Friday, 15 January 2010

Drake Equation for Girlfriends

I'm amused. The Drake Equation is an equation that calculates how many alien civilizations we can meet and greet, made famous by the SETI folks. Basically, you multiply a whole lot of things together, and get an answer. The tricky bit comes from the fact we have no idea what the values we should multiply are. But slowly, we're getting a handle on it. So on Wed, I laughed a bit when this popped into my news-of-the-weird box:

(MYFOX NATIONAL) - A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend.
Peter Backus , a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, " Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK ," used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK.
 One of the commenter below the story said it's just a ploy to get his face out in as many newspapers as possible - turning news papers into person ad agencies for free. Brilliant! In the end, he estimates the number of suitable potential girlfriends in the London area to be around 26. You can read his short paper here. It's pretty non-mathy, and funny. :)


Arvay said...


Question for you... are the moose calves that were born last spring old enough to survive on their own now? I've just made the upsetting observation that a moose of my acquaintance was killed by a car last night, and she had twin calves. Do you think they'll be okay?

TwoYaks said...

I would estimate the moose calves' probability of survival as reasonably good. If they're in an area with signifigant wolf predation (i.e., CHSR, Chatinika river valley, or on the other side of the Tanana river), they might be surprised by predators. However, weaning generally occurs around September or August, and so that isn't an issue. Around Ester, they'll probably do just fine.

Arvay said...

Oh that is good news! Thanks for the information!

gpc said...

Cute, but disquieting. I didn't expect his odds to be so low in London -- what does that say for the rest of the world?

TwoYaks said...

I think it says that your 1 in a million love is really 1 in a million. Special friends really are that special!