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Teuton strategy

Archives of American Art
1 cartoon (humorous image) : ink ; 49 x 54 cm. Large scale illustration of a bug riding a turtle, shouting at a ship made of a log and leaves, ridden by other bugs, in the distance. Image may be commentary on World War I. Illustration likely created by Harrison Cady to be published as a comic in Life magazine.
Inscription (handwritten): 4 1/4
Inscription (stamped) on verso: Appeared in No. 1747 Dated 4/20/16
Inscription (typescript) on attachment on verso: Cady Feb 25, 1917; Teuton strategy; German Bug: Lay to or I'll send you to the bottom wit all aboard

Election Strategy

National Portrait Gallery

Dolphins' Killer Strategy

Smithsonian Channel
Dolphins have a major advantage over other ocean predators - they're smart. They communicate with each other in order to coordinate, cooperate, and kill. From: SPEED KILLS

Sangert-Harris, Strategy...

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Strategy:Gearing to Win/Sangert-Harris/ in the first Place on top; below, red, green, yellow, and blue footprints on white background. Side panels repeat Sangert-Harris, etc.

Dita Von Teese's Shopping Strategy

Smithsonian Channel
When a picky customer like Dita Von Teese comes into the store, she’s looking for something special. A gold dress worn by legendary burlesque performer, Gypsy Rose Lee might just be it. Watch the Full Episode with your FREE trial for Smithsonian Channel Plus by signing up today at From: L.A. FROCK STARS: Vintage Rebranded

The Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissor Strategy

Smithsonian Magazine

In China, a team of researchers tapped 360 students to try to crack the ever-important nut: how do people play Rock, Paper, Scissors? And what's the best strategy?

Based on their study, says the Washington Post, at the population level, Rock, Paper, Scissors strategies follow a relatively simple pattern:

People start by picking each variable (rock, paper or scissors) about one-third of the time. You can’t really game this stage. BUT after the first round:

  • If a player wins, he will usually stick with the same play.

  • If a player loses, he will usually switch actions in “a clockwise direction”: rock changes to paper, paper to scissors, scissors to rock.

So that's it. If you know what someone will play next, it's easy to counter and achieve a grand victory.

But wait, what if they know the strategy, too? And they try to predict and out-smart your next move? But then you, knowing that they know, try to preempt their prediction? Then they, knowing you know they know...

Actually, though, if this all sounds too simple, that's because it probably is. People won't just keep riding Paper victory string into the sunset. Instead, says Graham Walker, from the World Rock Paper Scissor society (via this old Mental Floss post), people playing Rock, Paper, Scissors like to think they're being random. They aren't. “People hate being predictable and the perceived hallmark of predictability is to come out with the same throw three times in row,” he says.
When playing with someone who is not experienced at the RPS, look out for double runs or in other words, the same throw twice. When this happens you can safely eliminate that throw and guarantee yourself at worst a stalemate in the next game. So, when you see a two-Scissor run, you know their next move will be Rock or Paper, so Paper is your best move.

The researchers in China weren't just trying to work out the strategy to a schoolyard game, though. They were using Rock, Paper, Scissor as a way to study people's behavior when making decisions in “non-cooperative strategic interactions.” They were testing which of two different broad strategies people use: either trying to play truly randomly, or playing in an evolutionary way with strategies shifting depending on the outcome. (It was the latter.)

Still, though, as good as your strategy may be, you're never going to beat this Rock, Paper, Scissor-playing robot. Sorry.

Strategy for a Black Agenda

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A pamphlet titled: [Strategy for a Black Agenda]. The front cover consists of black print over a red and white patterned background. The interior consist of thirty-two pages of text. The back interior cover has a list of communist political candidates. The back cover of the pamphlet has an advertisement for New Outlook Publishers.

