## To cheer you up in difficult times 6: Play Rani Sharim’s two-player games of life, read Maya Bar-Hillel presentation on catching lies with statistics, and more.

Sorry for the long blog silence. In this post I wish to give a few links each of which probably deserves a full post. I will start with

## Rani Sharim’s two-player variants of John Conway’s game-of-life

Here is a web-page by a student in my “Game Theory” course where you can play several two-players variants of John Conway’s game-of-life.  (A couple of variants were considered before. See, e.g. this  paper.)

I really enjoyed playing Rani’s games and it can certainly cheer you up in difficult times. Questions about the game, remarks, and suggestions for improvements and for new features, are most welcome.

## How to catch lies with statistics, a 2006  presentation by Maya Bar-Hillel

Maya Bar-Hillel (left) and Ester Samuel-Cahn

Here is an interesting 2006 power point presentation entitled How to detect lies with statistics by Maya Bar-Hillel.  This was a talk given by Maya at the conference honoring Prof. Ester Samuel- Cahn , Jerusalem, December 18-20, 2006, and it described a planned research project of Maya Bar-Hillel with Yossi Rinott, David Budescu and myself. At the end we did not pursue it, mainly because each of us was involved in various other projects (but also because we were skeptical about some aspects of it.)  Ester Samuel-Cahn (1933-2015) was a famous Israeli statistician. (Here is a post by Yosi Levy in Hebrew about the conference and about Ester.)

The lecture starts with “Last year, Statistical Science celebrated 50 years for `How to Lie with Statistics’ the book [by Durell Huff] whose title inspired this talk.”

And here are a few other quotes from Maya’s presentation

“We are not sure a general toolkit for detecting lies with statistics can be developed. Perhaps that explains why none yet exists.  We have shown just a collection of anecdotes. But they can be classified and categorized. Some do seem generalizeable, at least to some extent.”

and the conclusion

A famous quip by Fred Mosteller: “It is easy to lie with statistics, but easier to lie without them.”

Likewise, we should say:  “It is possible to detect (some) lies with statistics, but easier to detect them with other means”.

## New bounds for Ryser’s conjecture and related problems

Peter Keevash, Alexey Pokrovskiy, Benny Sudakov, and Liana Yepremyan’s paper  New bounds for Ryser’s conjecture and related problems, describes remarkable progress very old questions regarding transversals in Latin square.

## Topological Tverberg news

I came across a very interesting paper The topological Tverberg problem beyond prime powers by Florian Frick and Pablo Soberón with new bounds and a new method for topological Tverberg theorem in the non prime-power case.

## Jeager’s conjecture refuted

A year ago I came across this cool facebook post by Rupei Xu

OMG! Just learned that Jaeger’s conjecture is false for every t>=3. An interesting consequence of it is that a specific version of Goddyn’s conjecture on thin spanning trees is false, which shows some negative evidence that the thin spanning tree approaches may fail to lead to a constant factor approximation algorithm for ATSP!

## More on the game of life

Let me mention two problems I posted 6-7 years ago about Conway’s game of life. Conway’s game of life for random initial position and Does a noisy version of Conway’s game of life support universal computation?

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