Let ε < 0.


Microsoft to buy God

Filed under: CS silliness — Travis @

Originally posted on CyberCheeze.com.


REDMOND, WA Microsoft Corporation today announced its intent to purchase, copyright, and upgrade God Himself. The new product would be named, predictably enough, “Microsoft God,” and would be available to consumers sometime in late 1998, well before the millennium.

“Too many people feel separated from God in today’s world,” said Dave McCavaugh, director of Microsoft’s new Religions division. “Microsoft God will make our Lord more accessible, and will add an easy, intuitive user interface to Him, making Him not only easier to find, but easier to communicate with.”

The new Microsoft Religions line will be expanded to include a multitude of add-on products to Microsoft God, including:

  • Microsoft Crusades: This conversion product will bring all worshiper accounts and prayer files over from previous versions of God, or from competing products like Buddha or Allah.
  • Microsoft God for the World Wide Web: This product ties Microsoft God with Microsoft Internet Information Server, making our Lord accessible from the World Wide Web using a standard Web browser interface. It introduces several new Web technologies, including Dynamic Salvation and Active Prayer Pages (APP). Donations for the poor can be donated via a Secure Alms Server.
  • Microsoft Prayers: Using a Windows-based WYSIWYG interface, this product will allow worshipers to construct effective prayers in a minimum of time. A Secure Prayer Channel technology allows guaranteed delivery of the prayer to Microsoft God servers, and Prayer Wizards enable users to construct new types of prayers with a minimum learning curve.
  • Microsoft Savior: This product will allow worshipers to transfer their sins to its internal Vice Database. After a preset interval, the product will erase itself from the user’s system and establish a clear line of secure communications to the user’s Microsoft God server. Additionally, Microsoft is expected to announce a line of complimentary products for the new Religions line, which will enhance the functionality of the Microsoft God server product by providing a customized user interface. These interfaces will be based on popular religious sects, allowing worshipers to interact with the new God product in much the same way as the previous version. This line is expected to include Microsoft Protestant, Microsoft Catholicism, Microsoft Judaism (incompatible with Microsoft Savior), etc.

Competitor Netscape Communications denies rumors that it is planning to release a competing product, Netscape Satan, that would attempt to render Microsoft God installations inoperable.


Letters from computer camp

Filed under: CS silliness — Travis @

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Ann Landers wouldn’t print this. I have nowhere else to turn. I have to get the word out. Warn other parents. I must be rambling on. Let me try and explain.

It’s about my son, Billy. He’s always been a good, normal 10 year old boy. Well, last spring we sat down after dinner to select a summer camp for Billy.

We sorted through the camp brochures. There were the usual camps with swimming, canoeing, games, singing by the campfire — you know. There were sports camps and specialty camps for weight reduction, music, military camps and camps that specialized in Tibetan knot tying.

I tried to talk him into Camp Winnepoopoo. It’s where he went last year. Billy would have none of it. Billy pulled a brochure out of his pocket. It was for a COMPUTER CAMP! We should have put our foot down right there, if only we had known. He left three weeks ago.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED. He’s changed. I can’t explain it. See for yourself.

These are some of my little Billy’s letters:

Letter 1

Dear Mom,

The kids are dorky nerds. The food stinks. The computers are the only good part. We’re learning how to program. Late at night is the best time to program, so they let us stay up.

Love, Billy.

Letter 2

Dear Mom,

Camp is O.K. Last night we had pizza in the middle of the night. We all get to choose what we want to drink. By the way, can you make Szechwan food? I’m getting used to it now. Gotta go, it’s time for the flowchart class.

Love, Billy.

P.S. This is written on a word processor. Pretty swell, huh? It’s spell checked too.

Letter 3

Dear Mom,

Don’t worry. We do regular camp stuff. We told ghost stories by the glow of the green computer screens. It was real neat. I don’t have much of a tan cause we don’t go outside very often. You can’t see the computer screen in the sunlight anyway. That wimp camp I went to last year fed us weird food too. Lay off, Mom. I’m okay, really.

Love, Billy.

Letter 4

Dear Mom,

I’m fine. I’m sleeping enough. I’m eating enough. This is the best camp ever. We scared the counselor with some phony worm code. It was real funny. He got mad and yelled. Can you send more money? I’ve got to chip in on the phone bill. Did you know that you can talk to people on a computer? Give my regards to Dad.

Love, Billy.

Letter 5

Dear Mother,

Forget the money for the telephone. We’ve got a way to not pay. Sorry I haven’t written. I’ve been learning a lot. I’m real good at getting onto any computer in the country. It’s really easy! I got into the university’s in less than fifteen minutes. Frederick did it in five, he’s going to show me how. Frederick is my bunk partner. He’s really smart. He says that I shouldn’t call myself Billy anymore. So, I’m not.

Signed, William.

Letter 6

Dear Mother,

How nice of you to come up on Parents Day. Why’d you get so upset? I haven’t gained that much weight. The glasses aren’t real. Everybody wears them. I was trying to fit in. Believe me, the tape on them is cool. I thought that you’d be proud of my program. After all, I’ve made some money on it. A publisher is sending a check for $30,000. Anyway, I’ve paid for the next six weeks of camp. I won’t be home until late August.

Regards, William.

Letter 7


Stop treating me like a child. True — physically I am only ten years old. It was silly of you to try to kidnap me. Do not try again. Remember, I can make your life miserable (i.e. – the bank, credit bureau, and government computers). I am not kidding. O.K.? I won’t write again and this is your only warning. The emotions of this interpersonal communication drain me.

Sincerely, William.

What can I do, Mr. Johnson? See what I mean? It’s been two weeks since I’ve heard from my little boy. I know that it’s probably too late to save my little Billy. But, if by printing these letters you can save JUST ONE CHILD from a life of programming, please, I beg of you to do so. Thank you very much.

Sally Gates,
Concerned Parent


Los Angeles High School math proficiency exam

Filed under: Academic humor — Travis @

GANG NAME______________

1. Little Johnny has an AK 47 with a 30 round clip. He usually misses 6 out of every 10 shots and he uses 13 rounds per drive-by shooting. How many drive-by shootings can Little Johnny attempt before he has to reload?

2. Jose has 2 ounces of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?

3. Rufus pimps 3 hos. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Rufus’s $800 per day crack habit?

4. Jerome wants to cut the pound of cocaine he bought for $40,000 to make 20% profit. How many ounces will he need?

5. Willie gets $200 for a stolen BMW, $150 for stealing a Corvette, and $100 for a 4×4. If he steals 1 BMW, 2 Corvettes and 3 4×4’s, how many more Corvettes must he have to steal to have $900?

6. Raoul got 6 years for murder. He also got $10,000 for the hit. If his common-law wife spends $100 per month, how much money will be left when he gets out?

Extra credit bonus: how much more time will he get for killing the ho that spent his money?

7. If an average can of spray paint covers 22 square feet and the average letter is 3 square feet, how many letters can be sprayed with 3 eight ounce cans of spray paint with 20% paint free?

8. Hector knocked up 3 girls in the gang. There are 27 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of girls Hector knocked up?

9. Bernie is a lookout for the gang. Bernie has a Boa Constrictor that eats 3 small rats per week at a cost of $5 per rat. If Bernie makes $700 a week as a lookout, how many weeks can he feed the Boa on one week’s income?

10. Billy steals Joe’s skateboard. As Billy skates away at 25 mph, Joe loads his .357 Magnum. If it takes Joe 12 seconds to load his magnum, how far away will Billy be when he gets whacked?


Glossary for research reports

Filed under: Academic humor, Science humor — Travis @

A. Terms used in writing research papers

It has long been known that
I haven’t bothered to look up the original reference

Of great theoretical and practical importance
Interesting to me

While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to these questions
The experiments didn’t work out, but I figured I could at least get a publication out of it

The W-Pb system was chosen as especially suitable to show the predicted behavior
The fellow in the next lab had some already made up

High purity / very high purity / extremely high purity / super-purity / specroscopically pure
Composition unknown except for the exaggerated claims of the supplier

A fiducial reference line
A scratch

Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study
The results on the others didn’t make sense and were ignored

Accidentally strained during mounting
Dropped on the floor

Handled with extreme care throughout the experiments
Not dropped on the floor

Typical results are shown
The best results are shown

Although some detail has been lost in the reproduction, it is clear from the original micrograph that
It is impossible to tell from the micrograph that

Presumably at longer times
I didn’t take the time to find out

The agreement with the predicted curve is excellent




As good as could be expected

These results will be reported at a later date
I might possibly get around to this sometime

The most reliable values are those of Jones
Jones was a student of mine

It is suggested that / It is believed that / It may be that
I think

It is generally believed that
A couple of other guys think so too

It might be argued that
I have such a good answer to this objection that I shall now raise it

It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding…
I don’t understand it

Unfortunately, a quantitative theory to account for these effects has not been formulated
Neither does anybody else

Correct within an order of magnitude

It is hoped that this work will stimulate further work in the field
This paper isn’t very good, but neither are any of the others in this miserable subject

Thanks are due to Joe Glotz for assistance with the experiments and to John Doe for valuable discussions
Joe Glotz did the work and John Does explained what it meant

B. Terms used in presenting research papers

A reference to work of an author whose work is to be attacked

A surprising finding
We barely had time to revise the abstract. Of course we fired the technician.

Preliminary experiments have shown that
We did it once but couldn’t repeat it

The method, in our hands
Somebody didn’t publish all the directions

A survey of the earlier literature
I even read through some of last year’s journals

Careful statistical analysis
After going through a dozen books, we finally found one obscure test that we could apply

We are excited by this finding
It looks publishable

We have a tentative explanation
I picked this up in a bull session last night

We didn’t carry out the long-term study
We like to go home by 5 pm. What do you think we are, slaves?

The mechanism is not clear
We plan to do a second experiment as soon as we get home

C. Terms used in discussing research presentations

We say this with trepidation
(a) We are going out on a limb when in the presence of an author whose work is to be, or has been, attacked, or
(b) We are about to make a statement about something we know nothing about

Could you discuss your findings?
Tell us know. Don’t hide it in some obscure journal.

Have you considered the possibility…?
Have you read my work?

Have you any ideas at all…?
What are you keeping from us?

Would you care to speculate…?
I wonder if you agree with me?

Why do you believe…?
You’re out of your mind

I would like to make one comment on these suggestions

We cannot reconcile the data
Are you telling the truth?

We have repeated your experiments in our lab
Brother, were we surprised!

Did I read your slide correctly?
Did you write it correctly? I never make mistakes.

D. Conclusion

It is evident that the field of scientific semantics offers ground for fruitful investigation (which means “I never expect to do it myself, but if someone does, this statement will give me a claim of priority”).

The material in Part A is from C. D. Graham, Jr., from Metal Progress, 71, 75 (1957). The material in Parts B and C is from David Kritchevsky and R. J. van der Wal, from Proceedings of the Chemical Society, May 1960, p. 173.


Genesis by Microsoft

Filed under: CS silliness — Travis @

In the beginning there was the computer. And God said:

C:\>Let there be light
Enter user id.
Enter password.
Password incorrect. Try again.
Password incorrect. Try again.

And God logged on at 12:01:00 AM, Sunday, March 1.

C:\>Let there be light
Unrecognizable command. Try again.
C:\>Create light
C:\>Run heaven and earth

And God created Day and Night. And God saw there were 0 errors.
And God logged off at 12:02:00 AM, Sunday, March 1.
And God logged on at 12:01:00 AM, Monday, March 2.

C:\>Let there be firmament in the midst of water and light
Unrecognizable command. Try again.
C:\>Create firmament
C:\>Run firmament

And God divided the waters. And God saw there were 0 errors.
And God logged off at 12:02:00 AM, Monday, March 2.
And God logged on at 12:01:00 AM, Tuesday, March 3.

C:\>Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one
    place and let the dry land appear
Too many characters in specification string. Try again.
C:\>Create dry_land
C:\>Run dry_land

And God divided the waters. And God saw there were 0 errors.
And God logged off at 12:02:00 AM, Tuesday, March 3.
And God logged on at 12:01:00 AM, Wednesday, March 4.

C:\>Create lights in the firmament to divide the day
    from the night
Unspecified type. Try again.
C:\>Create sun_moon_stars
C:\>Run sun_moon_stars

And God created the heavens. And God saw there were 0 errors.
And God logged off at 12:02:00 AM, Wednesday, March 4.
And God logged on at 12:01:00 AM, Thursday, March 5.

C:\>Create great creatures of the sea and every living and
    moving thing with which the water teems, according to
    their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind
Unspecified type. Try again.
C:\>Create fish
C:\>Create fowl
C:\>Run fish, fowl

And so God created the fish and the fowl. And God saw there were 0 errors.
And God logged off at 12:02:00 AM, Thursday, March 5.
And God logged on at 12:01:00 AM, Friday, March 6.

