Progress or hubris?

Following up on our previous post, check out this op-ed by Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen explaining why we need a new science of progress. According to Mssrs Collison & Cowen, “there is no broad-based intellectual movement focused on understanding the dynamics of progress, or targeting the deeper goal of speeding it up.” But what is “progress”? Collison & Cowen define progress broadly as that “combination of economic, technological, scientific, cultural, and organizational advancement that has transformed our lives and raised standards of living over the past couple of centuries.” (What motivates their fetish with recent history? What about those advancements that occurred prior to 1800 AD?) File under: “hubris”?

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Visualization of progress

Check out the website “Beautiful News Daily” for additional infographics. (Hat tip: @kottke.)

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My cousin Natalia Renee Mastache, a graphic designer & illustrator from Miami, painted the self-portrait pictured below. Check out more of her work here.

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Sólo Quédate en Silencio

One of my favorite Spanish pop songs of all time, the song “Sólo Quédate en Silencio” was officially released 15 years ago on 2 December 2004 by the now-defunct band RBD. Below is the “WalMart Soundcheck Version,” which was released in 2006:

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Random boarding, anyone?

Given that millions of people will be boarding commercial aircraft this holiday season, we have compiled below three of our previous blog posts that may be of interest to the flying public:

  1. What is the fastest way to board an airplane? (7 August 2013).
  2. Why are airline boarding procedures so inefficient? (29 April 2014).
  3. The science of aircraft boarding (24 July 2014).

Also, check out the bonus video below:

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Happy Thanksgiving?

Let me be clear, I am on the side of the Native Americans (see here, for example), but that said, let me recount the five things I am most thankful for:

1. I am grateful for my mother and father–Oilda Antonia & Francisco Florentino–who taught me that love has no limits and who made so many great sacrifices so that I would receive a decent education. May we one day return to a free and prosperous Cuba!

2. I am grateful for being blessed with four extraordinary children–Adela, Aritiza, Adys, and Kleber–who are all healthy, smart, and full of potential. May we one day all be reunited in our beloved Puerto Rico!

3. I am grateful for my wife Sydjia, for her love and loyalty. May we one day renew our vows in my adopted home of Jamaica!

4. I am grateful for La Catolica in Ponce, PR and UCF in Orlando, FL, for providing me the opportunity to teach. May you one day grant me tenure!

5. Last but not least, as a scholar of constitutional law, I am thankful for our enduring Constitution. May she last another 130 years!

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Ten-year challenge (game theory edition)

During the last ten years (2009-2019), I authored or co-authored the following ten papers in which I applied the methods of game theory (i.e. strategic decision-making) to a wide variety of legal and political questions:

1. A game-theoretic analysis of public-private contracts in the water sector (2009). I presented this paper at the National University of Singapore in July of 2009.

2. El caso de Puerto Rico: a game-theoretic analysis of the Puerto Rican status debate (2010). I presented this paper at a LatCrit conference at American University in October of 2010.

3. Modelling the Coase Theorem (2012). This was my second peer-reviewed research article, which was published in Volume 5, Issue 2 of The European Journal of Legal Studies.

4. Evade or comply? (2014). This work in progress models the strategic decision whether to evade or comply with the law.

5. The evolutionary path of the law (2014). This paper reviews Ullica Segerstråle’s beautiful biography of evolutionary biologist W. D. (Bill) Hamilton.

6. Does the prisoner’s dilemma refute the Coase Theorem? (2014). This paper, co-authored with my friend and colleague Orlando Martinez, relaxes some assumptions about the prisoner’s dilemma in order to allow Coasian bargaining between the prisoners.

7. The poker-litigation game (2015). This paper presents a simple game-theoretic model of litigation.

8. Law is a battlefield: the Colonel Blotto litigation game (2016). This draft paper presents a more complex game-theoretic model of litigation.

9. Condorcet’s Paradox and Puerto Rico Status (2019). This draft paper models the Puerto Rico status debate as a voting paradox.

10. So long suckers: bargaining and betrayal in Breaking Bad (2019). This is my most recent game theory paper. It presents a four-player bargaining game called “So long suckers” in order to model strategic negotiations and unenforceable agreements.

If you want to look “under the hood” and learn about the nuts and bolts of game theory, check this online course on “Game Theory” led by Professor Ben Polak (Yale) or this online course on “Model Thinking” led by Scott Page (Michigan). Suffice it to say I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to learn about game theory and build my own simple game-theoretic models. Enjoy!

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Source: Jesus Rodriguez, via Medium.

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