The Null Device


The world's best-known Jewish cowboy crime novelist, Kinky Friedman, is running for governor of Texas:

Mr Friedman has a few policies, but opinions by the handful, most of them deliberately offensive: he is in favour of gay marriage ("They have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us"), legalising gambling to pay for primary education ("slots for tots") and smoking Cuban cigars ("I'm not trading with the enemy; I'm burning their fields"). He is less partial to fossil fuels ("we are running out of dinosaur wine"), Castro ("a 45-year legacy of arresting librarians") and Southern Baptists ("They don't hold them down long enough").
He also plans to appoint pot-smoking, biodiesel-promoting fellow country singer Willie Nelson as "energy czar", charging him with the responsibility of converting Texas (a state with a proud history of oil dependency) to renewable fuels. Funnily enough, The Times calls him a conservative. I'd have thought that, by Texan standards, those opinions would be well on the liberal side of the spectrum.

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Rock, Paper, Scissors may sound to the casual observer like a perfect game of chance; however, with the human mind being what it is, there are many ways to play it to win:

In RPS circles a common mantra is "Rock is for Rookies" because males have a tendency to lead with Rock on their opening throw. It has a lot to do with idea that Rock is perceived as "strong" and forceful", so guys tend to fall back on it. Use this knowledge to take an easy first win by playing Paper. This tactic is best done in pedestrian matches against someone who doesn't play that much and generally won't work in tournament play.
When playing with someone who is not experienced at the RPS, look out for double runs or in other words, the same throw twice. When this happens you can safely eliminate that throw and guarantee yourself at worst a stalemate in the next game. So, when you see a two-Scissor run, you know their next move will be Rock or Paper, so Paper is your best move. Why does this work? People hate being predictable and the perceived hallmark of predictability is to come out with the same throw three times in row.
When playing against someone who asks you to remind them about the rules, take the opportunity to subtly "suggest a throw" as you explain to them by physically showing them the throw you want them to play. ie "Paper beats Rock, Rock beats scissors (show scissors), Scissors (show scissors again) beats paper." Believe it or not, when people are not paying attention their subconscious mind will often accept your "suggestion". A very similar technique is used by magicians to get someone to take a specific card from the deck.

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