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Poker and Warfare

I started listening to Sun Tzu's "Art of War" on audiobook recently. I'd tried to get through it before, but the translations I picked up were a little too dry, or I wasn't in the right state of mind for it.

Listening to the narrator speak out Sun Tzu's strategy made me realize something - the fundamental judgment errors people make are independent of any particular field. Going on tilt in poker or attacking immediately with exhausted troops after it's taken three months to build siege engines - are these not the same thing? Overpursuit past objectives in war, and deviating from core investment strategies after a short term win or loss - certainly, this is a similar judgment flaw.

This particular audio version includes commentary written by other Chinese military strategists, and one story is how one commander and his officers were at a neighboring kingdom trying to convince them to make an alliance against the barbarians they were fighting. After a week of great treatment, the neighboring king grew more cold and distant to the commander.

Being perceptive, the commander guessed that the barbarians might have also sent envoys, and now the king was choosing which side to support. The commander captured and interrogated one of the palace attendants, who said yes, the barbarians did send envoys.

The commander's party was less than 30 men, it was him and some of his officers. The barbarian envoy had over 100 men. But, in the cover of night they snuck to the barbarian camp, lit it on fire, played war drums to make their forces look larger than they were, and shot down barbarians with bow and arrow and crossbows, and completely destroyed the enemy forces.

World War Robot by Ashley Wood

On Where Pianos Roam

A few weeks ago, I was in Atlanta, GA at a Barnes and Nobles in Little Five Points when I came across a book of paintings called World War Robot by Ashley Wood and TP Louise.

Mind you, I've never really been into war-themed art, but the inclusion of robots really grabbed my attention.  I love the robot designs in Transformers, but the work in World War Robot is stark, haunting, gritty, and to me, grippingly beautiful.

These paintings by Ashley Wood follow a narrative of a war in which opposing sides use robot warfare to their fullest advantage.  At the epicenter of this gargantuan battle is a company that is supplying all of the best robot technology to both sides.

These images are realism and surrealism blended together to create an imaginative and visionary body of work. 

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