Nash equilibrium

January 31, 2009

In game theory, Nash equilibrium (named after John Forbes Nash, who proposed it) is a solution concept of a game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy (i.e., by changing unilaterally). If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing his or her strategy while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium. In other words, to be in a Nash equilibrium, each player must respond negatively to the question: “Knowing the strategies of the other players, and treating the strategies of the other players as set in stone, can I benefit by changing my strategy?”

(From Wikipedia)

There are a lot of assumptions to this model but I have to say that it alarms me slightly that I frame a lot of problems this way.  Hmmm.

(Also just gave someone love life advice with the phrase “Nash equilibrium” in it.  It is official.  I am a geek.)

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Vietnam

January 31, 2009

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(Picture taken 4 years or so ago in Sapa, Vietnam)

I’m heading out to Hanoi mid-Feb to attend a wedding. I’m starting to look forward to the trip. A long awaited celebration. A couple of days out of Singapore. Time with old and new friends. Sweaters and hot pho. Sounds like a recipe for a good time. Yay!

Must remember to bring a sketchbook. 🙂

From the book I’m reading (Daniel Pink – A Whole New Mind):

“Csikszentmihalyi has also uncovered a related dimension of the boundary crosser’s talent: those who possess it often elude traditional gender role sterotyping. In his research, he found that “when tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.” This bestows unique advantages, according to Csikszentmihalyi. “A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repetoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.”

At lunch yesterday, the waitress addressed the men as “boss” and the women as “young lady” (the effect is lost in English but if you speak Mandarin, you will understand the distinction). I laughed and commented that it made me want to toss my hair and giggle – which is so unlike me. I’ve never been a typical girl but I’ve always been interested in gender roles. Maybe it is because I see the value of understood social norms and yet, I hardly fit nicely into any traditional gender roles so I don’t really ‘get’ them. I may cook, clean and cry (or whatever it is girls do) but am probably more like a guy in the way that I think and perceive the world. So I’ve decided that I like the phrase “psychologically androgynous”. Pigeonhole-ing seems like a futile endeavor.

Phrase of the day

January 28, 2009

Hot Room
n. A social setting that involves a mix of people whose relationships to each other are, well, complicated

For this and other Gen-Y slang, check this out.

“Authentic Christians are persons who stand apart from others, even other Christians, as though listening to a different drummer.  Their character seems deeper, their ideas fresher, their spirit softer, their courage greater, their leadership stronger, their concerns wider, their compassion more genuine, their convictions more concrete.  They are joyful in spite of difficult circumstance and show wisdom beyond their years.”

– Bill Hybels, “Too Busy Not to Pray”

I found a whole stack of notebooks with sermon notes, Bible Study material and other ministry paraphernalia.  Felt oddly pretty good about packing it away.

Happy Chinese New Year!

January 26, 2009

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(I was bored this morning while waiting for everyone to get up and get ready so I went around the house taking pictures of the CNY flowers.)

I’m a terrible traditionalist and that is one of the downsides of being Christian.  Actually, I think our family has our traditions mixed up.  At reunion dinner, we gave thanks ala Thanksgiving.  And after dinner, Bryan and I settled down to watch a Christmas movie.  Somehow.  We don’t practice any of the superstitious CNY rituals (e.g. not sweeping the floor etc).  I think that takes away some of the festivities somehow.  You lose some of the anticipation and expectation for the Lunar New Year.  And as tiresome as pre-festive season preparation is, there is something about it that ushers in the new year.

Contrast this to Christmas Eve when I was frantically, and amusingly, doing my late minute Christmas shopping.  In the car, stuck in terrible traffic, my friend and I laughed at the stupidity of driving in town and shopping on the worst possible day to be doing so in the entire year.  But we rationalised that hanging out and buying into the Christmas crazies was a better way to spend Christmas Eve than at home staring at the newspaper.  It was nuts but kinda nice.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!

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A stack of random postcards bought when travelling overseas.  All written and addressed to the same person – my oldest and dearest friend.  Oh dear.

I think about you when I’m away but am too useless to pop the cards in the mail when I get home.  You’ll be getting them soon.  Ignore the fact that one of them is dated *ahem* 3 years ago.  I have really bad follow-up but you already know that no?