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Math Says You Are Sad

photo by RebelBlueAngel
Image by RebelBlueAngel

There is a psychologist in the U.K., Cliff Arnall, who has become rather infamous for cooking up ridiculous but reasonable-enough-looking formulas to quantify various phenomena that might be of interest to corporations willing to pay for such things.  To boot, here is his formula for measuring the sadness of a day (sponsored by Sky Travel):

[W + (D – d)] * TQ / (M * Na)

Where W = weather, D = debt, d = money due in January pay, T = time since Christmas, Q = time since you failed at some attempt to quit something, M = motivation, and Na = need to take action.

It looks mathematical-ish, so several British publications (including the BBC) have run with it over the last few years as if it’s legitimate, without questioning things such as how one should quantify abstract entities like weather and motivation.

Anyway, if you don’t mind junk science you should know that Monday, January 19th is the saddest day of 2009.  Considering the cold snap we in Chicago are currently enduring, I might be inclined to think Dr. Arnall is on to something.  How are things in your part of the world?

January 14, 2009 11:09 pm

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