Engineering, Science, and Other (Pretty Clean) Jokes Collection

Version 2.15 (26-Jul-14)

Copyright © 1994-2021
Samuel M. Goldwasser
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Table of Contents

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    This is a collection of jokes and other humorous stories I have written or collected off the Net over the past few years. Most relate to engineering or science but some on other topics were just too good to pass up.

    These should be mostly suitable for general audiences (unless you have a lawyer in the family. :-) They are in no particular order. I just add new ones to the end of the file (most of the time) and bump the version number (when I remember).

    In most cases, the actual authors are unknown but I have at least provided attribution to the person who posted or emailed the article where available. Where there is no explicit attribution, I am the author and it therefore falls under the Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ copyright.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.


    While every effort has been made - really! - to keep this collection of hopefully humorous articles pretty clean and unlikely to offend most people, there is always a chance something slipped through. My apologies in advance for any offense that might be taken. In the several years that most of this collection has been available, I have only received one (1, 0000001, I) complaint which I offered to remedy but never heard back so it can't be all that unsavory!

    Having said that, I will not be responsible for any direct or consequential damage that may result from the reading of this collection including but not limited to: complaints from neighbors over excessive noise, costs associated with hernia operations resulting from prolonged and intense belly-laughs, destruction of property caused when the dog, cat, spouse, or other relation was thrown across the room from the couch and landed in the entertainment center, or the time and expense of finding another place of employment having been fired from your former one due to continuous Web page reading and inattention to the duties associated with your official job description.

    As you can tell, lawyers had nothing whatsoever to do with the wording of this disclaimer. :-)

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    A Brief Guide to Scientific Literature

    (From: Chris Taylor (

    Here is an old collection that I rediscovered recently:

    Phrase                               Translation

    It has been long known I haven't bothered to check the references

    It is known I believe

    It is believed I think

    It is generally believed My colleagues and I think

    There has been some discussion Nobody agrees with me

    It can be shown Take my word for it

    It is proven It agrees with something mathematical

    Of great theoretical importance I find it interesting

    Of great practical importance This justifies my employment

    Of great historical importance This ought to make me famous

    Some samples were chosen for study The others didn't make sense

    Typical results are shown The best results are shown

    Correct within order of magnitude Wrong

    The values were obtained empirically The values were obtained by accident

    The results are inconclusive The results seem to disprove my hypothesis

    Additional work is required Someone else can work out the details

    It might be argued that I have a good answer to this objection

    The investigations proved rewarding My grant has been renewed

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    Carnot is dead ! Schaeffer disproves 2nd Law

    (From: Brandon Davis (

    The First Law of Thermodynamics: "You can't get something for nothing"

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics: "As a matter of fact, you can't even break even."

    Newton's first Law of Motion: "If you kick a can, it will move."

    Newton's Second Law of Motion: "If you kick it harder, it will move faster."

    Perhaps others know of similar restatements of other important Laws?

    The best summary of the first and second laws of thermodynamics I have seen (in 3 statments):

    But surely simple things grow more complex as the cosmos implodes in retrograde time toward the initial collapse of the singularity? Er, or is it that complex things break down to constituent particles as the cosmos eXplodes along linear time lines towards chaos (i.e., entropy). Wait. Where is my local closed system where heat/energy/complexity can make a muddle of the metaverse's puddle? Oh --i know, I will just sink into the quandary of the 19th century, where the only part of probability that was important was babil (babbel) and ...oh, dear, where IS lewis carrol when he's needed?: The

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    Canonical Collection of Light Bulb Jokes

    (Mostly from: Clay Belcher (

    Time for a little levity, lighting fans. Or should I say a little light humor. This collection of jokes was originally attributed to: Kurt Guntheroth (kurt@tc.fluke.COM).)but I've been unable to raise him at that address. I've taken the liberty to post this here in a somewhat sterilized version (as the original contained some pretty offensive stuff). Enjoy, and feel free to contribute additional ones.

