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An Eye for an Apprentice

Aug 18, 2007
First impressions count and it's a well known fact that we judge people within the first seven seconds of meeting them. Whether we like them, trust them or even want to keep talking to them is all determined in a very short space of time. If this is the case, then why has Alan Sugar, TV's favourite belligerent son, taken twelve weeks to whittle down the candidates to be his new apprentice?

In his popular TV show, imaginatively entitled 'The Apprentice', Sir Alan has put his prospective employees through hell. He's had them presenting live on a shopping channel, made them wheel and deal in the art world and even got them to brave a French market.

He may have 40 years experience and have achieved a net worth of over 800 million pounds, but we think old Al may be missing a trick here. Throughout history people have used the distance between people's eyes as a measure of trustworthiness and in the fifteenth century the theory of physiognomy was first introduced as a character evaluation based on facial appearance. Back then, if you had eyes that were close together you might as well have had 'scoundrel' tattooed on your forehead because no one really trusted you. Even now, modern computer models look at facial biometrics to assess terrorist threats based on your pupillary distance (PD for short).

Knowing how Sir Alan hates to waste money, we thought we'd show him how we could have saved him a fortune on all those fancy helicopter flights just by looking into his candidate's eyes. It's not rocket science; in fact some people claim it's not science at all, but if you told people you were a physiognomist, I reckon most people's initial thought would be science related, closely followed by something that's probably illegal.

Using our 500 years old theory, the final of 'The Apprentice' would actually have been between Kristina and Gerri, with Kristina winning by just a few millimetres. On this basis we could have saved Sir Alan a lot of stress and a whole bucket of cash. If our predictions are correct and Kristina does indeed win, series four would seem destined to be a very quick affair.

Based on the theories of physiognomy and using the PD score, first to get kicked out would have been Lohit, closely followed by old snake eyes herself Katie. Five hundred years ago she would have got burned at the stake for being a witch for sure. "Katie, you're fired" - literally!
About the Author
Andy worked for four years studying ducks (no stop laughing, he really did). He went into his PhD thinking he was going to save the world (albeit from ducks) and now spends him time lovingly preening Null Hypothesis, the Journal of Unlikely Science!
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