Angle of Opportunity

February 25, 2016 at 9:32 am 1 comment

My wife and I noticed that one of our sons has been getting his pants wet while urinating. He’s 8; these things happen. But when it occurred twice on consecutive days, we had reason for concern. When we inquired, he explained, “Sometimes when I start to pee, I hit the back of the seat. So I push my penis down, but then I hit the front of the toilet, and the pee ricochets and gets my pants wet.”

My wife began to pursue a line of investigative questioning, but I stopped her. “This is just simple geometry,” I explained.

I could have predicted my wife’s reaction. She said:

Not everything has to be a math problem. Especially this.

Even if that were true (it’s not), this situation still begs for some trigonometric analysis.

I’m just over 6 feet tall, so my fire hose is approximately 20″ above the toilet when I urinate. As shown in Figure A, when I stand a reasonable horizontal distance from the commode, my angle of opportunity is approximately 30°.

Adult Peeing

Figure A.

My son, on the other hand, barely clears 4 feet. His water gun is less than 6″ above the toilet when he urinates, so his angle of opportunity is a mere 20°, as illustrated in Figure B.

Kid Peeing

The images clearly indicate why mothers tell their sons (and husbands), “Stand closer to the toilet when you go!” Doing so increases the angle of opportunity and thus decreases the likelihood of a “clean-up in Aisle 3.”

But more importantly, the above images and some quick trig calculations show that an adult male — who probably has greater control than a young boy, anyway — also has a 50% greater range through which to aim when making a deposit.

Upon completing my explanation, I turned to my son. “Though it may be harder for you to hit the mark, that doesn’t excuse peeing on your pants. I think you need to be more careful.”

I then addressed my wife. “I also think we need to cut him a little slack on this one.”

“And I think,” she said, “that you are absolutely unbelievable.”

With that, she excused herself.

I’m not sure where she went, but I suspect it was to text one of her friends about how lucky she was: not only is her husband good at math, but he can apply it in extremely esoteric situations.

Rather remarkably, there has actually been serious scientific investigation into this phenomenon:

More importantly, there are a number of jokes at the intersection of math and urination:

Why do statisticians choose the last urinal?
Because there’s only a 50% change of being splashed by someone else.

What’s in the toilet of the math department restroom?
A natural log.

What does a mathematician call a toilet seat?
An ass-toroid.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

Mathematically Unconscious How Dumb Are You?

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

Past Posts

February 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29  

Enter your email address to subscribe to the MJ4MF blog and receive new posts via email.

Join 232 other followers

Visitor Locations

free counters

%d bloggers like this: