Posts tagged ‘math’

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.

Chuck Norris as Walker Texas Ranger
Chuck Norris as Walker, Texas Ranger

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.

December 22, 2019 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

A No-Op KenKen for Today

This will be a short post, just to share a puzzle for today.

There’s nothing inherently special about today — though it is the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons airing on Fox, and, slightly less important, the anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s famous flight — except that (a) I introduced the students in our middle school math club to KenKen last week, and (b) today is our last meeting before the holiday break, so I thought I’d do something special and create a KenKen puzzle that used the numbers from today’s date. I had hoped to include 12, 17, 20, and 19 as the target numbers in the cages, but that effort proved fruitless. Instead, I opted for 12, 1, 7, and 19 as the target numbers, and I filled in the single-cell cage in the bottom right with its number, 3.

No-Op KenKen puzzle with target numbers from today's date
A 4 × 4 no-op KenKen puzzle with target numbers from today’s date

I rather like the result. The puzzle is not terribly difficult; and, the solution is not unique, which I figure is perfect for kids who just learned about KenKen a week ago.

If you’re not familiar with No-Op KenKen, they’re just like regular KenKen puzzles, but the operation isn’t included with the target number. Instead, you’ll need to discern the operation for each cell. (For another example of a no-op KenKen puzzle, check out Harold Reiter’s No-Op 12 Puzzle.)

Enjoy, good luck, and happy December 17!

December 17, 2019 at 5:52 am Leave a comment

It’s Been Too Long

I can’t help but channel my inner Foo Fighter as I start this post.

This is a call to all my past resignations;
It’s been too long…

Too long, indeed. My last post was August 8. I’ll use starting a new job and moving my family across the country as my excuse, but you deserve better. To get back into the swing of things, and to try to earn back your trust, I’ll start with a listicle of sorts. Let’s call it 12 Math Jokes You Should’ve Heard By Now. (Think that’s enough click-bait to get this post a thousand likes? We’ll see.)

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Pi, who?
Don’t listen to me. I’m irrational.

I picked up a hitchhiker, and he seemed like a good guy. We had a pleasant conversation for a few minutes, and then he asked, “Thanks for picking me up. But weren’t you afraid I might be a serial killer?”

“Nah,” I said. “The odds of two serial killers in one car is extremely unlikely.”

I had a calculus test this morning. I thought about praying for a good grade. But I know God doesn’t work that way. So instead, I copied off my classmate who’s been accepted to Harvard, and I prayed for forgiveness.

I asked my wife, “What would you do if I won the lottery?” She said she’d take half and leave me. “Great!” I said. “I just won $10. Here’s $5. Don’t forget to write.”

Why did the math student ask a chemist for help?
He heard chemists have a lot of solutions.

Why was the fraction skeptical about marrying the decimal?
Because one of them would have to convert.

Atheists have difficulty with exponents because they don’t believe in higher powers.

The nurse apologized after realizing he’d put the splint on the patient’s incorrect finger. “You were really close,” said the patient. “You were only off by one digit.”

How is x2 + 2x + 4 = 0 like an artificial holiday tree?
Neither have real roots.

At a job interview, tell them you’re willing to give 110%. Unless you’re interviewing to be a statistician.

My girlfriend is like the square root of -100. She’s a perfect 10, but purely imaginary.

My wife calls me obtuse triangle, because I’m never right.

November 15, 2019 at 5:53 am Leave a comment

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — in Job and Location

A few days back, I mentioned that I had a new job and had moved across the country, and I said I’d write more about that later. Well, it’s later.

MLC LogoAfter six wonderful years of developing a highly-rated, award-winning, interactive math textbook at Discovery Education, I’ve taken a new position at the Math Learning Center, a non-profit organization in Portland, Oregon. The Math Learning Center (MLC) is the publisher of Bridges, an award-winning elementary math curriculum.

The reason for the change? Well, actually, there are several…

  • MLC is not-for-profit, so any money raised from curriculum sales is used to improve the materials and professional development offerings.
  • The mission of the Math Learning Center is “to inspire and enable individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability.” It’s pretty easy to get behind a goal like that.
  • Last but not least, the MLC staff might be the friendliest group of individuals I’ve ever met. To boot, they’re bright, hard-working, and dedicated to the organization’s mission.

With all that, the decision to join MLC was a rather easy one. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited about the change. I’ll be the new Chief Learning Officer, affectionately known as the CLO.

Time out for a puzzle.

Can you fill in the blanks to form a 16-letter math term that contains the letters CLO in order? Hint: think about transformational geometry or turning off the faucet.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ C L O _ _ _ _ _ _

Relocating from Virginia to Oregon is a big deal. It’s nearly 2,800 miles — or 14 states, or 42 hours in a car — from our old house to our new one. Consequently, we hired a moving company to help with packing and shipping. When Lily from the moving company arrived, she asked if we had any “high-value items” to be transported, such as expensive jewelry or fur coats. (But not a real fur coat. That’s cruel.) I said that I didn’t think so, but then I asked what they consider a high-value item. Lily’s answer used a completely acceptable but surprising unit rate:

anything over $100 per pound

With that metric, it was suddenly obvious that we had several high-value items in our home. The first was a pair of diamond earrings that I had given my wife recently for our 15th anniversary. Since 5 carats = 1 gram, these small hunks of rock have a retail value of nearly $4,000,000 per pound, significantly above the moving company’s threshold.

