No Man Is An Island

As improvement of information technology, such as facebook, the question is arise. ‘Will information technology make face-to-face contact and the places that enable that contact obsolete? Or will improvements in information technology make meeting face-to-face more effective and more valuable?’ One of the most valuable thing for information technology, it makes easier to maintain connection with people who are far away. In other value like faceook, it offers virtual friendships with people that you have never physically met.

It seems like the facebook could be substitute for face-to-face interaction. However, in meantime it might complement a meeting in person. The internet site is just a tool for managing friendships and transmitting information. ‘Perhaps that information makes face-to-face connections more rewarding. Perhaps that information enables people to form deeper bonds that lead to more physical meetings or to find people who would be particularly fun or rewarding to meet in person. But it isn’t clear that Facebook will increase or decrease the demand for face-to-face interaction. The survey suggest that Facebook seems to be typically used to connect people who already have connected through some other medium bond, like being in the same class or meeting at a party, which seems to suggest complementarily between meeting face-to-face and connecting on Facebook. ‘The people who were better at interacting face-to-face in adolescences had more friends on social networking sites as young adults.’

Even though Facebook help conquer distance, it replaced the valuable thing of life, face-to-face interaction. Every great ideas wasn’t generated solitary, isolated genius, but


Game the System

Interesting game theory for Johns Hopkins students. This game theory is that “In several computer science courses at Johns Hopkins University, the grading curve was set by giving the highest score on the final an A, and then adjusting all lower scores accordingly. The students determined that if they collectively boycotted, then the highest score would be a zero, and so everyone would get an A. Amazingly, the students pulled it off:”

There are two Nash equilibria. #1 Equilibria is no one takes the test, and #2 equilibria is every one take exam. Both equilibria is depend on every student. If one student refuse to boycott the exam, every student has to take the final exam. However, which one should we prefer if we can get an A grade without studying and participate the exam. It is too obvious to predict. Even though the problem of of Nash equilibria, it was a great deal to pull a student.


Lehman Brothers, the financial firm that fell into chapter 11 bankruptcy during the economic collapse in 2008, has recently been granted permission to remove their asset holdings in Delta Topco from bankruptcy proceedings.  Delta Topco is the parent company in charge of running the Formula 1 racing sport and has recently posted huge profits and with Lehman Brothers holding a 15.3% stake in the company they have experienced a 550% return on their investment.  The largest shareholder of Delta Topco, CVC, attempted to seize Lehman Brother’s 15.3% stake after the company entered bankruptcy and has made several offers to buy out the remaining shares but the financial firm has not agreed to a sale.  In court, Lehman Brothers argued that they should not be forced to sell their shares to CVC at a “fair market value” because the shares are worth more to an outside buyer because of the relative power those shares hold within Formula 1.  The 15.3% share held by Lehman brothers is the third largest in the company which puts them in a strong position in terms of voting power and dividend payout.  As for Lehman Brothers, continuing to pursue outside options for the sale of their stake will cause the current shareholders to continue increasing their bids until a price can be agreed upon or an outside buyer is found.  Eventually, acceptable terms will be found and the disgraced financial firm will be able to use the cash generated to pay down their existing debts.   The most recent valuation puts the shares at an estimated $1.5 Billion but the value could be much higher for an existing shareholder to strengthen their position within the company. has posted an article with more detailed information about the subject.

Why eCommerce Needs A United Ebay

In recent news there has been talk of a split between PayPal and eBay confused the general public.  eBay represents the largest online retailer in the world and holds English Style auctions for a wide variety of goods and services.  In 2002 eBay purchased PayPal and now as time has pasted this is seen as a excellent decision in business.  With the purchase of PayPal eBay gained a fast and reliable way of payment for its auctions that take place in many different places at the same time.  The ability to authenticate each bid in the auction instantly allows for the most effective use of an English auctions.  Without PayPal false bids could be place with much more ease and the price of the good could be inflated past the intrinsic value forcing bidders out of the auction.  Another effect that can be caused by the shifting of eBay’s partnership is the amount of money spent on goods.  In this situation, online auctions can vary from auctions held in front of a live base.  With online auctions not only are the prices effected by the true value each bidder has, but they are also effected by the connectivity of the bidder.  In an online auction setting the bidder may not always have access to the auction being held online or the bidder my not always have a way to verify their bid.  With the loss of PayPal eBay bidders may lose the fast authorization on mobile devices that can help them quickly verify a bid on a good.  If the bidder does not have this access they may be left stranded and unable to bid on a good that they value more than the current bid.

