Dating The Avengers

May 1, 2012 in Editorial

There came a day, a day unlike any other… when Earth’s mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat… to fight the foes no single superhero could withstand… on that day, The Avengers were born. – Nick Fury

But even the mightiest superheroes need partners that will stand by them. Centives decided to take a look at these leading ladies. We ran Google searches on the superheroes and their partners and analyzed the ratio of partner search results to hero search results. They are summarized in Read the rest of this entry →

Gravity in 2001: A Space Odyssey

April 23, 2012 in Editorial

Aside from the classic problems of the Fridge Door Light and the Awkward Facebook Friend Request, there is another issue that keeps many of us awake at night. How do we exercise in Space? 2001: A Space Odyssey gave us an answer – simply have the astronauts run in a centrifuge that simulates gravity. About an hour into the movie we see one space jogger moving around quite comfortably. In fact, he appears to be moving with the same amount of ease as someone jogging on Earth, leading Centives to wonder: is the centrifuge spinning fast enough to generate a replacement for Earth’s gravity?

Using some creative math that we’ve outlined below, Centives figured out that the gravity that the astronauts felt in the centrifuge was just Read the rest of this entry →

The Economics of Being a Stick Man

April 18, 2012 in Editorial

Stick men. You come across them all the time. They’re on road signs, they illustrate points. They don’t complain, they just live in a strange world that we create for them. But, if the situations we created for stick men were real, what would the economics be like?

Firstly, stick people are stuck in one situation. They live in a certain world and cannot move from it. There are no additional inputs beyond what their creator imagines for them. If there is a sketch of a shop in stick world; that is the only shop. As far as an economist is concerned, this is a Read the rest of this entry →

Space Marines: Surprisingly Cost-Effective

April 7, 2012 in Editorial

“Give me a hundred Space Marines. Or failing that give me a thousand other troops”Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists

In WarHammer 40,000 the main advantage of having a Space Marine on your side is that all of your enemies die a swift death. The main disadvantage is of course that no-one knows how much they cost in 2012.

But we can try. Read the rest of this entry →

The Wall That Protects the Seven Kingdoms

March 29, 2012 in Editorial, Top

Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season

The towering wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms from mythical evils is one of the 9 Wonders Made by Man in George R.R. Martin’s World.

At its highest point the wall that is made mostly of solid ice is 800 feet or 244 meters tall. This makes it taller than the Py Read the rest of this entry →

How Much Does a Dragon Egg Cost?

March 29, 2012 in Editorial

Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season

To fans of the HBO television series Game of Thrones, April 1st 2012 is a much-awaited date because it signals the beginning of the second season of this award-winning medieval fantasy television series. 

When Centives finally got the chance to focus away from the amazing plotline of the first season of the TV series, our interest was piqued by the worth of the three petrified dragon eggs that Illyrio Mopatis, a Magister of the Free City of Pentos, gifted to Daenerys Targaryen as a Read the rest of this entry →

The Lannister Brand

March 29, 2012 in Editorial, Top

Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season

“A Lannister always pays his debts” is a phrase that will be immediately familiar to those who have finished watching the first season of HBO’s popular series Game of Thrones. It is also a phrase that seems to be commonly known in all of Westoros.

It is a useful motto to have; Tyrion Lannister is able to use its widespread acceptance and recognition to get out of several sticky situations. The motto is then, at its heart, a form of branding. It is strongly linked to anybody who comes from house Lannister, and the brand-awareness is so deep that it can be used as a form of currency in itself. Tyrion is able to promise rewards in the future for actions taken by others in the present, and these promises of future payments are seen as credible.

For the brand to receive the kind of reputation that it has, constant repetition is necessary. Even one failed promise of debt repayment could be enough to put an end to the brand if word of the reneged promise were to spread. So while the brand is useful it also opens the famously rich Lannisters to risks. Any individual could, for example, try to Read the rest of this entry →

The Economics of Being Treated Like a Cat

March 26, 2012 in Editorial

Ed Byrne has pointed out that stray cats are treated far better than stray humans. We feed cats, give them a home, and take them to the vet. But how much would it cost to treat stray humans in the same way we treat stray cats? Centives decided to find out.

The quick answer is: £5 Read the rest of this entry →

The Cost of Sponsorship in the Hunger Games

March 20, 2012 in Editorial

(Mild spoilers ahead. Read some spoiler-free coverage of the Hunger Games over here and here)

Hunger Game readers have probably found themselves frustrated at the fact that Haymitch and the other mentors don’t send their tributes enough critical supplies over the course of the game. How hard would it have been, really, to send Katniss a bottle of water during her first few days in the arena? Even in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, water can’t cost more than a few dollars. Surely even the poorest in the districts could scrounge up a couple of bucks to send to their tribute.

The reality of the games, however, is that nothing is cheap. Prices are inflated to a point where many rich Capitol citizens would need to contribute for even the smallest of presents. This is why it was so important to get sponsors both before and during the games.

Sponsoring a tribute is very much like a corporate sponsorship of an athlete. It doesn’t cost millions of dollars to purchase a snowboard or a hockey uniform; instead the company is shelling out tons of cash for publicity purposes. By plastering their logo over everything companies increase brand awareness and revenue. In the Hunger Games, the incentive is not publicity, but instead win Read the rest of this entry →

Game Theory in the Hunger Games

March 19, 2012 in Editorial, Top

(Spoiler Information: The first half of this article doesn’t reveal anything more than what is already in the trailers. We’ll throw up another alert when it begins to get more ‘spoilerey’.)

Katniss is heavily restricted under Panam’s social structure and a prisoner of the Hunger Games. She must use her rage at the capital and her obstinate attitude to protect herself and those she loves from coercive rule and an unsettling future.

But how does the Hunger Games function? Why don’t all the tributes just agree not to kill each other? The Prisoner’s Dilemma helps to answer this question. Let’s take a look at Katniss and Peeta, the two primary protagonists of the book.

Both Katniss and Peeta can choose to either cooperate with each other to try and win the games, or they can rebel. Their decision matrix looks like this: Read the rest of this entry →