Drake Equation Used to Explain Girlfriend Woes

25 Jan

Peter Backus, a native of Seattle, PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick – near London, has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe and used it to explain why he can’t find a girlfriend.

In his paper, “Why I don’t have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,” Backus used The Drake Equation to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK.  His equation looked at the total number of women in the country, and then narrowed it down using relevant factors including the number of women in London, the number of “age-appropriate” women (those aged between 24-34), women with a college degree, and those who Backus would find physically attractive.

As such Backus has calculated that he has a 0.0000034% chance of meeting his special woman in London using the equation, yielding essentially a paltry 26 women that fit his criteria. But I contend [albeit jokingly] that Peter neglected to account for one last variable:

ƒoffended or ƒo = the number of women who would feel offended that he just reduced the beauty of chance encounters and love and to a cold and sterile equation.

Since his equation returned a result of 26 potential women – who are all assumed to be relatively intelligent [see his college educational requirements] – one could make an educated assumption that most – if not all – of these remaining women would in fact be insulted.

If then we multiply his final result of 26 women by the inverse of ƒo (1/26=0.0384615385) we find a final answer is 0.0384615385*26 = 1. Yes, accounting for all his criteria – and adding the one extra – there should be 1 woman in the general London area who would fit his search for a soul mate.

And it seems he has found her: reports on the internet suggest he has been seeing someone now for the last six months. “She’s from London,” he says. “And she meets all my criteria.”

Well done Peter. Now what are the odds of that? But I wouldn’t blow this Peter: mathematically she’s the only one you’ve got left.

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Posted by on January 25, 2010 in Fun, Humor


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