Luck, not just talent, in supposed meritocracy: A new documentary

“A Shadow on Meritocracy” is a documentary film about the ongoing research springing from the Ig Nobel Prize-winning work of Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda, physicists at the University of Catania. The film is in Italian; this version has English subtitles: Background: The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for management was awarded to Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, […]

Talent vs Luck: the Role of Randomness in Success and Failure [research study]

Are successful people better than people who did not achieve success—or are they to a large degree lucky? This physics-based analysis looked into that tangled question: “Talent vs Luck: the Role of Randomness in Success and Failure,” Alessandro Pluchino, A. E. Biondo, and Andrea Rapisarda, arXiv:1802.07068v1, February 20, 2018. The authors, at the University of […]

A round-up of American hole-in-one jurisprudence

Of all the curious things one can get insurance cover for – the golfing fraternity’s ‘hole-in-one-insurance’ is surely one of the curiouser. Why would one want insurance against a hole-in-one? The answer lies in the substantial cash bonus prizes which (some) golf clubs offer to those players who manage to get one. From the club’s […]

Beijing traffic jams and the number 4

Excessively polluting and timewasting  heavy traffic congestion in central Beijing causes significant distress to drivers and residents alike. In a drive to identify root causes, researchers have put two and two together and come up with an improbable answer – the number ‘4‘. “In this work we estimate the effects of traffic congestion on subjective […]