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Television Vs Reality

I recently caught a couple of episodes of a programme on the TV called Deadliest Warrior. It's a bit like a boys' school playground argument about who would win if, say, the Incredible Hulk fought Billy the Kid which has been turned into a television programme. Only instead of playground heroes, the programme supposedly pits types of warrior from history against each other; say a zulu versus a samuri. The programme has lots of demonstrations of the weapons used by the warriors. This often involves hacking at pig carcases or shooting anatomically correct dummies – some even made of gel which replicates human flesh – with lots of blood spatter flying. A doctor examines the results and proclaims “instant kills” or mortal wounds, etc. It's all very pseudo-scientific and not a little silly. Then the supposed results of the demonstrations are fed into a computer which we are told will run a simulated fight between the two warriors no less than 1,000 times and predict a winner. I think later in the series pitted two teams of five against each other. Well, we all know that a computer program is only as good as the programmer. Some of the results were a little surprising. But here's the clincher – one of the episodes I watched pitted the Viet Cong against the Waffen SS. The computer declared the SS would win. But the Viet Cong and the Waffen SS did fight it out in French Indo-China in the 1950s. Only the Waffen SS guys were serving the French Foreign Legion. And the Viet Cong, or a least the Viet Minh, won in the real life. Maybe the producers should be more careful and make sure they don't pit people who really did square off in their little gory fantasy.

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