The Gentle News

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DFW Research Group Wins Nobel Prize; Committee Revokes Award in Last Minute Scandal

July 29th, 2006 · 2 Comments · Food, Potpourri, Stories

Yesterday, The Rev and I tried to coordinate a last-minute poker/booze/food event at my house. It fell through, because almost nobody could come. So late in the afternoon we decided that he, Jess, Gloria, B and I would just do dinner instead. Jim and I initially settled on Jörg’s Cafe Vienna. However, B doesn’t really care for German/Austrian cuisine, so I asked Jim via text message for alternative ideas. What followed was quite possibly the most fair and scientifically derived dining choice between 5 people in history.

Jim’s response was “[German.] Sushi. Thai. Italian. Steak. In that order.” I asked B to arrange the list herself in order of her preference. I sent her response to Jim: “Steak. Italian. Sushi. Thai. German.”

At this point, assigning aggregate scores based on a 1 to 5 ranking from only two subjects, Sushi was the clear winner with 7 points. Take note that steak currently had a lower score of 6, tying two ways with Italian and German, due to Jim ranking it dead last.

Gloria’s scores were then collected, which greatly upset the results of the survey. She chose to rank the choices thusly: “Thai. Italian. Steak. Sushi. German.” Thai and Italian were now tied to win with 10 points, with Steak and Sushi close behind at 9.

We then added in my scores. This was tough for me, because I love every one of these choices. It was very tough for me to choose a cuisine to award only a single point. Nevertheless, I was not in the mood for Italian, so I chose thusly*: “Steak. Sushi. German. Thai. Italian.” Steak was in the lead with 14 points, closely followed by sushi with 13.

With only one more subject left to submit her scores, we were fairly certain we knew what the outcome would be. When Jess cast her answers, our suspicions were confirmed: “Sushi. Italian. German. Steak. Thai.”

The final scores:

Sushi wins with 18 points
Steak comes in second with 16
Italian is the median with 15
Thai and German tie for least preferred with 13 points

After weeks of careful statistical analysis, it was decided that sushi would most highly please the most people, everyone on average would be OK with Italian, and on average, Thai and German would displease the most people, since it’s overall average score was lower than median (3).

So, we all set out to eat sushi. We were very proud of this system. Jim and I planned to write a thesis on our methods and results. We were destined for academic renown.

The controversy began with a startling phone call. Jim instructed his research assistant to contact me with the news that he (Jim) had vetoed sushi. To put it mildly, I was disappointed that Jim, my highly esteemed partner in science, would be so cavalier with empirical data and deep, indisputable analysis.

I responded with the assertion that he had as much right as I did to utilize his veto power, but that the results of such an upset would be placed squarely on his shoulders: he must choose the new selection. His choice would be final, and the rest of the test subjects would have to live with the consequences.

After a brief interval, Jim’s shocking answer arrived: “Steak.” He chose to override the scientific result with the choice he himself had ranked as his lowest preference.

Steak. After all that gruelling lab work, Jim decided we should eat the food he ranked dead last in his own survey answers.

Most of us enjoyed our meal, though two participants ended up sharing their entrees due to a miscommunication with the food service professionals at our chosen dining establishment, which, for the sake of anonymity, we will call “Texas Lard & Colitis”.

Everyone involved learned a great deal from this experience. Perhaps next time we utilize this method, we’ll use a broader sampling base and truly let the numbers decide.

* In the interest of full disclosure, my ranking of German at 3 may have been biased by my desire not to make my beautiful wife eat food she does not enjoy. However, this most likely did not greatly affect the overall accuracy of the survey, given that I still ranked it in the middle rather than last. Therefore, ceteris paribus, my scores were a fairly accurate and thorough representation of my preferences at the moment.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Jim Reverend

    This just goes to show that the web posts filled with pure genius and subtle yet hilarious humor often go misunderstood and uncommented.

    Well told, my friend. And, for the record, we should have had Sushi.

    Jim (from my new windows install… *barf*)

  • Jess

    HAHAHAHAHA!!! I love it. Well done. :)

    And Jim no longer gets any vetoes. His veto SUCKED.

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