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05.20.09

Thesis advice

Filed under: Academic humor, Animal farm — Travis @

One sunny day a rabbit came out of her hole in the ground to enjoy the fine weather. The day was so nice that she became careless and a fox sneaked up behind her and caught her.

“I am going to eat you for lunch!”, said the fox.

“Wait!” replied the rabbit, “You should at least wait a few days.”

“Oh yeah? Why should I wait?”

“Well, I am just finishing my thesis on ‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves’.”

“Are you crazy? I should eat you right now! Everybody knows that a fox will always win over a rabbit.”

“Not really, not according to my research. If you like, you can come into my hole and read it for yourself. If you are not convinced, you can go ahead and have me for lunch.”

“You really are crazy!” But since the fox was curious and had nothing to lose, it went with the rabbit. The fox never came out.

A few days later the rabbit was again taking a break from writing and sure enough, a wolf came out of the bushes and was ready to set upon her.

“Wait!” yelled the rabbit, “you can’t eat me right now.”

“And why might that be, my furry appetizer?”

“I am almost finished writing my thesis on ‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves’.”

The wolf laughed so hard that it almost lost its grip on the rabbit. “Maybe I shouldn’t eat you. You really are sick…in the head. You might have something contagious.”

“Come and read it for yourself. You can eat me afterward if you disagree with my conclusions.” So the wolf went down into the rabbit’s hole…and never came out.

The rabbit finished her thesis and was out celebrating in the local lettuce patch. Another rabbit came along and asked, “What’s up? You seem very happy.”

“Yup, I just finished my thesis.”

“Congratulations. What’s it about?”

“‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves’.”

“Are you sure? That doesn’t sound right.”

“Oh yes. Come and read it for yourself.”

So together they went down into the rabbit’s hole. As they entered, the friend saw the typical graduate student abode, albeit a rather messy one after writing a thesis. The computer with the controversial work was in one corner. To the right there was a pile of fox bones, to the left a pile of wolf bones. And in the middle was a large, well fed lion.

The moral of the story: The title of your thesis doesn’t matter. The subject doesn’t matter. The research doesn’t matter.

All that matters is who your adviser is.

Sent to me by Dan Curtis.

01.28.09

Deer hunting

Filed under: Animal farm, Diff'rent strokes — Travis @

Part I: Original Version

A mathematician, an engineer, and a physicist are out hunting together. They spy a deer in the woods.

The physicist calculates the velocity of the deer and the effect of gravity on the bullet, aims his rifle and fires. Alas, he misses; the bullet passes three feet behind the deer. The deer bolts some yards, but comes to a halt, still within sight of the trio.

“Shame you missed,” comments the engineer, “but of course with an ordinary gun, one would expect that.” He then levels his special deer-hunting gun, which he rigged together from an ordinary rifle, a sextant, a compass, a barometer, and a bunch of flashing lights which don’t do anything but impress onlookers, and fires. Alas, his bullet passes three feet in front of the deer, who by this time wises up and vanishes for good.

“Well,” says the physicist, “your contraption didn’t get it either.”

“What do you mean?” pipes up the mathematician. “Between the two of you, that was a perfect shot!”

Part II: How they knew it was a deer

The physicist observed that it behaved in a deer-like manner, so it must be a deer.

The mathematician asked the physicist what it was, thereby reducing it to a previously solved problem.

The engineer was in the woods to hunt deer, therefore it was a deer.

Statistician’s version of the joke

Three statisticians went deer hunting. They spied a deer in the woods. The first statistician shot, and missed the deer by being a foot too far to the left. The second statistician shot, and missed the deer by being a foot too far to the right. The third cried, “We hit it!”

01.13.09

Improving livestock

Filed under: Animal farm, Diff'rent strokes, Meta — Travis @

Cow version

The USDA once wanted to make cows produce milk faster, to improve the dairy industry.

First, they decided to consult the foremost biologists and recombinant DNA technicians to build them a better cow. They assembled this team of great scientists, and gave them unlimited funding. They requested rare chemicals, weird bacteria, tons of quarantine equipment, there was a horrible typhus epidemic they started by accident, and, 2 years later, they came back with the “new, improved cow.” It had a milk production improvement of 2% over the original.

They then tried with the greatest Nobel Prize winning chemists around. They worked for six months, and, after requisitioning tons of chemical equipment, and poisoning half the small town in Colorado where they were working with a toxic cloud from one of their experiments, they got a 5% improvement in milk output.

Finally, in desperation, they turned to the mathematicians. The foremost mathematician of his time offered to help them with the problem. Upon hearing the problem, he told the delegation that they could come back in the morning and he would have solved the problem. In the morning, they came back, and he handed them a piece of paper with the computations for the new, 300% improved milk cow.

The plans began:

A Proof of the Attainability of Increased Milk Output from Bovines:

Consider a spherical cow…

Horse version

An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician went to the races one Saturday and laid their money down.

