What a week! Last Wednesday through Saturday, I took five flights and gave five presentations in four days. The folks at the Denver NCTM Regional Meeting and Northwest Math Conference could not have been more wonderful, and I had a great time, but I’m happy to be home.
On Thursday, I took a connecting flight from Salt Lake City to Spokane that I’d like to forget. Normally a simple, 1.5‑hour journey, this particular flight was shaken by turbulence from take‑off to touchdown, and it didn’t help that I was seated next to a talkative statistician. To boot, about a half‑hour into the air, the pilot announced, “Ladies and gentleman, we’ve lost an engine, but I want to assure you that there’s nothing to worry about. We can still make it safely to Spokane with the other three engines. But instead of just 90 minutes, the flight will now take about 3 hours.”
An inconvenience, sure, but at least we were safe.
A few minutes later, the pilot spoke again. “Folks, it seems that we’ve lost a second engine. We’re still okay, but the trip is now going to take us 6 hours.” The statistician shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
A little while later still, the pilot delivered more bad news. “Ladies and gentleman, I’m really sorry to inform you that we’ve lost a third engine. But I can assure you that we’re still safe. However, the trip will now take 12 hours.”
Upon hearing this, the statistician became agitated. “Good Lord!” he shouted. “I sure hope we don’t lose that fourth engine… or we’ll be up here all day!”
My final talk in Spokane was a math joke hour. After my monologue, I opened the mic to the audience to share any jokes that they knew. The first that I heard wasn’t a math joke, but it’s worth sharing:
What do you call a dog with no legs?
Don’t matter what you call him. He ain’t gonna come.
Another joke pair was visual (read them aloud — the fourth character in each line is a zero, not an O):
And finally, the following exclamation was shared:
Holy shift! Look at the asymptote on that mother function!