Archive for October, 2013

Math Joke for Halloween

A joke about a graveyard, a dead person, and being frightened. All good things for All Hallow’s Eve.

A man was walking through the Alexander Nevsky Monastery when he heard someone say, “x2 + 2x = (x)(x + 2).” Sure that his mind was playing tricks on him, he kept walking, but then he heard, “x2 + 2x + 1 = (x + 1)2.” He paused again, then heard, “x3 – 4x2 – 7x + 10 = (x – 1)(x + 2)(x – 5).” Concerned, he approached a cemetery worker. “Why do I keep hearing math equations?” he asked.

“Oh, that’s Leonhard Euler,” said the worker. “He’s decomposing.”

For more Halloween math jokes, see Scary Math Facts for Halloween or Trig or Treat or Math Jokes for Halloween.

October 31, 2013 at 4:25 pm 2 comments

10 Cow Jokes (Some Mathy)

Driving through Paris (Virginia, not France) on Saturday, we passed a field of grazing cows. I asked the boys, “What do you think a French cow says?”

Eli said, “Moo-la-la!

Funniest. Kid. Ever.

Perhaps because I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, I’ve always had a bovine fascination. I envy their laissez-faire existence. What I wouldn’t give for a life where I could roam freely, eat when I wanted to, lie around listlessly in the sun, and defecate whenever and wherever the urge strikes. The only aspect of their existence that I don’t envy is the end-of-life trip to the grocery store on Styrofoam plates wrapped in cellophane.

The following are some pseudo-mathy cow jokes.

What does a Greek cow say?
Mu.

What is a cow’s favorite subject?
Cowculus.

What does a cow use to compute?
A cowculator.

Why does a milking stool only have three legs?
Because the cow has the udder.

What do you call a cow with two legs?
Lean beef.

What do you call a cow with one leg?
Steak.

What do you call a cow with no legs?
Ground beef.

And here are some cow jokes that aren’t mathy at all.

What did one cow say to the other?
Moo. (D’uh!)

Two cows were out in a field. One turns to the other and says, “Moooooo!”
“That’s funny,” says the other. “I was just about to say the same thing!”
The first one says, “Holy cow! A talking cow!”

October 24, 2013 at 11:11 am 1 comment

Ignorance is Bliss, and Other Fallacies

Alex and I were enduring a silence induced by a dozen oysters and two Abita Ambers. “You seem happy here,” I said.

“Just like everyone in New Orleans,” he said. “Louisiana always ranks near the bottom in education but near the top in happiness.”

Is that really true? And are the states ranking highest in education the least happy? It seems weird to think that there’s an inverse relationship between education and happiness, but you know what they say: ignorance is bliss.

To test this theory, I consulted several sources.

(All of the data that I gathered is shown in the table at the bottom of the post.)

As the following graph shows, there is a strong positive correlation between happiness and diplomas (r = 0.71).

Happiness vs. DiplomasSimilarly, there is a positive correlation between happiness and IQ, but it’s not quite as strong (r = 0.51).

These analyses suggest that the least educated states seem to be the least happy, and vice versa. So despite what you’ve heard, it appears that ignorance is not bliss.

Tune in tomorrow, when I attempt to show that:

  • Neither a bird in the hand nor two in the bush are worth as much as a partridge in a pear tree.
  • The ratio of prevention:cure is slightly greater than 1:16.
  • Fewer than 2.4% of the Earth’s population are worth their weight in gold (about $3 million for a 150-pound person), but more than 99.9% are worth their salt (less than $500 for table salt at retail prices).
  • Your thoughts are more valuable than a penny saved or a penny earned.

