After years of attention-hungry maths boffins having hit-and-miss success getting nonsense formulas for 'most depressing day of the year', 'female beauty' and 'Christmas happiness' into the mass media, a mathematics researcher and lecturer from the University of East Anglia has developed a new half-arsed formula to optimise the chances of these meaningless equations being broadcast by news outlets.

Norwich egghead, Dr Justin Higgins, who hasn't had a proper paper published in over 3 years, stayed up all night studying the types of bogus pseudo-maths that make it onto Yahoo news, the BBC and the Sun website, and concluded that while relevance and humour were important, complexity and desperation were also key factors, coming up with this piece of specious claptrap:

Dr Higgins, whose position at the University is up for review in the new year, explained that, 'Success, 'S', is a function of relevance, 'R', and humour quotient, 'Hq', but also takes into account how complicated the formula looks, 'C'. It needs to look plausibly complex so as to look brainy, but not so impenetrable that it alienates the public and typesetters. Somewhere between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 on the curriculum.'

Higgins, overlooked for promotion again this year, went on to say that Desperation factor, 'D', is also important, as each faculty-member tries to raise his profile ahead of public spending cuts, but that the probability of it becoming a springboard to a TV career like Brian Cox or Marcus du Sautoy’s was sadly undermined by his excessive Beardiness, 'B', and his ownership of a 'Room full of Crazy' where mysterious numbers and symbols are scrawled all over the walls and windows of a locked room in the mathematician’s house.

It is understood that Head of UEA Maths Department, Professor David Hammond has responded with his own formula for Dr Higgins' chances of being taken seriously in the faculty staff room.