## Posts tagged ‘joke’

### IDK Puzzles

I like logic, and I like beer, so it’s no surprise that this is one of my favorite online comics:

Not sure why that’s funny? There’s an explanation at www.beingamathematician.org.

Logic puzzles in which a protagonist states, “I don’t know!” are ubiquitous. Borrowing from texting culture, I’ve taken to calling these IDK Puzzles.

Every math person remembers the first non-routine problem they solved and, more importantly, the *feeling* they experienced when solving it. The first time I had that feeling occurred after solving a logic puzzle about three children’s ages that I discovered in a Martin Gardner book; now many years later, I don’t remember the title of the book, and the following is my best recollection of the puzzle:

Two neighbors are speaking. One asks the other, “I know you have three children, but how old are they?”

The other says, “The product of their ages is 72.”

The first neighbor says, “I still don’t know their ages.”

“Well,” says the other, “the sum of their ages is equal to our street address.”

The first neighbor again replies, “I still don’t know their ages.”

“I’m sorry,” says the other, “I can’t talk anymore, because I have to take my oldest child to the dentist,” and then leaves.

While saying good-bye, the first neighbor thinks, “Ah, now I know their ages.”

This puzzle is typical of the genre, in that it appears there is insufficient information, but those who persist will be rewarded. Can you figure out the three children’s ages?

A slightly different IDK Puzzle involves geometric shapes.

Two people are shown the following five shapes:

They are told that a prize has been placed under one of the shapes. One of the people is told the color, and the other is told the shape, but they are not allowed to share their information with each other.

They are asked, “Do either of you know where the prize is hidden?”

Both of them reply, “I don’t know.”

They are asked a second time, “Do either of you know where the prize is hidden now?”

Again, they both reply, “I don’t know.”

They are asked a third time, “What about now?”

They both reply, “Yes!”

Under what shape has the prize been hidden?

Enjoy solving those puzzles. Staying with the theme, let’s end this post with a logic joke of sorts…

Sam comes home from the grocery store with twelve gallons of milk. Pam asks, “Why’d you buy so much milk?”

“Because before I left, you told me to buy a gallon of milk, and then you said, ‘If they have eggs, buy a dozen.’ And they had eggs.”

Pam shakes her head at Sam’s response. But then she notices he hasn’t bought anything else and asks, “Where are the rest of the things we needed?”

“Remember how you told me to put ketchup on the list?” replies Sam.

“Yeah. So?”

“So I put ketchup on the list, but then I couldn’t read the other items!” Sam says. “But I remembered the eggs!”

### The Great Puzzle Hunt

A woman after my own heart, Millie Johnson loves both puzzles and jokes. She regularly posts to Facebook, and these two gems appeared recently in her feed:

- If all whole numbers between 1 and 1000 were spelled out and arranged in alphabetical order, which number would be next-to-last?

- Arrange the digits 0‑9 into a ten-digit number such that the leftmost
*n*digits comprise a number divisible by*n*. For example, if the number is ABCDEFGHJK, the three-digit number ABC must be divisible by 3, the five-digit number ABCDE must be divisible by 5, and so on.

The answers to both can be found with an online search, and the latter can be computed in milliseconds by writing some code, but you’ll have more fun if you find the answers using that big lump of gray matter in your skull.

She also recently shared this joke, which I just adore:

Millie is also the founder and puzzle creator for the **Great Puzzle Hunt**, a free, fun, full-day, team puzzle-solving event. While folks in and around Bellingham, WA, on April 9 will be lucky enough to participate in the face-to-face event on the Western Washington University campus, the rest of the world is invited to participate virtually. There are divisions for secondary (middle and high school), open (any age), WWU students, and WWU alumni. And in case you missed the subtle mention above, I’ll say it again: registration for a team of up to six participants is FREE!

Participants will engage with four puzzles; then, the answers to those puzzles will be used to form a fifth and final meta-puzzle. How hard are the puzzles? See for yourself; the puzzle below, **My Life Is In Ruins!**, is from the 2021 Great Puzzle Hunt:

The Great Puzzle Hunt is a full-day event, so pack a lunch! But my sons and I participated last year and had a phenomenal time. By the end, we were mentally exhausted but invigorated and intellectually satisfied. If you like to solve puzzles, head on over to https://www.greatpuzzlehunt.com/register and register today!

### There Are Two Types of People…

It’s estimated that there are 7.9 billion people in the world, and counting. But in many ways, it’s fairly easy to divide us all into two types.

