I got some questions from a writer named Captain Carrot who deduced that, because I write this column for peanuts, I must also be available for free science consultation and/or general life and relationship advice.
Here is a sample:
I am 27. Should I try to stop smoking, or will I regret it later in life?
Most of you know me well enough by now to realize that, unless you provide proof you are a supermodel, I am unlikely to even bother learning to spell your name.
Yet something in his plea struck me. Maybe because it's Easter Weekend and I feel bad that Jesus died so most of you could tell George Bush how much smarter you are than he is, or maybe it's because I am saddened that this poor monkey can't even decide for himself whether or not he should ingest carcinogens that we've spent trillions of dollars telling him he should not ingest.
It doesn't matter. I felt his pain so I answered his call. Usually I would pretend to be busy and foist this off on fellow writer and pal Garth Sundem, author of Geek Logik: 50 Foolproof Equations For Everyday Life. Garth is a good guy and he loves to do this kind of stuff - for my kid's Christmas he even made him a custom equation ,"How many homeruns will you blast in high school even though your father chased the breaking stuff way too often?" - but I am sure he has a life and doesn't want to do this. I even looked in his book and, surprisingly, he never covered this subject.
So in his stead, I will do it. I don't know how to do LaTeX input here so I am forced to do this in crappy HTML text and it won't look all pretty and nice. But for free, you can't complain. Because this question has more than one variable, you can't really solve it, you can only converge on a perfect answer. Nonetheless, I can at least tell the Captain how to decide if he should commence with the DTs:
Should Captain Carrot Shake That Demon Weed?
Q = H/D + F(S-8)/(C x 0.2)
Where Q is Quitting, namely whether or not you should.
H is for Halitosis, namely how much quitting would improve your breath on a 1-10 scale. 1 being "it always smells great anyway" and 10 being "peanut butter and onions would be a nice way to describe my breath"
D is for Difficulty, namely how much fortitude you have with 10 being Job ( staying in our Biblical theme ) is impressed by how much aggravation you can withstand.
F is for Family, namely the number of Family members who reminded you to quit smoking last week.
S is for your marital Status. 5 for happy and 10 if you are married.
C is for Cigarettes, namely how many you smoke per day.
From there, it is simple. If Q >1, you should quit.
And what the heck, since it is the season for sacrifice I will also answer your question on whether or not it is possible to insure through genetic manipulation that your child is exceptional at science :
It is possible. Namely, by having me impregnate your wife.