## Posts tagged ‘MJ4MF’

### Great Dates

Today is a great date, and I almost missed it!

**12/13/14**

Today’s date (in U.S. format) is the last time this century that the month, date, and year are consecutive numbers. If you choose not to celebrate this momentous occasion, you’ll have to wait almost 89 years for this to happen again.

Another great date with consecutive numbers happened 5 years ago.

**8/9/10**

That’s the date that **Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks** was published.

And I rather like **12/11/14**. That’s just two days ago, when *Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks* reached a rank of 2,210 on Amazon. That’s the highest sales rank it’s ever received. Woo-hoo!

Every year around this time, there is a significant spike in sales of *MJ4MF*. Ostensibly, it’s a good gift to give your engineer husband, statistician wife, or geometry teacher. And I am ecstatic that so many people are enjoying the book. But I’m wondering if we can blow the roof off of the Amazon rank; with a concerted effort, can we get the ranking of *MJ4MF* to below 1,000?

Here’s my request:

If you’re thinking of buying

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folksfrom Amazon for someone as a gift this holiday season,please make your purchase of MJ4MF between noon and midnight ET on Tuesday, December 16.(Use this conversion chart if you’re in a different time zone.)Ordering by Tuesday, December 16 will still allow the book to arrive in time for Christmas or the last night of Chanukah, especially if you have Amazon Prime.

Since Amazon sales rank is based on a 24-hour period, any purchase on Tuesday will help with the ranking, so we don’t need to be much more specific than that.

And if you’re **not** thinking of buying *Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks* this holiday season, well, what the hell is wrong with you? All the cool people are doing it.

### Annotated Amazon Review of *MJ4MF*

The paperback version of *Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks* was released on August 9, 2010. During its first three years on Amazon, it received 17 reviews, with an average rating of 4.76. Recently, however, an unimpressed reviewer gave it just 2 stars:

This reminds me. If you’ve read *MJ4MF* and liked it, please post a review on Amazon. (If you disliked it, please post your review on MySpace.)

But I digress. Back to my point. The disparaging review that appeared on Amazon contained just 21 words:

jokes are not very funny – seems like they were stretching it to find enough jokes to fill a book to sell

To fully understand this review, I offer the following annotations.

jokes are not very funny

“I wouldn’t know humor if it bit me. I often travel to Branson, MO, to see Yakov Smirnoff perform live, and I think that Carrot Top’s performance on Star Search is the funniest moment ever.”

seems like they

“I’m unaware that the author is a single person,” or possibly, “I’m not familiar with rules of English grammar.”

were stretching it

“I don’t understand common English idioms. A friend pointed out that the correct phrase is just ‘were stretching’ without the ‘it.’ Oops.”

to find enough jokes

“I failed to realize that the book contains 400+ math jokes, yet a Google search for ‘math jokes’ returns 2,830,000 results. Simple percentages show how selective the author has been. I also hadn’t visited this blog before posting my review; I now see that a significant number of jokes not in the book have appeared on this blog, so clearly the author did not exhaust the supply.”

to fill a book to sell

“The author is a money-hungry swine who would sell his grandmother’s secret recipe for Hungarian pierogi for 50 bucks.”

Sadly, this last claim is mostly true. But my grandmother’s pierogi were divine, and the recipe is worth far more than $50. Kindly submit your bid in the Comments.

But I’m not bitter. I don’t care that this review reduces my average rating by 0.15 stars or that it single-handedly drops the book to #19 when someone searches for ‘math jokes’ on Amazon and sorts by “Avg. Customer Review.”

Instead, I prefer to remember the *MJ4MF* review written by Caregiver x 2, who said:

This morning I gave this book to my son, he didn’t put it down for a long time. He was laughing and flipping the pages as fast as he could. And he was on his summer break!

She is wise beyond her years, and I appreciate that she took the time to share her insightful comments with the world.

