Posted by: bkivey | 28 January 2011

Technically Funny

A Friday selection of math and engineering humor. Good math humor that’s not aimed at mathematicians is especially hard to find. The best I’ve been able to do: I was riding in a car with my boss and saw a Nissan Maxima in front of us. I remarked that whenever I saw one I always wondered where the Minima was. See what I mean? Lame as that was, it still got laugh from my boss. And if my writing was wittier, I’d say his laugh was inflectuous. OK. Enough of that.

Infinite Series

A mathematician organizes a lottery in which the prize is an infinite amount of money. When the winning ticket is drawn, and the jubilant winner comes to claim his prize, the mathematician explains the mode of payment: “1 dollar now, 1/2 dollar next week, 1/3 dollar the week after that…”

Ever wonder about your boss’s salary?

The less you know, the more you make.

Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.
As every engineer knows: Power = Work / Time
And since Knowledge = Power and Time = Money
It is therefore true that Knowledge = Work / Money .
Solving for Money, we get:
Money = Work / Knowledge
Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of Work done.

You May be an Engineer if . . .

There are a number of these lists floating around cyberspace, and I think they were all written 20 years ago. The following items are all things I am or have been guilty of:

You can name any 6 Star Trek episodes.

Guilty. I can  watch 10 seconds of any original Star Trek episode and identify it.

You have used coat hangers and duct tape for something other than hanging coats and taping ducts.

I have, in fact, made project tools out of duct tape and coat hangers. 

You can quote scenes from any Monty Python movie.

What sort of sparrow?

You own “Official Star Trek” anything.

Yes. But only books, I swear.

You have ever taken the back off your TV just to see what’s inside.

This has been true of anything I’ve owned been near since I was a small child.  

You have ever saved the power cord from a broken appliance.

 Well, you never know. 

You have ever purchased an electronic appliance “as-is”.

They’re cheap and fixable. Mostly. And if not, the parts are useful.

You still own a slide rule and you know how to work it.

 I found my father’s college  slide rule when I was a child and learned how to work it. I currently own a fairly nice circular slide rule. And I can work it.

You have a habit of destroying things in order to see how they work .

 When I was a child nothing mechanical was safe. I’m much better at putting things back together now.

You can type 70 words a minute but can’t read your own handwriting.

As early as high school teachers would require me to type papers when everyone else could turn in manuscripts. In college several professors required me to take written exams on laptops.

You’ve ever tried to repair a $5.00 radio.

I feel like I’ve wasted money if I buy something new. I enjoy the challenge of fixing something broken.

You have spent more on your home computer than your car.

And on my bicycle.

The Last Word

From the back page of the Engineering Weekly (“Ingenioren,” a weekly paper for Danish engineers) on May 19th, 1995.



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