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Two stories of scientists assigning scientific principles to everyday life

So there's this equation out there called Drake's equation. You use it to figure out how many planets out there could potentially have intelligent life. Start with how many stars are out there, eliminate those that don't have planets, eliminate those that don't have planets at the right distance, eliminate those without an atmosphere, so on and so on. It works out to be an infinitesimally small amount.

This American Life listeners have heard about this guy who applied the same principles to figure out his own odds of getting married. He started with how many people lived in his area, cut that number in half since we was only interested in men, found out what percentage of women were in the age range he desired, and then continued further narrowing down the options until he calculated his odds of finding marriage to be 1 in 285,000. That's .00035% if I moved my decimals correctly.

If you want to read more, Digg has the link to the article. Smarmy commenters suggest that the reason the guy's odds are so bad is because he is the type of guy that you would calculate them but I guess since publishing his findings he's gotten marriage proposals from across the globe.

[Heart photo credit: Ashley Dinges]

And finally, as shared by Becky on Google Reader, we have a study by some scientists who looked to track how quickly spoons disappeared from their office. There's more info over at Discover Magazine, but basically they secretly marked a population of spoons and set them off into the wild. In five months, 80% of the spoons were gone. They even tracked which rooms lost spoons the fastest. Check out the link for the full report.

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