Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A chance of capital punishment instead of jail sentence

March 22, 2018

Suppose that instead of jail sentences, the verdicts for serious crimes would be certain probabilities of capital punishment. For example, suppose that for a 30-year-old man, whose life expectancy is roughly 80 years, instead of 1 year in prison, he would get executed with 1/(80-30)=2% probability. With the remaining 98%, he could go free without any punishment.

Putting aside the moral issues with this proposal, for whom it would be better than the jail sentence? For the state, the costs would be obviously much lower. (Assuming that the convict let loose wouldn’t go on committing serious crimes with high probability.) But would it be more or less deterrent than jail sentence? If given the choice, which option would convicted criminals prefer? Other thoughts/social implications?

In fact, optionally the dice can be cast ahead the whole trial – this way in 98% of the cases, it can be skipped! But this would probably influence the judge/jury too much, if they know that a death sentence is in the air… Or would this model anyhow influence them?


Tributum Alma Mater

October 30, 2017

Now that so many people inside the EU end up working in another country, shouldn’t a part of their tax go back to the country where they were educated? But seriously, why not?

What would you do alone when you’re about to die?

September 29, 2017

Suppose some scenario when you know for sure that you’ll die in a couple of hours and you would need to spend them on your own. What would you do? Write some note that you can leave behind? Make a last attempt at your favorite conjecture? Or just watch a movie? Or post a last one on your blog? In fact, the question has two versions, depending whether people would later know what you did or whether no one would ever find out…

Robot figures for home theatre

September 29, 2017

After googling around a bit, I’ve seen that robots have acted in some staged plays. But why don’t they make some very simple robot dolls that could be programmed to perform plays? As a first step, cartoons that kids watch, could be just played for them with a handful of small robots that each require just a couple of facial expressions. I guess they would enjoy it a billion times more if the figures would roll around in the living room instead of staring at a flat screen. The robots could communicate with each other through bluetooth or something to know their relative positions, and you could download the episodes of your favorite cartoon onto them. Robots could be even redressed so you don’t have to buy a new one for each show, though I doubt that they would cost more than a 100 each (of your favorite currency).

And of course, once the technology starts rolling, one can make more complicated robots that can make more complicated moves, hold objects, have complicated facial gestures (or have a bent screen for a face). Maybe one could just record a theatre play from a few angles, and a software would decode the videos into a program for each robot telling them what they have to do.

Average Joes’ Football League Lottery

August 7, 2017

When somebody hits the jackpot on the lottery, they will win a lot of money, and probably they are willing to do something funny for it. So why don’t we make a lottery that differs from the standard lottery only in that the winners are expected to do something before they can touch their winnings? This can range from social work to humiliating tasks (I shall make no attempt to influence the individual fantasies of my beloved readers).

Anyhow, I would use such a lottery for drafting a football team of average guys. I’ve always wondered how randomly selected people from different countries would perform against each other. So I would have a lottery that is only for, say, 20-30 year-old males and the 22 winners from each country get a month to prepare (coached by Attila Pinter) for the Average Joes’ Football League. Winnings of course depend on the performance of the team, but even members of last placed teams would get a non-negligible amount (not to mention the coaches).

Cure for something that never existed

June 27, 2017

As more and more people don’t give vaccines for being scared that they might be harmful for their babies relying on bullshitting, why doesn’t someone spread some suitable counter-rumour like “if your child eats mango every day, then that prevents vaccines causing autism” or so? This could be even backed by studies showing that among kids who eat mango and get vaccinated, autism is not more prevalent. Probably people who don’t vaccinate can believe anything.

Btw, I’ve just googled “amber stones against teething” and of the first 5 hits one called it nonsense, another one was an open forum debate and the other three were in favor.

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.