### The MJ4MF Bowl

It’s college bowl season, and there is an impressive line-up of games, from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, to the GoDaddy.com Bowl, to the…

Oh, for Pete’s sake.

There are no fewer than eight college football bowls that have completely abandoned any pretense of respecting tradition. The name of the bowl is isomorphic with the name of the sponsoring company. Sure, some bowls give a nod to tradition by appending the name of the sponsor to the historical name, such as the Allstate Sugar Bowl or the Discover Orange Bowl. But even in those cases, the sponsor is listed before the bowl itself.

What can you do? My daddy always told me, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”

Following his sage advice, I’d like to announce the 2013 Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks Bowl, which already has a spiffy logo…

But the MJ4MF Bowl will be different than the others. There have to be rules. My rules.

First, the game must be played on January 3, 2013, which can be written as 1/3/13. (Nice, huh?)

Second, both teams would have to be willing to modify their nicknames — only temporarily, of course — to make them more mathy. For example,

- Arizona State Sum Devils
- East Carolina πrates
- Navy Midpoint Men
- North Texas Median Green
- Penn State Nittany Lines
- Standford Cardinality
- Tulane Sine Wave
- UCLA de Bruijn Sequences
- Western Kentucky Hilltopologists

Third, and most importantly, the yard lines on the field would need to be renumbered. Currently, they are numbered as follows:

**|0 1|0 2|0 3|0 4|0 5|0 4|0 3|0 2|0 1|0 0|**

That’s just dumb. For the MJ4MF Bowl, the yard lines will be numbered like this:

**-5|0 -4|0 -3|0 -2|0 -1|0 0 1|0 2|0 3|0 4|0 5|0 **

Honestly, doesn’t that make more sense? The middle of the field would be the 0-yard line, which seems appropriate; and, now when you hear, “The Lions have the ball on the 10-yard line,” you won’t have to wonder, “*Which* 10-yard line?”

Finally, teams will not have to meet the onerous NCAA bowl eligibility requirements to participate in the MJ4MF Bowl. Why does a team need six wins to be bowl eligible, anyway? That just means they’ll demand a big pay-out, and unless a rich, eccentric math geek buys a million copies of *Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks* in the next week, well, that’s just not gonna happen.

Two exciting teams are currently sought to play in the inaugural MJ4MF Bowl. Notre Dame and Alabama are required to play for the national championship, and the likes of Georgia, Kansas State, and Nebraska have already agreed to other bowl games… but surely the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss (0-12) and the Akron Zips (1-11) are available, no?

### Coming Up Through the Ranks

Through some special features at Amazon Author Central, I am able to know the daily sales rank of Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. My sales rank at the end of each of the last three days was 44,404, 96,990, and 35,355, respectively. I thought that was interesting — three days in a row when the sales rank was a five-digit number in which one digit occurred at least three times. What’s the likelihood of that? Stated more formally:

Assuming that the sales rank of MJ4MF is always a five-digit number, what is the probability that three consecutive days’ sales ranks will contain a digit that occurs in the sales rank at least three times?

The sales rank of MJ4MF has never been a five-digit number in which the same digit is repeated five times. (Bummer!) The probability of that occurrence, though, is even less likely than the situation described above — though I won’t tell you exactly how much less likely, so as not to spoil your fun!

### Humorous Math Poem Contest

April is:

- Math Awareness Month (www.mathaware.org)
- National Poetry Month (www.poets.org/npm)
- National Humor Month (www.humormonth.com)

With such a glorious coincidence^{1} of human-created holidays, I feel like I have to do something big. Monumental, even. But what? I thought about preparing a major April Fools prank, such as preparing a fake video about spaghetti growing on trees or publishing an article about how the Alabama legislature passed a law setting π = 3. But since those have already been done, I decided on something a little different…

Announcing the **MJ4MF Humorous Math Poem Contest**!

That’s right! Submit your original entries of humorous math poems.

