Comments on my paper about caching games

February 2, 2017

The goal of this post is that people can leave comments about my paper All or Nothing Caching Games with Bounded Queries just uploaded to arXiv. For a while now, I first upload my papers to arXiv, wait for email comments, and only then submit to a journal. Now I’m trying something new, asking people to comment on this post whatever they have to say about the paper. We’ll see how it works.

Internet Democracy

January 1, 2017

I think that now it would be technologically possible for everyone to vote on whatever proposal is discussed in the parliament. Of course, people don’t have time to do deal with every proposal, so I think everyone should have the right to forfeit their vote to a representative of their choice. This is quite similar to what is happening now, but I would leave the right for everyone to cast their vote differently from their representative whenever they want to. Or maybe they could choose different representatives for different topics (but in this case a body would be needed which decides which proposals are about which topic). Or they could choose subrepresentatives, who background read only some of the proposals, and in those might vote differently from their superrepresentative. And how people would choose their representatives? I guess some algorithm, like the one in Pandora, could recommend them.

Deterministic gambling

December 18, 2016

Take a country, where gambling is illegal, or restricted, like the US or Hungary. Would it be legal to offer a deterministic casino, e.g., a roulette table where the casino picks the value? (In such a way that it’s best payout for the house, without any randomness.) Of course if only one person plays at a time, then that person would always lose, but if many play, then this game has a smaller edge than a traditional roulette table if the casino is never allowed to pick zero. Or to simplify, people could just guess red or black, and whichever gets the lesser stake wins each minute. (This is quite similar to the smallest number game, it involves some kind of thinking, unlike traditional roulette.) To make it even more appealing, we can even offer to pay out some (not randomly selected!) people in case of a tie.

Would this be legal? If yes, then we should totally start a non-profit organization that does this and offer all the income to fight gambling. In my opinion a game is to be considered gambling if people play it and often lose more than they can afford. (So I don’t agree with Noga Alon, who argued that poker should be legal.)

 

Personal bets

December 7, 2016

OK, so how about a site like Betfair, except that any person can create any event that others can bet on? You can offer things like whether you’ll pass your exam, have a boy or a girl, whatever you like. For each event created, it could be set whether the creator is the ultimate person to decide the outcome, or if the bettors don’t agree with the outcome, then they have the possibility to appeal to the supreme court of the betting site to judge (for which service the loser would have to pay extra). So if you offer a bet that Trump will be the next president, and you set the event outcome to no, then the people who’ve bet can appeal, and in this event the price of the service would be probably cheap. If your offered bet is whether you’ll have a hangover tomorrow, then probably appeals make no sense and anyhow only the people who trust you would bet on it. For these trusted bets, users wouldn’t even have to deposit any money to the site, they can just pay each other. The betting site would only offer the interface of offering odds and betting. One could also bet on the correctness of announced solutions of mathematical conjectures, for which probably some trusted body of mathematicians could be the ultimate judge in case of disagreement.

Politics Can’t Be Different

October 31, 2016

I wonder why countries like Hungary don’t request the EU to set up some anti-corruption commission that would supervise the government. It would consist of people appointed by Brussels (mainly foreigners) and would have the right to veto laws or put politicians to jail for their involvement in corruption. Or maybe every decision of the committee would need to be approved by a referendum too, just to make sure Hungary keeps its petty independence. We could also start with a referendum about the setting up of the committee. How come none of the political parties have every suggested this magnificent idea, what’s the catch?

Golden Ball algorithm

October 21, 2016

The way the Golden Ball award works (at least as far as I understand), is that some selected people cast their votes, then based on this, the three top voted players are invited to the ceremony, where the best gets the award. I’m fascinated by how they count the votes. Computer? Or does someone already know who will win before the ceremony? I expect that the case is the latter, but it wouldn’t be too hard to come up with an algorithm.

For example, everyone in the counting committee would look at only one vote. The first person reveals their vote. Then they go around, and everyone who has a player not yet named, reveals their vote. They keep on repeating this until only three players are left.

There are some issues with this algorithm. For example, it might happen that everyone voted for the same person, and then this turns out in the very first round, or, similarly, at a later round less than three people remain. These events have a small probability, and they anyhow cannot be solved, so let’s forget about them.

A more important issue is, that when they go around revealing their votes, then some information is revealed in which order they go in. For example, if the last person puts Neymar in the final three, then we know that he cannot be the final winner. This is not a special case, it’s enough that after the person who reveals Neymar, at most x people remain who didn’t reveal their votes (and thus might have a vote for Neymar), while before him there are more than 2x who didn’t reveal their votes (and thus have a vote for Messi or Ronaldo, obviously).

Is there a way to solve this?

 

 

Flyers against flyers

September 15, 2016

My approach to flyers is the same as to begging – I feel that some people have no other option but to take a self-humiliating job, and passersby can choose between supporting this system or let them starve. Of course, in a better organized society, these jobs would be replaced by some more meaningful activities. (And flyers in fact can be sometimes good, but most often they are misused, imo.) Anyhow, when I become king, or at least the campaign manager of the two-tailed dog party, I’ll definitely hire some people to distribute flyers that explain why it’s bad to take flyers.

Food waste and global famine

August 20, 2016

People are coming up with newer and newer solutions to stop food from being wasted and thus fight famine. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced at all that any of the “don’t throw way food” solutions help at all. When I’ll become dictator of the world, I would rather propose to stop feeling guilty when one throws away food, after all, we can produce as much as we want, and throwing away would probably increase production and lower prices. Of course, this is only a guess and I might be wrong, but I really don’t see how the current approach helps, except to make western society feel less guilty.

Password with year created

July 28, 2016

I, probably similarly to most people, use the same password for most sites, with the exception of a very few places that I think people might care to hack, like banks and email, for which I use a different one. I’m also forced to use a different password for some sites that require extra stupid rules, so I keep these extra additions in a text file, or I could never remember them. Same for the sites that require me to change my password every once in a while. In fact, I would be happy to change my password regularly for many more sites, but unless I want to go through hundreds of webpages, I would soon get confused by at which place which password I use.

But there is such a simple solution to this problem. When you type in your username, the site could give you the year your password was created, then it would be enough to remember which year you had which password, and update your password to the newer one when you first visit the site in a new year (if you want to). I think I’ve seen something similar on a few sites, but only if you go to “forgotten your password” and then you can see a hint set by yourself, which is more complicated than automatically displaying the year (but of course this should also be an option for those who want it). Many sites let you reset your password if you can answer some easy question about yourself, which I don’t find safe at all.

Conditional alarm app

June 22, 2016

It seems that all the apps that wake you up can be only conditioned to “local” events, like where you are, what happens around you (except, of course, the “global” time and date). Why not something that wakes me up if at halftime Argentina is not yet two goals ahead against USA? Or if a game goes to extra time? Probably you can come up with even better conditions…