C:\>Create wild animals according to their kinds, the
    livestock according to their kinds, and all the
    creatures that move along the ground according to
    their kinds
Unspecified type. Try again.
C:\>Create cattle
C:\>Create creepy_things
C:\>Now let us make man in our image
Unspecified type. Try again.
C:\>Create man
C:\>Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and
    subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea
    and over the fowl of the air and over every
    living thing that creepeth upon the earth
Too many command operands. Try again.
>C:\>Run multiplication
Execution terminated. 6 errors.
C:\>Insert breath
C:\>Run multiplication
Execution terminated. 5 errors.
C:\>Move man to Garden of Eden
File Garden of Eden does not exist.
C:\>Create Garden.edn
C:\>Move man to Garden.edn
C:\>Run multiplication
Execution terminated. 4 errors.
C:\>Copy woman from man
C:\>Run multiplication
Execution terminated. 2 errors.
C:\>Create desire
C:\>Run multiplication

And God saw man and woman being fruitful and multiplying in Garden.edn.

Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors.
C:\>Create freewill
C:\>Run freewill

And God saw man and woman being fruitful and multiplying in Garden.edn.

Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors.
C:\>Undo desire
Desire cannot be undone once freewill is created.
C:\>Destroy freewill
Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed.
Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help.
Desire cannot be undone once freewill is created.
Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed.
Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help.
C:\>Create tree_of_knowledge

And God saw man and woman being fruitful and multiplying in Garden.edn.

Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors.
C:\>Create good, evil
C:\>Activate evil

And God saw he had created shame.

Warning system error in sector E95.
Man and woman not in Garden.edn. 1 errors.
C:\>Scan Garden.edn for man, woman
Search failed.
C:\>Delete shame
Shame cannot be deleted once evil has been activated.
C:\>Destroy freewill
Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed.
Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help.
Unrecognizable command. Try again
C:\>Create new world
You have exceeded your allocated file space.
You must destroy old files before new ones can be created.
C:\>Destroy earth
Destroy earth: Please confirm.
C:\>Destroy earth confirmed

And God logged off at 11:59:59 PM, Friday, March 6.
And at 12:00:01 AM, Sunday, March 8, God created Macintosh.


Etch-A-Sketch compliance

Filed under: Academic humor, CS silliness — Travis @


The Mathematics Department has determined that, in order to cut operational costs, the Department no longer has any need for any computers in the classrooms.

The goal is to remove all computers from the desktop by Jan 1, 2001. Instead, everyone will be provided with an Etch-A-Sketch. For those of you who had deprived childhoods, Etch-A-Sketches are those fun square like toys where you get to draw things in a sand like environment using little knobs.

Our dean has determined that the following action is being taken for the following reasons.

  1. No technical glitches keeping work from being done.
  2. No more wasted time reading and writing emails.
  3. No more games with “Boss” Buttons.
  4. No more need for network or software applications support.

Since we no longer will be having internal technical support, we are supplying you with the following guidelines for using your new equipment.

FAQ for Etch-A-Sketch Technical Support

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create a New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What is the proper procedure for re-booting my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I save my Etch-A-Sketch document?
A: Don’t shake it.


Do-it-yourself research proposal writing kit

Filed under: Academic humor — Travis @

From CERN Courier 9, July 1969, p. 211.

We present a “writing kit” from which the reader himself may construct a large variety of penetrating statement, such as he is accustomed to draw from our pages. It is based on the SIMP (Simplified Modular Prose) system developed in the Honeywell computer’s jargon kit.

Take any four digit number — try 1969 for example — and compose your statement by selecting the corresponding phrases from the following tables (1 from Table A, 9 from Table B, etc…)

Table A

1. It has to be admitted that

2. As a consequence of inter-related factors,
3. Despite appearances to the contrary,
4. Until such time as fresh insight reverses the current trend,
5. Using the principle of cause and effect,
6. Presuming the validity of the present extrapolation,
7. Without wishing to open Pandora’s box,
8. It is now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that
9. Worrying though the present situation may be,

Table B

1. willy-nilly determination to acheive success
2. construction of a high-energy accelerator
3. access to greater financial resources
4. pursuit of a Nobel prize
5. bubble chamber physics
6. a recent computation involving non-semi-simple algebras
7. over-concern with the problems of administration

8. new measurements of eta zero zero
9. information presented in CERN Courier

Table C

1. should only serve to add weight to
2. would inevitably lead to a refutation of
3. can yield conclusive information on
4. might usefully take issue with

5. must take into consideration
6. will sadly mean the end of
7. ought to stir up enthusiasm for
8. could result in a confirmation of
9. deflates the current thinking regarding

Table D

1. the need to acquire further computing capacity.
2. humanitarian concern with the personal ceiling.