There are two types of people:

- Those who think the world can be divided into two types of people.
- Those who don’t.

The earliest known usage of the two-types format was by Mark Twain:

There are basically two types of people: people who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.

The potential origin of the two-types meme, as we know it today, may have been this ubiquitous math and computer science joke:

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

A modification of that joke has appeared more recently for the uber-geeks:

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand ternary, those who don’t, and those who mistake it for binary.

Physicist C. N. Yang, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957, is credited with this version:

There are two types of math books: those you cannot read beyond the first sentence, and those you cannot read beyond the first page.

Two of my favorites were included in **More Jokes 4 Mathy Folks**:

There are three types of people: positive, negative, and relative.

There are two types of people: those who are wise, and those who are otherwise.

The number of modifications to the format are nearly infinite. To create your own, choose the number of things you wish to compare; choose the type of things you wish to compare; describe that number of things, making sure that two of them are diametrically opposed, as to cause an incongruous and humorous result; if possible, be self-deprecating in one of the descriptions; and finally, determine if you want it in paragraph form or as a bulleted list. For instance,

There are two types of math jokes:

- Those that are funny.
- Those that have appeared on this blog.

See? It’s not hard. Now you try. The following mathy examples can serve as inspiration.

There are three things I hate:

- People who can’t do simple math.
- Irony.

There are three things I hate:

- Bulleted lists.
- Lazy people.

There are two kinds of statistics:

- Those you look up.
- Those you make up.

There are three kinds of lies:

- Lies.
- Damned lies.
- Statistics.

There are two kinds of people. Avoid both of them.

There are two kinds of people:

- Those you want to drink with.
- Those who make you want to drink.

On the web, you’ll find all manner of visual adaptations of the meme.

There are two types of people:

There are two types of people:

And finally, there are two types of bloggers:

- Those who would write a blog post about the world containing two types of people.
- Those who would Google it first to see that there about 24,000,000 results for “there are two types of people.”

### A Funny Thing Happened at the Periodontist

People in Portland are nice. Like, really nice. *Nice to a fault*, some would say. It’s the reason the term “Portland nice” exists, and it’s the impetus for the following scene from Portlandia in which two drivers at an intersection insist — politely, but with increasing determination — that the other one go first.

Ashley, one of the assistants at my periodontist’s office, is Portland nice. So at an appointment a while back, when I settled into the chair, it wasn’t surprising that her opening question was, “Got any plans for the weekend?”

As it turns out, I did. The Museum of Mathematics had invited me to host a webinar as part of their Family Fridays series, and I offered to deliver Punz and Puzzles, an hour or so of, well, math puns and math puzzles. I told Ashley about this, and there was a long pause before she responded. Finally, she said, “Do you know a lot of math jokes?” Before I could assure her that, indeed, I knew at least two volumes’ worth, Dr. Thanik entered the room, and our conversation was temporarily paused.

Dr. Thanik then did what periodontists do: he told me about the procedure that he was going to perform, and he injected several gallons of novocain into my gums. While it took effect, Ashley said, “Tell me a joke.”

“What?” asked Dr. Thanik.

“Not you,” she said, waving a hand at me. “Mr. Vennebush. Before you came in, he was telling me that he’s doing a webinar tonight that involves math jokes.”

“Do you know a lot of math jokes?” Dr. Thanik asked.

I explained that I had literally written the book on them.

“Well, then… let’s hear one!” he demanded.

Neither of them seemed to care that my mouth was numb and any joke would be delivered through an excessive amount of drool. Fortunately, I have very little self-respect or regard for etiquette, so I didn’t care, either. I launched in.

“Well, you probably know the world’s most ubiquitous math joke,” I began. “Why is 6 afraid of 7?”

They responded in unison. “Because **7 8 9**!”

“Yes!” I said. “But there’s a follow-up. Why is epsilon afraid of zeta?”

Raised eyebrows. Blank looks. Silence.

“Because **zeta eta theta**!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, I should’ve gotten that!” Dr. Thanik said, with the knowing look of someone bearing a Greek surname.

He then performed the procedure. As he finished the last suture, he said, “Okay, I don’t quite have the wording right, but what about this? Why couldn’t the **tangent** get a loan? Because his parents wouldn’t **cosine**.”

“Did you just make that up?” I asked.

“You seem surprised,” he said.

“I just didn’t expect my periodontist to make references to trigonometry,” I replied.

“Well,” he said, “I know a lot of things. After all, I spent 20 years in school.”

