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7 Questions You Didn't Know Could Be Answered With Math

Nine out of 10 of you have probably used some variation of the term "I'll never need any of this in the real world" when you were studying math in high school. True, the mechanics of long division and PEMDAS don't seem as important in day to day life as, say, knowing how to change a tire. But according to science, a lot of the problems you face every day can be quantified with a single equation. Like ...

#7. The Thickness of Beer Goggles

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"Beer goggles," or the idea that alcohol makes you find people more attractive, sounds like a convenient excuse invented by douchebags who don't want to admit that they will simply have sex with anything that moves. But science says beer goggles are real.

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For proof, spend more than 10 minutes in any college town bar.

It is, however, more complicated than "Alcohol = Boner." Thanks to the wonders of math, the effect can be precisely calculated.

The Formula:

Professors at the University of Manchester, England, worked out that the effect isn't really beer goggles, but bar goggles (or dance club goggles). It's alcohol plus a number of environmental factors, like so:

BBC News
Incidentally, this is the same equation used to calculate your likelihood of picking up an STD.

An is the number of drinks consumed, limited only by your bodily fortitude.

d is the distance in meters between you and the object of your potential lust.

S is the smokiness of the room, rated between 0 and 10.

L is the brightness of the room, rated between 1 and 150.

Vo is a measure of your visual acuity, 6/6 being normal and 6/12 being "maced in the face."

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"Oh yeah. This is probably a good decision."

If the result is less than 1, there's no beer goggle action at all. With 50 and higher, we begin to see a clear effect. If we test this with a single drink, a half-meter distance, clear air, good lighting and perfect vision, then the object appears in all its horrible glory.

However, if the guy just chugged eight beers and there's a three-meter distance, poor lighting and a smoky room, and he forgot his contact lenses, everyone is beautiful.

Surprisingly, alcohol alone doesn't seem to produce much of an effect if we ignore the other factors. With a clear, well-lit room and good vision, we plugged eight beers into the equation and only got 2.6. After 15 beers, it's still only 9 (if our math is wrong, someone will surely correct us in the comments). According to this, the secret isn't so much to go easy on the booze, just to make sure you stay in the non-smoking section and carry a flashlight.

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Or do your drinking in the well-lit halls of hospitals and mental institutions.

#6. Why We Procrastinate

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Statistically speaking, since you're reading a Cracked article right now, chances are good that there's something more important you should be doing. A Canadian academic named Professor Piers Steel, himself a chronic procrastinator, spent 10 years on the study while trying not to play computer games instead, and came up with an equation to figure out why we put things off so much.

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"It was only supposed to take five years, but then World of Warcraft came out."

The Formula:

Here, U is the desirability of the task, E is the confidence that you will succeed at it, V is the value of completing it, I is the task's immediacy or availability and D is your sensitivity to delay.

Consider for example the prospect of studying for a big exam. We'll put your confidence at 5 because you haven't actually been to any lectures this semester. The value of the task can be 5, too, because reading about third-year accounting rips your soul through your nasal passages. Immediacy can be set to 2 because you know you're going to have to invest the entire night in it, and delay sensitivity we'll put at 10 because even the drapes have a good chance of distracting you at this point. Crunch the numbers through Steel's formula and we see the desirability of this task is about 1.25.

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Compare this to the desirability of sleep and sex for an explanation of why your GPA never cracks 2.5.

Alternatively, you could read the entire back catalog of Cracked articles. We'll set your confidence in being able to read Cracked for 12 hours at about 1,000. The value of doing so we can also assume is 1,000. The availability can be 1,000 because you're already here. We'll say your sensitivity to delay is just 1, because you really feel like heating up some Pop Tarts and reading Cracked. 1,000 x 1,000/1,000 x 1 = 1,000, which is almost 1,000 times higher than your desire to study for your accounting finals.

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The only thing more desirable than Cracked is having sex while reading Cracked.

Math! It's on our side.

#5. What Makes the Perfect Ass

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Proving once and for all that being really smart in no way makes you more mature, Dr. David Holmes, a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, has cracked the ass matrix and discovered the formula for the perfect female butt, after what we assume was years of intensive "research."

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Stare at this picture for more than 40 seconds, and you're officially a scientist.

The Formula:

In this formula, S stands for overall shape, C for circularity, B for bounciness, F for firmness and T for texture. When a woman has given herself unswervingly honest marks between 1 and 20 for all of these, and measured the ratio of her hips to her waist (V), they can all be entered into the equation and used to calculate just how ready the world is likely to be for her jelly.

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Scientists are still hard at work trying to crack the Unified Breast Theory.

The winner? Kylie Minogue's ass is apparently an 80, which they claim is the ideal score. Put to the test, 2,000 people polled in the U.K. indicated that men prefer to ogle Minogue's backside over traditionally more notorious rumps like that of Jennifer Lopez.

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Mr. Timberlake knows what we're talking about.

"The perfect female derriere," Holmes concluded -- identifying himself as a man who uses French words when he's not actually French -- "has firmness to the touch and a resilience that prevents undue wobble or bounce, yet looks soft with flawless skin." He then proceeded to wipe his bottom lip with the sleeve of his jacket and ask the interviewing journalist to bend over.

Manchester Metropolitan University
This guy specializes in stalking, psychopathy, autism and the perfect ass. He might just be the creepiest doctor since Patch Adams.

#4. What Makes a Movie Scary

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Every one of us has something that puts the butt-clenching, bladder-weakening fear of God into us. For some, it's clowns who climb out of gutters; for others, it's women who brush their hair over their faces and then walk toward you really slowly on their hands. At the same time, it's easy to pick a good horror movie from a bad one -- ask anyone about the scariest films of all time and the same titles seem to keep cropping up, like The Exorcist, The Shining and The Thing.

Mathematicians have found a solution, and surprisingly it has nothing to do with the presence of the word "The" in the title.


Heads doing things heads aren't generally supposed to do seems to be of critical importance.

The Formula:

Researchers at Kings College, London, found that it's not quite as simple as turning the lights off and spraying the disposable support cast with fake blood.

In this ridiculously complicated formula:

es is escalating music;

u is the unknown;

cs is chase scenes;

t is the sense of being trapped;

a is the character being alone;

dr is how dark the film is;

fs is the film setting;

tl stands for true life;

f stands for fantasy;

n is for number of people;

sin is blood and guts and

s is shock.


S doesn't work without a lot of u, dr and sin.

The "1" is thrown in there as "stereotype," presumably because when you know the squealing girl in her underwear is going to end up lying at the bottom of the stairs, it's difficult to care too much when it happens.

Apparently, when plugging in all the numbers, The Shining turned out to be the perfect horror movie. It pushes all the buttons -- the characters are trapped and alone in a creepy haunted hotel, and the combination of ghosts and Jack Nicholson being insane add just the right ratio of fantasy to chilling plausibility. All this comes with some great chase scenes and plenty of the requisite escalating music.

Of course, a lot of other horror favorites are missing key elements (The Blair Witch Project has neither music nor gore), but the formula allows them to compensate in other areas. When you think about which horror movies scared you the most, consider how often they used these techniques -- isolation, darkness, reality and the sense of the unknown.


And also Jack Nicholson.

To see how it works the other way, we'll let you apply the formula to Troll 2 in your own time.

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