A math prof consults on a movie

A Math Professor Consults on a Hollywood Movie is a fantasy by Ben Orlin on Math with Bad Drawings.
“Where the bomb counts down from 10 to 1? That was well-done,” says the professor. “All the right integers, in just the right order.”

The exec wants a “secret equation” so the villain’s chief scientist can turn all the traffic lights to red to get every car in the city to stop. “What equation would a mathematician use?”

Professor: That’s not what mathematicians do.

Executive: But if you did, what would you use?

Professor: Traffic cones.

Executive: No, I mean with computers.

Professor: You’re using “mathematician” to mean a magical combination of a software developer and an evil wizard. I must be honest. I don’t know what methods such a person would use.

Executive: Let me rephrase. Name a type of equation mathematicians care about.

Professor: You mean… like a partial differential equation?

Executive: Perfect. We’ll work that into the dialogue.

At the climax, Professor Sweetbody discovers a pattern in the graph that reveals where the hostages have been hidden. “What exactly is this graph?” asks the professor.

Executive: You know. It shows the data. All of the data.

Professor: Does this data include the location of the hostages?

Executive: Sure, why not.

Professor: So Mila Kunis is able to recognize where the hostages are hidden… by looking at a graph of the hostages’ locations? A professor’s training is not necessary for this. A reasonably intelligent dog should suffice. Or even an undergraduate.

Executive: Fine, then. It’s a graph of other data. You know, cell phone calls, or water usage in the city, or whatever.

Professor: Well, golf courses consume a lot of water. Perhaps Mila Kunis could employ a water usage map to find a golf course.

Executive: But the hostages are in an abandoned warehouse.

Professor: That could be revised.

Executive: Look. All I want from you are a bunch of words mathematicians use to describe graphs.

Professor: What, like adjacency matrix, and bipartite, and k-regularity?

Executive: Yes! Perfect.

“Good job on the bomb countdown,” says the professor.

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