There has long been a debate raging within the halls of Memorial University. It can be heard in hushed tones at the back of classrooms, or in fervent chatter at the UC bus stop. It is shouted across campus greens, and discussed quietly in society rooms. It has had its evidence, and it has had its champions, and yet there has never been a conclusive answer to that age-old question: Which quarter-candy machine has the best value?
The great debate, however, has finally been put to rest. Four engineering students, Dan McLean, Liam Arsenault, Micah Brown, and David Bruneau, compiled a project report surrounding the output of MUN’s candy vending machines, in which the group graphed and determined the necessary variables to find the greatest yield of candy. The group tested their theory on the chocolate almond and Reese’s Pieces machines around MUN’s campus.
Their initial theory was that the speed at which the coin mechanism was turned would affect the machine’s output. Yet, the group was surprised to find that this variable had little impact on the resulting number of delicious, stale treats.
Through their testing they also concluded that the machines, all identical Beaver Corporation Vending Machines, yielded the same amount regardless of location. This casts doubt upon claims that the machines on the second floor of the UC give the best return on student’s quarter investments.
What then are the variables that truly affect the bang-for-your-buck? The researchers found that consistently, the amount at which the machine was filled seemed to impact its candy output. While the report was careful to state that the discrepancy appeared only to occur with chocolate covered almonds, they found that machines that were nearly entirely filled yielded more candy than machines that were only halfway filled. Theories to explain this phenomenon ranged from gravitational force to the idea that smaller pieces of candy make their way to the bottom where they are more easily processed by the vending mechanisms. The group also went on to note that in the case of the individually small and generally uniform Reese’s Pieces, this variable yielded much less discrepancy.
While the report neglected to test the full range of Memorial’s quarter-candy options, including the ever-popular Mike and Ike’s, many have seen it as conclusive evidence against the superstitions of those students who prefer to buy their candy from only certain locations. Once again, science has prevailed in destroying a little more magic in this world, though Memorial Students may now rest easy knowing that if they want the best deal on chocolate covered almonds, they’re better off finding a freshly filled machine.
The aforementioned students actually submitted this over eight page report for an engineering course.