State

Happiness Rating

State IQ

Population % with HS Diploma

Alabama

64.2

94.9

82.1%

Alaska

66.1

97.5

91.4%

Arizona

67.1

96.4

84.2%

Arkansas

64.1

96.3

82.4%

California

67.4

94.9

80.6%

Colorado

69.7

99.2

89.3%

Connecticut

67.6

100.6

88.6%

Delaware

66.6

99.1

87.4%

Florida

65.8

98.0

85.3%

Georgia

66.1

96.9

83.9%

Hawaii

71.1

95.9

90.4%

Idaho

67.1

98.9

88.4%

Illinois

66.6

98.6

86.4%

Indiana

65.1

99.3

86.6%

Iowa

68.1

98.7

90.5%

Kansas

67.7

99.6

89.8%

Kentucky

62.7

98.3

81.7%

Louisiana

64.7

95.5

82.2%

Maine

67.3

99.4

90.2%

Maryland

68.0

99.9

88.2%

Massachusetts

68.1

102.4

89.0%

Michigan

65.6

97.4

87.9%

Minnesota

68.9

101.0

91.5%

Mississippi

63.6

93.8

80.4%

Missouri

65.5

99.4

86.8%

Montana

68.5

100.3

90.8%

Nebraska

68.5

99.2

89.7%

Nevada

65.2

95.3

83.9%

New Hampshire

68.4

100.9

91.3%

New Jersey

66.1

101.4

87.4%

New Mexico

66.7

94.8

82.8%

New York

66.2

98.7

84.7%

North Carolina

65.7

97.8

84.3%

North Dakota

67.4

100.5

90.1%

Ohio

64.6

99.7

87.6%

Oklahoma

65.2

96.4

85.6%

Oregon

67.1

98.8

89.1%

Pennsylvania

66.5

100.6

87.9%

Rhode Island

65.5

97.3

84.7%

South Carolina

65.2

97.0

83.6%

South Dakota

68.0

100.3

89.9%

Tennessee

64.0

96.7

83.1%

Texas

66.6

98.2

79.9%

Utah

68.8

98.5

90.4%

Vermont

68.6

101.2

91.0%

Virginia

67.7

99.1

86.6%

Washington

67.7

99.6

89.7%

West Virginia

61.3

94.9

82.8%

Wisconsin

67.3

99.7

89.8%

Wyoming

67.9

99.2

91.8%

October 19, 2013 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Best Math Song Ever

There are lots of great math songs — you can check out my top five six — but now there’s a new contender for the number one spot.

Blatantly stealing the tune from Barenaked Ladies’ A Word for That, writing a new set of geeky lyrics, and convincing Adam Sickler to strum and sing, Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is proud to announce the world premiere of (drum roll, please)…

A (Math) Word for That

For a little fun, you can try to guess the words referenced in the song before you watch the video. Here’s a PDF of the lyrics for A (Math) Word for That. If you’re too excited, though, just click the play button…

Enjoy! And if you find yourself singing, “I’d sound so smart if…” while sitting in class or a board meeting today, well, my apologies.

October 15, 2013 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Seven Mathematical Sins

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Beware the Ides of October!
Check back on October 15 for a MJ4MF World Premiere!

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Lust.

Greed.

Envy.

Pride.

Sloth.

Gluttony.

Wrath.

These are the seven deadly, or mortal, or unforgivable, sins. Call them what you like, a deadly sin always has three characteristics:

  1. It concerns a grave matter.
  2. It is committed with full knowledge.
  3. It is committed with both deliberate and complete consent.

I’m having a good weekend. My plane landed in New Orleans on Friday afternoon, and I committed five of these sins before I arrived to my hotel. I look forward to knocking the remaining two off my list before the weekend is over. It’s pretty easy to love the Big Easy!

It’s no coincidence that there are seven deadly sins and seven castaways on Gilligan’s Island. Yep, you read that correctly. The cast of characters on Gilligan’s Island is isomorphic with the set of sins.

{Gilligan’s Island Castaways} ≅ {Seven Deadly Sins}

Can you match them up? If you don’t have access to Nick at Nite, you can watch the intro from the first episode of Gilligan’s Island on YouTube, or use this list of characters from the show:

  • First Mate Gilligan
  • Skipper Jonas Grumby
  • Thurston Howell III
  • Eunice Lovelle Wentworth Howell
  • Ginger Grant
  • Mary Ann Summers
  • Professor Roy Hinkley

In contrast to a deadly sins is a venial, or forgivable, sin, which has the following characteristics:

  1. It does not concern a grave matter.
  2. It is not committed with full knowledge.
  3. It is not committed with both deliberate and complete consent.