Commiserating in the bar after the race, the engineer says, “I don’t understand why I lost all my money. I measured all the horses and calculated their strength and mechanical advantage and figured out how fast they could run…”

The physicist interrupted him: “…but you didn’t take individual variations into account. I did a statistical analysis of their previous performances and bet on the horses with the highest probability of winning…”

“…so if you’re so hot why are you broke?” asked the engineer. But before the argument can grow, the mathematician takes out his pipe and they get a glimpse of his well-fattened wallet. Obviously here was a man who knows something about horses. They both demanded to know his secret.

“Well,” he says, between puffs on the pipe, “first I assumed all the horses were identical and spherical…”

01.8.09

Black sheep

Filed under: Animal farm, Diff'rent strokes — Travis @

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were travelling through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the window of the train.

“Aha,” says the engineer, “I see that Scottish sheep are black.”

“Hmm,” says the physicist, “You mean that some Scottish sheep are black.”

“No,” says the mathematician, “All we know is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is black!”

This joke is famously attributed to Ian Stewart.

01.4.09

Smart horse

Filed under: Animal farm, Feghoots, Upper-division jokes — Travis @

There was once a very smart horse. Anything that was shown it, it mastered easily.

That is until the day its teachers tried to teach it about analytic geometry. To there surprise, the horse simply could not understand rectangular coordinates at all. All the horse’s acquaintances and friends tried to help, but neither they nor the horse could figure out what was the matter, and the so the horse continued to be confused by the subject.

Finally, a mathematician was brought in to assist. He looked at the problem, and then shook his head. “Of course he can’t do it,” he replied. “Do you know you’re putting Descartes before the horse?”

12.27.08

Statistics and alligators

Filed under: Animal farm, Upper-division jokes — Travis @

A statistics major, working on his stats homework, suddenly asks his roomate “Isn’t statistics wonderful?”

“How so?” asks the roommate.

“Well, according to statistics, there are 42 million alligator eggs laid every year. Of those, only about half get hatched. Of those that hatch, three fourths of them get eaten by predators in the first 36 days. And of the rest, only 5 percent get to be a year old for one reason or another. Isn’t statistics wonderful?”

“What’s so wonderful about all that?” asks the roommate.

“Well, duh! If it weren’t for statistics, we’d be up to our asses in alligators!”

12.20.08

Snake joke II

Filed under: Animal farm, Puns, Upper-division jokes — Travis @

The ark lands after the Flood. Noah lets all the animals out, saying, “Go and multiply.”

Several months pass. Noah decides to check up on the animals. All are doing fine except a pair of snakes. “What’s the problem?” asks Noah.

“Cut down some trees and let us live there,” say the snakes.

Noah follows their advice. Several more weeks pass. Noah checks on the snakes again. Lots of little snakes crawl over the earth, and everybody is happy. Perplexed, Noah asks, “Want to tell me how the trees helped?”

“Certainly,” say the snakes. “We’re adders, and we need logs to multiply.”

12.19.08

Snake joke I

Filed under: Animal farm, Puns, Upper-division jokes — Travis @

A man camped in a national park, and noticed Mr. Snake and Mrs. Snake slithering by. “Where are all the little snakes?” he asked. Mr. Snake replied, “We are adders, so we cannot multiply.”

The following year, the man returned to the same camping spot. This time there were a whole batch of little snakes. “I thought you said you could not multiply,” he said to Mr. Snake. “Well, the park ranger came by and built a log table, so now we can multiply by adding!”

11.8.08

Sheepdog math

Filed under: Animal farm, Lower-division jokes, Puns — Travis @

A farmer is wondering how many sheep he has in his field, so he asks his sheepdog to count them. The dog runs into the field, counts them, and then runs back to his master.

“So,” says the farmer. “How many sheep were there?”

“40,” replies the dog.

“How can there be 40?” exclaims the farmer. “I only bought 38!”

“I know,” says the dog. “But I rounded them up.”

Told to me by Val Manes.

11.7.08

Counting sheep

Filed under: Animal farm, Lower-division jokes — Travis @

A farmer was showing a mathematician around his fields. Frustrated by his endless demonstrations of cerebral aptitude, the farmer decided to teach him a lesson. He took the mathematician to a field that packed with hundreds of grazing sheep, all of them milling about and moving around.

“If you can guess the exact number of sheep in this field,” challenged the farmer, “I’ll give you all of them!”

The mathematician looked thoughtful for a moment, and his eyes darted back and forth rapidly. Presently he announced, “Two hundred and fourteen.”

The farmer gaped, too stunned to calculate his loss yet, “How on Earth did you do that? There’s no way you could have counted all those sheep that fast!”

“You’re absolutely right,” the mathematician agreed. “I counted all the legs, and then divided by four.”

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