The other high-value items were, well, us. The “value of statistical life,” or VSL, is a measure of the value of a human life. Its exact amount depends upon which federal agency you reference. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for instance, pegs the VSL at $10 million. That means that I’m worth approximately $50,000 per pound, my petite wife is worth nearly $80,000 per pound, and our twin sons are worth well over $100,000 per pound each.


Precious Cargo

Granted, our value density isn’t as high as diamond, but we’re still pretty darn valuable.

A cannibal goes into a butcher shop, and he notices that the market specializes in brains. He sees that the butcher is selling engineer’s brain for $1.50 per pound, mathematician’s brain for $2.25 per pound, and politician’s brain for $375.00 a pound. Flabbergasted, he asks the owner why the huge difference in price. The butcher replies, “Do you have any idea how many politicians it takes to get a pound of brains?”

In the end, neither the diamond earrings nor any member of our family were loaded onto the moving truck. A week later, we’re adapting nicely to Portland culture, and I start my job at Math Learning Center in just a few days. Wish me luck!

August 8, 2019 at 5:10 am Leave a comment

Silent Letter Night

Several weeks ago, Will Shortz presented an NPR Sunday Puzzle in which he stated a word and a letter, and the resulting collection would be rearranged to form a new word in which the added letter is silent. For instance, if Will gave RODS + W, the correct answer would be SWORD, in which the W is silent. (Note that the collection of letters is also an anagram of WORDS, but the W isn’t silent.)

At a time of year known for silent nights, it seems like a puzzle involving silent letters is completely appropriate. I’ve borrowed Shortz’s idea and extended it a bit; some of the clues in the list below have more than one silent letter added. Many items in the list are related to today’s holiday; and, because this is a math blog, the others are related to mathematics. In full disclosure, two of the answers are proper nouns.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

  1. TO + W =
  2. TON + K =
  3. TOGS + H =
  4. GEE + D =
  5. TIN + G + H =
  6. SIN + G =
  7. SIN + E =
  8. CORD + H =
  9. HOLE + W =
  10. HEART + W =
  11. TINNY + E =
  12. COINS + E =
  13. NOELS + M =
  14. PILES + E + L =
  15. FRAME + T =
  16. REDACT + E + S + S =
  17. RACISMS + H + T =

December 25, 2018 at 10:22 am Leave a comment

What’s in Your Pocket?

PocketI recently received an email from adoring fan Alden Bradford:

Teacher: “Would you like a pocket calculator?”
Student: “No, thanks. I already know how many pockets I have.”

Thanks, Alden!

Of course, that reminded me of this gem from Spiked Math:

Spiked Math. One function says,

And one final pocket joke:

The department chair said to the math teachers, “I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is, we have enough money for a new microwave in the staff lounge.” The teachers cheered! Then one of them asked, “What’s the bad news?” The chair said, “It’s still in your pockets.”


November 13, 2018 at 6:25 am Leave a comment

Math Words for National Dictionary Day

Want to start today the right way? Say, “Good morning!” to Alexa today, and she’ll respond:

Good morning! It’s National Dictionary Day. Ever wonder what the shortest word is? Technically, it’s a toss-up between the single letter words I and a, but since I is always capitalized, I’d say a is just a little shorter.

Is there anything more powerful than a language arts joke to get the day off to a good start?

I have no words to describe today. I do, however, have a ton of obscene gestures.

So, what’s the shortest math word? Technically, e and i, but if you don’t like constants, then you’ll have to settle for the three-letter words set and box.


And what’s the longest math word — at least based on the list at Math Words? It has 17 letters, and you’ll get a big hint if you check the time.

What two math words, both having the same number of letters, are equally appropriate to describe a triangle whose sides are congruent?

And what’s the funniest math word? Personally, I think it’s syzygy, but according to Tomas Engelthaler, it’s logic. In Humor Norms for 4,997 English Words, Engelthaler and Hills (2017) describe a method for determining which words are funniest. I emailed Engelthaler to ask which math word is funniest, and he responded as if it were a completely reasonable question. Without hesitation, he shared a list of math words and their humor rankings, and these five were at the top of the list:

  • logic
  • math
  • theory
  • science
  • graph

The overall funniest English word, according to Engelthaler’s research? Booty. Go figure.

While you may not think that any of those words, mathy or otherwise, are laugh-out-loud funny, this isn’t debatable; it’s based on science.

If you take issue with this research, you’ll need to discuss it with Engelthaler and his colleagues. Please write to him directly to say that you’re bumfuzzled, that his research is malarkey, or that you think he’s a nincompoop.

October 16, 2018 at 6:20 am 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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