Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?
About a third of Americans, for example, believe the “birther” conspiracy theory that Obama is a foreigner. About as many believe that 9/11 was an “inside job” by the Bush administration.
You can click on this link here to read the full text of Michael Shermer’s Skeptic column, Scientific American, Nov 18, 2014.
Supermarket’s game theory
This illustration accompanied an article by Tim Harford for his column The undercover economist, originally published in the FT, and published again in G magazine with my illustration for the past 10 years or so.
Forty years ago a German economist, Reinhard Selten, published a working paper with the title “The chain store paradox”. It was simple and profound and showed a discomfiting disconnect between the fashionable mathematical tools known as “game theory” and the recommendations of common sense.
This is the set-up. Imagine a chain store with 20 branches, one in each of 20 small towns. Lacking any competition, these branches charge high prices and are lucrative. In each town, an entrepreneur is considering opening a rival shop. These 20 local entrepreneurs will, one by one, decide whether to compete against the chain store or to sink their capital into something else.
Read it all here.
Michael Shermer’s October’s Skeptic column deals with the rare commodity of peace.
Ever since, the “democratic peace theory” has had its supporters. Rutgers University political scientist Jack Levy, in a 1989 essay on “The Causes of War,” reasoned that the “absence of war between democratic states comes as close as anything we have to an empirical law in international relations.” Skeptics point out such exceptions as the Greek and Punic wars, the War of 1812, the U.S. Civil War, the India-Pakistan wars and the Israel-Lebanon War. Who is right? Can science answer the question?
Rad it all here.
Are democracies less warlike?
Finally , My August installment for my Scientific American column is here. With this elegant delay, here it is:
Trying to understand what made the mercurial genius so successful. Want to be the next Steve Jobs and create the next Apple Computer? Drop out of college and start a business with your buddies in the garage of your parents’ home. How many people have followed the Jobs model and failed? Who knows? No one writes books about them and their unsuccessful companies. But venture capitalists (VCs) have data on the probability of a garage start-up becoming the Next Big Thing.
Read it all Here
Latest WSJ illustration for an article dealing with the NY real estate phenomenon:
Luxury condo owners in New York City pay 65% more per square foot in buildings that have a doorman
New Yorkers want doorman service at their luxury condo buildings, and they’ll pay a premium for the privilege, according to recent sales data.
The average price a square foot for apartments in doorman buildings was $2,958, roughly 65% more than in non-doorman buildings, which sold for $1,797 a square foot. CityRealty, a real-estate data site, looked at 2014 sales through the third quarter of the year in 200 luxury condo buildings in New York City—half with doorman service and half without.
Read the res here.
The Ultimate Luxury: a Doorman
And an additional rough idea:
The doorman’s real-estate enhancement
A penetration test, or the short form pentest, is an attack on a computer system with the intention of finding security weaknesses, potentially gaining access to it, its functionality and data (Wikipedia)
Last week I was commissioned by G magazine to come up with idea for a cover dealing with the concept of Penetration tests.
Through the article I have acquainted myself with the topic and came up with two ideas.
Penetration tests two initial ideas
Eventually, Both the editors and myself elected to go with B… I felt like I was heading towards a bundle of fun. and so it was.
Penetration tests detail-1
Penetration tests detail-2
And here is another well worded description of what penetration tests are all about, which I have found on the site of potech-consulting
Penetration tests are a way to simulate the presence of a hacker trying to attack your information systems. They are a great way to identify vulnerabilities present in a system or network that has existing security measures in place. A penetration test usually involves the use of attacking methods conducted by trusted individuals that are similarly used by hostile intruders or hackers. Depending on the type of test that is conducted, this may involve a simple scan of IP addresses to identify machines that are offering services with known vulnerabilities or even exploiting known vulnerabilities that exist in an un-patched operating system. The results of these tests or attacks are then documented and presented as a report to the owner of the system and the vulnerabilities identified can then be resolved.A penetration test is characterized by a person at a computer behaving as a hacker would, running a series of manual, simulated attacks against your information systems.
Yesterday I have spent the morning in the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris.
I went there with my students, looking for wolves..
while they were busy hunting them amongst the exhibits, I’ve enjoyed my own inky hunt.
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle- two wolves
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle- La grande galerie