Posts tagged ‘joke’

Fractional Fun

It’s well known that 5 out of 4 people have trouble with fractions, but even the mathematically advanced may have a little trouble with this puzzle. Your challenge is simple…

Find the sum of all items in the following table.

A hint is below the table, and the answers are below that. Good luck!



Hmm… it seems that you scrolled down here a little too quickly for the hint. Try harder. To put some distance between you and the hint, here are some fraction jokes:

How is sex like a fraction?
It’s improper for the larger one to be on top.

Which king invented fractions?
Henry the Eighth.

There’s a fine line between the numerator and denominator.
(And it’s called a vinculum.)

Okay, you’ve waited long enough. Here’s your hint. The items in the table are a fird (fish + bird), wooden forts, bottles of whiskey, the Sith lord Darth Maul, wraiths, and tents. (By the way, thanks to for the cool drawing of the fird!) Hope that helps.

To put some space between the hint and the answer, here are some more fraction jokes:

A student once told me, “To prove to you that I understand equivalent fractions, I only did three-sevenths of my homework.”

I was scared half to death… twice.

What is one-fifth of a foot?
A toe.

Okay, you’ve waited (and endured) enough. Without further adieu, the answer is 2.5. The images in the table are:

  • one fird
  • two forts
  • four fifths
  • one Sith
  • four wraiths
  • two tents

the sum of which is

\frac{1}{3} + \frac{2}{4} + \frac{4}{5} + \frac{1}{6} + \frac{4}{8} + \frac{2}{10} = \frac{300}{120} = 2\frac{1}{2}.

You’re welcome.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

November 11, 2016 at 11:11 am Leave a comment

Loot™ — Best Game Ever?


Loot™ by Gamewright

If Loot isn’t the best game of all time, it’s at least the best game for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19).

For those who don’t know, Loot is a pirate-themed card game in which you can do three things:

  • Send a merchant ship out to sea.
  • Attack a merchant ship with pirate ships.
  • Play a pirate king or admiral to increase your attack strength.

I bought the game on a whim when visiting Powell’s City of Books several months ago, and it’s clearly the best random purchase of my life. (It far exceeds the tattoo of Rene Descartes that mysteriously appeared on my posterior the morning after one helluva night in Hoboken, NJ. Don’t ask.) The game has many appealing qualities:

  • Simple to learn. It takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Fast to play. A game can be completed in 20 minutes.
  • Strategically challenging. The strategy is not obvious. (I’ve played quite a few times, and I’m not even sure that my strategy is effective, let alone optimal.)
  • And not least important, the following is a direct quotation from the official rules:
    We find that the game’s even more fun when everyone talks in pirate accents.

How do you not love a game that gives that kind of directive? When playing in teams, we ask the following questions to elicit a pirate response:

  • What’s the circumference of a circle divided by 2π?
  • What’s the eighth most common letter in the English language?
  • What is d ÷ t?
  • What’s the 18th letter of the alphabet?
  • Which set of numbers includes the rationals and irrationals?
  • Which letter appears most often in refrigerator?
  • What electrical property is measured in ohms (Ω)?

Here are some other mathy pirate jokes that might amuse.

What has 12 legs and 12 eyes?
A dozen pirates!

What is the pirate alphabet?

What do pirates and Descartes have in common?
They think, therefore they ARR!

How much did the pirate pay for his peg and hook?
An arm and a leg!

Did you know that 3.14% of sailors are pi-rates?

Finally — even though it’s not Pi Day — here’s an image you might enjoy, compliments of Illuminations.


September 14, 2015 at 12:40 am Leave a comment

11 Opinions and 2 Jokes about Opinions

Not a new joke, but a good one…
Opinion Minus PiA vision without a plan is just a hallucination. (Salome Thomas-El, I Choose to Stay)

You have the right to your opinion. And I have the right to think you’re an idiot.

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. (John F. Kennedy)

Honestly, I don’t remember asking for your opinion, but since we’re sharing, then please go screw yourself.

Remember when I asked for your opinion? Neither do I.

It’s okay if we have different opinions. I can’t force you to be right.

Of all of your opinions, the one I value most is the one you keep to yourself.

Oh, I offended you with my opinion? I’m sorry, dear. You should hear the ones I keep to myself.

In order to be offended by your insult, I first have to respect your opinion. Nice try, though.

When I want your opinion, I’ll remove the duct tape.

Some doctors are saying which patients they like best. The first says, “I prefer librarians. Their organs are alphabetized.”

The second says, “I prefer mathematicians. Their organs are numbered.”

The third says, “I prefer lawyers. They are gutless, heartless, brainless, and spineless, and their heads and asses are interchangeable.”

And finally, a joke about opinions that’s math-related…

A professor asks a grad student, “What’s your opinion on the current state of mathematical research?”

“Absolute rubbish,” the grad student says.

“Well, probably,” says the professor, “but let’s hear it anyway.”

