Friday, November 24, 2006
I was volunteered by my aunt to take our family's group portrait at the reunion that we're pulling together next month. I agreed to do it in the desperate hope that I just may get out of appearing in the photo itself.
The horror lies in the fact that I have a very good chance of making my mother's family and extended family all look horrible -- which will almost certainly make them all hate me. Because the laws of probability, I’m almost certain, ensure that someone, if not most everyone, will have their eyes closed or cross-eyed when the moment arrives.
Thank god for Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, winners of this year’s Ig Noble Award in Mathematics, for calculating how many photographs a person must take to almost ensure that no one in a group photograph will have their eyes closed.
According to their calculation, when shooting fewer then 20 people in good light or with a flash, divide the number of people present by 3 – and take that number of shots. In bad light, divide by 2. For more than 20, read the paper your own damn self.
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[Image courtesy of The Great Shädy Äcres Picture Dump]