Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Welcome class of 2009

Noah Riner ‘06 Welcomes Class of ‘09
By Noah Riner Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Editor’s Note: Student Body President Noah Riner ‘06 spoke to the incoming class of ‘09 at today’s Convocation.

You’ve been told that you are a special class. A quick look at the statistics confirms that claim: quite simply, you are the smartest and most diverse group of freshmen to set foot on the Dartmouth campus. You have more potential than all of the other classes. You really are special.
But it isn’t enough to be special. It isn’t enough to be talented, to be beautiful, to be smart. Generations of amazing students have come before you, and have sat in your seats. Some have been good, some have been bad. All have been special.

In fact, there’s quite a long list of very special, very corrupt people who have graduated from Dartmouth. William Walter Remington, Class of 1939, started out as a Boy Scout and a choirboy and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He ended up as a Soviet spy, was convicted of perjury and beaten to death in prison.

Daniel Mason ‘93 was just about to graduate from Boston Medical School when he shot two men – killing one – after a parking dispute.

Just a few weeks ago, I read in the D about PJ Halas, Class of 1998. His great uncle George founded the Chicago Bears, and PJ lived up to the family name, co-captaining the basketball team his senior year at Dartmouth and coaching at a high school team following graduation. He was also a history teacher, and, this summer, he was arrested for sexually assualting a 15-year-old student.
These stories demonstrate that it takes more than a Dartmouth degree to build character.
As former Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey said, at Dartmouth our business is learning. And I’ll have to agree with the motto of Faber College, featured in the movie Animal House, “Knowledge is Good.” But if all we get from this place is knowledge, we’ve missed something. There’s one subject that you won’t learn about in class, one topic that orientation didn’t cover, and that your UGA won’t mention: character.

What is the purpose of our education? Why are we at Dartmouth?
Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
“But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society…. We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
We hear very little about character in our classrooms, yet, as Dr. King suggests, the real problem in the world is not a lack of education.
For example, in the past few weeks we’ve seen some pretty revealing things happening on the Gulf Coast in the wake of hurricane Katrina. We’ve seen acts of selfless heroism and millions around the country have united to help the refugees.
On the other hand, we’ve been disgusted by the looting, violence, and raping that took place even in the supposed refuge areas. In a time of crisis and death, people were paddling around in rafts, stealing TV’s and VCR’s. How could Americans go so low?
My purpose in mentioning the horrible things done by certain people on the Gulf Coast isn’t to condemn just them; rather it’s to condemn all of us. Supposedly, character is what you do when no one is looking, but I’m afraid to say all the things I’ve done when no one was looking. Cheating, stealing, lusting, you name it - How different are we? It’s easy to say that we’ve never gone that far: never stolen that much; never lusted so much that we’d rape; and the people we’ve cheated, they were rich anyway.
Let’s be honest, the differences are in degree. We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven’t been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same.
The Times of London once asked readers for comments on what was wrong with the world. British author, G. K. Chesterton responded simply: “Dear Sir, I am.”
Not many of us have the same clarity that Chesterton had. Just days after Hurricane Katrina had ravaged the Gulf Coast, politicians and pundits were distributing more blame than aid. It’s so easy to see the faults of others, but so difficult to see our own. In the words of Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves.”

Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That’s character.

Jesus is a good example of character, but He’s also much more than that. He is the solution to flawed people like corrupt Dartmouth alums, looters, and me.
It’s so easy to focus on the defects of others and ignore my own. But I need saving as much as they do.
Jesus’ message of redemption is simple. People are imperfect, and there are consequences for our actions. He gave His life for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to bear the penalty of the law; so we could see love. The problem is me; the solution is God’s love: Jesus on the cross, for us.
In the words of Bono:
[I]f only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. …When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s—- and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question.

You want the best undergraduate education in the world, and you’ve come to the right place to get that. But there’s more to college than achievement. With Martin Luther King, we must dream of a nation – and a college – where people are not judged by the superficial, “but by the content of their character.”

Thus, as you begin your four years here, you’ve got to come to some conclusions about your own character because you won’t get it by just going to class. What is the content of your character? Who are you? And how will you become what you need to be?