    Q:  How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?
    A:  Six.  One to turn the bulb, one for support, and four to
        relate to the experience.

    Q: How many Oregonians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Five. One to change the bulb and four more to chase off the Californians who have come up to relate to the experience. A': Nine. One to change the bulb, and eight to protest the nuclear power plant that generates the electricity that powers it.

    Q: How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None of your business! A': 50. 50? Yeah 50; its in the contract.

    Q: How many Virginians does it take to change a light bulb? A: Twelve: one to replace it and eleven to talk about how much better the old one was.

    Q: How many yuppies does it take to change a light bulb? A: Two. One to call the electrician and one to mix the martinis.

    Q: How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one, but the bulb has got to really WANT to change. A': None; the bulb will change itself when it is ready.

    Q: How many software people does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None. That's a hardware problem. A': One, but if he changes it, the whole building will probably fall down. A": Two. One always leaves in the middle of the project.

    Q: How many hardware folks does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. That's a software problem. A': None. They just have marketing portray the dead bulb as a feature.

    Q: How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? A: As many as you want; they're all virtual, anyway.

    Q: How many Bell Labs Vice Presidents does it take to change a light bulb? A: That's proprietary information. Answer available from AT&T on payment of license fee (binary only). A': Nearly unanswerable, since the one who tries to change it usually drops it, and the others call for a planning session. A": Three. One to get the bulb and two to get the phone number of one of their subordinates to actually change it.

    Q: How many graduate students does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but it may take upwards of five years for him to get it done.

    Q: How many `Real Men' does it take to change a light bulb? A: None: `Real Men' aren't afraid of the dark.

    Q: How many `Real Women' does it take to change a light bulb? A: None: A 'Real Woman' would have plenty of real men around to do it.

    Q: How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None: The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.

    Q: How many Russian leaders does it take to change a light bulb? A: Nobody knows. Russian leaders don't last as long as light bulbs.

    Q: How many nuclear engineers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Seven. One to install the new bulb and six to figure out what to do with the old one for the next 10,000 years.

    Q: How many pre-med students does it take to change a light bulb? A: Five: One to change the bulb and four to pull the ladder out from under him.

    Q: How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb? A: One, but it takes at least three light bulbs.

    Q: How many Feminists does it take to change a light bulb? A: That's not funny!!!

    Q: How many supply-siders does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. The darkness will cause the light bulb to change by itself.

    Q: How many economists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two. One to assume the ladder and one to change the bulb. A': None. If the government would just leave it alone, it would screw itself in.

    Q: How many Valley Girls does it take to change a light bulb? A: Oooh, like, manual labor? Gag me with a spoon! For sure.

    Q: How many data base people does it take to change alight bulb? A: Three: One to write the light bulb removal program, one to write the light bulb insertion program, and one to act as a light bulb administrator to make sure nobody else tries to change the light bulb at the same time.

    Q: How many Carl Sagans does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Billions and billions.

    Q: How many Zen masters does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: A tree in a golden forest. A': Two: one to change the bulb and one not to change it. A": One to change and one not to change is fake Zen. The true Zen answer is Four. One to change the bulb. A'":None. Zen masters carry their own light.

    Q: How many folk singers does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two. One to change the bulb, and one to write a song about how good the old light bulb was.

    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Two, one to hold the giraffe, and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine tools.

    Q: How many gorillas does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but it takes a truckload of light bulbs!

    Q: How many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Three. One to find a bulb specialist, one to find a bulb installation specialist, and one to bill it all to Medicare.

    Q: How many [IBM] Technical Writers does it take to change a light bulb? A: 100. Ten to do it, and 90 to write document number GC7500439-0001, Multitasking Incandescent Source System Facility, of which 10% of the pages state only "This page intentionally left blank", and 20% of the definitions are of the form "A:...... consists of sequences of non-blank characters separated by blanks". A': Just one, provided there's an engineer around to explain how to do it.

