Aspiring astrophysicist + free time = useless inventions

Posted: March 12, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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Yep, this guy.

Harvard University graduate student Jonathan Bittner has created an online calculator that helps determine how much rent each roommate owes. Using “algorithms to prorate rent by the square foot” (whatever that means), the calculator takes into account factors such as room size, amount of windows, closet space, occupancy, even street noise, to determine how much rent each roommate should be paying.

The aspiring astrophysicist claims that his website,, will prove to be helpful for roommates by providing an “unbiased mediator.” Apparently, the website’s allocations are usually within ten percent of figures roommates come up with on their own, making the rent generator useless.

Bittner maintains that he has never had issues with roommates, and even reveals that he currently splits his rent 50-50 with his girlfriend. Even the inventor refuses to use the invention.

If you ever come across a roommate who insists on using a web-based algorithm rent generator instead of having a simple conversation and setting up rent rules the old-fashioned way, back away from the crazy. And if you are the crazy, good luck coming up with an algorithm to keep people from being weirded out by you.

–Maisha Shahid

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