A Game of Risk for the Ages
I looked into my dining room and found it in shambles thanks to my four guests: Otto von Bismarck, Henry Kissinger, Genghis Kahn, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Otto was serving the first course, and Genghis had stolen Napoleon’s hat and was teasing him by holding it above his head. Henry had just arrived and removed the game board, miniature soldiers, dice, and cards from his briefcase. This wasn’t just any dinner party; I had invited these great strategic minds over to enjoy a game of Risk. After a briefly gorging ourselves on Otto’s very own schupfnudeln served with his signature sauerkraut, the game began.\n\n\nWe placed our armies across the board, each scheming to conquer the world. I focused my efforts on securing Australia first and working my way out. Otto, as can be expected, put a sizeable portion of his troops in Germany and Napoleon established his main force in France, while Henry decided to secure North America along the Greenland border. Finally, Genghis put a considerable number of troops in Mongolia. With our initial armies in place, the fighting began. Otto quickly made alliances with everyone at the table, intending to keep none of them. After convincing Genghis to place his troops on the French border and invade Napoleon’s territory the next turn, Otto invaded Genghis from behind and took a sizeable portion of his territory in Asia. Infuriated, Genghis retaliated. But because Henry was bound to assist Otto by a treaty they had just signed on a napkin, he assisted in knocking Genghis out. Genghis did not take this very lightly and almost took off Otto’s head with a few swings of his club. We finally got him to leave by promising he could go first in our next game. \n\n\nAll this nonsense did not leave Napoleon very happy and he quickly decided to march into Russia. His supply lines got overextended and, sensing his weakness, Otto strategically turned on the air conditioning. Just as his troops had been defeated by the cold Russian winters in the early 1800s, he was defeated by the unpleasant chill of central air. When Napoleon went to get his jacket from my hallway closet, Otto quickly moved his forces around and took a significant portion of Napoleon’s troops off the board. Then, next turn, Otto’s army crushed Napoleon’s, removing him from the game. Napoleon skulked off. We later learned he had moved to the Island of Elba. Henry struggled to develop a strategy to fight Otto’s now almost unbeatable force. Finally, he developed a plan: he would discuss his strategy with Otto in his deep monotonous voice until Otto feel asleep. Once Otto passed out from this soporific discussion, Henry and I took out his territories and called a truce. I kicked the remaining world leaders out of my dining room and cleaned up after our crazy night. Just before I went to bed I noticed I had 37 unchecked messages on my answering machine: I had forgotten to invite Julius Caesar.
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The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
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