.
I would be surprised if there wasn’t:
Mr. Pilley told me, “The big lesson is to recognize that dogs are smarter than we think, and given time, patience and enough enjoyable reinforcement, we can teach them just about anything.”
It’s true that dogs everywhere are doing things that would have been unimaginable in the Alpo era. Last year, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center trained a team of shepherds and retrievers to sniff out lab samples containing ovarian cancer. Scent hounds are also being used to forecast epileptic seizures and potentially life-threatening infections. A black Labrador from the St. Sugar Cancer-Sniffing Dog Training Center in Chiba, Japan, was accurate 98 percent of the time in picking up early-stage signs of colon cancer. As Mr. Hare, from Duke, said, “I will take a dog smelling my breath over a colonoscopy any day of the week, even if it’s just an experiment.”
From David Hochman, there is more here.
Michael Ben-Gad, a professor at London’s City University who has studied the credibility of long-term promises by governments, questions whether Nato’s commitment to collective defence is absolute and asks what would happen if Russia’s border guards crossed the bridge that separates Narva from Ivangorod and took the Estonian town.
“Would the US and western Europe really go to war to defend the territorial integrity of Estonia? I think Estonia has reasons to worry. Narva is the most obvious place; it is almost completely Russian-speaking,” he says.
More than 82 per cent of Narva’s residents are ethnic Russians and 4 per cent are ethnic Estonians. More than a third have Russian citizenship.
Here is the FT article, here are photos of Narva. Here is a map of Narva:
David Ball, a professor of risk management at Middlesex University, analyzed U.K. injury statistics and found that as in the U.S., there was no clear trend over time. “The advent of all these special surfaces for playgrounds has contributed very little, if anything at all, to the safety of children,” he told me. Ball has found some evidence that long-bone injuries, which are far more common than head injuries, are actually increasing. The best theory for that is “risk compensation”—kids don’t worry as much about falling on rubber, so they’re not as careful, and end up hurting themselves more often.
From The Overprotected Kid by Hanna Rosin in the Atlantic.
Addendum: More on the Peltzman Effect.
That is my latest NYT column and you will find it here. Here is one excerpt:
Long before Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept [of tipping points], Mr. Schelling created an elegant model of tipping points in his groundbreaking work “Micromotives and Macrobehavior.” The theory applies to war, as well as to marketing, neighborhood segregation and other domestic issues. In this case, the idea of negotiated settlements to political conflicts may be fraying, and the trouble in Crimea may disturb it further, moving the world toward a very dangerous tipping point.
First, some background: With notable exceptions in the former Yugoslavia and in disputed territories in parts of Russia and places like Georgia, the shift to new governments after the breakup of the Soviet Union was mostly peaceful. Borders were redrawn in an orderly way, and political deals were made by leaders assessing their rational self-interest.
In a recent blog post, Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist, noted that for the last 25 years the world has seen less violent conflict than might have been expected, given local conditions. Lately, though, peaceful settlements have been harder to find. This change may just reflect random noise in the data, but a more disturbing alternative is that conflict is now more likely.
Why? The point from game theory is this: The more peacefully that disputes are resolved, the more that peaceful resolution is expected. That expectation, in turn, makes peace easier to achieve and maintain. But the reverse is also true: As peaceful settlement becomes less common, trust declines, international norms shift and conflict becomes more likely. So there is an unfavorable tipping point.
In the formal terminology of game theory, there are “multiple equilibria” (peaceful expectations versus expectations of conflict), and each event in a conflict raises the risk that peaceful situations can unravel. We’ve seen this periodically in history, as in the time leading up to World War I. There is a significant possibility that we are seeing a tipping point away from peaceful conflict resolution now.
Do read the whole thing.
More generally, here is a new edited volume on the economics of peace and conflict, edited by Stergios Skaperdas and Michelle Garfinkel.
And here is the new forthcoming Robert Kaplan book Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific. I have pre-ordered it.
The 68-page Il Mio Papa (My Pope) will hit Italian newsstands on Ash Wednesday, offering a glossy medley of papal pronouncements and photographs, along with peeks into his personal life. Each weekly issue will also include a pullout centerfold of the pope, accompanied by a quote.
“It’s a sort of fanzine, but of course it can’t be like something you’d do for One Direction,” the popular boy band, said the magazine’s editor, Aldo Vitali. “We aim to be more respectful, more noble.”
There is more here. It will sell for fifty cents, but there are intellectual property issues:
“Various magazines publish the pope’s teachings, but they have an accord with us,” said the Rev. Giuseppe Costa, the director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. A similar accord has not been signed with My Pope, he added, though the magazine should have known better “because we have a relationship with Mondadori.”