So, if you stuff yourself silly at dinner tonight with a full rack of ribs and four helpings of mashed potatoes and then willfully choose to have a slice of key lime pie for dessert, you would commit a deadly sin: with full knowledge and complete consent, you engaged in gluttony, which is a grave matter indeed. (Not to mention disgusting. Who pairs ribs and key lime pie? Yuck.)

On the other hand, if you accidentally sleep with your wife’s best friend while intoxicated, well, that would be a forgivable sin: you were too drunk to know what you were doing. (Though you may still be allowed entrance to Heaven, I recommend you keep this transgression a secret from your spouse.)

But I digress. This is a math blog. Let’s talk about mathematical sins.

Seven Deadly Math Sins

  1. Claiming that division by 0 is “impossible.”
  2. Omitting the middle term when expanding (a + b)2.
  3. Using ASS as justification for a proof of triangle congruence.
  4. Referring to the answers in the back-of-the-book as “my good friend BOB.”
  5. When a student fails to understand your explanation, thinking that you can help by saying the exact same thing louder, slower and closer.
  6. Distributing a factor outside parentheses to only the first term within parentheses.
  7. Trying to break the ice with a math joke at a cocktail party, and then spending the rest of the night explaining the joke to everyone who didn’t laugh.

Seven Venial Math Sins

  1. Believing that the reciprocal of sine is cosine and that the reciprocal of secant is cosecant. That would be consistent with the reciprocal of tangent being cotangent, after all.
  2. Enunciating the p in asymptote.
  3. Failing to remove double-counted elements when solving problems like, “How many two-digit integers are multiples of 3 or 5?”
  4. Using a subtle double negative, such as, “Horatio cannot help but invert the first term when dividing fractions.”
  5. Believing that multiplying always produces a greater result (or dividing always produces a lesser result).
  6. Cancelling a variable from both sides of an equation and losing a solution, such as solving 2x2 = x by dividing both sides by x to give 2x = 1, and concluding x = 1/2.
  7. Using a Klein bottle to hold your beer.

October 14, 2013 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

Math Bumper Stickers

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Beware the Ides of October!
Check back on October 15 for a MJ4MF World Premiere!

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They don’t exist yet, but here are some I’d like to see…

Algebra teachers are x-perts.

There is a fine line between numerator and denominator.

Cheap eggs are a dime a dozen.

While doing geometry at McDonald’s, I got a plane cheeseburger.

Don’t talk… just invert and multiply. Fractions speak louder than words!

Topologists don’t marry. They tie the knot.

A penny for your thoughts… a dollar for your math homework!

Don’t get too close… I’m an asymptote.

I turn coffee into theorems.

Think outside the regular quadrilateral.

Professional mathematician. Don’t try this at home.

And Satan said, “Put the alphabet in math.”

I brake for math jokes.

Don’t discuss infinity. You’ll never hear the end of it.

Math and science are for people who don’t know how important football is.

I find your lack of math disturbing.

I do my own math stunts.

Honk if you know the thousandth digit of pi!

Calculus is an integral part of life.

I’ve counted to infinity.

It only takes one person to make a statistically insignificant difference.

October 13, 2013 at 11:09 am 1 comment

XXXIII for Increased SEO

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Beware the Ides of October!
Check back on October 15 for a MJ4MF World Premiere!

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Today is 10/10/13, or X/X/XIII in Roman numerals. Three years ago, I published XXX Rated to celebrate 10/10/10, and it has consistently been one of my most visited pages. Not surprising. Today’s top searches which led to my blog were:

  • xxx sex
  • sex xxx
  • metric system jokes
  • xxx.sex

Well, at least someone was looking for math jokes when they found my blog!

In honor of National Metric Day* and to appease most people who stumble across this blog, here’s a joke that mixes metric and sex. It’s subtle; pay attention.

