Can Math Help You Find Mr. or Miss Right?

Are they really right for you? Don't leave it to your heart to decide... let the math do the judging! Here are three mathematical theories to help determine if your marriage will last (or if it should happen at all).

1. The Mathematics of Marriage

In their book, The Mathematics of Marriage, mathematician James D. Murray and psychologist John Gottman describe their use of calculus to study interactions between couples. Using a model Gottman developed in 1979, the pair surveyed 700 newly married couples in King County, Washington in 1992. They analyzed couples' 15 minute conversations using a scoring system that assigned a number based on each statement, expression, and even pulse rates. Then they model quantified the ratio of positive to negative interactions during the talk. The magic ratio was 5:1. When the ratio falls below this, a relationship may be in trouble.

These numbers were plotted as a function of time and were used to make predictions as to whether the couple would i) divorce, or ii) stay married a) happily, or b) unhappily. They called this the "Dow Jones for Marital Conversation." Every 1-2 years until 2004 the couples were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their marriage. The predictions on which couples would get divorced was 94% accurate, and typically divorce occurred after 4 years.

2. The 37% Rule

In 1997, Dr. Peter Todd of the Max Planck Institute in Munich described his 37% rule, also known as the secretary rule. Imagine if you have to fill 1 secretarial position and have n # of applicants, ranked from best to worst. Now, here's where the math gets hairy. Assuming you skip the worst ones (n/e of the applicants where e is the base of the natural logarithm), and you only interview applicants who are better than those you have already interviewed (n/e + 1 is better than all previous n/e interviews), the probability of selecting the best applicant from the pool rounds to 1/e, or around 37%. Hence, you should be able to pick the best secretary after interviewing 37% of the applicants.

If there are about 100 potential "mates" you don't have to date 37 people to finally meet Mr. Right, #37. Instead, Dr. Todd advises you set your "aspiration level," what you are looking for in a partner, to a range. Then date only those who are in the top 25% of that range. Your sample size, therefore, is reduced to only 10 dates. One of those should make the cut.

3. The "What are the Chances My Marriage Will Last?" Equation

Picture 66.pngGarth Sundem, author of GeekLogic created his own equations to determine: 1. What are the Chances My Marriage Will Last? 2. Should We Get Married? and 3. How Many Kids Should we Have?The "What are the Chances my Marriage Will Last?" is based on an 11,000 person study by the CDC that explored factors that help and hurt a marriage's chances of working. Here's the equation:

where"¨ A= Her age at time of marriage

E=Current combined years of post-high-school education

K= Number of kids from this marriage

R= How religious is the couple (1-10 with 10 being "the Pope")

D= Combined number of divorces of couple's parents

P= Combined previous marriages

T= Years at which you are computing the chances

H.E.A. = % chance of Happily Ever After
But don't worry about calculating it out yourself. Over at Political Calculations, you can type in your personal data and it spits out the probability you and your partner will still be married at a given year of anniversary.

Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine

You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

Universal Pictures
Pop Culture
The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.


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