Friday, April 13, 2007


From the same email thread - humor.


The physicist goes on at some length about the cosmic forces involved in
establishing the roundness of things, and finally says that pi is just an
expression of the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference.

"Well, sure," responds the mathematician, "but it's more convenient to
express it as a number.  3.14159, say."

Replies the engineer, "Yep.  Pi's about three."


Fire in the room:

A physicist and engineer and a mathematician were sleeping in a hotel room
when a fire broke out in one corner of the room.

Only the engineer woke up he saw the fire, grabbed a bucket of water and
threw it on the fire and the fire went out, then he filled up the bucket
again and threw that bucketfull on the ashes as a safety factor, and he
went back to sleep.

A little later, another fire broke out in a different corner of the room
and only the physicist woke up. He went over measured the intensity of the
fire, saw what material was burning and went over and carefully measured
out exactly 2/3 of a bucket of water and poured it on, putting out the
fire perfectly; the physicist went back to sleep.

A little later another fire broke out in a different corner of the room.
Only the mathematician woke up. He went over looked at the fire, he saw
that there was a bucket and he noticed that it had no holes in it; he
turned on the faucet and saw that there was water available. He, thus,
concluded that there was a solution to the fire problem and he went back
to sleep.


The Difference Joke

A sociologist was studying the differences between the ways in which
mathematicians and engineers think.  He persuaded two colleagues to take
part in an experiment, telling them when to be at his lab.  When they
arrived, he sent the engineer first into a test room with instructions
to boil water.  Entering the room, the engineer found a stove, a sink, a
table, and an empty put upside-down on the floor.  He picked up the pot,
took it to the sink, filled it with water, placed it on the stove,
turned on the stove, and waited for the water to boil.

The sociologist next reset the room and sent in the mathematician, who
did exactly the same thing.

Next, the sociologist reset the room again and sent the engineer back
in.  The engineer looked around the room again, this time finding the
pot sitting on the table, already full of water, and the stove already
on.  He picked up the pot, transferred it to the stove, and waited for
the water to boil.

The sociologist reset the room once more, and sent the mathematician
back in.  The mathematician surveyed the room, turned the stove off,
emptied the pot down the sink, dropped the pot upside-down on the floor,
and announced "I have now reduced this problem to the previous case."


Some months later, the same sociologist is still studying the same two
colleagues, and has cracked under the strain.  One night, he kidnaps
both of them (along with a physicist who just happened to walk down the
wrong hallway at the wrong time).  He drives them all fifty miles out
into the desert to a disused bunker, where he locks them up securely,
each in a separate cell out of sight and sound of the others, each with
a plastic spoon and a plentiful supply of food, water, Sterno and other
essentials, all in cans, but with no can opener.  A month or so later,
after the hue and cry over the disappearances has died down, he comes
back to check on their progress.

The engineer is long gone, having constructed a can-opener out of pocket
trash, opened the cans with it, compounded a plastic explosive from
sugar, fat, Sterno and soap, fabricated a shaped charge using empty
cans, blasted open the door of his cell, and escaped to somewhere far
away from the deranged sociologist.

The physicist has calculated the precise angle and velocity to throw the
cans against a corner of her cell wall in order to break the tops open
without spilling the contents, and is happily developing a new quantum
theory and a good pitching arm.

The mathematician's desiccated body lies half-sprawled against one wall
of his cell, with all the cans, unopened, haphazardly piled against the
opposite wall.  Neatly scratched in the middle of his cell floor with
the edge of a can is the following text:

    If I do not open these cans, I will die.

    Assume the opposite....
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