Simon loves the Paperclips game. It involves a lot of Game Theory and economics.
This is Simon’s contribution to #blacklivesmatter
How Can Math Help Resolve Racial Segregation? This video and coding project is based on Segregation Solitaire by Thomas Schelling, an American mathematician and economist who was awarded the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for “having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis.”
I don’t like the name ‘Segregation Solitaire’, so I call it Schelling’s Game. This is also inspired by the famous Parable of the Polygons playable essay on the shape of society by Vi Hart and Nicky Case: https://ncase.me/polygons/
Simon binge reads Nicky Case’s essays and has made several remixes of their projects, all the more timely, considering today’s context.
Simon’s interactive version: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/present/mWwl1GsTe
Simon’s code: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/mWwl1GsTe
If you’re interested in why #covid-19 tracing apps are important and the most privacy-friendly way to implement them, please read this interactive essay by Nicky Case and play with the colorful simulations of all our possible futures. For Simon, this has been the entrance into the Nicky Case @ncasenmare universe (first recommended by 3Blue1Brown). Simon has been gulping down the playable essays on human networks and the spread of complex ideas, self-synchronization in nature, the shape of society and several other burning themes (like coming out and anxiety) and watching Nicky Case’s talks, like this one. Nicky is a self-made indie artist, programmer and writer making very edgy, very 21st century multimedia products that are both profound in content and have an engaging/interactive interface. It’s as if reading an informative piece is turned into a game. And that’s exactly what Nicky stands for: learning through play and messing about. Maybe that’s why Simon has embraced his works so eagerly, Nicky has proven to be one of those perfect matches for our self-directed learning style.
Simon has made a remix of Nicky’s Evolution of Trust, an iterated prisoner’s dilemma: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/present/oOurTdGWT
Simon’s code: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/oOurTdGWT
Since mid-March, all playgrounds have been closed in Belgium, so we’ve been left with simply taking walks, first at the park and then, after we were no longer allowed to drive anywhere for leisure, at the port of Antwerp (within 2km from our home). Simon usually gets bored simply taking a walk, so he comes up with something every time to keep our weekly outings exciting (like teaching Neva a random walk algorithm using plastic coins (that decided where we turn next) or playing the game of chicken (something we have read about in a Game Theory book).
For over a month, Simon has been fascinated by Presh Talwalkar’s channel Mind Your Decisions. The channel is full of short videos on famous math problems, logic riddles, proofs and mental math tricks. Simon has also ordered a compilation of Talwalkar’s five most interesting books, including “The Joy of Game Theory: An Introduction to Strategic Thinking”, that we are currently very much enjoying together, and four more, that Simon is reading on his own: “40 Paradoxes in Logic, Probability, and Game Theory”, “The Irrationality Illusion: How To Make Smart Decisions And Overcome Bias”, “The Best Mental Math Tricks”, and “Multiply Numbers By Drawing Lines”.
This one became Simon’s favourite brain teaser. It sounds like it’s filled with irrelevant information, but somewhat counterintuitively, every little bit of information in this puzzle helps! Here is the puzzle: A mathematician tells a census taker he has 3 children. The product of their ages is 72 and the sum of their ages is the house number. The census taker tries to figure it out but explains he still does not know. The mathematician says, “Of course not. I forgot to tell you my oldest child loves chocolate chip cookies.” Now the census taker figures it out. What are the ages of the children?
Simon has also picked up many nifty tricks and beautiful magic squares, both from the book and from the YouTube channel.
Multiplication by drawing lines has been a huge hit, Simon has also taught this method to his sister and a friend in Amsterdam:
Simon explaining the Nash Equilibrium with a little game in p5.js. Play it yourself at: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/lfP4dKGCs
Inspired by TedEd video Why do competitors open their stores next to one another? by Jac de Haan.