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Old 06-07-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
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The International Dairy Foods Association wanted to find a way to make cows produce more milk. They decided to consult with the world's foremost biologists to find ways to improve production. After five years of research, 20 million dollars spent, and hundreds of protests by Greenpeace and PETA, they came back with a New and Improved Cow. It had a milk production improvement of 5% over the original.

The IFDA was somewhat disappointed by these results. They decided to try again, so this time they engaged the greatest chemists in the world. After two years, 10 million dollars, and the accidental poisoning of a small town in Colorado, they produced a 3% improvement in milk output.

The IFDA was again underwhelmed by this success, but undaunted they decided to try hiring the greatest physicists available. The physicists tried for a year, and after spending 5 million dollars on radiation therapy and centrifugal distillation of cattle forage, output improved by 0.5%.

In desperation the IFDA turned to a group of mathematicians. Upon hearing the problem, the foremost mathematician of our time offered to solve their problem for a marginal fee. He told the delegation that they would return in one weeks' time with a solution. True to their word, the mathematician returned one week later, flushed with anticipation, and handed them a piece of paper with the computations for a 300% increase in milk production.

The paper began: "Consider a perfectly spherical cow, radiating milk isotropically".
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:05 PM   #2
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I guess I'm not worthy of nerd status....
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:37 PM   #3
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Haha, that was a good one. Love science/math/nerd jokes.

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Old 06-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #4
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Jeremy Clarkson wrote this in one of his reviews in the London times a few years ago to point out the difference between Germans and everyone else:
Two German's go rabbit hunting. After some time one spots a rabbit, raises his gun and fires only to miss to the right by about 5 cm. He fires again, this time missing to the left by about 5cm. He picks up his gun and starts walking back. His friend asks him what he's doing. He reply's, "Well, on average the rabbit is dead."

Not so much and a joke but a metaphor:
A mathematician and an engineer are presented with a challenge. A beautiful woman is standing in the middle of a room. The challenge is that each step you take towards her must be half the distance of the previous step. The mathematician declares that it is impossible and gives up. The engineer says "Hell, arms length is good enough."
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:39 PM   #5
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I still like this old chestnut my dad (PE) told me:

An optimist says the glass is half full. A pessimist says the glass is half empty. An engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KPLAFIN View Post
I guess I'm not worthy of nerd status....
The tenet of the joke is that physicists, mathematicians, and other theoretical academic types, stereotypically tend to assume unrealistically ideal conditions in their work, ignoring the fact that said conditions are unattainable in practice. Things like frictionless surfaces, straight lines, objects with zero mass, etc.

Arga, for instance, points out that when faced with Zeno's Dichotomy Paradox, the mathematician (who lives in a theoretical world) concludes that reaching the woman is impossible, whereas the engineer (who works in the real world) simply figures out a workaround. (This, of course, ignores the fact that engineers and mathematicians generally don't get invited to parties in the first place. At least, not the kind where a beautiful woman is likely to be standing in the middle of the room.)

Variants on the joke would include "a perfectly spherical chicken of uniform density", "a point-cow" (one with zero size) etc.



Actually, there was a fellow I used to work with named Dennis who, despite being a mechanical engineer, fell into this mindset. Dennis did all of the designs for the chassis that our audio consoles and routers are built upon. With the exception of the occasional piece of milled extrusion, it's mostly sheet aluminum that is punched on a CNC turret press and then folded on a brake. While these production methods do produce perfectly adequate results for out needs, they are not accurate to 0.001"

Nevertheless, Dennis (who lived in the ideal world of SolidWorks), not only specified pretty much every dimension to this level of precision, but furthermore tended to design mating and interlocking parts that became an interference fit if his unrealistically stringent tolerances were not met. (This was usually followed by blaming the guys in the fab shop for being careless when manufacturing complained that they couldn't physically assemble the damn products.) I remember one situation a few years ago where a group of modules that were supposed to slide into a chassis next to one another wouldn't fit because, of all things, the paint was "too thick". Dennis knew fully well that our paint shop was only equipped with automotive-style HVLP guns, but that didn't stop him from assuming that they could lay that **** down like it was an anodizing process.




So there's this guy who owns a dairy farm. He sets his cows out to pasture and brings them in for milking every day. Back when his great-grandfather owned the land, the pastures ran right up to the barn but in the days since a road was paved, separating the fields from the barn. In the morning, Farmer Dave milks the cows and then takes them across the road. At night, he brings them back.

One day he goes out at the usual time to the pasture to bring the cows back across the road. Dave brings the cows up to the edge of the road but for some reason, the cows won't go across. He tries everything he can think of and still they won't step onto the road. Afraid that he cows might be stolen or eaten in the night, Dave sleeps out in the pasture with them.

The next morning, a big city lawyer on his way to work comes driving along the road and sees Farmer Dave looking a little worse for the wear.

"Looks like you need some help," he says.

"Sure do," says Dave, "I just can't seem to get my cows back across the road to milk them."

"No problem!" says the lawyer, "I know just how to fix that." He leans over into the glovebox of his car and pulls out a large stack of papers covered in small writing.

"Fill those out and mail them to the USDA and they'll send someone to straighten these cows out." With that the lawyer drove away. Well Farmer Dave had no other choice so he filled out the papers and mailed them but no one ever came.

A week later Dave is still spending the nights out in the fields. A doctor in his fancy sports car pulls off on the side of the road:

"Looks like you're having some trouble with your cows."

"No kidding," says Dave, "They refuse to go back across the road."

"Try these," says the doctor as he hands Dave a bag full of pills. "They're sedatives, they'll put your cows right to sleep and then you can carry 'em over." So Farmer Dave tries feeding the pills to the cows but they must have been expired because not one cow fell asleep.

A month later Dave is looking pretty grizzled from being out with the cows. His clothing is covered in mud and he needs a shave. Puttering over the hill comes a small sedan, barely making it up the steady incline. With a shudder it comes to a halt in front of Farmer Dave. The physicist inside rolls down the window and squints at Dave through the haze and the morning glare.

"Top of the mornin' to ya."

Dave, a little perplexed by the strange turn of phrase stammers a bit: "I, uh, I got these . . . um, my cows . . ."

The man interrupted "Hey, I think I know how to do this, let me get back to you!" and speeds off, car coughing out thick blue-black oil smoke.

The next day the same car comes driving up again and stops in front of Dave. The physicist gets out of the car and hands Dave a binder full of sheets with complex equations written on them. "I've got the perfect solution for you but it only works for perfectly spherical cows in a vacuum."
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
The tenet of the joke is...
I tried reading that as "the telnet of the joke is..." before going back and correcting myself.

What does that say about me?
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:45 AM   #8
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Man i need to take more classes.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trent View Post
I tried reading that as "the telnet of the joke is..." before going back and correcting myself.

What does that say about me?
sudo Get a life.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:20 AM   #10
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kill -9 *
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:30 AM   #11
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I haven't heard anyone mention Zeno since college. I took philosophy my freshman year. On the first day our professor told us this:

You can't move where you are because if you stay where you are you don't move.
You can't move where you aren't because you can only only exist where you are.
Therefore motion is an illusion.

This really bugged me. Clearly he's wrong but it was another two years (when I took mechanics) before I learned how to prove it false.

More nerd humor, true story:
A professor is lecturing to a full auditorium. As he's writing out the solution to a complex equation on the board he marks one step "This is obvious" and continues solving the equation. He pauses several times and looks back at his comment. Eventually he walks out of the classroom in the middle of class and in the middle of solving this equation without saying a word. 20 minutes later he returns, underlines "This is obvious" and continues solving the equation.
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