|Home Page Commentary 18 Aug 1998|
So a friend called me last night and asked me if I could do a web page or spreadsheet that does calculation of bodyfat percentages based on skin fold measurements. "Sure," I said. "Just fax me the formulas."
He sent me a rather blurry fax which contained the following equations:
DENSITY = 1.0973 . (SUM x .000815) + (SUM)2 x .00000084
(where SUM is the sum of the skinfold measurements)
BODYFAT = (4.57 / DENSITY - 4.142) x 100
Most of you are probably saying, "This guy really is stupid. The problem is obvious." Well, it wasn't to me. In a fit of stupidity, I went on a web search to find out if the equations were correct or not. I found the Brozek equation almost immediately -- it was correct. I couldn't find the Lohman Equation after forty-five minutes of searching.
It was 12:47 in the morning, so I gave up. Just as I turned the computer off, I realized how incredibly stupid I was.
You idiot. That's not a raised dot. It's a minus sign that got blurred in the fax.I took a calculator and ran a couple of examples using subtraction instead of multiplication. Sure enough, I got reasonable results.
So, what I want to know is: how come I never figure these things out until after I've wasted the better part of an hour chasing down blind alleys? Why is it always after I've turned off the computer? It's not easy being stupid.
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