Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller

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Jokes from Other Planets

Douglas Eagleson is a guy who used to post to sci.math and some of the other sci.* groups. I think I never could figure out what he was talking about.

Recently when I was poking around the sci.math archives looking for something else I came across a series of jokes (or maybe plots for a comic strip) that he wrote. Later, he provided commentary on them.

They are so strange that I wanted to reproduce them here. (mmcirvin commented at the time, "You may have accidentally read some comedy intended for robots.") I will put the original jokes in boldface and his later commentary in italics. Plus, I'll include the commentary I posted to ARK on the whole thing, because I can.

Funky was walking to the test and found the answer for the last question on the ground. He looked and grinned because it was a hard question, so he had a heads up. After the test he asked the teacher:

"I especially hope the last question was intended to be a little easier, because I either had a good day or a very bad day."

The teacher answered:

"No, it was an easy question, making your chances either fifty fifty, or worse depending on you aptitude."

Eagleson explains:
A false test question was the fallacy, and the teacher understands funky will sometimes have less than the chances from guessing.

I'm not sure what 'a false test question' is; maybe the last question was "Have you stopped robbing banks yet?" But then I'm not sure what Funky saw on the ground. THESE ARE DEEP WATERS! I MEAN SHALLOW!

However, I think that that was the funniest comic, because 'Funky' is a funny name for a Martian, or whatever Funky is supposed to be in that anecdote.

Margaret had a coin tossed in the air and sure enough it landed on way or the other. And after the fifteenth tossed she asked for the coin to be started with the head up on the flip. And after fifteen more tries the same odds appeared more or less.

A passing townie asked, "Margaret, a coin tossed into the air has two sides, making the odds, fifty fifty."

Margaret grinned and replied: "I know that, but the answer appears different each time."

I actually almost understood this one! Anyway, Eagleson annotates:

Margaret was trying to figure that a statistics is not the cause of the variation. Meaning the coin flipper causes the variation. Meaning the cause of the side facing up is deterministic without an identifiable cause. Making the statistics of the fifty fifty chance a fallacy. A science of approximation, without reference to the cause of the outcome.

Oh. Um. Maybe I didn't understand it after all. Well, on to the next comic.

A new theory was flowing down the river and the captain said: "Mr. Watkins, please accept my apologies, and send the speed testing results to the main laboratory for confirmation." Mr. Watkins the inventor said: "If you were to turn the ship around and use the ground speed my new resultant of the forward vector would appear most successful." The captain replied: "I know that, but the crew said to only allow the ground speed for avoiding a new term for full speed a resultant."

What a knee-slapper, eh? Eagleston clarifies:

A resultant is the vector that is found from two others. And it is independent in mathematics and therefor not required to be a real vector. Making the use of the resultant as a real cause is a common predicate fallacy.

Stupid fake vectors.

Tags: crackpottery, joke, math

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