BRAINZ!… Zombie Movies and War, An Odd Correlation

I have to admit, when I first read the post “War and Social Upheaval Causes Spikes in Zombie Movie Production” , I was a bit skeptical about the conclusion that was drawn dealing with the correlation between war and the number of zombie movies produced in a given year. So I collected data and ran a model. As it turns out, there is a statistically significant relationship between the number of zombie movies produced and whether a war was fought within a two year time period.  More after the jump…

Economists’ Logic of Spending, Saving, and Borrowing

The guys at the Freakonomics blog can always be counted on for some interesting conversation starters.  Today, Steven Levitt pits conventional wisdom about saving money against advice on the topic from Milton Friedman (via Jose Scheinkman).  Conventional wisdom (taking the form of Levitt’s wife) holds that one should prudently save money from all income, no matter how small, whereas the economist’s advice is that it doesn’t make sense to save much during lean times if one expects future times to be fatter.  Thus, "[w]hen times are good, you should save, and when times are bad, borrow." There are at least Continue reading Economists’ Logic of Spending, Saving, and Borrowing

The Quantitative Peace has been “Freaked”

Since it is possible for a low-traffic website to be Slashdotted, and Farked (that is, sent a  large amount of traffic from a highly visited site), I think the term "freaked" or "Freak(onomics)ed out" may be apt here: Graph generated and borrowed from The unique visitors are still climbing! The spike in traffic resulted from the Freakonomic’s winner list for the Prisoner’s Dilemma contest including a gracious link to a previous discussion of their contest found here.  Our former visitor numbers were not overly flattering, but we were content with our current reader base given that a) we attempt Continue reading The Quantitative Peace has been “Freaked”

Prisoner’s Dilemma Answers

I posted previously that Freakonomics was hosting a Prisoner’s Dilemma contest.  About a week ago they selected the top five answers and had a quick voting contest (comment democracy with 48 hours to decide the winner).  Since I am both currently attending one of the EITM summer programs and exercising my current mathematical knowledge by attempting to run a maximum likelihood estimation of a generalized Prisoner’s Dilemma model with a normally distributed cost function to the players for cooperation; it seemed like a good time to return to the post and evaluate the answers provided. Adding a pre-game to the Continue reading Prisoner’s Dilemma Answers

Freakonomics allows one question for Prisoner’s Dilemma – Does it Matter?

Dubner at the NYTimes Freakonomics Blog asks the following question to his readers given  prisoner’s dilemma problem: Pretend for a minute that you have done something to put yourself in jeopardy and are facing a real-life Prisoner’s Dilemma. Now pretend additionally that you get to choose your partner in the dilemma. There are three people to choose from. You cannot see or talk directly to the three people, but you are allowed to ask one question of each of the three people to help make your decision. What is the one question you’d ask? Apparently, selected winners will receive material Continue reading Freakonomics allows one question for Prisoner’s Dilemma – Does it Matter?