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:31 AM   2 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 20, 2005

US planning invasion

US planning invasion, says Chavez Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, says he is in possession of intelligence showing that the United States plans to invade his country.

In a BBC interview, Mr Chavez said the US was after his nation's oil, much as it had been after Iraq's.

But he stressed that any invasion would never be allowed to happen.
Mr Chavez has long accused Washington of being behind what he describes as a coup - claims the United States denies.
An attempt to unseat him three years ago was aborted.
The Venezuelan president was interviewed by the BBC's Robin Lustig in Paris, while on an official visit to France.
George W Bush should not have any reason to fear - if he does is because he has a dark ghost in his subconscious Hugo Chavez
Asked why he thought the US was trying to invade Venezuela, Mr Chavez said: "We have denounced intentions.
"A coup happened in Venezuela that was prepared by the US. What do they want? Our oil, as they did in Iraq.
"We have detected with intelligence reports plans of a supposed invasion, one that would never happen. But we have to denounce it," Mr Chavez said.
Recently a US TV evangelist, Pat Robertson, called for his assassination. Mr Chavez said this would be "cheaper than invading Venezuela".
Mr Robertson's remarks were described by the US State Department as "inappropriate", and Mr Robertson later apologised for them.
'No threat'
Mr Chavez went on to describe the US as a terrorist government.
"It is an imperialist government, one that says it fights against terrorism but protects it. The US throws stones to Latin America.
President Chavez, when will you stop using the guise of American imperialism to cover your own country's inadequacies? Erik Risendal, USA
"But apart from that, Venezuela is the world's fifth oil exporter, and we send a million and a half barrels to the US every day," he added.
"We sell oil to people. Another thing is our political differences that I wish could be toned down."
He also denied claims that Venezuela was a threat to the international community, saying that his country wanted open relations with the whole world - a multi-polar world - but "with respect".
"George W Bush should not have any reason to fear. If he does it is because he has a dark ghost in his subconscious," he said.
Controversial leader
Correspondents says the Venezuelan president has cultivated ties with other countries that have strained relations with the US - chiefly Cuba and Iran.
Washington officially sees him as an unfriendly head of state in South America.
Mr Chavez, 55, first came to prominence as a leader of a failed coup in 1992.
After being released from prison, he embarked on a political career that swept him to power in 1998, with a promise to transform Venezuela.
Relations with Washington reached a low when he accused it of "fighting terror with terror" during the war in Afghanistan after 11 September.
The situation hardly improved when Mr Chavez accused the US of being behind the failed coup to oust him in 2002, and of funding opposition groups.
The country's vast oil reserves - the largest in the Americas - have given it a strategic importance, but the US state department denies trying to overthrow the president.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:42 AM   1 comments links to this post

Afghans Investigate U.S. Soldiers' Actions

Afghans Investigate U.S. Soldiers' Actions
Oct 20 8:02 AM US/Eastern

By DANIEL COONEYAssociated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday that the government has launched an investigation into a television report claiming that U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan burned the bodies of two suspected Taliban fighters, then used the action to taunt other Islamic militants.
"We strongly condemn any disrespect to human bodies, regardless of whether they are those of enemies or friends," said Karim Rahimi, a spokesman for Karzai.
The U.S. military said it found the alleged action "repugnant" and said it would investigate.
Australia's SBS television network broadcast video footage purportedly showing U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of the suspected Taliban fighters in the hills outside the southern village of Gonbaz, near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:32 AM   0 comments links to this post

American Troops Burn the Dead!

