## Archive for August 29, 2012

### 22 Jokes From a Colleague

This past Sunday, I received 22 jokes from Keith Raskin, who has, among other things, too much time on his hands. Though some of them are clearly based on old chestnuts, Keith claims that they are all his original creations.

When I suggested to Keith that he had too much time on his hands, he responded, “Not much. Enthusiasm! Maybe brief obsession.” He proved his point by sending me another four jokes.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to keep these jokes to myself. I see no reason that you shouldn’t have to suffer, too.

Of the jokes he sent, there were six that I wasn’t sure I understood or just didn’t think were funny. The jokes that immediately follow are the 16 jokes that I understood and for which I saw possible inherent humorous value. The other six appear at the bottom of the post, along with Keith’s explanations. (Warning! When a joke has to be explained, it is no longer funny!)

A math student is told by his mother to set the table.

“To what?” he replies.Which polygon is also a card trick?

Decagon.I went to see Plane Meets Plane, but there was a long line. Not much point in seeing Plane Meets Line again.

Two barcodes go to a shady optometrist. They sit and stare at a light for half an hour. One of them says, “I think this is a scan.”

Two lines walk into a barcode. They hashed it out.

What does a vegan mathematician eat?

Roots, whole numbers, natural logs, tree diagrams, and stem-and-leaf plots.Student: What’s infinity?

Math Teacher: Think of a number.

Student: Okay, I’ve got one.

Teacher: Good. That’s not it.Student: What’s zero?

Teacher: The number of times something happens that doesn’t.

Student: What are the chances of that?

Teacher: Exactly.How many mathematicians does it take to change a light bulb?

On average, or do you want the whole distribution?In life, trees grow roots.

In math, roots split logs.A guy goes into a math store exactly eleven times.

What did the 8 say to infinity?

Rise and shine, buddy!What did the Venn diagram say to infinity?

Eat something, dude!How do you solve any equation?

Multiply both sides by zero.What did the trig teacher say to the triangles?

You’re all right.Security Guard: I need some ID.

Math Teacher: Additive or multiplicative?

Security Guard: Yours.

Math Teacher: Ah, reflexive!

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the jokes that I didn’t understand or didn’t think were funny. But Keith admits he’s not going for funny. He’s a high school teacher and is “desperate for tension breakers and minor amusements or moments of actual engagement.”

Yes, I know that I am not the official arbiter of what’s mathematically funny. But then again — if not me, who?

What is the binomial distribution?

A free lunch program.(“Binomial” sounds like “Buy no meal.”)

Two circles walk into a club. They made a tree.

(The suit clubs in a deck of cards is made from three circles and looks like a tree. Add two more circles, it looks even more like a tree.)

How did every student get a score over 100 on the test?

They were percentages!(Percentages are numbers over 100, literally: for example, a% = a/100.)

What are inequalities?

Read a newspaper.(Social commentary.)

Student: What’s abstract reasoning?

Teacher: …A guy goes into a beleaguered math store.

Guy: What happened?

Clerk: Well, we have wall-to-wall problems, our answers are still in boxes, and our solutions are leaking out.

Along with explanations for some of the jokes above, Keith sent along four additional jokes. Here you go…

What’s the ultimate epsilon delta argument?

Public education.Did Pythagoras do the first PPT presentation?

What’s a pyramid scheme?

Death by triangulation.How are filmmakers topologists?

There are open and closed sets, sequences that wind up in or out of the film, full attention to surface details, whether things are connected and continuity, and lots of coffee and doughnuts.