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At my university ... we are talking about the late 70s, and this happened a couple of years before I entered ... at the first lecture in the course on discrete simulation harked before he explained that this course was supposed to be based on the Simula language, but he really didn't know that language very well.
So one of the students raised his hand, "I have been working in Simula for quite some time, so I could take care of that!" So it went. The student taught all the language specific details and the professor took care of the general principles of discrete simulation.
I guess the professor picked up a lot from the student. When he was teaching my class, he hadled Simula well.
There are two causes for the hoarding of asswipes.
Part one - Poor Consumerism:
One is that, depending upon what brand you buy, you have anywhere from as many as 1000 wipes/roll to as few as 160 wipes/roll. Now those fools who have been buying those that come in on the low end know how quickly a roll goes for them and realize they need a huge stockpile just to cope with normal times. So, the twit's hoard.
Part two - Monkey See - Monkey Do:
There are countless 'meeee toooo!' mentalities out there. That is, after all, the basis of the rapidly evolving fashion industry. Well - if someone else is buying ludicrous amounts of wipes they must have a good reason, no? Meeeee toooooo! As often as not, members of Part One are also members of part two. It's almost a natural consequence.
Now other factors may enter in to this - but pretty much these two would be more than enough.
There are countless 'meeee toooo!' mentalities out there.
I somewhat disagree. The first time it hit the news that a few crazy people were hoarding TP, I went out and bought an 8 pack (of the high end variety, so my usage per roll rate is very high, harhar). The reason being, yes, there is the lemming effect, but us more evolved mammals have to compensate for what the lemmings do, which sometimes means we look a bit like lemmings. But really, I was, am, and never will be a lemming.
I think you are overy optimistic about the behaviour of "us more evolved mammals". Statistical predictions about how human populations will behave under given hypothetical conditions frequently turn out to be surprisingly accurate - explicitly shown by the effect of advertising.
Take this: I Norway, we have got one publicly financed and ad-free TV broadcaster; up until last newyear its main income was a yearly license fee (of about 200 USD); now it is paid by taxes. Other TV channels are essentially financed through ads. I repeatedly argue that the license fee for those is paid by a premium on every product that is advertised on the channel. I never owned a TV set, so I didn't have to pay the license for the public broadcasting channels, but I couldn't escape paying for the commercial ones. In the the grocery store, I couldn't demand a lower price on the Coke arguing that "I do not watch the TV2 network channels, so I don't want to pay that fraction of the price that goes to keep TV2 alive!"
I hardly ever get a positive reply to such considerations. Rather, "But it is up to you if you want to buy the advertised products! I certainly don't think I have to buy something just because it is advertised!" Right. Noone 'admits' that they are affected by TV ads. Yet ... TV ads work! In the commercial world, we are lemmings! If we were not, advertising would have a hard time. Fashions would have a hard time. Rock stars would have a hard time.
Any individual lemming will have a good excuse for following fashions ("That is my taste") or music style ("He is just a great gitar player") or buying 64 rolls of toilet paper ("We were almost out of it") - the others are the hoarders, the slaves of fashion or whatever. But seem as a whole, we are far more lemmings than we want to admit. (Obviously except you - you are a thinking individual who seriously considers the situation and conclude that it serves you best to do exactly like all the others.)