I enjoy XKCD, and the latest comic [Link] is about something people in OR can relate to: efficiency. I actually have been known to do this from time to time. When I saw this, I thought it would be a great tool for potential graduate students. If they like this chart and have crunched similar numbers, maybe an advanced degree in OR is right for them.
On a related note, I liked to read Carl Sagan books when I was in college. A biography of Carl Sagan indicated that he once criticized his (then) wife for her inefficiency in preparing breakfast. He told her how much time he would have to spend waiting for her inefficiency over his lifetime (it was about a one minute of waiting a day). I thought his calculations were insightful but could understand why someone else would not appreciate the message (especially when Carl should have been making his own breakfast!). The marriage ended in divorce. Efficiency can be beautiful, but it’s not always something we should strive for.
May 1st, 2013 at 6:40 pm
Apropos the XKCD comic:
“One definition of satisficing is that it is optimization where all costs, including the cost of the optimization calculations themselves and the cost of getting information for use in those calculations, are considered.
As a result, the eventual choice is usually sub-optimal in regard to the main goal of the optimization, i.e., different from the optimum in the case that the costs of choosing are not taken into account.”
Sort of apropos the Carl Sagan reference:
May 2nd, 2013 at 11:40 am
Thanks for the link! We’ve got one on satisficing too. http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/satisficing-as-a-life-philosophy/