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Vacation Rerun. New Feature: Equations of Everyday Life

Just because I’m vacationing in an alternate Universe doesn’t mean I can’t turn the blog schedule on a dime or whatever the local currency is here.  With the announcement of the new iPhone  today, I just had to give this another whirl, if only to improve my Google page ranking.

“Mathematics consists in proving the most obvious thing in the least obvious way.” — George Polya

Eureka!!

Due to the surprisingly strong reactions to the Equations of Kid and Canine Chaosin other words, at least three other people besides me, my wife and my dogs actually read them–I had an epiphany.

Mouse Trap. The game based on Rube Goldberg’s convoluted cartoon contraptions

Are you old enough to remember Rube Goldberg?  His cartoons satirized the politics and society of the mid-20th century with drawings of hypothetical, ridiculously complex machines designed to do very simple tasks.   They were the inspiration for the game Mouse Trap and for an annual Rube Goldberg Machine contest.

But in the digital world of electronics, these analog devices are no longer relevant.  In an age where advanced mathematics can be used to predict the existence of the Higgs Boson long before developing the technology to verify it, a new approach is needed.  And of course, I have it.  Equations of Everyday Life.  These are the mathematical Rube Goldbergs of our time.

Let us begin.

Do you text and drive?  Do you Google stuff in a dark movie theaters?  Do you take Instagrams of every third thing that happens in your humdrum life?  Like most of us in this over-connected era, the more connected we are to virtual reality, the more disconnected we get from actual reality.  Just how disconnected are we?  The phenomenon is quite mathematically reducible, I have discovered, and I call it:

THE ALGORITHM OF SMART PHONE DISTRACTION

Don’t be deceived.  It is far more complicated than it looks.   Where attention to the outside world in the absence of a smart phone (Aa)equals 1, then attention to the outside world in the presence of a smartphone (As) is approximately equal to the inverse of the number of cool apps on said smartphone (n) times the I-Phone or equivalent model number (m).    Yes, approximately equal to—because nothing is that precise in the quantum mechanical world of electronics, and anyway I like using that smart looking squiggly thingy over the equal sign.   Taking the example of my own I-Phone 4, I have 14 apps I would describe as being “cool.”  As 14 x 4 is 56, then when I am packing my phone, my attention level to the outside world is an astonishingly small 1/56th of normal.  This is dangerous.  As I’m reputed to be a major space shot to begin with,  I should probably be banned from breathing and texting at the same time.   But that calculation can wait for another day, as even the basics get much more complicated.

Siri

What happens when you jump to the I-Phone 4s and add the pernicious feature known as Siri?

It gets ugly in a hurry.  The equation now looks like this:

Yikes!  We now have to square the denominator and in the personal example stated above, my attention level would be 1/562of my normally spaced out self.  This computes to 1/3136.

I don’t know if the Planck length applies to this,  but a few more apps and new models and my attention level will certainly approach it.  Also note that the “s” on the right side of the equation stands for Siri and has no numerical value.  It just makes the equation appear more complex and disguises my general ignorance of advanced mathematics. Anyway ,this demonstrates why I don’t have Siri.  If I did, I would have proposed to her long ago and been off to Vegas for a quickie divorce from my wife by now.  Ah, for the days when the internet was still in black and white.

Coming soon: The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality.

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New Feature: Equations of Everyday Life

“Mathematics consists in proving the most obvious thing in the least obvious way.” — George Polya

Eureka!!

Due to the surprisingly strong reactions to the Equations of Kid and Canine Chaosin other words, at least three other people besides me, my wife and my dogs actually read them–I had an epiphany.

Mouse Trap. The game based on Rube Goldberg’s convoluted cartoon contraptions

Are you old enough to remember Rube Goldberg?  His cartoons satirized the politics and society of the mid-20th century with drawings of hypothetical, ridiculously complex machines designed to do very simple tasks.   They were the inspiration for the game Mouse Trap and for an annual Rube Goldberg Machine contest.

But in the digital world of electronics, these analog devices are no longer relevant.  In an age where advanced mathematics can be used to predict the existence of the Higgs Boson long before developing the technology to verify it, a new approach is needed.  And of course, I have it.  Equations of Everyday Life.  These are the mathematical Rube Goldbergs of our time.

Let us begin.

Do you text and drive?  Do you Google stuff in a dark movie theaters?  Do you take Instagrams of every third thing that happens in your humdrum life?  Like most of us in this over-connected era, the more connected we are to virtual reality, the more disconnected we get from actual reality.  Just how disconnected are we?  The phenomenon is quite mathematically reducible, I have discovered, and I call it:

THE ALGORITHM OF SMART PHONE DISTRACTION

Don’t be deceived.  It is far more complicated than it looks.   Where attention to the outside world in the absence of a smart phone (Aa)equals 1, then attention to the outside world in the presence of a smartphone (As) is approximately equal to the inverse of the number of cool apps on said smartphone (n) times the I-Phone or equivalent model number (m).    Yes, approximately equal to—because nothing is that precise in the quantum mechanical world of electronics, and anyway I like using that smart looking squiggly thingy over the equal sign.   Taking the example of my own I-Phone 4, I have 14 apps I would describe as being “cool.”  As 14 x 4 is 56, then when I am packing my phone, my attention level to the outside world is an astonishingly small 1/56th of normal.  This is dangerous.  As I’m reputed to be a major space shot to begin with,  I should probably be banned from breathing and texting at the same time.   But that calculation can wait for another day, as even the basics get much more complicated.

Siri

What happens when you jump to the I-Phone 4s and add the pernicious feature known as Siri?