I continued, “Well, I guess I’m also a little surprised that you were trying to formulate a math joke while performing gum surgery.”

“Fair,” he said.

And then it occurred to me. “Oh, of course!” I said. “I’ve got the *perfect* joke for you. Did you hear about the middle school math teacher who became a dentist?” I asked.

“No,” they said.

“Her specialty is **square root canals**!”

They both laughed politely. Like I said, Portland nice.

### Mathy One-Liners

To keep my edge, I read joke books and watch comedians. I modify the jokes I read and hear to fit my particular needs and, sometimes, I just steal a joke outright. I’d feel bad about doing this if I profited from it, but there is little to be gained by dropping a one-liner at a neighborhood happy hour.

I just finished *1001 One‑Liners and Short Jokes* by Graham Cann. It compensates with quantity what it lacks in quality. Although most of the jokes are not good — and many rely on British English, and others reference British culture, so they’re lost on me — there are more than a few chestnuts in the mix. I used this modification of one of his jokes while having dinner with my in-laws recently:

I don’t like coffee. It’s just not my cup of tea.

It garnered guffaws from my mother-in-law and groans from my sons, so it had the intended effect.

Another joke from the book is mathematical:

When I was two, I was really anxious because my age had doubled in just one year. I thought, “If this keeps up, by the time I’m six, I’ll be 90!”

It’s a terrible joke, not least because I’m unaware of any toddler concerned about their age. But more importantly, it’s wrong. If your age doubled from one to two in a year, then it would double to four by age three, to eight by age four, to 16 by age five, and to 32 by age six. Graham Cann clearly hasn’t studied exponential growth.

The following are other mathy jokes from the book, most of which I’ve modified at least slightly.

- I took an algebra test at school yesterday. My kleptomania is getting out of hand.
- For the three o’clock race, I backed a horse at ten to one. It came in at a quarter past four.
- One of every four frogs is a leap frog.
- My gun is made from a dozen pigs. It’s a 12-boar.

- Thirty percent of car accidents in Sweden involve a moose. I say it’s time that we stop letting moose drive. (For the record, that statistic is likely fabricated. It’s estimated that there are 4,500 car accidents involving moose every year, but there are far more than 15,000 car accidents annually.)
- Did you hear about the constipated accountant? He tried to work it out with a pencil — but he couldn’t budget.
- To the man who invented zero: Thanks for nothing.
- Statistically, six of seven dwarfs are not Happy.
- I, for one, like Roman numerals.
- If every human in the world laid down end‑to‑end along the equator, most of them would drown.
- Ninety-nine percent of politicians give the rest of them a bad name.
- Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
- I tried to change my password to “14 days,” but my computer said it was too week.

There were 288 others that I chose not to share, because they were two gross.

### Mathy Zoom Backgrounds

Do you seek the admiration of your colleagues or the respect of your students?

Do you wish to create the illusion that you’re funny and cool?

Do you long to be the envy of your virtual social circle?

Unfortunately, you’re reading a math jokes blog, which means there may not be much hope for you. But a possible start may be to download some of the math joke backgrounds below for your next online meeting. I’ve been using them for the past few weeks, and I don’t think it’d be an overstatement to say that I’m now the envy of the internet. I mean, I’ve got a face for radio, but you have to admit that I look pretty fantastic when there’s a math poem above my head and equations on either side of it:

And guess what? You can look that cool, too!

To use any of the images below, simply right click and “Save Image As…,” then install them as virtual backgrounds (Zoom, Google Meet). If you’d like a better look at any of them before deciding if they’re worth valuable memory on your laptop, just click on an image to open it full screen.

### KenKen 12 Puzzle for 12/12

Today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month, and in honor of the date, here’s a 4 × 4 KenKen puzzle that has 12 as the target number in each cage. The entire puzzle has only four cages, and it only uses addition and multiplication. Have at it!

But a post with just a KenKen puzzle isn’t much of a post, especially on a math jokes blog. So let’s consider some jokes that have to do with the association between 12 and a dozen. The following are some mathematical insults you can use if you’re playing the dozens.

Yo momma is so fat, she’s proof that the universe is expanding exponentially.

The shortest distance between two points is around yo momma’s ass.

Yo momma is so fat, her volume is an improper integral.

Yo momma is so crazy, when she received a can of Pepsi from the vending machine, she started jumping up and down, yelling, “I won! I won!”

Yo momma is so dumb, she thinks convex are inmates locked in a prism.

Yo momma is so infinitely fat, she can eat as much as she wants and not gain any weight.

