Category Archives: Humor

February 19, 2009, 8:07 am

"This is a science course. Lasers are not voodoo."

The teacher who graded this dismal paper from a physics class is either a lot  braver than I am or cares a lot less about his/her relationships with students; and s/he certainly has better artistic skills and a lot more time on his/her hands than I do:

Read the whole essay and especially the teacher’s marginalia. I think it captures the temptation of every teacher to grade papers by unloading our own cleverness onto  hapless, writing-impaired students.

But the article has a fair question — how does something this bad get a 3/3 grade?

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November 1, 2008, 6:20 am

Yo, Happy Reformation Day

For us Lutherans, yesterday was not only Halloween, it was Reformation Day, when we commemorate Luther‘s nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, which touched off the Protestant Reformation. Some people celebrate this occasion in ways which are, well, a little different.

Lyrics are here, and yes, that’s a parody of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”. In my view, any rap that can successfully make a rhyme to the name of Ulrich Zwingli is a success.

September 27, 2008, 8:38 am

Bailouts for all

From Harper’s, we have the encouraging news that the impending poetry bailout will restore the confidence of readers.

Cultural leaders have come together to announce a massive poetry buyout: leveraged and unsecured poems, poetry derivatives, delinquent poems, and subprime poems will be removed from circulation in the biggest poetry bailout since the Victorian era. We believe the plan is a comprehensive approach to relieving the stresses on our literary institutions and markets.

Let there be no mistake: the fundamentals of our poetry are sound. The problem is not poetry but poems. The crisis has been precipitated by the escalation of poetry debt—poems that circulate in the market at an economic loss due to their difficulty, incompetence, or irrelevance.

I propose a category theory bailout next.

September 20, 2008, 12:07 pm

Just hit "R"

I can never manage to get interested in Talk Like a Pirate Day, which was yesterday*, but I though this was pretty darn funny:

Avast!

[ht The Collegiate Way]

* Is there a reason that Talk Like a Pirate Day is always on September 19? Is it some obscure thing like Pi Day being on March 14?

August 6, 2008, 1:02 pm

For the political junkie who has everything

Many people don’t know that Dover Publications, venerable publisher of good and cheap math books, also carries a wide selection of activity books for children. From that line, I think, comes a publication I wouldn’t have expected from Dover: John McCain and Barack Obama paper dolls.

No word yet on whether the paper doll versions have better ideas on education and energy than the real articles.

July 16, 2008, 11:17 am

Wednesday lunchtime links

  • How to deal with feelings of inadequacy, from xkcd.
  • edwired has some thoughts on the future of the academy in an economy where giving away your product doesn’t necessarily make your business unprofitable. Academhack follows up with related thoughts on using video podcasting to replace the usual lecture format. Interesting idea in giving away the podcast and then charging for in-class activity.
  • Why pay dues to join a fraternity or sorority when you can pay one low price and have all the drunken party games on your Wii? I find it ironic that the Association of Fraternity Advisors would be so shocked. Where do you think the idea for the game came from, people?
  • I’ve had a couple of posts lately about what I’d do if I were the university president. Now there’s a series of articles out on the same subject except with contributions by people who are probably a lot more qualified for that…

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June 4, 2008, 7:55 am

Garfield minus Garfield

Along something of the same lines as Nietzche Family Circus, here’s Garfield Minus Garfield — a comic strip obtained by taking an ordinary Garfield strip and airbrushing Garfield the cat completely out of it. Or, as the site itself describes it: 

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.

Example: 

I have to admit, that’s pretty brilliant stuff. Jim Davis likes it too

[h/t incarnatus est]

May 19, 2008, 5:26 am

Show and tell

Today, my 4-year old (who goes by “L” here) is “Student of the Day” at her Montessori preschool. I’ll be spending most of the morning in school with her, hanging out with her and joining her in some of the activities they do. One of the activities we’ll do is take some time to pass around a photo/scrapbook page we put together about L and to let L do a show-and-tell of a special item for her. During that time, she’s supposed to introduce me to the class and then I’m supposed to describe what my job is. 

That’s where you readers come in. How would you describe the job of mathematics professor at a small liberal arts college to a room full of 4-year olds? 

What you have to work with: The kids are bright, active, know their shapes and numbers, know how to count (most of them to 100 and beyond), and know a tiny bit of basic science. 

Both humorous and serious replies are welcome in the…

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March 15, 2008, 8:10 pm

Where are the 95 Theses posted?

Looks like everybody has a Facebook page these days (click to enlarge):

ml-facebook.jpg

The “Poke Him!” option is particularly amusing. Haven’t you always wanted to poke Martin Luther? Speaking as a fledgling Lutheran myself, it’s nice to see old Martin — whose use of technology to propagate information under a repressive authoritarian regime ought to inspire Web 2.0 types everywhere — take up residence at his new Wittenberg Door.

Seriously, one person writes on Luther’s “wall” that making up these fake Facebook pages would be a pretty good way to teach historical biography.

[h/t Cyberbrethren: A Lutheran Blog]

March 10, 2008, 3:00 pm

And now for something completely different:

[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5951800292362633385&hl=en]

This was from the blogger meetup/dinner from the ICTCM. If you look closely, Scott Franklin is in there giving, as he called it, his “into it face”. And Maria Andersen is taking some photos there on my left.

I didn’t get home till 11:00 PM last night and didn’t fall asleep until 3:00 AM, so this is pretty much all the blogging I am capable of today.