The Surprising Strategy Used to Catch a Killer

Smithsonian Channel
In the modern world of criminal investigations, trace evidence experts are trained to find, collect and examine the tiniest bits of evidence. From: CATCHING KILLERS: Trace Evidence

TAC-TICKLE: A Challenging Game of Pure Strategy

National Museum of American History
This set of eight games was developed by Professor Harry D. Ruderman of Hunter College High School in New York City to teach children the ideas of strategy in an entertaining setting. The basic game and its variations are explained on a single sheet of paper divided into two parts, both written by Ruderman. The first part, TAC-TICKLE: A Challenging Game of Pure Strategy, was written in 1965 and the second, Additional Variations of Tac-Tickle, was written in 1967. A trademark for TAC-TICKLE was registered in February 1968 but was later canceled. The kit includes eight wooden cubes, four red and four blue, with some faces containing letters and some faces blank. All the cubes are stored in a foam mat with twenty holes. The kit also includes a cardboard mat with fourteen white circles and eight circles containing the “Games for Thinkers” logo. All the variations in the first set of instructions aim to get three cubes of the same color in a line and ignore the letters, while those in the second set of instructions require that one cube of each color has a letter on the top face, and describe alternate, more complicated, ways that the cubes with letters are allowed to move. The game and the sheet of instructions were accompanied by a sheet listing “GAMES For THINKERS” that were available from WFF ‘N PROOF Publishers and a postcard offering a free one-year subscription to the WFF ‘N PROOF Newsletter. WFF ‘N PROOF Publishers and Newsletter were outgrowths of the ALL (Accelerated Learning of Logic) Project that developed mathematical games under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The director of ALL was Layman E. Allen of Yale University Law School. In 1968 Allen moved from Yale to the University of Michigan with a joint appointment in the Law School and the Mental Health Research Institute, where he continued his work on instructional games. Over the years the name and location of the distributor of the TAC-TICKLE changed, although the phrase “Games For Thinkers” has been associated with it from before Allen’s move to Ann Arbor. Price lists in the WFF ‘N PROOF Newsletters (part of the documentation in accession 317891) indicate that at first the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold for $1.00. In 1971 the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF through Maple Packers in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. A firm called Learning Games Associates of Ann Arbor later took over distribution of the game and donated this example to the Smithsonian in 1975. The Accelerated Learning Foundation of Fairfield, Iowa, then became the distributor. Reference: Games For Thinkers Website.

A Cheetah Changes His Hunting Strategy in a Surprising Way

Smithsonian Channel
At Kafue National Park, one cheetah has adapted his hunting strategy to find more prey: he hunts in the forest, instead of the open plains. This flexibility is good news for the future of Africa’s most endangered big cat. From the Series: Guardians of the Wild: Carnivore Rescue

This Interview Strategy Led a Serial Killer to Confess

Smithsonian Channel
When the Green River Killer is convicted of murder, the FBI brings in Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole, leading expert in psychopathy, to get the killer to confess to 44 unsolved homicides. From: CATCHING KILLERS: Criminal Profiling

Teacher Lesson: "Jumping In" Strategy for Examining Art & Portraiture

National Portrait Gallery
Briana Zavadil White, School and Teacher Program Coordinator at the National Portrait Gallery, models the "Jumping In" strategy for teachers, in this professional development workshop. Integrating portraiture into the classroom can provide exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, visual art, and many other subjects. Presented at the "Learning to Look with the National Portrait Gallery" Summer Teacher Institute, July 30, 2014.

Large Dinosaurs Had a Nesting Strategy to Avoid Breaking Eggs

Smithsonian Magazine

Given only the fossilized bones, traces of footprints left in muddy patches and occasional nest, scientists have had to make a lot of educated guesses about what dinosaurs were like. For a long time, no one was certain whether dinosaurs nested and cared for their young like birds and crocodiles do. Though we’re more certain now, traces of those past questions still linger, as with the name "oviraptorosaurs," Gretchen Vogel notes for Science

The name means “egg-thief lizards,” because researchers originally assumed the creatures ate the eggs that were so often found with them. But scientists now realize the animals were nesting, not feasting.

Some oviraptorosaurs were the size of a modern-day rhinoceros, which raises the question: How did they nest without breaking their eggs? Using the ancient evidence available, Kohei Tanaka of the University of Calgary in Canada thinks he has the answer. 

First, he compared the pores in fossilized oviraptorosaurus eggs to modern eggs. Birds, who use open nests, have less porous eggshells that keep water in, whereas crocodiles can lay eggs that breath more because they bury their nests. Tanaka’s results, presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting, show that oviraptorosaurus has less porous eggs and probably an open nest structure.