Yo momma thinks cosine is what she does for a loan.

Yo momma is so dumb, she sleeps with a ruler to keep track of how long she sleeps.

Yo momma is so fat, she took geometry because she heard there was gonna be π.

Yo momma is so fat, the ratio of her circumference to diameter is 4.

Yo momma is so fat, in a love triangle she’d be the hypotenuse.

Yo momma thinks *coincide* is what you should do when it’s raining.

The integral of your mom is fat plus a constant, where the constant is equal to more fat.

Yo momma is so dumb, she doesn’t know the difference between a doughnut and a coffee cup.

Yo momma is so dumb, she thinks crossing a mosquito and a mountain climber yields |mosquito| × |mountain climber| × sin(θ).

The derivative of yo momma is strictly positive.

Yo momma is so dumb, she serves beer in Klein bottles.

Yo momma is so dumb, she thinks that if two people go into a hotel and three come out, the first two must have pro-created.

Yo momma is so dumb, she can’t even solve a second‑order non‑homogeneous differential equation.

Yo momma is so fat, her dress size requires an exponent.

The limit of yo momma’s ass tends to infinity.

Yo momma is so fat, when she steps on the scale, it displays π without a decimal point.

Yo momma’s muscle-to-fat ratio can only be explained by irrational complex numbers.

Yo momma is so ugly, Pythagoras wouldn’t touch her with a 3-4-5 triangle.

### Mathy Portmanteaux

The term *portmanteau* was first used by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s *Through the Looking Glass*:

Well, ‘slithy’ means “lithe and slimy” and ‘mimsy’ is “flimsy and miserable.” You see, it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word.

Interestingly, the word *portmanteau* itself is also a blend of two different words: *porter* (to carry) and *manteau* (a cloak).

Portmanteaux are extremely popular in modern-day English, and new word combinations are regularly popping up. Sometimes, perhaps, there are **too many** being coined. In fact, one author refers to these newcomers as *portmonsters*, a portmanteau of, well, *portmanteau* and *monster* that attempts to capture how grotesque some of these beasts are. An abridged list of portmonsters would include *sharknado*, *arachnoquake*, *blizzaster*, *snowpocalypse*, *Brangelina*, *Bennifer*, *Kimye*, *Javanka*, *fantabulous*, and *ridonkulous*.

Portmanteaux seem to proliferate most easily in B-movie titles, weather, and celebrity couples, but the world of math and science is not free from them. Here are a few mathy portmanteaux, presented, of course, as equations.

**ginormous** = *giant* + *enormous*, really big

**guesstimate** = *guess* + *estimate*, a reasonable speculation

**three-peat** = *three* + *repeat*, to win a championship thrice

**clopen set** = *closed* + *open set*, a topological space that is both open and closed

**b****it** = *binary* + *digit*, the smallest unit of measurement used to quantify computer data

**pixel** = *picture* + *element*, a small area on a display screen; many can combine to form an image

**voxel** = *volume* + *pixel*, the 3D analog to pixel

**fortnight** = *fourteen* + *night*, a period of two weeks

**parsec** = *parallax* + *second*, an astronomy unit equal to about 3.26 light years

**alphanumeric** = *alphabetical* + *numeric*, containing both letters and numerals

**sporabola** = *spore* + *parabola*, the trajectory of a basidiospore after it is discharged from a sterigma

**gerrymandering** = *Elbridge Gerry* + *salamander*, to draw districts in such a way as to gain political advantage (In the 1800’s, Governor Elbridge Gerry redrew districts in Massachusetts to his political benefit. One of the redrawn districts looked like a salamander.)

**megamanteau** = *mega* + *portmanteau*, a portmanteau containing more than two words, such as DelMarVa, a peninsula that separates the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean and includes parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia

**meganegabar** = *mega* + *negative* + *bar*, the line used on a check so that someone can’t add “and one million” to increase the amount

(By the way, when Rutgers University invited *Jersey Shore* cast member Snooki Polizzi to speak to students on campus in 2011, they paid her $32,000, which is $2,000 more than they paid Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison to deliver a commencement address six weeks later.)

### This is a Blog Post

One of my favorite warm-ups to use in presentations is the following:

This sine has threee errors.

It’s a bit of a joke grenade… pull the pin, wait five seconds, eventually some folks will start to chuckle. In addition to inciting laughter, it also works well as a formative assessment.

