Archive for ‘Games’

February 3, 2017

Prisoner’s Dilemma

reciprocal altruism

The prisoner’s dilemma (PD) is a paradox about co-operation. It shows why two ‘rational’ individuals might not co-operate, even if it seems in their best interests. It is studied in game theory.

In the classic example two people are arrested for a crime, and the police are uncertain which person committed the crime, and which person abetted the crime. If each remains silent, they are both soon released. If one betrays the other, the betrayer goes free, and the other is imprisoned for a long time. If each betrays the other, they both are held for a short time. No matter what happens, they will never see each other again.

January 30, 2017

Idaho Stop

share-the-road

The Idaho stop is the common name for a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. It first became law in Idaho in 1982, but has not been adopted elsewhere.

A limited form of the law called ‘Stop as Yield,’ that deals only with stop signs, has expanded to parts of Colorado and been considered in several other states. Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way. Lawmakers in many states and cities have attempted to pass similar laws.

January 18, 2017

Mahjong

mahjong tiles

Mahjong is a four player game that originated in China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). Three-player variations of the game can be found in South Korea and Japan. The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have a small following in Western countries.

Similar to the Western card game rummy (though played with small tiles instead of playing cards), Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, calculation, and luck. It is not known when the conversion from cards to tiles took place precisely but it most likely occurred in the middle of the 19th century. Traditionally, Mahjong tiles were made of bone, often backed with bamboo. Bone tiles are still available but most modern sets are constructed from various plastics such as bakelite, celluloid, and more recently nylon.

January 11, 2017

Dab

Cam Newton by Jan Diehm

The dab is a dance move in which the dancer simultaneously drops the head while raising an arm and the elbow in a gesture that has been noted to resemble sneezing.The dab has its origins in the Atlanta hip-hop scene, particularly among artists on the Quality Control record label.

When dabbing first caught popular attention several Quality Control artists were mentioned as possible originators including Migos (‘Look at My Dab’), Peewee Longway, Jose Guapo, and Rich The Kid. OG Maco eventually called out labelmate Migos for taking credit when the move was actually the brainchild of Skippa da Flippa. Though Migos later confirmed da Flippa as the originator of the dance, they expressed displeasure with the way Maco handled the situation.

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December 4, 2016

Rope-a-dope

zaire-74

The rope-a-dope is a boxing fighting style commonly associated with Muhammad Ali in his 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ match against George Foreman. In competitive situations other than boxing, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one party purposely puts itself in what appears to be a losing position, lulling an opponent into a trap.

According to Ali’s trainer for the Angelo Dundee, the idea for the strategy used against Foreman was suggested by boxing photographer George Kalinsky, who told Ali: ‘Why don’t you try something like that? Sort of a dope on the ropes, letting Foreman swing away but, like in the picture, hit nothing but air.’ Publicist John Condon then polished the phrase into ‘rope-a-dope.’

December 3, 2016

Champion

todd snyder

Champion, alternatively stylized ‘Champion U.S.A,’ is an American manufacturer of clothing, specializing in sportswear. The brand was founded in Rochester, New York in 1919 and acquired by the Sara Lee Corporation in 1989. Sara Lee had acquired the Hanes brand a decade earlier, and in 2006 it spun off all its clothing brands into a new company called HanesBrands Inc., of which Champion is still a subsidiary today.

Toby Thompson, acclaimed graphic designer who received the Kudos Award for his 1988 Olympic poster designs for Kodak, sketched the Champion Logo during a corporate meeting, but was never given credit for his design work. 

October 30, 2016

Staunton Chess Set

howard-staunton

The Staunton chess set is the style of chess pieces approved for competitions. Nathaniel Cook patented the design in the U.K. in 1849, and they are named after English chess master Howard Staunton. The first 500 sets were hand signed and numbered by Staunton. The pieces were first made available by games and sporting goods retailer Jaques of London and quickly became a standard. They have been used around the world since.

The increased interest in the game of chess, particularly in international play during the late 18th century and early 19th century, brought about a renewed demand for a more universal model for chess pieces. The variety and styles of the conventional form, begun in the 15th century, had expanded tremendously by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Conventional types popular during the period included the English ‘Barleycorn’ set, the French ‘Regence’ chess set, and the central ‘European.’ Most pieces were tall, easily tipped and cumbersome during play, but their major disadvantage was the similarity of the pieces within a set. A player’s unfamiliarity with an opponent’s set could alter the outcome of a game.

October 26, 2016

Birdwell Beach Britches

birdwell

Birdwell, makers of Birdwell Beach Britches, is an American surf clothing company headquartered in Santa Ana, California. Founded by Carrie Birdwell Mann in 1961, the company manufactures and sells customized heavy-duty swimsuits, which are sold internationally. With four basic models, various fabrics, including Surfnyl, Tectyl, heavy nylon, sailcloth, and canvas, more than 40 colors, and various other options, the combinations that can be created are nearly endless. The company’s motto is ‘We don’t build 1000 things. We build one thing 1000 ways.’

