Articles like these citing the Golden Ratio probably sound silly to non-designers, but to designers like myself, that's just how we instinctually see the world. We don't sit down and explicitly use a particular math equation or say we're going to apply the Golden Ratio. Some layouts simply look more "right" than others even if we can't explain why.
Which is why there is something really off-putting about Microsoft's Metro design style. Can't place my finger on it, but the layouts and proportions just feel all "wrong".