minutia press.
Bart Simpson, kindred spirit concerning "Rock"

When my children enter any kind of a "who goes first" kind of argument, we always turn to randomness and a rousing round of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to adjudicate the dispute. We used to flip a coin, but my oldest child, Jessica, didn't believe it was fair. So I turned to a mechanism in which I could be almost totally absent, and they duke it out for themselves.

For some reason, which only became clear to me this evening, I have been thinking exessively---perhaps obsessively---about Rock, Paper, Scissors over the past few days.

I plan a plethora of posts on this subject, but I'll start with the reference I obtained from Mike Henrichs's "away" message in which Bart Simpson reveals his winning logic:

Bart: Good ole rock. Nuthin beats rock.

It seems obvious, doesn't it? Rock can certainly grind scissors into oblivion (so Rock wins); Rock against rock is a tie (nuthin so far beats good ole Rock); but then there's the problematic "Paper".

For some reason, our ancestors held that Paper beats Rock, but why is this so?

  • Paper covers Rock OK, but it seems to me this situation won't last all that long. The slightest breeze will topple Paper's edge over Rock, and where does that leave us?
  • Paper is light, and can therefore dodge and weave its way out of Rock's path of destruction and mayhem, so says
    this site (check it out; it is really funny).

I find myself siding with Bart on this issue, and claim that Rock should be declared supreme, with all prior contests reevaluated. Working as I do for the ETS I realize the expense of rescoring all the Rock, Paper, Scissors contests, but what price do we place on justice?

I plan some more seroius and geeky posts on this subject next, but I'll tease you with my epiphany of this evening: Rock, Paper, Scissors would make a great CS 102 lab.


go, and always remember that The_Princess_Bride is a more subtle movie than you'd thought.

Posted by: Joe Tucek at August 29, 2002 11:40 PM

Posted by: Joe Tucek at August 29, 2002 11:57 PM