Category Archives: Rationality

Test Your Intuition (11): Is it Rational to Insure a Toaster

Here is a question from last year’s exam in the course “Basic Ideas of Mathematics”:   You buy a toaster for 200 NIS ($50) and you are offered one year of insurance for 24 NIS ($6).   a) Is it … Continue reading

Posted in Probability, Rationality, Teaching, Test your intuition | Tagged , | 18 Comments

What can the Second Prize Possibly be?

You are guaranteed to win one of the following five prizes, the letter says. (And it is completely free! Just 6 dollars shipping and handling.) a) a high-definition huge-screen TV, b) a video camera, c) a yacht, d) a decorative … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics to the rescue, Rationality | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Chess can be a Game of Luck

Can chess be a game of luck? Let us consider the following two scenarios: A) We have a chess tournament where each of forty chess players pay 50 dollars entrance fee and the winner takes the prize which is 80% … Continue reading

Posted in Controversies and debates, Economics, Games, Law, Probability, Rationality | Tagged , , , , , | 45 Comments

Social Choice Talk

I took part in a workshop celebrating the publication of a new book on Social Choice by Shmuel Nitzan which took place at the Open University. (The book is in Hebrew, and an English version is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.) … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Games, Rationality | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Ehud Friedgut: Murphy’s Law of Breastfeeding Twins

This post is authored by Ehud Friedgut. Congratulations to Keren, Ehud and Michal for the birth of Shiri and Hillel! Murphy’s law of breastfeeding twins, like all of Murphy’s laws, is supported by strong empirical evidence. The twins’ feeding rhythm … Continue reading

Posted in Guest blogger, Rationality | Tagged | 9 Comments

Do Politicians Act Rationally?

Well, I wrote an article (in Hebrew) about it in the Newspaper Haaretz. An English translation appeared in the English edition. Here is an appetizer: During World War II, many fighter planes returned from bombing missions in Japan full of bullet holes. The … Continue reading

Posted in Games, Rationality | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Mystery Beeping Riddle

    We came back from the airport with our daughter who has just landed after a four-month trip to India. The car was making a strange beep every so often. Maybe it is an indicator signal that should have … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics to the rescue, Rationality, Riddles | 12 Comments

Which Coalition to Form (2)?

Yair Tauman (This post is a continuation of this previous post.) Aumann and Myerson proposed that if political and ideological matters are put aside, the party forming the coalition would (or should) prefer to form the coalition in which its own power (according … Continue reading

Posted in Games, Rationality | Tagged | 5 Comments

Which Coalition?

The problem. OK, we had an election and have a new parliament with 120 members. The president has asked the leader of one party to form a coalition. (This has not happened yet in the Israeli election but it will happen soon.) Such … Continue reading

Posted in Games, Rationality | Tagged | 7 Comments

Basic Open Research and Failed Institutions – Imagine

Imagine if in the last ten years before the collapse, the huge failed financial and insurance institutions had had independent research units devoted to doing basic, open, and critical research on matters of relevance to the business, ethics, and future of these institutions. Might it have made a small … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Rationality | Tagged | 5 Comments