Yes, today is March 14, 2008, abbreviated as 3.14. Mathematicians everywhere celebrate today as Pi Day.

You can join the fun over at PiDay.org.

]]>To whit, after his observation that a search for “VoWiFi ” wasn’t turning up VoWLAN resulted in a discussion of the cryptic “ambiguity-to-humor ratio” found in email, Yuval submitted a definition last weekend that explains how to determine just how funny a bit of techie humor actually is in virtual life. Enjoy!

In enterprises, the Latent Amusement-Muddlement Equation (LAME) is used

to compute how amusing a joke is in comparison to how much it will

muddle a situation due to ambiguities in the joke. Positive values

correspond to jokes that are not amusing enough to justify the confusion

they cause, whereas negative values are amusing enough. While this may

be counter-intuitive to those who think a positive value should yield a

positive joke, a common mnemonic is to remember, “if it’s positively

LAME, don’t say it.”For instance, if you are car pooling to a meeting but running late, and

the driver frantically asks whether he should take a left at an

intersection, yelling out “right!” in such a way as to make the driver

think he should take a right turn — instead of the correct left turn –

is generally regarded as having a positive LAME vale.Computing LAME is simple but subjective.

LAME = ( [2A*M]^3 + 20N ) – ( [L/1000]^3 + e^[C/100] )

where:

L = Laughter, in terms of milliseconds

A = Anger, in terms of how many minutes it will take for the other

person to calm down

M = Magnitude (of the anger), a value between 0 and 1.0 (inclusive), 1.0

being most angry

N = coNfusion caused by the joke

C = Chuckling, in terms of milliseconds

Thanks, Yuval. I’ll make sure to shoot down any poorly-phrased comedic quips from the channel editors at lunch next week as evidence of a low lameness quotient (LQ).

Cyanide and Happiness has many excellent examples of this phenomenon. (Caution — some of these stick figure comics are NSFW.) Some work, some don’t.

xkcd, beloved of geeks everwhere as I’ve blogged previously, has some of that flavor, as the N factor may be quite high for the non-math or IT crowd.

Microsoft’s new viral comic campaign, Heroes Happen, has a bit of that element as well.

And, of course, icanhascheezburger.com, now one of the most popular blogs online, has oodles of LOLcats that range from the sublimely funny to completely random to groaningly punny.

P.S. While the LAME quotient has many applications, IT purists may note that it’s an MP3 converter used with the popular open source audio editing software Audacity, among others. Old school techies may recall the term lamer as well, though any similarity is purely coincidental.

]]>Lovers of Mathematica, a marvelous mathematical modeling application, will recognize Wolfram as the maker of that fine software. Mathematica itself includes thousands of original algorithms, spanning applied uses that range “from simple calculator operations and educational demonstrations to large-scale systems deployment and maximum-power supercomputing.” ]]>