    Q: How many professors does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one, but they get three publications out of it.

    Q: How many people from New Jersey does it take to change a light bulb? A: Three. One to change the light bulb, one to be a witness, and the third to shoot the witness.

    Q: How many cops does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None. It turned itself in.

    Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? A: How many can you afford?

    Q: How many football players does it take to change a light bulb? A: The entire team! And they all get a semester's credit for it!

    Q: How many thought police does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None. There never was any light bulb.

    Q: How many Federal employees does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Sorry, that item has been cut from the budget!

    Q: How many psychics does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: ---- You should have hit "n"!

    Q: How many sorority sisters does it take to change a light bulb? A: 51. One to change the bulb, and fifty to sing about the bulb being changed.

    Q: How many frat guys does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Three: One to screw it in, and the other two to help him down off the keg. A': Five: One to hold the bulb, and four to guzzle beer until the room spins.

    Q: How many Harvard students does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Just one. He grabs the bulb and waits for the world to revolve around him.

    Q: How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two. One to assure the everything possible is being done while the other is incomplete pending resolution of some action items. It will be continued next week. Meanwhile...

    Q: How many brewers does it take to change a light bulb? A: About one third less than for a regular bulb.

    Q: How many WASP Princesses does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two. One to get a Tab and one to call Daddy.

    Q: How many accountants does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: What kind of answer did you have in mind?

    Q: How many civil servants does it take to change the light bulb? A: 45. One to change the bulb, and 44 to do the paperwork.

    Q: How many junkies does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Oh wow, is it like dark, man?

    Q: How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb? A: I will have an estimate for you a week from Monday.

    Q: How many U.S marines does it take to screw in a light bulb A: 50. One to screw in the light bulb and the remaining 49 to guard him.

    Q: "How many Romulans does it take to screw in a light bulb?" A: "151, one to screw the light-bulb in, and 150 to self-destruct the ship out of disgrace."

    Q: How many dull people does it take to change a light bulb? A: one.

    Q: How many editors of Poor Richard's Almanac does it take to replace a light bulb? A: Many hands make light work.

    Q: How many Vulcans does it take to change a light bulb? A: "Approximately 1.00000000000000000000000"

    Q: How many members of the U.S.S. Enterprise does it take to change a light bulb? A: 7. Scotty will report to Captain Kirk that the light bulb in the Engineering Section is burnt out, to which Kirk will send Bones to pronounce the bulb dead. Scotty, after checking around, notices that they have no more new light bulbs, and complains that he can't see in the dark to tend to his engines. Kirk must make an emergency stop at the next uncharted planet, Alpha Regula IV, to procure a light bulb from the natives. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, and 3 red shirt security officers beam down. The 3 security officers are promptly killed by the natives, and the rest of the landing party is captured. Meanwhile, back in orbit, Scotty notices a Klingon ship approaching and must warp out of orbit to escape detection. Bones cures the native king who is suffering from the flu, and as a reward the landing party is set free and given all of the light bulbs they can carry. Scotty cripples the Klingon ship and warps back to the planet just in time to beam up Kirk et. al. The new bulb is inserted, and the Enterprise continues with its five year mission.

    Q: How many efficiency experts does it take to replace a light bulb? A: None. Efficiency experts replace only dark bulbs.

    Q: How many actors does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one. They don't like to share the spotlight.

    Q: How many Chinese Red Guards does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: 10,000 - to give the bulb a cultural revolution.

    Q: Do you know how many musicians it takes to change a light bulb? A: No, big daddy, but hum a few bars and I will fake it. A': Twenty. One to hold the bulb, two to turn the ladder, and seventeen in on the guest list.

    Q: How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two, one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

    Q: How many bikers does it take to change a light bulb? A: It takes two. One to change the bulb, and the other to kick the switch.

