Archive for June, 2012

Civ game 236 years old

June 12, 2012

I have been playing a game of Civilization for 236 years now, and have got somewhat stuck.

My country is running out of money, and has a lot of citizens sitting around doing nothing. Production has fallen, I’ve abandoned the space race, and most of my tax revenue goes towards luxuries and maintaining a large military. I’ve tried to increase taxes, but the Senate keeps overruling. Pollution is not too bad at the moment, but there are a few ice cap squares that have melted.

Any suggestions? I’ve thought about a military victory, but all the major AIs have nukes, so I’m reluctant to do that. Should I be changing governmental type?

Thanks in advance.

(See playing same civ game for 10 years)

Lying and Economists

June 7, 2012

Heard behavioral economist Dan Ariely on the radio the other day. He was discussing economic research into when people cheat. In his study, they gave people 5 minutes to do some math problems and then gave them a dollar for each one they got right. The subjects would score themselves and then shred their worksheet, so they could claim more correct than they actually got without fear of being caught.

Except… the experimenters had rigged the shredder so that it would only shred the sides of the paper, so they would keep the true results, unbeknownst to the subjects. They found that on average people cheated about two dollars.

Ariely’s work is interesting, and he was able to get some intriguing results on what happened if you varied conditions slightly (e.g. introducing an intermediate step of being paid in a token makes people more likely to cheat), but he and the interviewer seemed blind to the irony – that they were lying to people in a study to find out why people lie. When presidents, CEOs and their apologists lie and cheat as a matter of course, is it any wonder if ordinary people do the same?