## Posts tagged ‘statistician’

### Go to Vegas, Saul

Saul is a statistician. He leads a comfortable life — he has tenure at a respected university, an impressive list of publications to his credit, and the admiration of his colleagues. Less than a year from retirement, he hears a voice from above. “Saul, quit your job,” the voice says.

He ignores it.

The next day, the voice returns. “Saul, quit your job.” And the next day. And the day after that. And it becomes more frequent, occupying most of his waking hours as well as his dreams. “Saul, quit your job.”

It continues relentlessly for months. “Enough already!” Saul shouts when he can take no more. He delivers a letter of resignation to his dean that morning.

“Saul, take your life savings out of the bank.”

*I’m not taking out my money*, Saul thinks. But the voice continues relentlessly. “Saul, take your life savings out of the bank.”

After several sleepless nights, he finally gives in. “Now what?” he asks.

“Saul, go to Vegas.”

He buys a ticket to Vegas. When he arrives, the voice tells him, “Saul, go to the blackjack table.”

He obeys.

“Saul, bet all of your money on one hand.”

“That’s insane!” he shouts.

“Saul, bet all of your money on one hand.”

He knows that the voice will continue if he doesn’t listen, so he does it.

He’s dealt an 8 and a king. 18. The dealer is showing a 6.

“Saul, take a card.”

“But the dealer has…”

“Saul, take a card.”

“But the laws of probability…”

“Saul, take a card!”

He takes a card reluctantly. It’s an ace. 19. He sighs relief.

“Saul, take another card.”

“C’mon!”

“Saul, take another card!”

He takes another card. Another ace. 20.

“Saul, take another card.”

“But I have 20!” he shouts.

“Saul, take another card!”

He shakes his head. “Hit me,” he says sheepishly. A third ace. 21.

And the voice booms, “Un-fucking-believable!”

### Career Changes

When I give math joke presentations, I bombard the audience with several groan‑inducing puns. When they can take no more, I admit to them that (a) stand‑up comedy is NOT my full-time job and (b) I am not considering a career change. This admission usually provokes a collective sigh of relief from the audience.

I inform them, however, that I have several friends who recently changed careers.

I have a friend who used to be a statistician.

Now she’s a gynecologist.

Her specialty is histerectograms.I have a friend who used to be a combinatorist.

Now she is a hairdresser.

She works with combs and perms.I have a friend who used to be a high school math teacher.

Now he’s a densist.

He performs square root canals.I have a friend who used to be a geometer.

Now he’s a taxidermist.

His specialty is Fourier (furrier) transforms.I know a former inmate.

He became a poet.

Now he writes converse.I have a friend who used to be a transformational geometer.

Now he polishes mirrors.

He specializes in reflections.

As you might well imagine, telling an audience about these career‑changing friends usually elicits more groans. Go figure.

I particularly like this joke format, so I’ll offer a challenge to you: Create a joke about a career-changing professional. Feel free to use the form below, use this Google Docs form, or place your joke in the Comments.

### Points of Intersection

In sixth grade, I overheard two teachers talking about a new school policy. We had just moved into an elementary school that was four stories tall, and it was decided that any time a class needed to move between floors via the staircases, students should always stay to the right — “just as your parents do when driving on a road,” we were told.

One teacher said to another, “Given our principal, I’m surprised it isn’t up on the right, down on the left!”

Nothing like a little administration-bashing to cleanse the soul, eh?

I was reminded of this over the weekend, when my sons and I participated in Bike DC, a family-friendly event in which thousands of riders were given the privilege of riding along the streets of Washington, DC, on a beautiful Sunday morning, during which the streets were closed to traffic. It was quite a thrill for Alex and Eli to ride in front of the President’s house. We turned around before the designated turn-around spot, but I was rather proud that my five-year-old sons were able to log 7.5 miles.

Unfortunately, there was a problem with the course design. See map below.

We followed a simple out-and-back course along several major roads. As shown above, we went out via the blue line and returned via the green line. And just like driving, we spent the first several miles in the right lane. But as the blue line shows, we were asked to *switch* to the left side of the road at one point; then on the return trip, we were asked to *switch again* to the right side of the road. As indicated by the two red dots, this caused a problem — when you ask 10,000 bikers to cross each others’ paths, problems are bound to ensue. (You’ll note that two blue lines merge near the bottom of the map. Some bikers doing the full ride merged with those of us doing the family ride at this point.)

