Thursday, May the 26th, 2005

I think I am choosing an opportune moment to post this, as I’ve gathered that the number of mathematicians reading this journal is at an all time low.

You have to fear the angry mathematician.

Q: What do you get if you cross an elephant and a banana?
A: |elephant|*|banana|*sin(theta).

Q: What do you get if you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber?
A: You can’t cross a vector with a scalar.

Engineers think that equations approximate the real world. Physicists think that the real world approximates equations. Mathematicians are unable to make the connection.

An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are staying in a hotel. The engineer wakes up and smells smoke. He goes out into the hallway and sees a fire, so he fills a trash can from his room with water and douses the fire. He goes back to bed. Later, the physicist wakes up and smells the smoke. He opens his door and sees a fire in the hallway. He walks down the hall to a fire hose and after calculating the flame velocity, distance, water pressure, trajectory, and so forth, extinguishes the fire with the minimum amount of water and energy needed. Later the mathematician wakes up and smells smoke. He goes to the hall, sees the fire and then the fire hose. He thinks for a moment and then exclaims, “Ah, a solution exists!” and then goes back to bed.

One day the Wiener family was scheduled to move into a new house. Mrs. Wiener, mindful of her husband’s propensity for forgetting, wrote the new address on a slip of paper and handed it to him. He scoffed, saying, “I wouldn’t forget such an important thing,” but he took the slip of paper and put it in his pocket. Later that same day at the university a colleague came by his office with an interesting problem. Wiener searched for a piece of paper and took the slip from his pocket to use to write some mathematical equations. When he finished, he crumpled up the slip of paper and threw it away. That evening, he remembered there was something about a new house but he couldn’t find the slip of paper with the address on it. Without any alternative course of action, he returned to his old home, where he spotted a little girl on the sidewalk. “Say, little girl,” he said, “Do you know where the Wieners live?” The girl replied, “That’s o.k., Daddy, Mommy sent me to get you.”

Two mathematicians are in a bar. The first one says to the second that the average person knows very little about basic mathematics. The second one disagrees and claims that most people can cope with a reasonable amount of math. The first mathematician goes off to the washroom, and in his absence the second calls over the waitress. He tells her that in a few minutes, after his friend has returned, he will call her over and ask her a question. All she has to do is answer “one third x cubed.” She repeats “one thir–dex cue?” He repeats “one third x cubed.” She asks, “one thir dex cuebd?” “Yes, that’s right,” he says. So she agrees, and goes off mumbling to herself, “one thir dex cuebd…”. The first guy returns and the second proposes a bet to prove his point, that most people do know something about basic math. He says he will ask the blonde waitress an integral, and the first laughingly agrees. The second man calls over the waitress and asks “what is the integral of x squared?” The waitress says “one third x cubed” and while walking away, turns back and says over her shoulder, “plus a constant!”

This above was an ad for a paper [Free registration required]. Yes, a real life paper published in the notices to the American Mathematical Society.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Geek Humour” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

4 Responses to “Geek Humour”

  1. Srivats says:

    Hey Harish,
    Saw your entry on orkut. Check out my new-and-updated homepage, and give me some feedback.

  2. wahgnube says:


    I saw your webpage a few days ago, but the links weren’t up. I checked it again now, and I especially liked the “If I were an evil overlord” section.

    Being an evil overlord is fun.

  3. Srivats says:

    Thanks dude. Let me know when you’re near cambridge, mass. I live quite nearby. Maybe I can drive over or something.

  4. wahgnube says:

    Sounds like a fun plan. I should be around those parts from 13th June evening through the morning of the 18th.

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