# Dividing the Right (into Interesting and Dull)

How do you resolve the tension between falling into a filter bubble on one hand, and having your media be an abyss of stupidity and hostility on the other? Read more

# So you’re going to be a Penalty Box Timer?

# Riddler Classic, January 24 2020

EDIT: Nope! Not far wrong, but definitely wrong.

My strategy of starting with the easy cases and building out to more complex cases was used successfully by other solvers. My analysis of the easy cases was correct, but there was a mistake in the way I built out. My diagram probably didn’t help; the one drawn by the winner didn’t distinguish between the larger and smaller piles, and I think that’s where my error crept in.

For example, when I considered (9, 5), I thought it was a losing position because I didn’t see that taking six coins from the larger pile produced (5, 3), since the larger pile became the smaller pile in that move. So the “simplification” I introduced, of specifying one pile as larger, while not wrong, made it easier for me to make a mistake. It helped to break my mental model by suggesting an identity for the piles (“larger” or “smaller”) that isn’t persistent, but depends on the progress of the game. Will try not to do that again!

EDIT 2: Revised the original spread sheet showing the rows that I had calculated wrongly, and producing a correct game state table.

Another week of being *fairly* confident about this week’s Riddler Classic. (Bolstered by getting exactly the right answer for the last one I did, if by a slightly inefficient method.)

The puzzle is a coin-picking game, with the usual aim of taking the last coins, but the unusual condition of having two coin stacks:

# Moving the Electoral Needle

Labour took one hell of a beating, and they’re electing a new leader. Those in favour of continuity sometimes produce figures aiming to show that continuity is fine, and can bring victory.

So here are four graphs of things that might matter, versus the number of seats won. One of these is not like the other three.

# Understanding Cash-Settled Futures

## What is This?

This spread sheet is my own attempt to show how the collateral flow to or from a clearing house works. I created it about five years ago when I was working at a bank, and needed to explain the relationships between different quantities, and how they are calculated.

If you have a rough idea of how futures work, and want to see a detailed example, this post might help. If you don’t know what futures are, this won’t help, but Wikipedia’s intro might.

# Box Diets – the Good and the Bad

# Riddler Classic, January 3 2020

Initially I thought this week’s Classic puzzle might be too tough to solve without some serious insights, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like I might be able to break it down to manageable pieces.

# Choosing to do a Project: Three Gates

I’ve had this mental model for a while, but it solidified a year ago after explaining it at work, and I wanted to use it again in a Twitter debate shortly afterwards. Twitter’s the wrong place for real explanations though, so here it is.

This model will not solve your disagreements for you, and it’s not a substitute for calculating the NPV of your possible projects. Instead, it’s a quick shorthand that might make discussions more useful, and show you something about your team.

# Could the Tories Still Lose?

Last night, the betting markets were giving the Tories a better than 75% chance of winning a majority in Thursday’s general election. Polls still have them far ahead, and personally, I expect that they’ll do it.

If we are wrong about that, and they don’t form a majority, why might that be? If a hung parliament is coming, what would make people blind to it?