Attention, parents! Does your child have a tendency to remain calm in situations that would cause most other children to become frustrated and angry? Does he or she disrupt the…


In many board games using dice, such as Monopoly and Easy Money, each player moves a piece on a board, the number of squares advanced being equal to the sum of the numbers appearing on the two dice thrown. An element of skill can be added to these games by giving the players, on their turn, the choice of advancing their pieces the number of squares equal to either the sum or the (nonnegative) difference of the numbers appearing on the dice. …


Half Chess is a simplified version of chess that is played with half of the pieces, with the pieces confined to half of the board. An advantage of Half Chess is that it can be played even if some of the chess pieces are missing. Another advantage is that two games of Half Chess can be played concurrently using the same chess set.

Half Chess

To play Half Chess, place a rubber band around the middle of a chessboard so as to divide the board into the king’s side and the queen’s side. Arrange the pieces in the usual manner on either…


Academic Treasure Hunt is similar to a conventional treasure hunt, except that the clues require knowledge of various academic subjects in order to locate the next clue or the treasure itself. An example of such a clue is the following: “From your present location, proceed north x meters, where x is calculated as follows: Subtract the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed from the year that the Gettysburg Address was delivered, and divide the result by the number of cups in a gallon. Round off to the nearest tenth of a meter. …


The national debt is the amount owed by the federal government, mainly in the form of Treasury securities. Except for a few brief periods when the government ran surpluses, the national debt has been continuously increasing over time, and there is every indication that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

While you or I can borrow money and go into debt, there is a limit to the amount of debt that we can sustain, based upon our assets, before creditors will refuse to lend us additional money because they will deem us to be at too…


Insect pests cause harm by damaging and destroying crops, as well as by spreading disease. Current methods of controlling destructive insects have had at best limited success.

Chemical insecticides can be effective in reducing insect populations, but they become less effective over time due to the targeted insects developing resistance to the chemicals used as a result of natural selection. Furthermore, the insecticides are also toxic to beneficial insects, such as honey bees used for pollination, as well as other species, including humans.

Biological control has the advantage of narrowly targeting the insect pest species without the collateral damage to…


The cost of healthcare in this country has been increasing at a rate far faster than the rate of inflation. The latest government effort to deal with this problem has been the passage of the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the ACA did reduce the cost of healthcare for some, it did so mainly by shifting that cost to others. One of the main selling points touted by the proponents of the ACA is that it prohibits health insurers from denying coverage to anyone due to a preexisting condition. While this clearly benefits those with preexisting conditions, the added…


A financial bubble, aka economic bubble, occurs when the price of an asset rises to a level well above that at which it is normally valued. Eventually, the price drops, usually precipitously, to a point at or below its normal level. (The bubble “bursts.”) Those who bought the asset at an inflated price and failed to sell it before it crashed suffer an obvious financial loss, that loss being multiplied in the case of a highly leveraged purchase, such as a stock bought on margin or a house purchased with a small down payment.

Under normal conditions, market forces ensure…


The main problem associated with campaign financing is that large campaign contributions by vested interests or the lobbyists that represent them may cause members of Congress to vote on legislation favorable to those vested interests. Now, no lobbyist would be foolish enough to make the quid pro quo explicit, for example, by saying to a legislator something like: “The party that I represent has authorized me to give you a $50,000 campaign contribution if you vote ‘yes’ on Bill X.” Any lobbyist making such an explicit offer would risk being prosecuted for attempted bribery. Instead, the lobbyist is likely to…


There are a number of problems with our current system of electing our representatives. Let’s begin with the low-hanging fruit.

We currently elect our president and vice president by the Electoral College, rather than by a direct popular vote. There are a number of reasons why this Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a popular vote.

1. With the Electoral College, each state is granted a number of delegates equal to the sum of the number of its senators (two) and the number of its representatives (at least one). …

Stanley Korn

I write on a variety of subjects, mainly oriented toward solving problems and recommending improvements. My short stories include science fiction and fantasy.

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