Friday humour - May 15, 1998

     From Tony at Bluehaze:

    Hi again,
First contribution this week (especially for dog lovers) was forwarded on
by Chris Solnordal.  A list of interesting possibilities for doggy
cross-breed names ...
                    --------------------------

               When Good Dogs Go and Cross-breed:

Kerry Blue Terrier + Skye Terrier = Blue Skye, a dog for visionaries

Great Pyrenees + Dachshund = Pyradachs, a puzzling breed

Pekingnese + Lhasa Apso = Peekasso, an abstract dog

Pointer + Setter = Poinsetter, a traditional Christmas pet

Irish Water Spaniel + English Springer Spaniel =
Irish Springer, a dog fresh and clean as a whistle

Labrador Retriever + Curly Coated Retriever =
Lab Coat Retriever, the choice of research scientists

Newfoundland + Basset Hound =
Newfound Asset Hound, a dog for financial advisors

Terrier + Bulldog = Terribull, a dog prone to awful mistakes

Bloodhound + Labrador = Blabador, a dog that barks incessantly

Malamute + Pointer =
Moot Point, owned by....oh, well, it doesn't matter anyway

Collie + Malamute = Commute, a dog that travels to work

Deerhound + Terrier = Derriere, a dog that's true to the end

Cocker Spaniel + Rottweiller =
Cockrot, the perfect puppy for that philandering ex-husband

Bull Terrier + Shitzu =
Bullshitz, a gregarious but unreliable breed
             -----------------------------------------------


       Next, another (slightly risque) one from "that" humour list over
       in good ol' WA ...
                      ---------------------------

A little old lady walked into the head branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank
holding a large paper bag in her hand.  She told the young man at the
window that she wished to take the $1 million she had in the bag and
open an account with the bank.  She said that first, though, she wished
to meet the president of Chase Manhattan Bank due to the amount of money
involved.

The teller seemed to think that was a reasonable request and after
opening the paper bag and seeing bundles of $1,000 bills which amounted
to right around $1 million, telephoned the bank president's secretary to
obtain an appointment for the lady.

The lady was escorted upstairs and ushered into the president's office.
Introductions were made and she stated that she liked to get to know the
people she did business with on a personal level.  The bank president
then asked her where she came into such a large sum of money.

"Was it an inheritance?" he asked.

"No." she answered.

"Was it from playing the stock market?" he inquired.

"No." she replied.

He was quiet for a minute, trying to think of where this little old lady
could possibly have come into $1 million.

"I bet." she stated.

"You bet?" repeated the bank president.  "As in horses?"

"No", she replied, "I bet people."

Seeing his confusion, she explained that she just bets different things
with people.

All of a sudden, she said, "Tell you what - I'll bet you $25,000 that ...
by 10:00 o'clock tomorrow morning, your balls will be square."  At this,
the bank president immediately decided that she must be off her rocker,
and after only a few seconds thought, decided to take her up on the bet.
He didn't see how he could lose.

For the rest of the day, the bank president was very careful.  He decided
to stay home that evening and take no chances--there was $25,000 at stake.

When he got up in the morning and took his shower, he checked to make
sure everything was okay.  There was no difference, he looked the same as
he always had.  He went to work and waited for the little old lady to
come in at 10:00 o'clock, humming as he went.  He knew this would be a
good day - after all, how often do you get handed $25,000 for doing
nothing?

At 10:00 o'clock sharp the little old lady was shown into his office.
With her was a younger man.  When he inquired as to the man's purpose for
being there, she informed him that he was her lawyer, and she always took
him along when there was this much money involved.

"Well," she asked, "what about our bet?"

"I don't know how to tell you this," he replied, "but I'm the same as
I've always been, only $25,000 richer."

The lady seemed to accept this, but requested that she be able to see for
herself.  The bank president thought this was reasonable and dropped his
trousers.  She instructed him to bend over and then grabbed a hold of
him.  Sure enough, everything was fine.

The bank president then looked up and saw her lawyer standing across the
room - banging his head against the wall.

"What's wrong with him?" he inquired.

"Oh, him?" she replied.  "I bet him $100,000 that by 10:00 o'clock this
morning, I'd have the president of Chase Manhattan Bank by the balls."
              -----------------------------------------


       Next one was forwarded on by Jean (who got it from her
       mathematician husband, John, at xxxxx) ...
                 ----------------------------

                   The simplification of pi
                   ------------------------

      Oh, how much simpler the whole world would be,
      If only the value of pi was just three.
      It seems so irrational that such a number,
      Should have all those digits which merely encumber.

      And so more natural logarithms would be,
      With a more sensible basis than e.
      Surely it would make our life much more gentle,
      To make it illegal to be transcendental.

      We shouldn't stop there, there's much more to do.
      We must legislate on the square root of two.
      And can you imagine a number so fraught,
      That when it is squared it's still less than nought.
                    -----------------------

               ... plus a related "news article" ...
                        --------------

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city
are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly
passed a law Monday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used widely in
the aerospace industry.  The bill to change the value of pi to exactly
three was introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville),
and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of
the Solomon Society, a traditional values group.  Governor Fob James says
he will sign it into law on Wednesday.

The law took the State's engineering community by surprise.  "It would
have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi,"
said Dr. Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defence
Organisation.  According to Bergman, pi is a Greek letter used to signify
the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  It is often
used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories.

Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that
pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by
lawmakers.  Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which
means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point
and can never be known exactly.  Nevertheless, she said, pi is precisely
defined by mathematics to be "3.14159, plus as many more digits as you
have time to calculate."

"I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it
is time for them to admit it," said Lawson.  "The Bible very clearly says
in I Kings 7:23 that the altar font in Solomon's Temple was ten cubits
across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass."
Lawson also called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot
be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer
could harm students' self-esteem.  "We need to return to some absolutes
in our society," he said.  "The Bible does not say that the font was
thirty-something cubits.  Plain reading says thirty cubits.  Period."

Science actually supports Lawson, explained Russell Humbleys, a
propulsion technician at the Marshall Space Flight Center who testified
in support of the bill before the legislature in Montgomery last week.
"Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry."  Humbleys is working on
a theory which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry
of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be
"isotropic," or the same in all directions.

"There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them,"
said Humbleys.  "Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is
Euclidean.  A circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value
for the ratio of circumference to diameter.  Anyone with a compass,
flexible ruler, and globe can see this for themselves.  It's not exactly
rocket science."

Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support
the bill, agrees.  He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by
the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the
bill.  "Those nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was
breathtaking," Learned said.  "Their predatorial deficit resulted in a
polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature's
puissance."

Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way
math is taught to Alabama's children.  One member of the state school
board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state's
math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an
alternative.  "As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a
theory, and we should be open to all interpretations."  She looks forward
to the day when students will have the freedom to decide for themselves
what value pi should have.

Dr. Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has
followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state
legislature has attempted to redefine the value of pi.  A legislator in
the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the
value of pi to three.  According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated
by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred
decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number.

Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national
battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical
elite.  Solomon Society member Lawson agrees.  "We just want to return pi
to its traditional value," he said, "which, according to the Bible, is
three."
             ------------------------------------------------


      And finally - can't resist finishing off without another Bill
      swipe, forwarded on yesterday by Steve (Mac) Fletcher.  Only users
      of real computers (Mac and Sun) will get this, but too bad ...

              Joke?  Found in the Macintosh Dictionary:

Windows 95: n.

A 32-bit extension and graphical shell for a 16-bit patch to an 8-bit
operating system originally coded for a 4-bit microprocessor written by a
2-bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.
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[End Fri humour]




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