# Seemingly Unmathematical Problems Solved By Math

As much as we hate to validate our middle school teachers, math can be useful in parts of life you’d never expect

Some things are an art, some things are a science and a secret third thing is math. We like to think all of those things are separate, but as much as we hate to validate our middle school teachers, math can be useful in parts of life you’d never expect. Like…

## 5 Predicting the Loss of Socks in the Laundry

There may be no way to prevent sockmates from divorcing in the washing machine, but you can at least be unsurprised with the equation developed by scientists working for Samsung in 2016. It involves determining the laundry size by the number of household members and loads per week; adding that to the complexity of washing, determined by the number of different types of loads and socks washed; and subtracting your positive feelings toward laundry and the number of precautions you’ve taken against mishaps. Or you could just buy all black socks.

## 4 Identifying the Killer in an Agatha Christie Mystery

Next time you’re playing Poirot/Marple, simply solve for k r, δ, θ, c=f{rk +δ+θP,M, c(3≤4.5}. That looks complicated, but let us break it down: It turns out that, like most things in her time, Christie’s writing was heavily gendered. If the action takes place largely by car and/or train and the book’s language is largely negative, the killer is probably a woman. If it’s set at a country house, it’s 75 percent likely to be a woman. If there’s boats and strangulation, probably a man. Poirot mysteries mention the killer more at the beginning, Marples more at the end, and they will usually be “emotionally involved with the victim, most being spouses or blood relatives.” You know, like real murders.

## 3 Writing a Perfect Pop Song

Music written by numbers is a whole genre for dorks, but you can also do it with songs you wouldn’t be embarrassed to listen to in public. In 2011, researchers at the University of Bristol determined that they could assign a numerical value to 23 different features of a song (like tempo, simplicity, time signature and harmony), plug it into an equation and predict whether it would become a hit with 60 percent accuracy. It only works for the U.K., though, so it’s presumably thrown off by an absence of plaintive wailing.

## 2 Determining How Hot You Are

Wanna know how objectively, mathematically babelicious you are? Just apply the golden ratio, or about 1:1.6. In other words, measure the length and width of your face — ideally, the former should be about 1.6 times the latter. The closer it is, the more of a smokeshow you are. A perfectly hot face can also be measured in equal thirds from the top down (hairline to pupils, pupils to bottom of nose, and bottom of nose to bottoms of chin) and from eye to eye. Also, your nose should be the length of your ear for some reason. If you fall short on any of these metrics, have you considered comedy?

## 1 Tell the Perfect Joke

You might think a good joke is the result of divine synergy between comedian and audience, but nope. According to the Comedy Research Project at London’s Dana Centre, all you need is c=(m+n0)/p, where comedy (“c”) equals the moment (calculated by the quality of the punchline times the length of the setup) plus the number of pratfalls (because “falling over is always funny”) divided by the number of puns (which are always not).

So if you don’t like our jokes, it’s not our fault. We were never very good at math.

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