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Street-Fighting Mathematics

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ISBN: 9780262265591 9780262514293 Year: Pages: 152 Language: English
Publisher: The MIT Press
Subject: Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-17 11:41:37
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An antidote to mathematical rigor mortis, teaching how to guess answers without needing a proof or an exact calculation.In problem solving, as in street fighting, rules are for fools: do whatever works—don't just stand there! Yet we often fear an unjustified leap even though it may land us on a correct result. Traditional mathematics teaching is largely about solving exactly stated problems exactly, yet life often hands us partly defined problems needing only moderately accurate solutions. This engaging book is an antidote to the rigor mortis brought on by too much mathematical rigor, teaching us how to guess answers without needing a proof or an exact calculation.In Street-Fighting Mathematics, Sanjoy Mahajan builds, sharpens, and demonstrates tools for educated guessing and down-and-dirty, opportunistic problem solving across diverse fields of knowledge—from mathematics to management. Mahajan describes six tools: dimensional analysis, easy cases, lumping, picture proofs, successive approximation, and reasoning by analogy. Illustrating each tool with numerous examples, he carefully separates the tool—the general principle—from the particular application so that the reader can most easily grasp the tool itself to use on problems of particular interest. Street-Fighting Mathematics grew out of a short course taught by the author at MIT for students ranging from first-year undergraduates to graduate students ready for careers in physics, mathematics, management, electrical engineering, computer science, and biology. They benefited from an approach that avoided rigor and taught them how to use mathematics to solve real problems.Street-Fighting Mathematics will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.

Global Carbon Pricing

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ISBN: 9780262340397 9780262036269 Year: Pages: 268 Language: English
Publisher: The MIT Press
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-17 11:41:31
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Why the traditional “pledge and review” climate agreements have failed, and how carbon pricing, based on trust and reciprocity, could succeed.After twenty-five years of failure, climate negotiations continue to use a “pledge and review” approach: countries pledge (almost anything), subject to (unenforced) review. This approach ignores everything we know about human cooperation. In this book, leading economists describe an alternate model for climate agreements, drawing on the work of the late Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom and others. They show that a “common commitment” scheme is more effective than an “individual commitment” scheme; the latter depends on altruism while the former involves reciprocity (“we will if you will”).The contributors propose that global carbon pricing is the best candidate for a reciprocal common commitment in climate negotiations. Each country would commit to placing charges on carbon emissions sufficient to match an agreed global price formula. The contributors show that carbon pricing would facilitate negotiations and enforcement, improve efficiency and flexibility, and make other climate policies more effective. Additionally, they analyze the failings of the 2015 Paris climate conference.ContributorsRichard N. Cooper, Peter Cramton, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Gollier, Éloi Laurent, David JC MacKay, William Nordhaus, Axel Ockenfels, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Steven Stoft, Jean Tirole, Martin L. Weitzman

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