Who uses it: Mathematicians and logicians
What it means: A situation in which two adversaries try to gain benefits by betraying each other. In the prisoner's dilemma, A and B face the same set of charges. If both A and B remain silent, both go free. If A rats out B (while B stays silent), he goes free while B serves a full prison term. If B rats out A (while A is silent), he goes free while A serves the full term. If A and B rat out each other, both serve shorter prison terms. In game theory exercises, players generally start by betraying each other, but quickly learn to cooperate.
How you can use it: When you win by trusting your partner.
The U.N. Security Council meets today to discuss Iran's nuclear program, and I don't understand why the American press isn't paying more attention to this. Today's New York Times leads with Congressional opposition to the Dubai ports management deal; the Washington Post reports on its own poll about American perceptions of Islam; and Drudge is shrieking about National Guard troops at the Arizona border.
Have I lost my mind? Am I overreacting? Can I really be the only one who sees World War III about to start in earnest, or have I lost all touch with reality?
Even if I have lost all touch with reality (quite likely), this is more important than partisan grandstanding on Capitol Hill or Tom DeLay's primary victory, as horrifying as that might be. Yes, it's even more important than David Hasselhoff's domestic violence charges or Barry Bonds' shamelessness in spring training.
Since I do not rule the world and cannot protect myself against nuclear attack, ranting about it here is as much as I can do. I can also ask anyone who might be in the Augusta area this weekend to consider attending Gaslight Theater's winter fundraising event, "Omar Ricardo and His Many, Many Women," playing tomorrow night at 7:30 at Hallowell City Hall and as dinner theater on Saturday, at 6:30, at Maple Hill Farm. Thank you for your support. (Tomorrow's term: non sequitur...)