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The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza 282

Posted by samzenpus
from the equal-distribution-of-the-pie dept.
iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

Comment: Re:I foresee... (Score 2, Insightful) 300

by saifrc (#29410883) Attached to: Incorporating Human Behavior Into Wall Street Mathematical Models
I was about as bitter as you were, until I heard about Behavioral Economics, which uses the results of *scientific* tests in psychology and human behavior as the basis for (or at least a counterbalance to) economic theory; this stands in contrast to traditional economic theory, which is based on the idea that rational self-interest will cause markets to function perfectly, and will, in a larger sense, reroute funds to those who would put it best to use. Dan Ariely gives a good overview of Behavioral Economics in his book, "Predictably Irrational," in which he describes how the conventional wisdom often is completely wrong, both through anecdotes and descriptions of rigorous scientific experiments: http://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Decisions/dp/0061854549/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252910997&sr=8-1 So while in theory it would be *possible* to improve financial models by incorporating lessons from Behavioral Economics, you would have to trust that those with the power to influence markets would correctly apply them. And that's a big "if." If the misuse of the Gaussian Copula to price mortgage-backed securities is any indication of private industry's ability to take the ball and run with it in the wrong direction, then it'll take more than just good science to save us...

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