Is there a Generosity Factor ?

If your mother gets you nothing for Christmas you might consider it inappropriate. Conversely if your mother-in-law gives you a million Euros for Christmas everyone (but you) would consider it equally inappropriate. There's obviously some middle ground. The question is, is it quantifiable? Maybe an uncle gets a Christmas card but for a close uncle you whip out your generosity chart - kinda like a tip chart - that shows that an appropriate amount would be 65% of how much you make per hour.

An answer to this question recently emerged from an intergalactic research paper intercepted and decrypted by SETI during their routine monitoring. The paper is included below, and shows that, for the time being at least, generosity is still pretty random, and you should probably continue to follow your intuition.

The Search for the Generosity Factor

Billions and billions of nanoseconds ago (about 10 minutes), on a lush asteroid near the Zepton orbit, there lived a small community of ten Units named Nought One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight and Nine.

When they burst onto this dull three dimensional universe, one Christmas, they each came with a random dowry in value from 0 to 10 glinticlustules (local currency). Nought was the poorest blackguard, One next, then Two, all the way up to Nine who was filthy rich.

But being the kind and generous sort of Units, they regularly gave each other random gifts of 0 to 1 glinticlusters. However, being wise and shrewd, as they decided how much to give, they gave such that their relative wealth remained the same - Nought always remained the poorest and Nine always the wealthiest.

As time went by Zeptoniana, a beady-eyed Zeptonian with a whopping telescope, kept track of how many glinticlusterons changed hands and kept an average. She found that although the average amount got smaller and smaller, sometimes as small as a few paltry microglintibits, it actually varied quite a lot and never settled on some relative amount - it was basically random. She also noted how the overall wealth moved around, and told most of her friends that although the Units' relative wealth was maintained it didn't tend to average to some proportional amount, but again was essentially random.

The lusty and prosperous Units soon outgrew their asteroid and colonised other asteroids in the same Zepton orbit. The community sizes varied but they remained kind and generous, wise and shrewd, lusty and prosperous. Various progeny that sprang from the loins of Zeptoniana kept their beady eyes on the various Unit colonies and noted that the generosity factor remained essentially random. Eventually they decided to send an emissary to see if the Units would trade glinticlusterlots with zeptonodules. They were curious to see if the random generosity factor phenomenon was universal or localised to the Units.

Figure 1. Here are plots of 9 different asteroids with communities of ten Units. The height shows their percentage wealth. Nought's wealth varies from 0 - 4% and Nine's wealth varies from 15 - 25% of the total wealth of the respective asteroid. Zeptoniana's original observation could have been one of these.

Figure 2. Here are plots of about 9 asteroids with communities of twenty six Units.

Figure 3. Here are plots of over a dozen different asteroids with cosy little communities of just six Units.