Gender in the Game of Thrones

March 29, 2012 in Snips

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

The gratuitous amount of sexualized, female nudity in The Game of Thrones has raised concerns about sexism within the show. This is a topic for philosophers and analysts to debate and discuss, and the determination of whether or not the show is fundamentally sexist is beyond Centives’ own scope.

What Centives did note however was that the four individuals who you would think would dominate the narrative of the show after the first episode (The Current King, The Exiled King, The Vicious Barbarian-Challenger and the Protagonist) all die by the end of the first season. Robert Baratheon is replaced by his son and his wife. Viserys Targaryen is replaced by his sister, Khal Drogo is replaced by his wife, and the Protagonist is replaced by his adult son and mother. With the exception of Robert Stark succeeding his father, the four main male characters are replaced either by women or by children.

More generally, according to Wikipedia there are 19 main characters in season 1. Four of them are children, 12 are adult males, and three are adult females. By the end of the season there are still seven women and children but only eight of the main male adult characters remain. Thus going into the second season the number of main male adults and main women and children are roughly equal. This still puts men in the significant majority and women in the minority, but compare that to other fantasy worlds such as Middle Earth or even the Star Wars universe, where females and children are a rare sight.

In the end perhaps this says more about George RR Martin’s inclination to play with the established norms and precepts embedded in traditional fantasy literature, rather than anything about gender issues in Game of Thrones. It is possible, for example, that the second season will see the introduction of a whole host of new male characters (with perhaps some women thrown in to satisfy them.) But perhaps all is not as it would first appear in Westeros. After the first season women seem to be gaining as the men are eliminated one by one.

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How Much is the Mockingjay Pin Worth?

March 19, 2012 in Snips

The Mockingjay pin that Katniss is given has played a prominent role in the film’s marketing. The pin itself is made of solid gold and Katniss states that “the pin could keep a family in bread for a month.” How does that translate into dollar terms?

We’ve previously argued that the levels of poverty seen in Panem are likely similar to those seen in Brazil. Brazilians spend about 25% of their income on food. Brazil has a PPP-Adjusted GDP per Capita of $11,800. So Brazilians make $983 in a month and spend $245.75 of it on food. Therefore the pin is worth about $250.

With some mathematics then we can estimate how much the pin weighs. The price of gold has become a little crazy recently, what with the entire western world on the brink of an apocalyptic collapse. Back in the sunnier days of 2005 when the biggest things we had to worry about were a nuclear capable North Korea, an irritating house guest named Katrina, and a (possibly dystopian) future where face transplants became the norm, gold was worth $512 a troy ounce (about 31.1 grams). Therefore Katniss’ $250 pin weighs around 15 grams.

Lehigh Beats Duke

March 16, 2012 in Snips

Lehigh Wins!

Centives’ projections about Lehigh’s chances in the game seem to have been accurate. After a tough first half Lehigh led for most of the second half to win by a slender 5 point margin. This is the second largest margin by which a #15 seed has beaten a #2 seed. (In 1997 #15 Coppin State beat #2 South Carolina by 13 points.)

In our write-up we noted that it had been over a decade since a #15 seed had beaten a #2 seed and it was about time that it happened again. It turns out the 11 year gap between such an event happening (the longest in NCAA history) was enough for the gods of probability to dictate that it would happen twice this year. Over in Nebraska the #15 seeded Norfolk State Spartans are also celebrating.

The last time 2010 champions Duke were eliminated in the second round was Read the rest of this entry →

Rahul Dravid: Family Man

March 9, 2012 in Snips

The news is that Rahul Dravid, a stalwart of the Indian cricket team, has decided to retire. As the platitudes pour in, and the highlights of his career are analyzed, Centives found a statistic that few are likely to pick up on.

Overall, across his career, Dravid ended with a Test average of 52.31, and an ODI average of 39.16.

Rahul Dravid married Vijeta Pendharkar on the 4th of May, 2003. Between the date of their wedding and their one year anniversary he averaged 95.43 in Test cricket, with two of his three highest Test scores coming in this period. He also averaged an amazing 41.77 in ODIs.

Dravid’s first son, Samit, was born on October 11th, 2005. Between Samit’s birth and his first birthday Dravid averaged 62.00 in Tests and 44.11 in ODIs.

His second son, Anvay, was born on April 27th, 2009. By that time Dravid had ceased to be a regular fixture in the ODI side, but within the first year of his son’s life he averaged 95.33 in Tests.

The numbers indicate that over his career Rahul Dravid used his family as a source of inspiration and achievement.

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Cake or Death?

February 24, 2012 in Snips

Eddie Izzard offers us the choice; will we have tea and cake with the vicar, or shall we die?

Most people choose the cake. But just how much cake is one human life worth?

Of course you can’t actually value a human life, but that doesn’t stop insurance companies from trying. According to a recent study based on medical insurance for dialysis, a human life is worth £81,300. And according to Marks and Spencers, one lovely Triple Layer Victoria Sandwich (for the non-brits, that’s a type of cake) costs £17.50. A hint of mathematics later, and we find that a human life is equal to 4,646 cakes.

We’re really not sure what to do with that number. Perhaps advise that all hostage negotiators have some culinary training. Beyond that; we really don’t know.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2002

December 2, 2011 in Snips

This begins part four of a series of editorials on The Evolution of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
over the years. Read the introduction here and find previous years here: 1999, 2000, 2001.


For the second year in a row the number of journalists on the show saw a significant Read the rest of this entry →

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 2001

November 25, 2011 in Snips

Welcome to part three of a series of editorials where Centives examines the Evolution of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart over the years. Read our introduction here. And see our previous articles for the years 1999 and 2000.


The number of actors who appeared on the show suffered a Read the rest of this entry →

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2000

November 18, 2011 in Snips

Welcome to the second part of a series of articles by Centives on the Evolution of the Daily Show over the years. Today we’re examining the guests that appeared on the show in the year 2000. Click here to read the introduction and here to read our analysis of the guests in 1999.


Compared to 1999, the percentage of actors and musicians who appeared on the show in 2000 s Read the rest of this entry →

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 1999

November 11, 2011 in Snips

Welcome to a new series of articles by Centives that examines how The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has evolved over the years. Find out more about the analysis in our introduction over here.

The show began its life through an interview with Michael J. Fox. As a 37 year old male actor, he broadly reflected the characteristics that would go on to define the show in 1999. Read the rest of this entry →

The Evolution of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Over the Years

November 9, 2011 in Snips

Centives is launching a new series of articles where we examine the guests that appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Centives went through the episodes of the show and for each guest noted the date that they appeared on the show, the field that they were best known for, their date of birth, and their gender. We decided to pick these four attributes because, quite honestly, they Read the rest of this entry →