Game theory used to predict novel behavior in birds

This is interesting. ScienceDaily.com is reporting that some folks at the University of Exeter have used game-theoretical models to predict strange food gathering behaviors that ravens exhibit only in particular geographic conditions… “The researchers built a mathematical model to understand how this behaviour evolved and why it might occur in some roosts and not others. … Read more

Getting help with the work of finding work

[flashvideo file=”flash_video/UnemploymentSeminar.flv” /] This is the first video that I’ve turned in for Northwestern that hasn’t been completely terrible.  It’s a story about a group in Chicago that provides support services for the unemployed to assist in their job search called the Career Transitions Center.

Lawrence Lessig at the Kellogg School of Management

Yesterday, Lawrence Lessig spoke at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Lessig is like the Elvis Presley of the nerd universe; a rock star of the highest order. I don’t need to run down his resume… if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard of Lessig before.  You probably know that we have him … Read more

What’s the opposite of paranoia?

Well, I asked Google, and I found this metafilter page, which helpfully has an answer from one of my heroes, Robert Anton Wilson: Robert Anton Wilson called it “metanoia”: Paranoia = “everything wants to destroy me”; Metanoia = “everything wants to help me”. I’m not sure if he was getting that somehow from John Lilly’s … Read more

Art cinema in Chicago

Over the weekend, it occurred to me that I haven’t been to the movies in a great long time.  Of course, I’ve been watching stuff — Netflix, FearNet On-Demand, and so forth. But, being in Chicago, I remembered that there was probably some pretty neat places to see interesting movies around here.  So I went … Read more

Stop bird porn now!

So I found this at the Chicago News Bench blog.  The author is a little bit crazy in the “socially-conservative” sense, but it’s a nice little pic snapped near my house. Stopbirdporn.org is a real website.  I suggest checking it out. From their front page: “Adults, disguised as bird watchers mask their debauchery by taking … Read more

Layoffs can mean more than lost wages, says author

On Wednesday, Louis Uchitelle, economic reporter for the New York Times, told an audience of nearly 90 faculty and students from the University of Illinois at Chicago that layoffs had gotten out of hand in the United States, and that the consequences of mass layoffs extended far beyond the corporate bottom line. Beyond the immediate … Read more

Beggar beats woman with crucifix

The Sun-Times is reporting that a beggar beat a woman with a 12″ stone crucifix, after the woman refused to give the beggar any money. Pamela Johnson didn’t have cash for a woman seeking donations Saturday night, but the beggar had something for her: a beating. With a crucifix. Johnson, 50, of the 2200 block … Read more

Humans associate difficult-to-pronounce words as risky and exciting

I suppose this result is unsuprising.  Novelty=risk=excitement, right? A group of students were given a list of made-up food additives and were asked to rate how harmful they were. The additives all contained twelve letters, with Magnalroxate being one of the easiest to pronounce and Hnegripitrom one of the hardest to pronounce. The students rated … Read more