A look at swimsuit formulas and the topology of covering one’s singularities. Hilarious and enlightening, from The New Yorker:
The proper mathematical way to look at this is to say that since, as the suit shrinks, a finite decency mass is concentrated into an ever smaller region, the decency density grows larger and larger—growing toward infinity. This point of infinite density is called a singularity. So we have that each RMBC (“region that must be covered”) has an associated singularity. And each beach-goer, on each beach, has an associated decency surface, with some number of singularities. The first thing a mathematician does, when faced with a surface or space with singularities, is, naturally enough, count them. A most unusual aspect of this particular singularity problem is that the count is culturally dependent—in fact there are countries where the sum is less than it is in the United States. I have heard that there are beaches where a bather’s decency surface might have no singularities at all, a prospect I have not the courage to consider.