Today, I received an email from the ride organizers with the following explanation:

This was by far the biggest Bike DC yet, and some of the routing that had been adequate with a smaller ride was unsatisfactory for this larger group.

That made me chuckle. Crossing paths is never a good idea, with any size group. Even people who have never been very good with coordinate geometry know that non-parallel lines intersect. Parallel lines would have been a better option, unless the course was extremely long:

If parallel lines meet at infinity, then infinity must be a noisy place with all those lines crashing together!

The way to avoid the problem, as any statistician will tell you, is to pass through these points of intersection very quickly.

A statistician would always accelerate when coming to an intersection, fly through it, and then brake on the other side. A passenger asked him why he went so fast through intersections. The statistician replied, “Well, statistics show that more accidents happen at intersections, so I try to spend less time there.”

### 4 Jokes, Just For Fun

A random compilation of four unrelated jokes, just for fun…

Two math professors are exiting the subway when a panhandler asks them for some change. The first prof refuses in disgust. The second prof, however, opens his wallet and gives him a $5 bill. “What’d you do that for?” asks the first. “You know he’s just going to use it for booze.”

“And we weren’t?” says the second.

What do statisticians use for birth control?

Their personalities.

Three engineers on a desert island find a magic lamp. They rub it, and a genie pops out. “I’ll grant you each a wish,” says the genie.

The first engineer says, “I wish I had 25% more intelligence. Then I’d be smart enough to get off of this island.” The genie turns her into an accountant, and she swims off the island.

The second engineer watches this and says, “I wish I had 50% more intellignce. Then I’d be smart enough to get off this island.” The genie turns her into a statistician, and she makes a raft from trees and sails off.

Finally, the third engineer says, “I wish I had 100% more intelligence. Then I’d be smart enough to get off this island.” The genie turns her into a mathematician, and she walks across the bridge.

What’s the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead economist in the road?

There are skid marks before the skunk.

### Stuck in the Middle With You — July 2

Today is an average day, exactly halfway between the beginning and end of the year.

Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, often said he was born in Poland and educated in France — making him German, on average.

*Average* is something upon which hens lay their eggs. For instance, “My hens lay four eggs a week on average.”

When she told me that I was only average, she was just being mean.

A statistician with his head in the freezer and his feet in the oven will say that, on average, he feels fine.

Three statisticians go hunting. When they see a duck flying overhead, two of them take a shot. The first fires six inches over the duck; the second fires six inches under the duck; and, the third excitedly exclaims, “We got it! We got it!”

### Conversation with a Statistician

Yesterday, I ran into a friend who’s a statistician. When I asked, “How’s your husband?” she responded, “Compared to whom?”

We chatted for a while, and she updated me on some recent research. Among the recent discoveries that she shared…

- Birthdays and cigarettes both improve health. Recent research has shown that people who celebrate the most birthdays live longest, and smokers are less likely to die of age-related illnesses.
- A team of researchers has discovered that marriage is the leading cause of divorce. There is a signficant correlation between those who get married and those who get divorced. It is also well known that 50% of marriages end in divorce… which means that if you don’t file for divorce, your wife will.
- It was recently discovered that 83.638867% of statistics have an unjustified level of precision, and 78.46% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

She also relayed this recent incident at the Census Bureau.

Checking some questionnaires, a census clerk was amazed to note that one of them listed 121 in the space for “Age of Mother, if Living” and 125 in the space for “Age of Father, if Living.”

Incredulously, the clerk said to the survey taker, “Both of your parents are alive and over 120 years old?”

“Well, no,” replied the survey taker, “but they would be —

if living!”

### Questions Needing Answers

Inquiring minds want to know, so here are answers to questions that you’ve surely been pondering.

Q: If one man can wash one stack of dishes in one hour, how many stacks of dishes can four men wash in four hours?

A: None. They’ll all sit down together to watch football.Q: Why don’t members of the Ku Klux Klan study Calculus?

A: Because they don’t like to integrate.Q: What did the circle say to the tangent line?

A: “Stop touching me!”Q: Why did the statistician cross the interstate?

A: To analyze data on the other side of the median.