5 Of Life's Most Mundane Problems (Solved With Math)

#2. The Best Way to Parallel Park a Car


Parallel parking is easy as pie. All you need is to keep your mind away from the fact that you're trying to fit two tons of steel into a small space flanked on both sides by thousands of dollars' worth of other peoples' property aaaaaaa!

Whoops, sorry about that. Science, do you have any way to fix this?

Preferably without using the phrase "Now ramp that shit!"

In 2009, professor Simon Blackburn of Royal Holloway College teamed up with Vauxhall Motors with one goal in mind: to figure out the absolute best way to park your car. Blackburn finally came up with a solution, and when we say "solution," we mean "an unholy cluster of numbers and letters that would give Bill Nye an embolism."

Luckily, pretty much everyone who owns a car has a keen interest in parking. Other people saw Blackburn's work and both explained and elaborated on it. Before long, the BBC caught wind of the research and released this handy guide.


So, here's how you do it: First, you make sure there's at least 5 feet 11 inches more space than the length of your car available. Then, you calmly pull in as close to the car in front as possible. After that, all you need to do is reverse your vehicle smoothly into the parking space at a 40-degree angle. That's it. Just intrinsically know what 1 inch shy of 6 feet looks like as judged from 20 feet away through a car window, then crank a wheel with no measurements whatsoever on it in an arbitrary way that gives you a turning radius of exactly 40 degrees. Then ... floor it?

Well, it doesn't say not to.

#1. The Perfect Marriage


With divorce rates soaring, the concept of a perfect marriage is not unlike the concept of unicorns -- they feature most prominently in the realm of fantasy and the diaries of preteen girls.

First, you'll need a unicorn.

Unlike unicorns, marriage has garnered a good deal of interest from researchers (when are you gonna start genetically modifying us some Pegasii, science?). In fact, scientists from the Geneva School of Business have actually managed to figure out a formula for the best possible marriage. They reviewed over a thousand marriages from all social backgrounds and age groups and then determined how happy each couple was. From this data pool, they were able to create the optimal conditions for a perfect marriage. Here's what they have:

First of all, the man should be about five years older than the woman, because the couple dynamic apparently works the best that way. The couple should preferably be from the same cultural heritage, as this saves them from waging the bloody "which way should the toilet paper roll hang" war.

Finally, the wife should be at least 27 percent smarter than the husband. Optimally, the woman should have a degree, while the husband would remain relatively uneducated. There's logic behind this: Because they usually invest more raw emotion in a relationship, women have a tendency to carry the emotional happiness of the entire relationship, while the men tag along. Basically, if the wife is happy, then the husband is happy, too. This essentially puts the woman in the position of the "brain" of the relationship, so it sort of makes sense to reinforce the setting by giving her superior cranial capabilities as well.

Second, she can't be a douche about it. Book learnin' is for assholes.

Of course, this formula is far from foolproof -- after all, love is a right bastard to control. Still, the researchers claim that the couples within their "perfect" model have a 20 percent better chance to maintain a happy marriage than couples outside of the model. And for the millions and millions of us who don't fit their findings, there's always a consolation: All those "dumb, fat husband with a brilliant, pretty wife" shows on ABC are totally scientifically accurate!

Karl has a Twitter, a Facebook and a blog. You can read more from XJ and his perfect way of being unperfect at his writing blog, and he'll love you for an entire minute if you follow him on Twitter.

For more incredible things science has done, check out 5 Mind-Blowing Ways That Science Has Done the Impossible. Or learn about 6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Ways Italy Is Trying to Undo the Renaissance.

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