NPF: GAME THEORY AND WADDED PORK LEAVINGS

Posted in No Politics Friday on April 10th, 2009 by Ed

Two things to cheer you up on this Goodliest of Fridays:

1. At an academic conference last week I had the pleasure of conversing with a group of grad students from another institution, one of whom I know barely (from previous conferences) and the remainder of whom were strangers. We played the "What's the worst thing you've ever gotten from an undergrad" game. I recounted my standard tale of the young scholar who handed me a research paper about how presidential candidates "fake the funk." Seriously, I believe the title was "Presidential candidates fake the funk." Lest you remain unclear on the student's position on funk-faking, he informed the reader quite clearly, and I do believe repeatedly, that this phenomenon is "straight bullshit."

I have long considered this to be an excellent, amusing anecdote whenever late-night revelry incorporates this topic. I was one-upped, however. Apparently one of the perks of teaching at an elite institution (the particular Ivy League school isn't important and shall remain nameless) is that one's head-smacking moments with undergrads are of a much higher caliber.

The student in question decided to write a paper about the crucifixion of Jesus. Not a historical analysis, but as an excercise in applying game theoretic concepts. Apparently the student's argument was that when the preferences and choices of all parties involved (the Romans, the Sanhedrin, the masses, etc) are considered, the Romans' decision to carry out the execution rather than pardon Jesus represented a Nash equilibrium. The paper title? "The Nashin' of the Christ."

Perhaps you need to be a political scientist to find this funny, but I laughed until multiple organ failure was imminent. That, my friends, is a good zany-things-undergrads-do anecdote.

2. This exists. I wonder why Americans are getting fatter.

Also available in a "Jalapeno and Cheese" variant.

What in the hell is wrong with people? I mean, holy shit. Aside from the fact that these are the nutritional equivalent of eating a stick of butter, I must imagine that these taste like cleaning the grill at a Cracker Barrel with your tongue.

Note the cheery ad copy: "(Perfect) Even for breakfast!" People, if you are eating Tennessee Pride Sausage Ballstm for breakfast, it might be best for everyone involved if you dropped the charade and simply shot yourself. Eating these things regularly is a passive form of suicide. A cry for help. We're here for you. Put down the Sausage Ballstm and come with us.