Reivalyn

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Torture vs. Dust Specks

Interesting question. I think a similar real-world situation is when people cut in line.

Suppose there is a line of 100 people, and the line is moving at a rate of 1 person per minute.

Is it ok for a new person to cut to the front of the line, because it only costs each person 1 extra minute, or should the new person stand at the back of the line and endure a full 100 minute wait?

Of course, not everyone in line endures the same wait duration; a person near the front will have a significantly shorter wait than a person near the back. To address that issue one could average the wait times of everyone in line and say that there is an average wait time of 49.5 minutes per person in line [Avg(n) = (n-1) + Avg(n-1)].

Is it ok for a second person to also cut to the front of the line? How many people should be allowed to cut to the front, and which people of those who could possibly cut to the front should be allowed to do so?