John Nash was, essentially, the founder of game theory – about which more in a moment. His wife, Alicia, died with him in the same car crash. She was given a lot of credit for mental health advocacy because of her dedication to him, through his struggles with mental illness (as documented in the movie,A Beautiful Mind. But I want to note that she also had a degree in physics from MIT and worked in a computer center there.
About Game Theory: There are two basic approaches to multi-criteria decision making. In one, you agree not to better your position if it would worsen your opponent’s. So, essentially, the two players agree to act as a single decision maker. This is known as Pareto-optimality, after Wilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist. (Pareto was also responsible for the 80-20 law, which states that 80% of the work is done in the first 20% of the time.) While Pareto-optimal solutions are generally better for the participants, they are subject to cheating. John Nash came up with the Nash equilibrium, which is a minimax approach. In short, it works on the assumption that the other guy is out to screw you.
Pareto ended up in exile in Switzerland. Nash spent most of his adult life hospitalized for schizophrenia. The choice is yours.
Food Pornography 1 - America Eats Tavern: I got together on Friday night for dinner with imaginary internet friends (well, I’d met one of them before) at this Jose Andres restaurant in Tyson’s Corner. It was mildly challenging as I had laryngitis, an aftermath of the allergy / dust issues I mentioned previously. I am a big fan of Jose’s restaurants. This one’s concept is historic American dishes. I drank a Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, which was quite tasty. The others got an assortment of hams, which I don’t eat, so I got roasted beet salad, which was very good. There were hush puppies, two soups (asparagus and cream of mushroom), deviled eggs, Harvard beets, roasted cauliflower, and cranberry glazed brussels sprouts. The latter were so good we got a second order of them. I got the pineapple upside down cake for dessert, but one of the pies (key lime or lemon meringue) would have been a better choice. Overall, it was an excellent meal, accompanied by excellent conversation.
The American Museum of …: I drove up to my mother’s house and did some more clearing out. All of the books are now with me, along with the portrait of my grandmother. And a bunch of school supplies to donate to schools when I travel in the developing world. I gave all the coupons that were still in the house to the exchange at her library. I cleared out a few desk drawers, which included what I refer to as the American Museum of Rubber Bands, the American Museum of Pens that No Longer Write, and the American Museum of Packets of Plastic Cutlery. The rubber bands are in a ziploc bag, the dead pens were thrown out, and the cutlery went with my uncle, who will bring it to his synagogue. I also have to wonder why Mom not only saved every pair of glasses she ever had, but glued on a label indicating what years she wore that pair. (Those are in my house right now, waiting for me to take them to my library, which has a Lions Club drop box.)
Food Pornography 2 – Lido Kosher Deli: My uncle drove out to the house on Tuesday evening and we had dinner at the Lido Kosher Deli. I got chicken noodle soup, a hot open faced tongue sandwich, stuffed derma, and kasha varnishkas. (There was also cole slaw and pickles for the table). It was very good, but too much food. I made him take all the leftovers, including mine, because I was leaving early in the morning and it seemed too awkward to travel with. Though I suppose I could have taken any of the three or more coolers that are in the house.
Cluter, Clutter, Sigh: Of course, now I have another umpty-ump books added to the clutter at home. I don’t know where I am going to find the time to deal with it all. But at least I know where I get the tendency from.