But that creates a problem. Vogel writes:

Tanaka then calculated how much weight the eggs could bear before they cracked. He found that the eggs of small and medium-sized oviraptorosaurs could have borne the weight of an adult sitting on a nest of a dozen or so tightly packed eggs. But the eggs of the largest animals would have broken.

The larger dinosaurs solved this by arranging their eggs in an open ring. This allowed the rhino-sized animals to rest most of their weight in the middle, open ground, while still keeping the ring of eggs warm. The work adds one more piece to our picture of what life might have been like for these intriguing creatures.

George Kennan’s Love of Russia Inspired His Legendary “Containment” Strategy

Smithsonian Magazine

The enduring irony of George F. Kennan’s life was just how much the architect of America’s Cold War “containment” strategy—aimed at stopping Soviet expansionism—loved Russia. 

Kennan arguably played a larger role in shaping the U.S.’s view of a major foreign power, and thus our relations with that power, than any other American in modern history. That the power in question was the Soviet Union, and the time in question the crucial period after World War II, made his outsized influence all the more remarkable.

He brought an authoritative blend of scholarship and experience to posts as diplomat, ambassador, State Department policy adviser, and Princeton-based professor—exerting his influence on American strategy from both inside and outside the government. For an entire generation of U.S. officials who guided the nation’s foreign policy in the Cold War, Kennan became the preeminent guide of all things Russia. His main legacy: Advising Americans how best to restrain the Soviet threat.

Yet despite the key role he played on the U.S. side of the adversarial relationship, Kennan was deeply enamoured with Russia. In diplomatic postings across Europe in the 1920s and ‘30s, he mastered the language – “No American spoke Russian the way George did,” according to one colleague. Over the course of his long life (Kennan died in 2005, aged 101), he read and re-read the great works of 19th-century Russian literature and travelled the country as frequently and extensively as he could. While in London in May 1958, he went to see a performance of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and recorded a powerful reaction in his diary:

Seeing The Cherry Orchard stirred all the rusty, untuned strings of the past and of my own youth: Riga, and the Russian landscape, and the staggering, unexpected familiarity and convincingness of the Chekhovian world—it stirred up, in other words, my Russian self, which is entirely a Chekhovian one and much more genuine than the American one—and having all this prodded to the surface in me, I sat there blubbering like a child and trying desperately to keep the rest of the company from noticing it.

His Russian self and American self would make for uneasy Cold War companions. And although Kennan profoundly admired the nation, his heart ached for how Lenin and Stalin had so brutally altered its path.

Kennan’s warm feelings toward Russia were even known by Mikhail Gorbachev, who met Kennan in 1987 in Washington, D.C. and told him, “We in our country believe that a man may be the friend of another country and remain, at the same time, a loyal and devoted citizen of his own; and that is the way we view you.” This recognition by an adversary made for a moment of profound personal satisfaction for the former diplomat.

Kennan was best known to most Americans as the Cold War’s Paul Revere who sounded the alarm in 1946 that the Soviets were coming (into Central and Western Europe). Frustrated by the Truman administration’s inability to appreciate the magnitude of the threat posed by Stalin’s Soviet Union, the then American charge d’affaires in Moscow cabled Washington in what was to become the most famous communication in the history of the State Department. In his nearly 6,000-word “long telegram,” the diplomat emphasized that the Soviet Union saw no path to permanent peaceful coexistence with the capitalist world. Stalin—fuelled by nationalism, deep-set fears of external attack, and Marxist-Leninist ideology—was determined to expand his nation’s power. But, Kennan explained, the Soviets were weak, and if the Western World made it clear they would put up a strong resistance at any incursion, the opportunistic menace could be contained.

The telegram’s impact was profound. Circulated quickly and widely, it was read by the secretaries of War and the Navy, and later by President Truman himself. It became required reading for senior members of the armed forces and was also cabled to America’s embassies and missions abroad. The sheer force of the argument persuaded many in power in part, as one Truman aide remarked, because “Kennan tied everything together, wrapped it in a neat package, and put a red bow around it.”

