The Perfect Formula II: The Mail

This is the same thing as I did for the Telegraph, but for the Daily Mail. This one was harder because their search function is bad and their website unreliable. Also the dross between the formula stories was more depressing. But then, it did turn up the brilliant formula for the perfect horror film, so that’s something…

• The Perfect Day: O + NS + Cpm/T +He, except when it’s [W+(D-d)]xTQ MxNA
As in the Telegraph, this was repeated year on year on year on year.
• The Perfect Christmas: PX = (8F * 4P + £23 * 8F + 3G + 2W + 2W:3C + 5T:1NR ÷ 3D) ÷ 3D
As covered previously. Presumably even following this formula Christmas is still worse than June 20th.
• The Perfect Bacon Butty: N = C + (fb (cm) . fb (tc)) + fb (Ts) + fc . ta
Apparently, “the experts at Leeds University tried 700 variations on the traditional bacon butty.” I did my undergraduate degree at Leeds and I can vouch that this is true, although I had no idea it was research. Dr Graham Clayton is to blame for this.
• Out of interest, N = force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon. C = Newtons required to break uncooked bacon, fb = function of the bacon type, cm = cooking method, tc = cooking time, Ts = serving temperature, fc = function of the condiment/filling effect and ta = time or duration of application of condiment/filling.

• The Perfect Present Wrap: {(d+2h+w)2 2(w+h)2 — whatever that means
Thanks to Dr Sara Santos at the University of Manchester, “we now know why we put everything in boxes”.
• The Perfect Sitcom: formula not properly explained
As in the Telegraph. Repeated, presumably on Dave.
• Staying Awake At Work: CDA + CT + KF TMT
Bear in mind that KF stands for “knacker factors”, so this is Maths. This comes from “experts at fatigue management consultancy Awake”.
• The Perfect Cheese Sandwich: W = (1 + bd÷6.5 – s + (m-2c)÷2 + (v+p)÷7t) * (100+l)÷100
“Geoff Nute and his team” of “sensory analysts at Bristol University” produced this equation, which says that without a tangy sauce, you need infinite cheese. This was in the optimistically named “science and tech” section.
• The Perfect Penalty: (((X + Y + S) ÷ 2) x ((T + I + 2B) ÷ 4)) + (V÷2) -1
As in the Telegraph.
• The Perfect Breasts: the nipple should be 45% of the way down. Apparently.
“Patrick Mallucci spent many hours poring over photos of topless models in lads magazines and tabloid newspapers to formulate his theory.” Enough said.
• The Perfect Teeth: no formula
This isn’t strictly a formula. It’s really a set of rules about what makes a nice smile, of use to cosmetic dentists. I’ve seen at least one of them discussed in the British Dental Journal, but that was to debunk it. Hard to say what the truth is. Better at least than “the perfect cheese sandwich”, but still…
• How To Beat The Post-Holiday Blues: ((j+c) × (r+t) – (h+o))÷b
Professor David Holmes of Manchester Metropolitan University “carried out the research on behalf of Churchill Travel Insurance”, who will presumably use it as a basis for premiums on Post-Holiday Blues Insurance. As ever, all the variables are listed on wholly arbitrary 1-5 kind of scales. According to the Mail, b represents “whether gaps between holidays too long”. Yeah. Gaps too long. Also, verbs for losers.
• Will You Get Seasonal Affective Disorder?: X a x ((24-b) x (c+d+e) + f x (g+h+i))
Here, we learn why you should always use the multiplication sign instead of the lower case ‘x’. Also why you should remember to include the equals sign. This was devised by “consultant psychiatrist Dr David Wheatley” and “commissioned by Kira St John’s Wort, makers of a herbal “happiness” supplement, as part of a study on depression”. It has to be said, the list of instructions is sufficiently varied and complex to give the whole thing an air of credibility. But still…
• How Beer Goggles Work: no formula supplied
“Bausch & Lomb PureVision, one of the world’s biggest eyecare firms” got “Professor Nathan Efron, Professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of Manchester” to do this. I don’t know why it’s so often universities I’m at where this stuff happens; before I started at Leeds, Dr Clarke, who took our electronics lectures, was asked by some supermarket or other to work out an equation for how to flip a pancake, and I guess they were expecting him to wander off and make something up, but no, he built a huge red trebuchet-looking thing to flip a strange cardboard pancake. I was there for four years, and some of my friends worked on this for a brief period. Partway through my course he retired, an act which made him much easier to locate — his workload went from insane to average. To my knowledge, the only thing this project has ever achieved is to break countless platinum-iridium tips for the tunnelling microscope. I suppose that means that they at least have more credibility than the “oh, it’ll be b times a plus 4d over qpr” crowd, but still…
• When Heyfever Is Worst: 6.02pm on May 29; no formula supplied
Stay indoors at that time, is my advice. “Dr Adrian Morris, allergy specialist for Boots Health Club, … created the hayfever formula”.
• The Perfect Horror Film: (es+u+cs+t)² +s+ (tl+f)/2 + (a+dr+fs)/n + sin x – 1
Who says modern films are too formulaic? This is science! Look! It has a fucking sine function in it:

The experts have taken blood and guts (Sin x) and subtracted it by the stereotypes (1), to make Sin x – 1, saying Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining turned into the total opposite of a protective father figure.

See? That’s Science! Don’t say it isn’t! “Mathematician Anna Sigler, … a former graduate from King’s College, London” did this research. A former graduate, no less. Presumably her degree was revoked when they saw what she was doing with it. The Shining won, by the way. “The research was carried out for Sky Movies, which will be showing The Shining and other scary movies this weekend.” Coincidence.

• How To Wash Your Hair: formula not stated
“Kerys Mullen, technical manager at Dove, said: “A lot of people ask us about the best way to wash their hair so we decided to work out the ideal formula.”"
• The Perfect Boiled Egg: formula not stated
How to boil an egg, by several chefs. At the bottom, input from “Dr Charles Williams A physicist from Exeter University [sic]“, who “has worked out a formula for the perfect boiled egg based on the ‘heat-diffusion equation for spherical objects’”. Fair enough, but I for one will trust the chefs on that one.
• The Perfect Day To Change Your Life: M × O + Bh (H+R) × S; max. May 18
This is the handiwork of Cliff Arnall, the same Cardiff University muppet responsible for the best/worst day formula the Mail and the Telegraph obligingly publish twice every year. If anything this is worse than that one: “Under the formula M stands for motivation and O for opportunity while Bh is bank holiday proximity. The H in the second half equals increasing hours of daylight, while R equals reflection time and S, simply success.” Yes. And..? Surely the aim is to maximise S? In which case, shouldn’t it be on the other side of the equals?
• The Secret of True Happiness, no less: P + (5×E) + (3×H)
Thomson travel got “psychologist” Carol Rothwell and “sports scientist and ‘life coach’” Pete Cohen to “insist their equation is a useful guide to our levels of satisfaction with life”. Because just asking “are you happy” doesn’t work. Not enough maths, see.

2 thoughts on “The Perfect Formula II: The Mail”

1. I shall use these formulae to guide my life from henceforth for these will truly yield evidence-based results to live by.