Ordeal = Discomfort x Duration

We received this email earlier this morning from long-time Artifice supporter Ben, in response to our Kickstarter campaign’s pledge incentive levels. And yes, “pie_ordeal.jpg” came attached.

Dear Artifice,

While it sounds daunting, the “1 pie, 1 minute, 0 hands” challenge is a cop out. It’s only one minute of discomfort, and, I would argue, only moderate discomfort at that. The real discomfort comes when you’ve been shoving pie into your face for minute after minute. Of course, if you take too long, the level of discomfort starts to drop off again, because you can pace yourself. Then again, if the discomfort is experienced over a long duration, that’s bad too. The only way we can calculate the ideal donation to the Artifice Issue #2 Tour is to calculate when the pumpkin pie eating ordeal is at its worst.

To do this, let us define the severity of an ordeal as the level of discomfort times the duration of the experience. Then let’s estimate the relative discomfort of eating a pie in 1 minute (keeping in mind that you won’t really have time to eat the whole thing and, besides, adrenaline and novelty will keep it from being too unpleasant), 2 minutes (still too short to really start feeling the pain), 3 minutes, etc. Then, using these values, plot the “Ordeal Function” proposed above.

The result is shown in the attached graph. It would appear that in order to maximize the pumpkin pie eating ordeal, one should donate between $150 and $152 dollars to the Artifice Issue #2 Tour, a noble cause indeed.


Click for larger image.

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