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 ...
The Thickness of Beer Goggles
"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.
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.
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:
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."
"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.
Or do your drinking in the well-lit halls of hospitals and mental institutions.
Why We Procrastinate
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.
"It was only supposed to take five years, but then World of Warcraft came out."
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.
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.
The only thing more desirable than Cracked is having sex while reading Cracked.
Math! It's on our side.
What Makes the Perfect Ass
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."
Stare at this picture for more than 40 seconds, and you're officially a scientist.
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.
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.
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.
This guy specializes in stalking, psychopathy, autism and the perfect ass. He might just be the creepiest doctor since Patch Adams.
What Makes a Movie Scary
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.
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.
The Best Time for a Marriage Proposal
The truth is that there are probably going to be a million different pressures urging you toward that bent knee -- love, friends, parents, suspicious-looking radiance and a tummy bulge -- and not a single one of them is going to pull a calendar off the wall, circle a date and tell you to just get on with it. Thankfully, math has found an elegant solution to your problem.
These can only delay the Big Day for so long.
Don't worry, you don't actually have to calculate that intimidating algebraic mess. Professor Tony Dooley from the University of New South Wales School of Mathematics and Statistics, who came up with the formula, assures us that the answer is 0.368, and we all have to take his word for it.
Does this look like the face of a man who would lie about love?
The only thing you need to do is pick the youngest age you would want to get married, subtract that from the oldest age and multiply that by 0.368. Then you add that number to your youngest age, and voila.
For example, if you start thinking of settling down at 21, but you don't mind being single until you're 30, then: (30-21) x 0.368 = 3.312 + 21 = 24 and three months, which is when you should consider popping the question.
"It was either this, or a lifetime of masturbating quietly into my socks."
On the other hand, if you're an emotionally stunted man-child who doesn't start considering marriage until 40, but you're prepared to go on until death if necessary, then your ideal time to start proposing to whoever is dumb enough to give you their phone number is somewhere around 50, and also, you are probably actor Doug Hutchison.
Those sunglasses aren't fooling anyone, Doug.
The formula is based on established equations in financial and medical sectors that pinpoint maximum rewards and minimal costs: all terribly romantic, and exactly what every girl wants to hear in a candlelit restaurant. As are Dooley's well considered and immortal words: After reaching your Optimal Proposal Age, "You should prepare to pop the question to the very next girl you date -- as long as she's the best of the bunch so far!"
"Will you be my last-ditch effort at happiness?"
How to Ride a Bike
The first time we realized that all adults are essentially lying, morally bankrupt sociopaths was somewhere between "Dad, don't let go of the back of my bike" and "Dad? Dad? Daaaaaad?"
"This means a nursing home, you son of a bitch!"
Once your brand new BMX had been retrieved from the neighbor's hedge, however, riding a bike was probably never a problem again. So much so, in fact, that the whole experience would be used as an analogy for the rest of your life to describe things that are so easy that your brain is incapable of failing at them.
"Don't worry, son, it's as easy as driving stick while drunk!"
Some people recently decided to calculate exactly how easy riding a bike is, and after three universities from around the world collaborated on a formula dozens of symbols long, they concluded that they still only barely have any idea.
"But we have determined that bicycle crashes are goddamn hilarious."
The confusion we all had as children over exactly how the fuck we were supposed to get something 3 inches wide and perpetually rolling to stay upright without rockets and some kind of anti-gravity support platform was, in fact, totally and utterly justified. It's complicated as shit. Look at it!
Clever people from the University of Nottingham in England, Cornell University in Ithaca and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands came up with a 62-page mathematical report on the subject, full of lots of squiggles we don't understand that explain exactly what is necessary to keep a bike upright. And we assume that what it really all boils down to is keep moving or you'll fall off.
Researchers are still working 'round the clock to determine just how ridiculous biking shorts need to look in order to be effective.
The Secret to Happiness
Philosophers, religious leaders, artists, poets and expensive therapists have been looking for the secret to happiness ever since the very first caveman laid down on the very first sofa, put his hands over his eyes and started weeping uncontrollably. Luckily for us, a group of psychologists and "life coaches," after a study interviewing 1,000 people, have solved the problem in just 13 key taps.
"If we can just turn this formula into a beverage, we'll be rich!"
Here, P stands for personal characteristics, E for existence (health, financial stability and friendships) and H is higher order, and covers self-esteem, confidence, ambitions and sense of humor. All of these can be established by answering four questions:
1. "Are you outgoing, energetic, flexible and open to change?"
"Follow-up question: Do lab coats turn you on?"
2. "Do you have a positive outlook, bounce back quickly from setbacks and feel that you are in control of your life?"
3. "Are your basic life needs met, in relation to personal health, finance, safety, freedom of choice and sense of community?"
4. "Can you call on the support of people close to you, immerse yourself in what you are doing, meet your expectations and engage in activities that give you a sense of purpose?"
Such as sudoku.
Answer on a scale of one to 10: P is the answer for Questions 1 and 2; E for Question 3 and H for Question 4. Put them into the formula and you'll get a rating out of 100. Over 80, and you get a happiness medal to keep forever and ever, because chances are it won't last long. Under 20, and you probably can't read this over your wailing. But at least now you can quantify exactly how miserable you are!
For more easy solutions, check out 6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (That Have Totally Been Solved) and 5 Things We All Do That Make Hackers' Lives Incredibly Easy.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how to put Tetris and Snake on your calculator.
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