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Dueling Systems

Cri de Bourse

Physicists with an interest in economics tend to wake up at 3 a.m. and dream of stabilizing the economy with equations. A more tractable task for econophysicists would be to participate in the design of an electronic trading exchange that doesn’t undergo instabilities or phase transitions. Electronic exchanges are not going to go away, and making algorithmic exchanges stable, testing them with cellular automata, seems like it could be a tractable project for statistical physicists involving no delusions of grandeur and much usefulness.

And then, of course, there is always the problem of software bugs, even when you think you have the right model.

The Duel

I went on impulse to see a movie of Chekhov’s long short story The Duel at Film Forum, and it was good, but kind of confusing as to the motives of some of the characters. I then came home and downloaded it for free from the iBook store onto my iPad and began reading it, and everything is much clearer. So much of the back story depends on inner thoughts in the story, and these are missing in this movie, as in most movies. One exception is a BBC TV series I once saw in England in the 70s based on Sartre’s WWII trilogy (it may be called Iron in the Soul, I’m not sure) and as far as I recall they used voice-overs for every character, so that sometimes each character spoke and sometimes each character thought aloud right before or after they spoke, and it worked very well.

As someone pointed out somewhere, it’s easier to make an excellent movie out of a second-rate book. (Too much respect is counterproductive.) Nevertheless, if the movie isn’t too bad it still serves to point you in the direction of the book itself.

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