Thursday, April 06, 2006

You don't say?
Inference by process of elimination

Item: Gulfnews: Drunken youths rape and assault women

Item: Gulfnews: drunk driver kills workers on break

The ladies and gentlemen of the UAE journalism community are, I infer, well aware that omission can be a very effective means of telegraphing what you mean and still stay within bounds of the defamation code. Simply always report nationality unless a UAE national is involved.

Ergo, the unidentified delinquent raping drunk driver person is very likely to be of the nationality that is one that is almost always omitted when it would be shameful or embarrassing. It is a sign of progress, but adds no other information, that sometimes it is expressly stated that the suspect is a UAE national; the first item above is one example. Now if we can only get rid of initials and name names of rapists, alleged or convicted, and not just the names of their victims.

This signaling equilibrium stuff ain't as hard as economists make it out to be is it? Sometimes it's pretty costless to tell the goats from the sheep. Especially when everybody knows that everybody knows that everybody knows how this game is played.

On the power of common knowledge: There are three persons. There are three hats on their three heads. Hats may be either white or black. No one knows their hat color. I say to all three, raise your hand if you see a white hat. Everyone raises their hand. Then I say to all three, raise your hand if you know the color of your hat. There is a pause. Finally, one raises his hand. What color is his hat? Hint: common knowledge is created when the three see the responses to the first question, "do you see a white hat?"

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Blogger samuraisam said...

neither of the GN articles work /:

4:04 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Thanks, samuraisam. Broken links have been repaired.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Kazim Nanji said...

i didn't get "power of common knowledge" example that you have given can you please elaborate!

12:40 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Kazim: The answer, and better explanations, can be found googling

"three hats" white black

10:47 PM  

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