The swimsuits themselves, which resemble board shorts, are paneled swimsuits, with waistbands resembling those of boxing trunks, always double-stitched, always with two layers of fabric. These shorts are known and favored among surfers, lifeguards, and paddleboarders, because of their quick-drying design and extreme durability; with an estimated 10 years for average use, and two to five years for more strenuous use. On all of the trunks there is a 2 square inch logo, of a stylized anthropomorphic surfboard, wearing, of course, Birdwell Beach Britches, nicknamed ‘Birdie.’

October 15, 2016

Skitching

skitchin

Skitching (‘ski-hitching’ or ‘skate-hitching’) is the act of hitching a ride by holding onto a motor vehicle while riding on a skateboard, roller skates or bicycle. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘bumper hitching,’ ‘bumpershining,’ or ‘poggying.’ When done on icy or snowy streets it’s often called ‘bizzing,’ ‘bumper jumping,’ or ‘hooky bobbing. When a snowboard is used it is called ‘snitching.’ The term ‘skitching’ can refer to a number of related activities. The unifying concept is that the ‘skitcher’ holds onto a motorized vehicle while it is in motion, using the vehicle to propel themselves along.

Skateboard skitching is the most referenced type of skitching in news sources and popular culture, but not the most practiced in reality. It has appeared in films and video games, and is confirmed to be the cause of death for a number of skateboarders. Some drivers are willing participants in skateboard skitching, which can open them up to legal action in the event of an accident. Because skitching is often done in traffic, on inadequate equipment for the speeds traveled, and sometimes without the knowledge of the driver of the vehicle, there is significant potential for injury or death. Skateboarding celebrity Tony Hawk has advocated against the practice of skitching due to the related deaths and injuries.

October 10, 2016

Presta Valve

valve stems

Bicycle wheels are comprised of a tough outer tire, a soft inner tube, and a rim (the stiff outermost-edge which is often supported by spokes). The inner tube is inflated means of a valve stem that opens to let air in and then automatically closes and is kept sealed by the pressure in the chamber. The Presta valve (also called the ‘Sclaverand’ or ‘French’ valve) is a valve commonly found in high pressure (100 psi) road style inner tubes. It is comprised of an outer valve stem and an inner valve body. A lock nut to secure the stem at the wheel rim and a valve cap may also be present.

 The outer valve stem is manufactured in various lengths for different applications, and has a narrower diameter at the base (6 mm) than the more common Schrader or American valve (8 mm) and is also used on most automobile tires. Japan, India, Russia, Germany, Britain, and several other countries use a third type of valve for their bicycles, the Dunlop (also called a ‘Woods’ or ‘English’ valve) which also has a wider base than a Presta valve. It is similar enough in size to a Schrader valve to use identically drilled valve holes in rims, but it can be inflated with a Presta valve adapter.

August 14, 2016

Rock Paper Scissors

rps

spock lizard by JDPD

Rock-paper-scissors (sometimes called ‘roshambo’) is a zero-sum hand game usually played between two people, in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. These shapes are ‘rock’ (fist), ‘paper’ (flat palm), and ‘scissors’ (a fist with the index and middle fingers together forming a V). Each beats one of the other two, and loses to the other (i.e. ‘paper covers rock, but ‘scissors cut paper,’ and ‘rock crushes scissors’).

The players usually count aloud to three, or speak the name of the game (e.g. ‘Rock Paper Scissors!’ or ‘Ro Sham Bo!’), each time either raising one hand in a fist and swinging it down on the count or holding it behind. They then ‘throw’ by extending it towards their opponent. If both players choose the same shape, the game is tied and is usually immediately replayed. The game is often used as a choosing method in a way similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice. Unlike truly random selection methods, however, rock-paper-scissors can be played with a degree of skill by exploiting non-random behavior in opponents.

July 31, 2016

Mascot

Phanatic by Mike Jackson

A mascot is any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck, or anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name. Mascots are also used as fictional, representative spokespeople for consumer products, such as the rabbit used in advertising and marketing for the General Mills brand of breakfast cereal, Trix. Costumed mascots are commonplace, and are regularly used as goodwill ambassadors in the community for their team, company, or organization such as the U.S. Forest Service’s ‘Smokey Bear.’

In the world of sports, mascots are also used for merchandising. Team mascots are often confused with team nicknames. While the two can be interchangeable, they are not always the same. For example, the athletic teams of the University of Alabama are nicknamed the ‘Crimson Tide,’ while their mascot is an elephant named ‘Big Al.’ Team mascots may take the form of a logo, person, live animal, inanimate object, or a costumed character, and often appear at team matches and other related events, sports mascots are often used as marketing tools for their teams to children.