3. the Veneziano model.
4. a design which produces collisions at a later stage.
5. Macbeth’s instruction to “Throw physic to the dogs.”
6. divergencies in weak interaction theory.
7. the desire to ensure that certain scientists go far.
8. bootstraps, conspiracies, poles and dips.
9. the future of physics in Europe.


Department grading schemes

Filed under: Academic humor — Travis @

Department Of Statistics:
All grades are plotted along the normal bell curve.

Department Of Psychology:
Students are asked to blot ink in their exam books, close them and turn them in. The professor opens the books and assigns the first grade that comes to mind.

Department Of History:
All students get the same grade they got last year.

Department Of Religion:
Grade is determined by God.

Department Of Philosophy:
What is a grade?

English Department:
Your final exam will be scored by totaling the weight of all the books you read this semester:

  • 40+ pounds – A
  • 30 pounds – B
  • 20 pounds – C
  • 10 pounds – D
  • under 10 pounds – F

Law School:
Students are asked to defend their position of why they should receive an A.

Department Of Mathematics:
Grades are variable.

Department Of Physics:
Grades are relative. but…
All theoretical physics is really mathematics. See Above.

Department Of Chemistry:
All theoretical chemistry is really physics. See Above.

Department Of Biology:
All theoretical biology is really chemistry. See Above.

Department Of Logic:
If and only if the student is present for the final and the student has accumulated a passing grade then the student will receive an A else the student will not receive an A.

Department Of Marxist Studies:
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Therefore, everyone will now get the same grade!

Department Of Economics:
All of your grades, as a collection, will reach the level where your marginal product (MP) of labor for each individual grade is equal.

Department Of Operations & Logistics Management:
Grades will be posted at 12:00 Noon.
NOT 11:59. NOT 12:01. 12:00 NOON.

Department Of Computer Science:
Random number generator determines grade, but… YOUR grade is an object in a class of its own.

Department of Music:
Each student must figure out his grade by listening to the instructor play the corresponding note (+ and – would be sharp and flat respectively).


B.S. Bingo

Filed under: Academic humor — Travis @

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? What about those long and boring conference calls? Here is a way to change all of that!

How to play

The rules couldn’t be easier! Check off each block when you hear these words during a meeting, seminar, or phone call. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout “Bullshit!

Synergy Strategic Fit Gap Analysis Best Practice Bottom Line
Revisit Bandwidth Hardball Benchmark Core Business
Value-Added Proactive Win-Win Big Picture Fast Track
Result-Driven Empower Knowledge Base Total Quality Touch Base
Mindset Client-Focused Ball Park Game Plan Leverage


Testimonials from satisfied players:

“I had only been in the meeting for five minutes when I won.” –Jack W., Boston

“My attention span at seminars has improved dramatically.” –David D., Miami

“What a gas! Meetings will never be the same for me after my first win.” –Bill R., New York City

“The atmosphere was tense at the last process workshop as 32 of us listened intently for the elusive 5th.” –Mary G., Denver

“The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed ‘Bullshit!’ for the third time in two hours.” –Kathleen L., Atlanta


Lotsa riddles 12: crossing jokes

Filed under: Riddles — Travis @

Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a banana?
A: Elephant banana sine(theta) in a direction mutually perpendicular to
the elephant and banana as determined by the right hand rule.

Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a mountain climber.
A: You can’t do that. A mountain climber is a scaler.

Q: What do you get when you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber?
A: You can’t cross a vector with a scaler.
[ Vector: an organism, such as an insect, that transmits a pathogen. ]1

Q: What do you get when you cross a mountain goat and a mountain climber?
A: Nothing. You can’t cross two scalars.

1. Told to me by Bill Wood.

The following two aren’t mathematical, but they fit the theme and are personal favorites.

Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhinoceros?
A: Elephino!

Q: What did Hannibal get when he crossed the Himalayas with elephants?
A: A mountain range that never forgets.

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