“In the case they publish the pope’s words, I will have to intervene,” Father Costa said.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger:
Former Pope Benedict, in one of the few times he has broken his silence since stepping down nearly a year ago, has branded as “absurd” fresh media speculation that he was forced to quit.
And his world of scarcity continues:
Libero also suggested that Benedict chose to continue to wear white because he still felt like he was a pope.
Benedict, who lives in near-total isolation inside a former convent on the Vatican grounds, was also asked about this and responded:
“I continue to wear a white cassock and kept the name Benedict for purely practical reasons. At the moment of my resignation there were no other cloths available.
That is a new research paper by Kristina M. Durante, Vladas Griskevicius, Stephanie M. Cantú , and Jeffry A. Simpson, and the abstract is here:
Each month, millions of women experience an ovulatory cycle that regulates fertility. Previous consumer research has found that this cycle influences women’s clothing and food preferences. The authors propose that the ovulatory cycle actually has a much broader effect on women’s economic behavior. Drawing on theory in evolutionary psychology, the authors hypothesize that the week-long period near ovulation should boost women’s desire for relative status, which should alter their economic decisions. Findings from three studies show that women near ovulation seek positional goods to improve their social standing. Additional findings reveal that ovulation leads women to pursue positional goods when doing so improves relative standing compared with other women but not compared with men. When playing the dictator game, for example, ovulating women gave smaller offers to a female partner but not to a male partner. Overall, women’s monthly hormonal fluctuations seem to have a substantial effect on consumer behavior by systematically altering their positional concerns, a finding that has important implications for marketers, consumers, and researchers.
Here is some popular coverage of the piece. For the pointer I thank C.
The link is here, and for the pointer I thank Gordon. At least it’s not a watch.
For someone who says he bets millions of dollars on tennis a year, sports gambler Elihu Feustel doesn’t watch many matches.
“Which one is Granollers?” Feustel says, referring to Marcel Granollers, a Spaniard ranked 35th in the world. “Is he the one that’s good on clay courts?”
Feustel, from South Bend, Indiana, says he doesn’t need to pay attention to who the players on the men’s ATP World Tour are to double his money. He relies on an algorithm he created using data from 260,000 matches to make about 30 bets a day on Grand Slams such as the Australian Open, which started Jan. 13.
Gamblers and investment funds are increasingly vying for profits from tennis by using computer models to win money from more casual bettors, according to Scott Ferguson, a former Betfair Group Plc (BET) education officer. Such quantitative analysts, or so-called quants, are focusing on tennis in the same way their counterparts are employed by hedge funds to predict moves for stocks, bonds and other assets.
Betfair, a London-based company that enables bettors to wager against each other online, matched almost 50 million pounds ($82 million) of bets on the 2012 final in which Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal. Djokovic is an 8-11 favorite to win a fourth straight title in Melbourne with U.K. bookmaker William Hill Plc, meaning a successful $11 wager would return $8 plus the original stake.
Granollers prefers clay courts, according to his men’s tour profile, and lost his first-round match with Marin Cilic of Croatia in five sets on the second day of play on the hard courts of this year’s Australian Open.
…Tennis is an “attractive” sport to create an algorithm for because there are only two players in a singles match and statistics are freely available, according to William Knottenbelt, an associate professor of computing at London’s Imperial College. He co-wrote a tennis algorithm that he says would have made a 3.8 percent return on bets on 2,173 ATP matches in 2011.
Feustel, who says he puts in a 60-hour week checking and improving his model, works with a computer programmer and trader. The programmer trawls the Internet for data such as serve speed and break-point conversions. That’s plugged into the model which comes up with “fair” betting prices for scheduled games.
If those odds diverge from market prices, Feustel says, his trader — who lives outside the U.S. — will gamble as much as the market will allow at bookmakers including Pinnacle Sports, based on the Caribbean island of Curacao. That can be about $30,000 on a match result in later tournament rounds.
There is more here, and for the pointer I thank Hugo Lindgren, who is joining Hollywood Reporter as acting editor.
InfinityChess is pleased to announce a super strong Freestyle Tournament starting on February 4, 2014. It’s a round robin for 30 of the best freestyle and engine players from all over the world. The total prize money is $ 20,000 USD.
There is more information here, and note that these are likely to prove the best chess games played — ever — as well as a notable contribution to the science and data of man-machine interaction.
By the way, is there anyone who can donate temporary use of a leading edge server for remote use, 12-32 cores? Please email me if you can, thanks in advance, and credit (or anonymity) for you can be arranged if desired.
Given the suddenly prominent role of Freestyle chess in economics, Big Data, and the social sciences (see also The Second Machine Age), I hope this event receives some of the media attention which it deserves.