Film rolls as troops burn dead
By Tom AllardOctober 19, 2005

US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and in breach of the Geneva conventions.
An investigation by SBS's Dateline program, to be aired tonight, filmed the burning of the bodies.
It also filmed a US Army psychological operations unit broadcasting a message boasting of the burnt corpses into a village believed to be harbouring Taliban.
According to an SBS translation of the message, delivered in the local language, the soldiers accused Taliban fighters near Kandahar of being "cowardly dogs". "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be," the message reportedly said.
"You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."
The burning of a body is a deep insult to Muslims. Islam requires burial within 24 hours.
Under the Geneva conventions the burial of war dead "should be honourable, and, if possible, according to the rites of the religion to which the deceased belonged".
US soldiers said they burnt the bodies for hygiene reasons but two reporters, Stephen Dupont and John Martinkus, said the explanation was unbelievable, given they were in an isolated area.
SBS said Australian special forces in Afghanistan were operating from the same base as the US soldiers involved in the incident, although no Australians took part in the action.
The incident is reminiscent of the psychological techniques used in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:27 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Second Grader Brings Pot on School Trip

Second Grader Brings Pot on School Trip
Oct 18 8:52 PM US/Eastern


A second grader who brought more than a dozen bags of marijuana to school will not face criminal charges _ but his uncle will.
The 8-year-old student at the Dunbar School found his uncle's stash, and brought it on a school field trip Friday to show friends, police said.
A teacher found the boy stuffing bags of pot into his pockets during the trip to Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History.
"We immediately contacted the state Department of Children and Families because we were more concerned about the youngster," said Michael Giannotti, a spokesman for the school system. "After an investigation, we decided not to suspend the youngster because we don't feel there was any malice on his part."
His uncle, 18-year-old Albert Davidson of Stamford, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school and risk of injury to a minor. He was released after posting a $1,000 bond.
Information from: Connecticut Post,

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:34 PM   0 comments links to this post


expropriate • \ek-SPROH-pree-ayt\ • verb
1 : to deprive of possession or proprietary rights*
2 : to transfer (the property of another) to one's own possession

Example sentence:When Maria went home, we expropriated her pens and extra paper to finish the group project.

Did you know?If you guessed that "expropriate" has something in common with the verb "appropriate," you're right. Both words ultimately derive from the Latin adjective "proprius," meaning "own." "Expropriate" came to us by way of the Medieval Latin verb "expropriare," itself from Latin "ex-" ("out of" or "from") and "proprius." "Appropriate" descends from Late Latin "appropriare," which joins "proprius" and Latin "ad-" ("to" or "toward"). Both the verb "appropriate" ("to take possession of" or "to set aside for a particular use") and the adjective "appropriate" ("fitting" or "suitable") have been with us since the 15th century, and "expropriate" has been a part of the language since at least 1611. Other "proprius" descendants in English include "proper" and "property."

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Friday, October 07, 2005


burke • \BERK\ • verb *

1 : to suppress quietly or indirectly
2 : bypass, avoid

Example sentence:The governor attempted to discreetly burke all inquiries into his alleged misuse of state funds.

Did you know?When an elderly pensioner died at the Edinburgh boarding house of William Hare in 1827, the proprietor and his friend William Burke decided to sell the body to a local anatomy school. The sale was so lucrative that they decided to make sure they could repeat it. They began luring nameless wanderers (who were not likely to be missed) into the house, getting them drunk, then smothering or strangling them and selling the bodies. The two disposed of at least 15 victims before murdering a local woman whose disappearance led to their arrest. At Burke's execution (by hanging), irate crowds shouted "Burke him!" As a result of the case, the word "burke" became a byword first for death by strangulation and eventually for any cover-up.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:37 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Murder is Ok – Just Don’t Talk About It

Bill Bennett, who served as Education Secretary under President Ronald Reagan and as drug czar under the first President Bush, made a comment Wednesday on the "Morning in America" radio program he hosts, that has caused a lot of controversy. This is what happened:

He was responding to a caller who suggested that social security might be solvent if all the babies aborted in the last thirty years were here to pay into it.That launched Bennett and his caller into a theoretical discussion about the impact of abortion, during which Bennett said the following: "But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations [about abortion] are, I think, tricky."

