72 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 23 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts   

Spike's Deadliest Warrior: Are the winners true victors?

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Message Dominique Lord
Figure 1

Segments most liked by viewers: gel torso used for  testing a weapon

Source: SpikeTV 

Spike TV's The Deadliest Warrior, now in its 3rd season, is a television program that creates hypothetical battles between famed historical or current fighters (or 'warriors', as they put it) to see which one would be the 'deadliest'. In the past, this has included such awesome (and occasionally bizarre) matchups like the American Green Berets versus the Soviet Spetsnaz, the Nazi SS versus the Viet Cong, Al Capone and his cronies versus Jesse James and his gang (my wife's favorite), and a pirate versus a medieval knight. (The knight lost.) Later this season, we'll see a blood thirsty battle between Vampires and Zombies. Yes, Team Edward will go up against the shambling undead. I'm rooting for the Zombies.

This probably sounds a lot more like a drunken argument after a few too many rounds of Halo, but to give Spike credit, the winner of any give matchup is determined by what folks in my line of work call simulation analysis. What that means, basically, is that every potential feature  each 'warrior' would bring to the fight is examined, then turned into numerical percentages and number-crunched via a computer program that then simulates a thousand different battles. The Deadliest Warrior is of course the side who wins most often based on the comparison of the data.

In the first and second seasons this really just amounted to a bunch of gleefully fake blood-soaked weapons testing, which was awesome. In the third and current season, however, other dimensions were added to the simulation taking into account several 'X-factors' (technically these are actually input variables, but I guess X-factors sounds cooler), such as terrain, the warriors' tactical knowledge, discipline, psychological impact of the weapons used, the warriors' size, strength and overall health, etc. All told, there are about 100 of these X-Factors (input variables).

Now if they would just cut out the irritating trash talk between the guest combat experts, the show would be just about perfect.

As I mentioned above, the key dà nouement of the shows consists of simulating a series of battles between the two opponents (using the computer program aka a black box), and we get to see who wins via a fictional battle between the two warriors (played by actors and stunt people). I love how obvious it is that all the final battle segments are filmed in California (even though the warriors featured in the episode lived say in Asia or the Arabian Peninsula).

In order to find out Who Is Deadliest? (The catch phrase of the show and definitely said in ALL CAPS), battles are simulated 5,000 times (4,000 more times than in Seasons 1 & 2). Then, the results are tabulated and the warrior who wins the most battles is declared the ultimate victor. So far, this season's victors are the ones in bold:

George Washington  vs.   Napoleon Bonaparte
2,530 (50.6%)                  2,470 (49.4%)

Joan of Arc               vs.  William the Conqueror
2,587 (51.74%)                2,413 (48.26%)

U.S. Army Rangers    vs.  North Korean Special Operation Force
2,504 (50.08%)                2,496 (49.92%)       

Figure 2

Season 3 Episode 1 - George Washington trying to motivate his troups

Source: SpikeTV 

But if you look carefully at the stats, the pairing results are very, very close. In fact, the greatest difference is about 3.5-percent. As someone who uses statistics all the time in my research, I can tell you that the difference in percentages between all but the Joan of Arc versus William the Conqueror is actually statistically insignificant. In other words, most of the time both warriors are deadliest.

The reason for this has to do with basic stats, but when I tried to explain it to my darling wife her brain exploded. If you don't know much statistics, I'm afraid you'll have to take my word for it. For the more statistically inclined, I've laid out Spike's simulation problem below:

It all comes down to an extremely important item that's missing from the sims: the uncertainty associated with the simulation output.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Dominique Lord Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Dominique is an Associate Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. His research work aims at reducing the negative effects associated with motor vehicle crashes. When he's not developing mathematical and (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Living in a Third World country (aka The United States)

Health Care Comparison: Universal System in Canada vs. Private System in the U.S.

Medicare is not a single-payer system, get it?

Let's Compare Universal and Private Health Care Out-of-Pocket Costs, eh?

Does Global Warming mean the fall of the US Empire?

Profiling in Arizona? Already done at internal immigration checkpoints!

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend