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Is this a nonsense formula for the perfect TV episode?

Stardate November, 2014. These are the continuing adventures of the website The Aperiodical. Its mission: to explore the pages of strange newspapers, to catalogue nonsense formulas, to boldly disapprove of them in ways no blog has done before.

What a joy it was to open my browser this morning and see this delicious headline waiting for me:

perfect tv formula

(by the way, most of the links in this post contain Downton Abbey spoilers. You have been warned.)

In a way, I’m beginning to like nonsense formula stories. You could say that

me + nonsense formula x q = happiness x 2

So, what’s going on this time? Who commissioned it, who sold their soul, and most important of all, does the formula make the least jot of sense?


This just in! Important research from mathematicians at the university of Sheffield (in particular, category theorist Eugenia Cheng) has determined the correct proportions of jam and cream to use when creating a jam and cream scone. As the Aperiodical’s cake correspondent, my duty is to report these significant results.

All Squared, Number 2 – Pancake formula

Here’s the second edition of our new podcast, All Squared. This time we talked to Dr Andrew Taylor, PhD, about nonsense formulas in the news. In particular, since we recorded very close to pancake day, we took a close look at the various “formulas for the perfect pancake” printed in UK newspapers.