Now you can imagine what happened when these comments were reported by the major news media! Bill Bennett was called a racist and many called for him to be fined or fired! Many people debated the current crime rates and looked at the percentage of crime committed by African Americans. But while all this was happening, I sat back in disbelief, wondering why nobody seemed to get the real point! How can people be upset about what Bill Bennett said and at the same time not upset with the people who are aborting African American babies? I did a little research and found that:

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that while 56 percent of all women who obtained legal abortions were white, the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 per year) for black women was 2.9 times that of white women. For every thousand black women, 32 have abortions, as compared with 11 for every thousand white women. Likewise with numbers of abortions per 1,000 births: The abortions/births ratio for white women was 184 abortions per 1,000 live births; for black women, it was 543 abortions per 1,000 births. This means that abortion ratios for black women were 2.8 times greater than those for white women. Sadly, black women were also more likely to obtain riskier abortions late in their pregnancies, while white women were significantly more likely than black women to obtain abortions before 16 weeks.

I find the whole thing hypocritical! People are attacking what Bill Bennett said and at the same time are supporting abortion! I mean, if abortion is not the killing of a human life, then what is the big deal? If it is simply the surgical removal of tissue, then why the outrage? No one wants to admit that abortion is the killing of a human life. Yet there are times when the very same people react in a way that seems to indicate differently. They want laws passed that will find someone who kills a pregnant mother guilty of murdering both the mom and the baby. If a man attacks a pregnant women and begins to kick and punch her in the stomach area, people want him to be punished for hurting the baby as well. Hello! Is anyone paying attention? If it is a baby when someone else harms it, then it has to be a baby when a mother walks into an abortion clinic and has it killed.

I guess in our confused country it is ok to get upset about talking about the hypothetical benefits of aborting certain babies, while at the same time supporting the actual killing of those very babies!

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:41 PM   2 comments links to this post


One year ago: The top U.S. arms inspector in
Iraq', Charles Duelfer, reported finding no evidence
Saddam Hussein' regime had produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991.

So the main reason for going to war in Iraq did not exist. In light of that information consider the following:

There have been 2,136 coalition troop deaths, 1,942 Americans, 96 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, two Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 26 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq as of October 4, 2005. (Graphical breakdown of casualties). At least 14,362 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. The Pentagon does not report the number of non-hostile wounded.;_ylt=ArogeTFAYy7lo7wLcfNh7YZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2M2trdGUxBGNvbG8DdwRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMwRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANpMDIyXzQ4/SIG=12p75fa5k/EXP=1128698715/**

Also consider the fact that The Cost of War is set to reach $204.6 billion

Almost 2,ooo deaths and 200 billion dollars for a war that the main reason for going has been proven not to have been a legitimate reason!

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:10 AM   1 comments links to this post



Pronunciation: 'blO-vE-"AtFunction: intransitive verbInflected Form(s): -at·ed; -at·ing
Etymology: perhaps irregular from 1blow: to speak or write verbosely and windily

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:36 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What is Ramadan?

If you have been watching the news then you have heard about the following:

HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) - A suicide bomber rammed a car into a Shi'ite mosque in central
Iraq' on Wednesday, bringing down part of the building and killing at least 26 worshippers celebrating the start of the holy month of Ramadan, police said.

Many hear about Ramadan. but if asked they really don't know anything about it. So I will provide some basic information:

When is Ramadan celebrated?
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month and begins with a combination of the sighting of the new moon and astronomical calculations. The exact time of Ramadan sometimes varies from place to place as some rely heavily on the moon sightings while others depend on science. An -->Imam--> (Muslim holy man) will declare the exact time of Ramadan just prior to its commencement. The fasting period ends upon the sighting of the next new moon, which occurs after 29 or 30 days.

This year Ramadan will be celebrated:
October 4 2005 -2 November 2005

What does the word Ramadan mean?
The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word -->ramida--> or -->ar-ramad-->, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is -->ramdaa-->, meaning 'sunbaked sand' and the famous proverb -->Kal Mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar--> - to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

What is the focus during Ramadan?
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to God as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes. Called -->Ramadan--> (or -->Ramazan-->), Muslims fast during this month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset.

Muslims fast as an act of faith and worship towards Allah, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Fasting together as a worldwide community - -->Ummah--> - affirms the brotherhood and equality of man before Allah.

Muslims have to change their whole physical and emotional selves during this 30 long days of fasting. A typical day of fasting begins with getting up early, around 4:30a.m. and sharing a meal called -->Sahur--> together before the fast begins at dawn, about 5:10a.m. As dawn breaks, the first of five daily prayers, -->Fajr-->, is offered.

As the day proceeds, fasting Muslims are constantly bombarded with messages from their stomachs that it is time for breakfast, snack, lunch, and so on. And each time, Muslims remind themselves that they are fasting for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah and seeking his mercy. They offer the second and third prayers during early and late afternoon, respectively.
Fasting helps one to experience how a hungry person feels and what it is like to have an empty stomach. It teaches one to share the sufferings of the less fortunate. Muslims believe that fasting leads one to appreciate the bounties of Allah, which are usually taken for granted - until they are missed!

Throughout the day Muslims are encouraged to go out of their way to help the needy, both financially and emotionally. Some believe that a reward earned during this month is multiplied 70 times and more. For this reason, Ramadan is also known as the month of charity and generosity.

To a Muslim, fasting not only means abstaining from food, but also refraining from all vice and evils committed consciously or unconsciously. It is believed that if one volunteers to refrain from lawful foods and sex, they will be in a better position to avoid unlawful things and acts during the rest of the year.
The fast is broken at sunset. The Prophet Muhammed recommended breaking the fast with dates. Muslims are urged to invite others to break the fast with them. These gatherings are called -->Iftar--> parties.
Just after breaking the fast, and before dinner, Muslims offer the fourth of the five daily prayers, which is called the -->Maghrib--> prayer. After dinner, Muslims go to their houses of worship, called -->Mosques-->, to offer the -->Isha--> prayer, which is the last of the five daily prayers. The day ends with a special voluntary prayer, the -->Taraweeh-->, offered by the congregation reciting the -->Qur'an-->, the holy book of Islam.

The last ten days of Ramadan are considered highly blessed, especially the 27th night which is also called the '-->Night of Power-->', or the '-->Night of Destiny-->'. It is believed that on this night the prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Qur'an. For many Muslims, this period is marked by a heightened spiritual intensity and they may spend these nights praying and reciting the Qur'an.

After 30 days of fasting, the end of the month of Ramadan is observed with a day of celebration, called -->Eid-ul-Fitr-->. On this day, Muslims gather in one place to offer a prayer of thanks. It is traditional to wear new clothes, visit friends and relatives, exchange gifts, eat delicious dishes prepared for this occasion, and wait patiently for the next year.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:25 PM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


caterwaul • \KAT-er-wawl\ • verb *
1 : to make a harsh cry
2 : to protest or complain noisily

Example sentence:"Just before sunrise, barred owls hooted, screamed and caterwauled in the distance." (Chris Young, The State Journal-Register [Springfield, IL], April 9, 2005)

Did you know?An angry (or amorous) cat can make a lot of noise. As long ago as the mid-1300s, English speakers were using "caterwaul" for the act of voicing feline passions. The "cater" part is, of course, connected to the cat, but scholars disagree about whether it traces to the Middle Dutch "cāter," meaning "tomcat," or if it is really just "cat" with an "-er" added. The "waul" is probably imitative in origin; it represents the feline howl itself. English's first "caterwaul" was a verb focused on feline vocalizations, but by the 1600s it was also being used for noisy people or things. By the 1700s it had become a noun naming any sound as loud and grating as a tomcat's yowl.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:00 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 03, 2005


zero-sum • \ZEER-oh-SUM\ • adjective : of, relating to, or being a situation (as a game or relationship) in which a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side

Example sentence:"Increasing spending for computer ed means cutting it somewhere else," explained the school superintendent. "It's a zero-sum situation."

Did you know?Does game theory sound like fun? It can be—if you are a mathematician or economist who needs to analyze a competitive situation in which the outcome is determined by the choices of the players and chance. Game theory was introduced by mathematician John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern in their 1944 book The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. In game theory, a zero-sum game is one, such as chess or checkers, where each player has a clear purpose that is completely opposed to that of the opponent. In economics, a situation is zero-sum if the gains of one party are exactly balanced by the losses of another and no net gain or loss is created. (Such situations are rare.)

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:03 AM   1 comments links to this post