Avocado Night Thread

The Odd Man Hypothesis Night Thread (May 20, 2020)

Stone opened a briefcase and withdrew a file. He gave it to Hall. “Read that.”


First tested as null hypothesis by Wildfire advisory committee. Grew out of tests conducted by USAF (NORAD) to determine reliability of commanders in making life/death decisions. Tests involved decisions in ten scenario contexts, with prestructured alternatives drawn up by Walter Reed Psychiatric Division, after n-order test analysis by biostatistics unit, NIH, Bethesda.

Test given to SAC pilots and groundcrews, NORAD workers, and others involved in decision-making or positive-action capacity. Ten scenarios drawn up by Hudson Institute; subjects required– to make YES/NO decision in each case. Decisions always involved thermonuclear or chem-biol destruction of enemy targets.


The study concluded that married individuals performed differently from single individuals on several parameters of the test. Hudson Institute provided mean answers, i.e. theoretical “right” decisions, made by computer on basis of data given in scenario. Conformance of study groups to these right answers produced an index of effectiveness, a measure of the extent to which correct decisions were made.

The data indicate that married men choose the correct decision only once in three times, while single men choose correctly four out of five times. The group of single males was then broken down further, in search of highly accurate subgroups within that classification. Results of special testing confirm the Odd Man Hypothesis, that an unmarried male should carry out command decisions involving thermonuclear or chem-biol destruct contexts.

When Hall had finished reading, he said, “It’s crazy.”

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