One of my favorite books is by Demetri Martin:

One of my favorite jokes is from Steven Wright:

I went to a bookstore and asked the woman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said that if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

One of my favorite comics is from Randall Munroe:

One of my favorite experiences happened at a Chinese restaurant:

And one of my favorite puzzles is from *Gödel, Escher, Bach*:

There are __ 0s, __ 1s, __ 2s, __ 3s, __ 4s, __ 5s, __ 6s, __ 7s, __ 8s, and __ 9s in this sentence.

I love that this puzzle can be solved with iteration: put in some numbers, see how that affects things and adjust, see how that affects things and adjust, ad nauseam, until you either find a solution, or until you run into an infuriating cycle and have to start over with new seed values. For instance,

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 | → | 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 |

→ | 1, 1, 10, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 | |

→ | 2, 10, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 | |

→ | 2, 9, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 | |

→ | … |

If you haven’t figured it out by now, my favorite things often include self‑reference. I speak in self-referential sentences when I go to job interviews…

At the end of my job interview, the interviewer asked, “Finally, what is the question you’d least like to be asked during this interview?” I replied, “That was it.”

And when visiting my therapist…

I’m trying to be less self-deprecating, but I really suck at it.

Perhaps the best self-referential (and self-deprecating) line in history comes from Groucho Marx:

I would never join a club that would have me as a member.

But there are no shortage of self-referential jokes in the world.

I never make predictions, and I never will. (Paul Gascoigne)

What would the value of 190 in hexadecimal be?

A student asked, “What is the best question to ask, and what is the best answer to that question?” The teacher responded, “The best question is the one you just asked, and the best answer is the one I just gave.”

I am the square root of -1. Who am i?

No! No! No! I am not in denial!

When you’re right 90% of the time, you needn’t worry about the other 5%.

The reciprocal of the square root of 2 is half of what number?

It’s bad luck to be superstitious.

Twenty-nine is a prime example of what kind of number?

Finally, I’ll leave you with the best advice I’ve ever received:

Break every rule.

### Chuck Norris Math (and Some Science) Jokes

My sons, of course, know that 73 is the Chuck Norris of numbers:

But it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that they had no idea who *Chuck Norris* is. Explaining who he is — that is, trotting out his resume and discussing *Lone Wolf McQuade* and *Walker, Texas Ranger* — is easy enough. But impressing upon them why he’s a bad ass who deserves his own meme? Well, that’s a bit tougher.

But it doesn’t matter. Chuck Norris jokes are just plain funny, even if you have no idea who he is. They’re a genre unto themselves, and the inventor of Chuck Norris jokes deserves as much credit as the inventors of knock knock jokes, one-liners, non-sequiturs, and light bulb jokes.

And I know you’re gonna find this surprising, but of all the Chuck Norris jokes on the internet, my sons most appreciate those involving math. So I present a collection of Chuck Norris math jokes, pulled from various corners of cyberspace, and I hope you enjoy them as much as Alex, Eli, and I do.

Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

Chuck Norris counted to infinity… twice.

The easiest way to determine Chuck Norris’ age is to cut him in half and count the rings.

Using only compass and straightedge, Chuck Norris once trisected an angle and squared a circle simultaneously, one with each hand.

When chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.

A roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris is faster than the speed of light. This means that if you flip a light switch, you’ll be dead before the light turns on.

Chuck Norris’s body temperature is 98.6 degrees… Celsius.

Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.

Chuck Norris can solve a system of equations involving parallel lines.

Chuck Norris can recite the digits of π… *backwards*.

Chuck Norris knows the biggest prime number.

Chuck Norris has every real number tattooed on his forearm.

Chuck Norris doesn’t do mathematics. Chuck Norris *is* mathematics.

Chuck Norris will decide if *P* = *NP*.

If a barber in a village shaves all men who do not shave themselves, then who shaves the barber? Chuck Norris does. Well, sorta. He gives the barber a roundhouse kick and knocks all the hairs from the barber’s face, proving that set theory is both consistent and complete.

Chuck Morris constructed a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem that would fit within the margin.

If you type 5,318,008 into a calculator and turn it upside down, it’ll spell BOOBIES. If Chuck Norris turns a slide rule upside down, it’ll be so scared that it’ll spell anything Chuck Norris wants it to.

Chuck Norris doesn’t do linear programming; for him, there are never any constraints.

Chuck Norris doesn’t avoid calculation mistakes. Calculation mistakes avoid Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris can cross a vector with a scalar.

Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Why is 6 afraid of Chuck Norris? Because Chuck Norris 8 9.