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Showing posts from February, 2016

A Completely Fair NFL Overtime Rule

Every year there's a bit of controversy over overtime rule unfairness in the NFL, controversy that intensifies if there are any overtime games in the playoffs. The rules keep changing, but it’s not clear they meet the basic standards of fairness. If teams really care about who wins the coin flip, it’s probably not perfectly fair.

But there is a perfectly fair solution, one that’s been around for as long as I’ve been alive, and that is intuitively fair to any 8 year old. It’s called: "I cut and you choose."

That phrase is probably enough for most people to see how this works. But in case you didn’t grow up with it, as I did, or can’t see how it would be adapted to football, here’s a primer. It’s based on a fair system for two children dividing a treat, say a piece of cake. If one child cuts the cake in two and the other gets to choose their piece, then neither child can complain about the outcome. The cutter is extremely motivated to cut as evenly as possible, because the c…

Why does Kylo Ren wear that mask?

Everyone who’s seen “The Force Awakens” must surely recognize the patent silliness of Kylo Ren’s mask. It serves no obvious intrinsic purpose. It serves marketing and filmic purposes, sure. It's a reference to Darth Vader, and maybe that's all we need to know. But if we watch the movie on its own terms, what’s that mask about?

The important thing to remember here is that despite his position of power, Kylo Ren is not a world class anything. He was born into privilege, and through genetics has inherited some facility with the force. He rebelled against his elders, as many teens do, although he was more violent about it than most, due to his emotional immaturity. He was an immature teen, and he's an immature adult.

As the movie opens, two things are happening. First, the First Order is trying to squeeze him into their leadership picture, in much the same way a company might try to find an executive position for a major shareholder’s kid. You know, that kid who suddenly at th…