Friday, March 31, 2006

I was feeling nostalia for my 64 dodge powerwagon panel truck, and figured I'd put a picture here, but the university library only has microsoft instead of firefox,
so my usual method of < img src > linking to a picture doesn't work, but here's a link.
It's not identical to mine, which was shorter for one thing, and black, but it gives the general idea.

Anyway, today I'm reading A Beautiful Mind, the John Nash story that was made into a movie I havent seen. I got interested after reading a book on eccentric economists through history, which I picked up on a whim at a public library, and then the Nash book was in the 50 cent rack at the used bookstore where I get my Kennediana, if that's a word. I didn't want to put the book down to get out of bed to run errands and come here. I've spent sigificant stretches of my life socially withdrawn, months languishing reading in bed instead of having a job or doing homework or such.
I am neither as smart as John Nash nor as crazy, but I am smart and crazy enough his story resonates with me. Nash's main thing, although he had a lot of them, was game theory. The book makes me realize I don't know much about it. Alexrod's The Evolution of Cooperation, which looks at the reiterated prisoner's dilemma, has been a key insight for me, ranking up there with Smith's invisible hand, Darwin's survival of the fittest, Hayek's sponteously arising order, but otherwise I don't have a good grounding in either the math or the application of game theory, except in a sort of rough intuitive way.
Meanwhile Indianapolis is being overrun with game theorists from gmu, as the final four culminates monday. At Volokh, there's a great article on how GMU used moneyball first to build topnotch law and economics faculty, then to put together a winning basketball team. The basic insight is that kids from winning high school teams know how to win, even if they aren't themselves superstars, so GMU built its college team by recrutinjg decent players from winning high school teams, who were undervalued in the marketplace. Even the indystar is playing the moneyball game, running articles that compare the sports budgets of IU and Purdue line by line, to see how different strategies get different results.

It looks like my start date for a new job will be April 19th, temping grading standardized tests, about 6 months a year. When I was young I thought my top scores on those tests indicated I'd be successful at something someday, but it turns out taking standardized tests well is my only skill. I'm not even a very good blogger, and being one pays less than some other things I've tried. I was a very good dishwasher, in the years I did that, but it's too low status to be a career, and then I've been completely inept as a lawyer and investor. My lifetime interest in computers has never translated in having marketable skills. My plan to be a lawyer dealing with computers wasn't a bad one - it's a field that's grown from a dozen in 1992 to thousands today, but I never found a niche that would pay the rent.
But enough about me - what do you think of my play?

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