The format is entirely up to you.

- Try your hand at the highly mathematical haiku.
- Author a sonnet about your love of numbers.
- Use ALGEBRA to create an acrostic poem.
- Or, get a little seedy with a limerick about doing problem sets late at night.

The only rule, really, is that **your submission must be completely original**. Please don’t copy a poem from another website or transcribe one of J. A. Lindon’s gems.

Post your poem in the comments section, or send it to me privately at mj4mf@verizon.net. Next week, I’ll compile all entries into a single post and create a poll so visitors can vote for their favorite. The author of the best poem, as selected by the readers of the MJ4MF blog, will receive an autographed copy of *Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks*, as well as a special secret prize.

Good luck, and have fun!

To get the creative juices flowing, you can read a few classics below, or check out *The Square Root of Three*.

Pi goes on and on and on…

Andeis likewise cursed.

I wonder: Which is larger

When the digits are reversed?

– J. A. LindonI used to think math was no fun,

‘Cause I couldn’t see how it was done.

But Euler’s my hero

For I now see why zero

Equalse^{iπ}+ 1.

– Paul NahinWith my hands in a fire

And my arse on some ice

I’d say that, on average,

I feel rather nice.

– an MJ4MF original (sort of)

^{1} Speaking of coincidence, John Allen Paulos wrote, “…though it is unlikely that any *particular* sequence of events specified beforehand will occur, there is a high probability that *some* remarkable sequence will be observed subsequently” (*A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper*, p. 50). You might also like his first book, *Innumeracy*.

### MJ4MF Review

I was delighted to open the April issue of the *Mathematics Teacher* journal and discover a review of *Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks*. Reviewer Leah Evans had some nice things to say:

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folksis a delightful read. The author has compiled a vast array of puns, quips, and jokes meant for people of varied ages and mathematical expertise.[…]

I highly recommend this book as a diversion from the rigor of mathematics. It allows us to have a good laugh (or a long groan) at a joke that only “math nerds” would get, and it points out that humor can be found in all mathematical applications, even a telescoping series.

I love the cliffhanger at the end! The reference to a “telescoping series” is — I think — in regards to this joke (p. 89):

If you’re interested, here’s a copy of the entire review. (Click on the image to view a full-size version.)

### Happy Anniversary!

Do you know what happened one year ago today? Well, lots of things, actually…

- A major storm near Hot Springs, AR, dropped baseball-sized hail while tornadoes raged nearby. (Yikes!)
- The first legal gay marriages in Washington, DC, were performed.
- Teen idol Corey Haim, best known for his role as Sam Emerson in
*The Lost Boys*, died of an accidental overdose.

But perhaps most importantly…

- The first post appeared on MJ4MF.

That’s right — I started sharing math jokes, random thoughts, and senseless drivel on this blog exactly 365 days ago. To those of you who read the MJ4MF blog regularly, comment occasionally, and forward links to your friends and colleagues, I want to say one thing:

Gee, you sure have a penchant for wasting time.

But seriously, I’d like to say **Thank You**. When I started, I wasn’t sure I had enough material to last a year. But given the number of subscribers and all the positive comments I’ve received, I plan to keep doing this for as long as I can. I’ve really enjoyed the past year, and I hope that I can keep you entertained.

Some trivia:

- The most popular post during the past year was Smart Quarterbacks, the Super Bowl, and SAT Scores.
- The blog received 14,432 views during its first year, and February 6 was its busiest day.
- The growth in traffic can be approximated by the funtion
*y*= 33*x*^{2}– 143*x*+ 312, where*y*is the number of pageviews during the*x*^{th}month since inception. - If you drank one low-calorie beer every night since the first post on MJ4MF, that would be
**one lite year**.

And finally…

I said to my friend, “Did you know that only 57% of people are able to understand the mathematical content contained on the MJ4MF blog?” His response:

I belong to the other 33%.

Oish. Happy anniversary!