It gets ugly in a hurry.  The equation now looks like this:

Yikes!  We now have to square the denominator and in the personal example stated above, my attention level would be 1/562of my normally spaced out self.  This computes to 1/3136.

I don’t know if the Planck length applies to this,  but a few more apps and new models and my attention level will certainly approach it.  Also note that the “s” on the right side of the equation stands for Siri and has no numerical value.  It just makes the equation appear more complex and disguises my general ignorance of advanced mathematics. Anyway ,this demonstrates why I don’t have Siri.  If I did, I would have proposed to her long ago and been off to Vegas for a quickie divorce from my wife by now.  Ah, for the days when the internet was still in black and white.

Coming soon: The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality.

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Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 2 1/2)

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”–Alan Bleasdale

Part B: The Equation of Kid Chaos.  As the number of kids in any household or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said kids increases logarithmically.

As we saw in Part A of this law, The Equation of Canine Chaos, dog generated insanity increases exponentially as dog population increases.  With kids it is infinitely more complex; so we see:

Heaven help us! (even if we are not pious)

When n=1 then Ck=1, but when n>1 then Ck=10n-1

So…n is the number of kids present in a given environment, and Ck is the potential kid-generated chaos in that environment.   In plain English?  The potential chaos increases by an order of magnitude with each kid added!  In other words—for the mathematically challenged among you—two kids may be 10 times as chaotic as one; three may be 100 times as chaotic; four, 1000 times, and so on.

But the increase in analytical complexity here is far greater than the math.  For dogs, the equation is for actual chaos and is a good average.  For kids, it is only for potential chaos, and is somewhere between an approximation and a wild guess.  For one thing, the interactions between children are so complex that they quickly become incalculable.  A good metaphor for this is Newton’s laws of gravity when applied to orbital mechanics of celestial objects: the interaction between two of them is precisely calculable, but as soon as you add even one more the math becomes intractable.

This does not even bring into the equation the question of other variables, such as age, upbringing, setting and proximity to bedtime.  Setting is particularly important.  For example, put 20 nine-year-olds in a catechism class taught by an angry nun wielding a ruler, and the chaos will appear so infinitesimal even the CERN supercollider would be hard pressed to detect it.  Now put the same twenty kids in an unsupervised free swim in a public pool, and you’ll pin the needle on the Richter scale.

But wait, it gets worse!  Dog chaos is pretty obviously measured by noise and activity; but with kids that doesn’t completely tell the tale.   Even when they are quiet there is no telling what’s going on in their little crania.  Take, for example, those twenty tykes in the catechism class.  They may appear behaved now, but what they are plotting to do to that nun when class gets out makes Lord of the Flies look like a sitcom.

This brings us to the most perplexing problem of all: putting multiple kids and dogs together and attempting to calculate what will happen.  It is not unlike trying to unify relativity and quantum mechanics into a single theory of quantum gravity.   In discussing this with my cousin Marion, I asserted that she could not imagine what the equation would look like.  Her sly reply was that she could not even imagine what the room would look like!  Not being one to back off from a challenge, I found this image which fairly represents what both the resulting math and the domicile will look like.

The Equation of Combined Kid AND Canine Chaos


With that,  have a great holiday week and brace yourself for more.

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Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 2)

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things.” –Buddha

Part A, the equation of canine chaos: As the number of dogs in any household, or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said dogs increases exponentially.

The math on this one is easy and so is the logic. Let’s start with an easy equation:

Cd=D2

Simply stated, where Cd equals canine chaos and D equals the number of dogs present, then canine chaos equals the number dogs present squared. So two dogs equals four times the chaos, three dogs equals nine times the chaos, four dogs 16 times, and so on.

As for the logic, that’s also easy. Assuming that dogs are a pack animal, then each chaotic activity started by one, will be joined in by the others. This includes, but is not limited to, barking, fighting, knocking over the trash, attacking the mailman, biting Aunt Millie, pooping in the hallway, stealing your lunch and whatever other crazy things canines do. So, if there are two dogs, it will happen twice as often and be twice as chaotic each time. If there are three dogs, it will happen three times as often and be three times as chaotic. You get the idea.

Disclaimer: this equation is an average. Obviously, geriatric dogs will create less chaos and puppies are off the chart crazy. The breed of dog is a factor as well. (See figure X, schipperkes, and figure Y—as in “why?”—labs)

Figure X. Schipperke [Pronunciation: skip-it; origin: Dutch, meaning little s&$^%#–er, I mean, “little captain”] Noun: 1. a furry black dog of Belgian origin 2. trouble waiting to happen

Figure Y. As in, “why do people keep these things?” (attribution of photo unknown)

Take for example, our own pack of three (if you can believe that) schipperkes. They have the uncanny knack of lulling us into complete complacency. Then a chipmunk runs across the lawn and our former state of quietude is instantly transformed into the canine equivalent of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I’m sure insanity is zoonotic. You get it from your pets.

We also need to consider that there are limits to the human capability to distinguish between degrees of canine chaos. At some point, the saturation point is reached, and the perceived chaos is effectively infinite. Beyond this, addition of more dogs to the environment cannot inflict any measurably higher degree of pain. These limits may vary with the individual. I, for instance, have lived with multiple dogs for years and therefor have a higher threshold of tolerance than the average person. On the other hand, my wife is a veterinarian and is effectively immune. Our dogs could stage World War III on top of her head in the middle of the night, and she would sleep through it. [NOTE: Part B, the Law of Kid Chaos, coming soon in a future post.]

Text in the post ©2012 Mark Sackler

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