Archive for February 19, 2012

Math Joke in Popular Press

Gene Weingarten, a columnist for the Washington Post, used a math joke in his column this week.

Refuting disgustologists’ contentions that “much of human behavior can be explained by our instinctive desire to avoid things that disgust us,” he offered the following joke as proof:

Did you hear about the constipated mathematician?
He worked it out with a pencil!

I was ecstatic that a math joke got some love; though I was a little bummed that he didn’t include the follow-up joke:

What kind of pencil did he use?
A No. 2 pencil!

I sent a note to Mr. Weingarten to let him know about this sin of omission. But that wasn’t until I stopped laughing after reading the non-math joke that he included in the column:

Woman walks into a bar, says: “I’ll have an entendre. Make it a double.” So the bartender gives it to her.

I do not expect to get a response to my message. But if I do, you’ll be the first to know!

February 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Love Thy Dilbert!

DilbertWhy do I make fun of engineers so often? Well, mainly because they deserve it, but also because it’s so damn easy.

Today is the first day of National Engineers Week, an annual celebration to honor those who ensure that things don’t fall over, blow up, or go flying off the rails unexpectedly, as well as to honor those who make sure that things do fall over, blow up, and go flying off the rails when they’re supposed to.

Engineers receive an inordinate amount of abuse. Well, inordinate might not be the right word. Perhaps a better word would be, um, appropriate. But most of it is in good fun, and it is widely acknowledged that there are lots of reasons to love engineers…

  • They can handle stress and strain in a relationship.
  • They understand that it’s not the length of the vector, it’s how you apply the force.
  • They understand the motion of rigid bodies.
  • They can teach you what those other “buttons” on your “calculator” do.
  • They understand fluid flow and heat transfer.
  • They excel at erections.
  • The world revolves around them, literally — they chose the coordinate system.
  • Just like beams, they elongate when they get loaded.
  • They understand projectile motion.
  • They do it right the first time.
  • They can go all night with no sign of fatigue.
  • They know the right-hand rule.
  • They have significant figures.

Of course, there are lots of reasons not to, as well…

  • They won’t buy anything without a cost-benefit analysis.
  • They file for divorce if you call while they’re debugging.
  • Pocket protectors, slide rules, and Star Trek.
  • They talk in acronyms.
  • They touch their cars more often than they touch their spouses.
  • They only listen to classic rock, and they generally hate everything from Bach to Prince.
  • No matter how hard you cry and how loud you yell, they’ll just calmly discuss your emotions in terms of mathematical logic.
  • They work from 6:30am to 7:30pm daily; there are no morning kisses and no evening walks.
  • The only social life they know consists of posting and “talking” on the Internet.
  • T-shirts and jeans are their formal dress.
  • A hot dog and a six-pack is their seven-course meal.

Though most of us harbor a high level of disdain toward engineers, the following synopsis explains why most humans respect them. This explanation is borrowed from The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams:

Engineers are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it’s true that many normal people would prefer not to “date” an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to “mate” with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing their virginity.

Finally, I leave you with the funniest thing that I ever heard uttered by an engineer…

Limit Engineering

February 19, 2012 at 12:11 am 1 comment


About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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