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Math Proves That Bieber Fever is One of the Most Contagious Diseases Ever

Inset photo: Georges Biard/Wikimedia

Did your adolescent daughter just got Bieber fever? Well, don’t blame
yourself. Mathematicians have just proven that Justin Bieber is one of
the world’s most infectious thing ever. You better Beliebe it!

What would possess someone to buy up Bieber toys, read Bieber fan
fiction, watch Bieber movies, and sleep in Justin Bieber pajamas? The
clinical term for this condition is Bieber fever, and according to a
Canadian mathematical model, you’re right to be afraid. It’s even more
contagious than the measles, one of the fastest-spreading diseases on

To reach their alarming conclusion, University of Ottawa scientists
Valerie Tweedle and Robert J. Smith? (the question mark is a part of
his name — don’t ask) started with a standard tool in epidemiology
called an SIR model. SIR models help researchers categorize people who
are susceptible to a pathogen, infected, or recovered. In a SIR model’s
most basic form, patients migrate from S to I to R in a linear fashion.

Bieber fever is especially nasty, though. People who are infected
with it can recover — either through eventual boredom or through Bieber’s
negative media coverage — but crucially, once they’ve recovered, they
become susceptible to the illness all over again with exposure to positive
media coverage, or by coming into contact with the still-infected. Considering
the intensity with which Bieber fever often grips its victims, that
means the disease is more or less self-sustaining.


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June 14th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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