How to use math to park a car
A mathematician in the U.K. has created a formula that explains exactly how you can fit your car into a parking spot.
Not so long ago, large, numerate brains got together to create.
Not content with satisfying the need for perfection in human relationships, mathematicians have now dedicated themselves to creating equations for the perfect relationship with the physical world.
You might think this a trivial pursuit. You'd be right. However, Vauxhall Motors, which participated in this useful experience, claims that 15 percent of hardy Brits say that the the biggest challenge of their holiday period is finding a fine place to park their car.
So in drove professor Robin Blackburn of the University of London's Royal Holloway College to inscribe a few symbols and square roots in order to solve a real human problem.
The formula involves knowing such simple numbers as the radius of your car's curb-to-curb turning circle and the distance from the center of the front wheel to the front of your car.
Frankly, if you don't have these numbers stored at the very front of your brain, just behind seven pictures of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses, then you have no business being on the road.
Professor Blackburn is merely putting all your most intimate numbers together for you. As he told the Telegraph: "Everyone has had the experience of ignoring a space because you're not sure if you can fit in or not. This formula solves that problem."
Indeed it does. Save for one small issue. You see, a U.K. government survey showed that almost 7 million Brits have math skills that are below the level of an average 11-year-old.
Many places in the US might have larger parking areas, but US math skills are not exactly proportionate. The National Assessment of Educational Progress suggests that only 4 out of 10 fourth- and eighth-graders are, well, any good at math at all. And only 42 percent of high school graduates left prepared for college-level math.
Professor Blackburn's formula is not simple. So I fear a new onset of holiday season accidents as willing but unable parkers attempt to enact his mathematical genius, only to plow into the silver Volvo in the adjacent parking space.