The metric conversion for 69 is 181.

And another?

What do sex and metric conversions have in common?
I enjoy doing both, but most of the time I do them alone in my room.

And a sorta, kinda Roman math joke…

A Roman soldier walks into a bar. “Martinus, please.”

The bartender replies, “You mean martini?”

The soldier says, “If I wanted more than one, I would have asked for it!”

And finally…

When is 6 equal to 8.5?

In Roman numerals, the number SIX can be translated to 8.5. Remember that IV = 4, because a smaller number (I = 1) precedes a larger number (V = 5). With SIX, S = ½, I = 1, and X = 10. Since both S and I precede X, they should be subtracted: 10 – ½ – 1 = 8.5. Hence, 6 = 8.5. Q.E.D.


* Not an official holiday. See Pat Naughtin’s declaration as well as the U.S. Metric Association Metric Week.

October 10, 2013 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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Beware the Ides of October!
Check back on October 15 for a MJ4MF World Premiere!

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Math Paper - XKCD

Some numbers really like other numbers. Like 220 and 284, which are amicable (or friendly) numbers, so called because the sum of the factors of 220 is equal to 284, and the sum of the factors of 284 is equal to 220. That is,

1 + 2 + 4 + 5 + 10 + 11 + 20 + 22 + 44 + 55 + 110 = 284

and

1 + 2 + 4 + 71 + 142 = 220.

On the other hand, other numbers despise one another, eying them suspiciously at the grocery store, frequenting different restaurants to avoid awkward conversations, and cutting them off on the freeway. The reasons for this disdain varies widely…

Why doesn’t 3 like to hang out with 4?
Because he’s a square.

Why doesn’t 4 like 5?
Because he’s odd.

Why is 5 annoyed by 6?
Because she thinks she’s perfect.

Why is 6 afraid of 7?
Because 7 8 9.

Why does e dislike pi?
He’s more of a cake person.

Why doesn’t 144 like 288?
Because he’s two gross.

October 7, 2013 at 8:27 am 1 comment

Math Hinky-Pinkies

A hinky-pinky is a phrase consisting of two rhyming words, such as fun run or tragic magic.

My sons recently brought home an activity sheet from school titled Stinky Pinky. It asked them to identify a hinky-pinky corresponding to a brief definition. Some examples from this sheet:

Cart for a Large Creature:
Dragon Wagon

The Robber in Charge:
Chief Thief

Odd Whiskers:
Weird Beard

The one that neither they nor I could figure out:

Dinner Party for Wild Animals

Any thoughts?

Completing this activity with them, I decided to create some math hinky-pinkies, where one of the words in each pair is a common math term. Here ya go, and good luck!

  1. Low-Ranking Half of an Ordered Pair
  2. Avoidance of Math Sentences
  3. Calcium Carbonate Lecture
  4. Decrease in Binary Operations
  5. Dirty Three-Dimensional Object
  6. Fat-Free Average
  7. Internal Dissension Among Rational Numbers
  8. Lust for Minuends and Subtrahends
  9. Naked Quadrilateral
  10. Odd Set of y-Values
  11. Reddish-Brown Digit
  12. Sudden and Extreme Second-Degree Polynomial
  13. Slander Against an Iterative Process
  14. Mentally Healthy Two-Dimensional Grid
  15. Ice Cream Holder, All By Itself
  16. Old and Tilted Item

For more fun with hinky-pinkies, check out this easy hink pink quiz.


Spoiler… answers below.

  1. Subordinate Coordinate
  2. Equation Evasion
  3. Chalk Talk
  4. Addition Attrition
  5. Squalid Solid
  6. Lean Mean
  7. Fraction Faction
  8. Subtraction Attraction
  9. Bare Square
  10. Strange Range
  11. Umber Number
  12. Dramatic Quadratic
  13. Recursion Aspersion
  14. Sane Plane
  15. Lone Cone
  16. Oblique Antique

October 1, 2013 at 11:20 pm 8 comments


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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