Updating the Introduction to International Relations Syllabus to 2.0

Note: We are returning to a weekly blogging schedule. As such, if you still have us on your RSS reader, new content will be regular! ___ I am about to begin my fifth semester teaching introduction to international relations and it will be my third such offering at Boise State.  We are elevating the course to serve more advanced political science students and we now offer it at the 300 level instead of the 200.  Given this elevation in designation, prerequisites, and a new year of teaching the course, I am working to revamp my syllabus as well as make Continue reading Updating the Introduction to International Relations Syllabus to 2.0

Using private information to beat Death

    In Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (not to be confused with their most Excellent Adventure), the duo are killed and sent to Hell.  On their way to an eternity of punishment, Death gives them the ability to escape their fate if they can best him in a game of their choosing.  The wager seems to be an obvious one to take: If you lose, you are stuck in hell for eternity; if you win, you can leave.  However, if you do not play the game, then you are still stuck in Hell without the ability to leave. In a previous Continue reading Using private information to beat Death

Gift List for Political Scientists, 2010

Mind Your Decisions has done an annual gift list for economists for the last few years, and Presh just put together his 2010 list.  Using his list as inspiration, I have compiled my own list of possible gifts for Political Scientists. Given my proclivity for strategic leisure, I believe I can construct this with some authority on the matter.   Board Games – We attempt to host a fortnightly game night, sometimes the evening is started with an appropriate movie, but often the board game will be the center of it all.  As political scientists, we have tried a few Continue reading Gift List for Political Scientists, 2010

Pirates, the Dark Knight, and more Game Theory

Presh Talwalkar at Mind Your Decisions has posted a decent piece on another game theoretic situation from the opening scene in the Dark Knight (contains mild spoilers): The original plan of equal division is flawed. Each robber has incentive to increase his share by killing a fellow team member. Once a member performs his job, he loses his negotiating power and value to the team. The Joker plays off this conflict by instructing the robbers to take out fellow teammates once their tasks are performed. The game would be different if the robbers were a group and they repeated crimes together—perhaps an even split could be Continue reading Pirates, the Dark Knight, and more Game Theory

The Dark Knight and Game Theory

If you have not already seen The Dark Knight, then you should read this post at a later time as to avoid spoilers after the jump.  Otherwise, follow the jump for a game theoretic discussion derived from the movie that has already broken two box office records for both best midnight opening and top first day revenue.  I personally enjoyed the movie immensely, but that discussion does not follow. So, officially, consider this a spoiler alert for what follows.