Kennan was recalled to Washington in May 1946 and made Deputy Commandant for Foreign Affairs at the National War College. Ten months later, writing anonymously under the letter “X,” Kennan published an essay in Foreign Affairs titled “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” that elaborated on his long telegram’s diagnoses and recommendations, this time for a public audience. Mr. X, as the author became known, compared the Soviet Union to a wind-up toy that would move relentlessly in a particular direction unless a barrier was placed in its way. He pulled from his extensive knowledge of Russian history to create a psychological profile of a totalitarian regime where truth was fluid and worldviews were informed by “centuries of obscure battles between nomadic forces over the stretches of a vast fortified plain” and assaults over the centuries from Mongol hordes from the East and Napoleon’s and Hitler’s formidable armies from the West. These memories of death and destruction melded with an expansionist communist worldview. The result was a state determined, no matter how long it took, to amass a powerful empire that would protect the motherland from any enemy.  In other words, there was to be no meaningful engagement with this Russia for a long time to come.

To restrain Moscow, Kennan advised that “the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” This sentence was to become his policy legacy. Finally, here was a compromise between an all-out war of superpowers and a passive peace strategy that would invite opportunistic Soviet aggression. Be patient. Show strength. Wait for the inevitable fall. In addition to then President Truman, who put this strategy into full force as the Cold War began, eight more presidents would go on to subscribe to variations of this seminal policy.

Although he continues to be best known for his advocacy of containment, it is important to note that Kennan largely intended it to keep communist incursions out of Western Europe and Japan via non-military means: economic aid, propaganda, political warfare. This vision was played out in policies such as the Marshall Plan, which he played a key role in designing as the first-ever head of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning. His narrowly tailored vision of containment, as we now know, didn’t last. From the end of the Korean War to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kennan consistently criticized the ways in which his policy was hijacked—from justifying militarized containment of low-stakes countries like Vietnam to defending the anti-Russian flames fanned by demagogic McCarthyites to being used to rabble-rouse ordinary Americans into supporting the nuclear arms build-up under Reagan. Though he continued to weigh in on major foreign policy debates from posts as U.S. ambassador and as a scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, he lost most of these battles.

Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kennan continued bemoaning what he considered the misappropriation of his views. In an op-ed for The New York Times in 1997, for example, Kennan prophetically warned that Bill Clinton’s eastward expansion of NATO would be a fateful error. The move to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in the Cold War-era military alliance, he wrote, would only serve “to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion.”

Kennan correctly surmised that NATO expansion would sour future U.S.-Russian relations. Although the man had many blind spots, particularly in his elitist and ethnocentric resistance to a more democratic and heterogeneous vision of America, his read of how Washington’s actions would be perceived in Moscow was almost always on point. And it was probably Kennan’s “Russian self”—his deep knowledge and empathy with the history, language, land, and literature that animated the Russian people—that made him so much more adept than his American-minded contemporaries. George Frost Kennan may be remembered as the architect of Western “victory” in the Cold War, but he was also one of the most empathetic American friends Russia has ever had.

David Milne is a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s School of History where he focuses on U.S. foreign policy. He is also the author of Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy and America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War.

He wrote this for What It Means to Be American, a partnership of the Smithsonian and Zócalo Public Square.

The Dating Strategy of the Male Burying Beetle Will Baffle You

Smithsonian Channel
A male burying beetle can bury an animal up to 150 times its own size – such as a field mouse. They use this technique to lure potential females, inviting them to lay their eggs inside the dead animal. From the Series: Macro Worlds: God's Darlings: Beetles

A Bobcat Uses a Different Hunting Strategy to Catch a Duck

Smithsonian Channel
A hungry bobcat has made his way to the edge of a lake, in the snowiest region of Yellowstone National Park. The next step is to figure out a way to put duck on the menu. From the Series: Epic Yellowstone: Fire and Ice

Smithsonian researchers help block ship-borne bioinvaders with new screening strategy

Smithsonian Insider

To help regulators and engineers develop and test such treatment systems, and ultimately enforce these standards, a team of researchers developed a statistical model to see how to count small, scarce organisms in large volumes of water accurately.

The post Smithsonian researchers help block ship-borne bioinvaders with new screening strategy appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

The Aesthetics of Equity: A Magic Strategy for the Healthy City

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
header imageExcerpt from Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Molly Rose Kaufman, and Aubrey Murdock's essay “The Aesthetics of Equity: A Magic Strategy for the Healthy City” about the innovative urban renewal efforts in the city of Orange, New Jersey.
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