JANUARY 1, 2004
Stopping the Weapons of Math Instruction
At New York's Kennedy airport recently, an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the woman is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. She is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult, " Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns," but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. "As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared.
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes. I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence. Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line."
President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex."
Attorney General Ashcroft concluded, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks."
For the first time in 33 years, New Jersey is allowing
hunters to thin out its burgeoning black bear population.
Animal-rights activists have assailed the six-day hunt,
arguing that the state should sterilize the bears instead.
How, exactly, does one sterilize a black bear in the wild?
The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term exam. The answer by one student was so
"profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law, (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.
As for how many souls are entering Hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase.
Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will
increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the
increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year, "...that it will be a cold day in Hell before I go out with you," and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in dating her, then, #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that
Hell is exothermic and will not freeze.
The student received the only "A" given.
Copyright 2000 Claude Dern, All Rights Reserved
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