June 14, 2015 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

All You Need is LOVE

Valentine’s Day is almost here, but maybe you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places. One possibility is to pop over to Wolfram Alpha and ask:

Will you be my Valentine?

Or, with a little mathematical creativity, you might be able to find some over at Desmos:

LOVE Graph

four equations were used to create this LOVE Graph

Or perhaps you’ve already found a special someone. If so, you might want to tell her how beautiful she is, using this (paraphrased) mathematical gem from Woody Allen:

Your figure describes a set of parabolas that could cause cardiac arrest in a yak.

(No, it’s not sexist of me to imply that readers would have girlfriends. It’s just that a compliment about a paramour’s curves doesn’t work so well when directed at a male.)

Perhaps your special someone makes your heart skip a beat.


Beating Heart graph, made from just one equation

If so, this graph can help you get your beat back:

Wherever you look for love on this Feast of St. Valentine, I hope you find it — or at least stumble on a couple of great problems to distract you.

February 11, 2015 at 2:14 am Leave a comment

Judge This Joke By Its Size, Do You?

Most everyone knows the classic 7-8-9 joke:

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

I recently heard a Star Wars variation:

According to Yoda, why is 5 afraid of 7?
Because 6 7 8.

This joke isn’t funny unless you understand the syntax often used by Yoda, which involves inverting the word order. See for some examples.

There are two other variations that have long been part of my arsenal. My favorite is:

Why don’t jokes work in base 8?
Because 7 10 11.

When I told this joke to my seven-year-old son, he said, “I don’t get it.” I asked him how 7, 10, and 11 would be represented in base 8. He thought for a second then said, “7… 8… oh, yeah… yeah, that works.”

That’s why I call this version a joke grenade. You pull the pin, and five seconds later, people laugh. Well, some people will laugh. Not everyone. I estimate that 5% of the population would understand this joke, and only about 1% would find it funny.

The last variation is multicultural:

What is ε afraid of ζ?
Because ζ η θ.

If you’re thinking, “That’s all Greek to me,” you’re right. The translation is, “Why is epsilon afraid of zeta? Because zeta eta theta.” The Greek alphabet proceeds, in part, as, “…δ (delta), ε (epsilon) ζ (zeta), η (eta), θ (theta), ι (iota)….” But as with all jokes, if it has to be explained to you, then you’re probably not going to find it funny.

July 5, 2014 at 7:08 am 1 comment

How SEO is Killing Good Jokes

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the rank of a web page within search results. It’s what causes bloggers to include the names Ted Cruz, Malala Yousafzai, and Lady Gaga, or the terms 404, fail, and boobs, in a post (sort of like I just did).

There’s an old joke about Einstein, Newton and Pascal playing hide-and-seek, but here’s the same joke as it appears on a shameless site that shall remain nameless:

Pope Francis, Isaac Newton, and Blaise Pascal decide to play hide-and-seek. The Pope closes his eyes, counts to 10, then starts looking for the others. Pascal is nowhere to be found, but Newton is standing directly in front of Pope Francis. There is a one-meter by one-meter box drawn on the ground in chalk, and Newton is standing inside it.

The Pope says, “Newton, you’re terrible at this game! I’ve found you.”

“No, you haven’t,” says Newton. “You’ve found Pascal — I’m one Newton per square meter!”

Perhaps you’re unaware, but Pope Francis was the most popular person on the Interwebs in 2013. He was followed closely by Edward Snowden and Kate Middleton. (Whereas Ed was just a flash in the pan, Frank and Kate will likely have staying power.)

Admittedly, the joke isn’t all that funny with Einstein, either, but it’s even less funny with Pope Francis.

Yet people are doing similar things all over the place. They’re trying to improve their rank by inserting the name of a celebrity here or a current event there. Here’s just a sampling of the kind of stuff you can find online these days:

Miley Cyrus was kicked out of math class for too many infractions.

Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and Jeffrey Skilling were asked what 2 + 2 is. Swift said, “I don’t know,” and she meant it. Mars said, “4.” And Skilling said, “What would you like it to be?”

Dick Cheney, Jim Porter, and Justin Bieber are duck hunting. Cheney shoots at a duck and misses 6 inches too high. Porter shoots and misses 6 inches too low. Bieber shouts, “We got it! We got it!”

What does Jeff Kinney do when he’s constipated?
Works it out with a pencil.

Flo (from Progressive Insurance): Why was the math book sad?
George Clooney: Because it had so many problems.

Madonna was trying to measure a flag pole. She only had a measuring tape, and she was getting  frustrated trying to slide the tape up the pole. Stephen Spielberg walks by and offers to help. He removes the pole from the ground, lays it down, and measures it easily. When he leaves, Madonna turns to Guy Ritchie and says, “That’s just like Spielberg! We need to know its height, and he gives us its length!”

There’s a good chance that this post will be the top-ranked page on Google tomorrow…

January 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm 2 comments

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

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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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