Why Cheating is Good for the Cheated

According to behavioral economics, most people are more than willing to punish third-party cheaters, as it as seen just. But according to Jessica Medhurst in her article “Why Cheating is good for the cheated”, it is seen that cheating has its own economic benefits but in interesting ways. Medhurst claims that in scenarios like Live Nation and scalp bots (computer programs that immediately buy out tickets), the interests of both the cheaters and firm can be in alignment. While these situations might create customer frustration, it creates instant economic benefit for the firm to turn around as investment; assuredly selling a portion of tickets allow LiveNation and TicketMaster to keep costs low and prices down. Consumer backlash is hard to avoid, but it is an economic cost to serve an economic benefit. Medhurst goes on to recount how Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson was found to have a fraud Computer Science degree on his resume. she explains that “ this is likely because people understand that careers can be made on opportunities, and to a large degree the amount and quality of opportunities one arrives at is down to luck, or better explained as path dependency.” In this light, a cheater is applying game theory to justify their cheating, that the  structure of the game reveals the best strategy as cheating. This sort of game does not consider moral implications necessarily, but what is ethical when everyone is doing the same thing, as Medhurt further explains: “This is not to say that the exaggerators, or the ‘cheaters’ do not deserve to get the job or university place in question, but rather, they ‘cheat’ because they have to in order to get something that they know they deserve.” 

Though Medhurst’s explanation, cheating is a necessary evil when the game played is competitive enough to require it. Although some situations of cheating create absolute economic bads, some “cheating” is more so a form of bluffing that can create economic goods if the risk creates returns. While certainly cheating is never encouraged, it may equally be an unwritten rule that most competitive players abide by. More importantly, if the system is run by cheaters, there is no cheating. 

The Networks of Organized Crime



Network theory has helped to expand the potential for economics as a tool to analyze and asses our real world. With given information, an economist can map and graph the structure, mobility flow, and influence of a network. In Italy, network theory has recently become a weapon against organized crime. Stefano Gurciullo of University College London has been collecting information in the business sector of Sicily, Italy; a town renown for the close association between business and the mafia. Network theory reveals the roles of each firm in the network, most importantly the individual power of a firm. With the information on the whole business sector, coupled with evidence supplied by the Italian Anit-mafia police, Gurciullo has been able to reveal the centralized corruption within the construction industry. The police evidence set the foundation for a claim against a group of construction firms, but the network mapping by Gurciullo illustrates the roles each firm played in the corrupt sub-network. “Sectors penetrated by organized crime show a higher than average Index of centrality and concentration, What’s more, the specific firms involved in organized crime tend to have a special place in the network.” In a network like this, success hinges on the communication and capability between firms; tracing the power flow of the network is key to understanding the relationship that exists within the network. A highly connective node is normally the most influential node in terms of centrality and access to scope; “At least one of the firms experiencing Mafioso infiltration possesses the highest nodal degree in the sector’s sub-network”, making evident that even corrupt firms need to be connected. 


There are limitations to this sort of research, for instance many corrupted firms may exist outside of the construction industry, creating a multi-industry network to large to make sense of. Another is that the research done on organized crime is limited, creating a mystery as to what patterns to look for in identifying corruption in a network. But for now, the current research by Gurciullo is already revealing parts to the puzzle of organized crime in Sicily. 

Bayes Theorem and Malaysia Flight 370

Bayes’ Theorem is used to predict conditional probabilities, so it’s no surprise that it is being called upon to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The theorem was designed to predict all possibilities and allow for revisions to further hone in on each scenario, something which is necessary when trying to locate a wreckage in open water. The theorem will detail an entire scenario and draw out specifics of what a person is looking for versus what they are not. Tide and current are able to be factored in with mathematical precision. The theorem has been used to find gold, sunken submarines and a previous airline wreckage, as well. It successfully found the missing Air France flight 477 en route from Rio de Janeiro in 2009.

Although providing a positive twist to a dismal event; officials still fear they may not find the missing aircraft. It took time and patience (almost 2 years) to locate the Air France flight in the Atlantic. The Indian Ocean provides more uncertainty, because of its ravenous weather and strong currents.