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Comments OffPosted on Friday 22 October 2010 at 1:55 pm by Jacob Aron
In Biology, Mathematics

Everyone knows that I love tearing down terrible “formula for” stories, but hopefully this one of my own won’t receive the same treatment as it is actually based on some solid maths! Marathon runners need never “hit the wall” again thanks to a mathematical model that will help them reach the finish line in their […]

3 Comments »Posted on Friday 16 July 2010 at 4:37 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

Ever suffered from a limp wrist, or been on the receiving end of a painfully iron grip? Car manufacturer Chevrolet know all about the importance of a good handshake, which is why they’ve developed a complex mathematical equation for their new staff training guide, as that well known science journal the Daily Mail reports. It’s […]

Comments OffPosted on Friday 16 October 2009 at 7:13 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

As anyone who reads Just A Theory should know by now, “formula for” stories are usually nothing more than thinly veiled PR that newspapers happily print for free, but they don’t get much worse than this: Say hello to Phillippa Toon, proudly displaying her formula for the perfect night out. Phillippa is a biology student […]

4 Comments »Posted on Tuesday 24 February 2009 at 8:51 am by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

It’s Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday for the Christians amongst us. Yesterday the Daily Mail published a story that began: “With Shrove Tuesday tomorrow it was perhaps inevitable that an eager scientist would apply their skills to creating the perfect pancake.” I’m tempted to re-word this: “With Shrove Tuesday tomorrow it was perhaps inevitable that […]

Comments OffPosted on Sunday 29 November 2009 at 5:36 pm by Jacob Aron
In Climate Change & Environment, Getting It Wrong, Inventions & Technology, Weekly Roundup

Universities must do more to stop formula stories This week Times Higher Education have an interesting article about your favourite and mine, the “formula for” story. Of particular concern is the move by PR companies to use students to advertise their dodgy equations, such as the formula for a perfect night out from last month. […]

Comments OffPosted on Friday 27 November 2009 at 8:21 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

Cliff Arnall is back, and he’s got enough dodgy “formula for” stories to see us through til Christmas. The man behind the worst and best days ever has now come up with a formula for the “perfect toy”. As with all the finest scientific research, you can find the details in the Daily Mail. If […]

1 Comment »Posted on Saturday 20 June 2009 at 7:45 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

Cliff Arnall is the king of the “formula for” story. Earlier this year I wrote about his equation for calculating the date of Blue Monday, his self-styled worst day of the year. At the time I failed to mention that Arnall actually trots out this rubbish not just once, but twice annually. When summer rolls […]

2 Comments »Posted on Saturday 23 May 2009 at 7:00 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

A policewoman has come up with a formula designed to increase public confidence in the police. I would have gone with catching criminals and not accidentally killing members of the public, but then what do I know about policing? Chief Constable Julia Hodson of the Nottinghamshire Police suggests that her formula CE+CI+CS+VCxC = PC is […]

Comments OffPosted on Tuesday 31 March 2009 at 9:58 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

I’d make a pretty rubbish goalie, as I almost let this “formula for” story slip right past me. Last week, the Sun reported that “boffins” have found the formula for a penalty kick that will score every time. According to “university eggheads” the ball must be kicked at over 65 mph, with a run-up of […]

1 Comment »Posted on Tuesday 20 January 2009 at 3:10 pm by Jacob Aron
In Biology, Getting It Right, Mathematics

The mathematical formula that proves couples should NOT have sex on their first date” proclaimed a Daily Mail headline from last week. You’d have thought I would jump all over a story like this, much like I did for Blue Monday yesterday. The reason I’ve taken a few days to think about this post is […]