    Q: How many running-dog lackeys of the bourgeoisie does it take to change a light bulb? A: Two. One to exploit the proletariat, and one to control the means of production!

    Q: How many existentialists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two: One to screw it in and one to observe how the light bulb itself symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of nothingness.

    Q: How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb? A: One, if it knows its own Goedel number.

    Q: How many dadaists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: To get to the other side.

    Q: How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None. It's left to the reader as an exercise. A': One. He gives it to six Californians, thereby reducing the problem to an earlier joke. A": One. He gives it to five Oregonians, thereby reducing the problem to an earlier joke. A'": In an earlier article, zeus!bobr writes:

    Q: How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: One. He gives it to six Californians, thereby reducing the problem to an earlier joke...

    In earlier work, Wiener [1] has shown that one mathematician can change a light bulb. If k mathematicians can change a light bulb, and if one more simply watches them do it, then k+1 mathematicians will have changed the light bulb. Therefore, by induction, for all n in the positive integers, n mathematicians can change a light bulb.
    [1] Weiner, Matthew P., <11485@ucbvax>, "Re: YALBJ", 1986

    Q: How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb? A: We don't know. They never get past the feasibility study.

    Q: How many Ukrainians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: They don't need to, they glow in the dark.

    Q: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? A: Three. One to curse the darkness, one to light a candle... ... and one to change the bulb.

    Q: How many stock brokers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Two. One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell it before it crashes (knowing that it's already burned out).

    Q: How many aides does it take to change the President's light bulb? A: None, they like to keep him in the dark.

    Q: How many magicians does it take to change a light bulb? A: Depends on what you want to change it into.

    Q: How many Macintosh users does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. You have to replace the whole motherboard.

    And a couple more:

    (From: Don Klipstein (

    Q: How many straight male West Hollywood residents does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Either of them could probably do it themselves.

    Q: How many journalists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: Three. One to report on the inspired program to bring light, one to report on the sinister government plot to deprive the poor of darkness, and one to report on the light bulb manufacturer assassinating the old light bulb.

    (From: WB or CM Hilbrich (

    Q: How many mailing list (or USENET!) subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: 1,331:

    - 1 to change the light bulb and to post to the list that the light bulb has been changed.

    - 14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.

    - 7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

    - 27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.

    - 53 to flame the spell checkers.

    - 156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.

    - 41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.

    - 109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this e-mail exchange to alt.lite.bulb.

    - 203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.

    - 111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts ARE relevant to this mail list.

    - 306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty.

    - 27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

    - 14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URLs.

    - 3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.

    - 33 to summarize all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add "Me Too."

    - 12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.

    - 19 to quote the "Me Too's" to say, "Me Three".

    - 4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.

    - 1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.

    - 47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave it here.

    - 143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.

    (From: Dan Hicks (

    You forgot:

    - 37 empty posts.

    - 250 debating the merits of magnetic light bulb filters.

    - 3 giving you URLs for really sexy adult light bulbs.

    (From: Steve Dooley

    I don't see the most famous one there - maybe because it is a U.S.A. site and you don't have two standards for light bulb fittings??

    Q: How many Standards Committee members to change a light bulb? A: Bayonet or Edison Screw?

    (From: Gretchen Patti (

    Q: How many procrastinators does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: One - but he has to wait until the light is better.

    Q: How many telemarketers does it take to change a light bulb? A: One. But he has to do it while you're eating dinner.

    Q: How many professors does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but he gets three research papers out of it.

    Q: How many meetings does it take to get a light bulb changed? A: This topic was resumed from last week's discussion, but is incomplete pending resolution of some action items. It will be continued next week. Meanwhile...

    Q: How many college students does it take to change a light-years? A: I dunno, I forgot my calculator at home.

    Q: How many first year civil engineering students does it take to change a light bulb ? A: None. That's a second year subject.

    Q: How many physicists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Eleven. One to do it and ten to co-author the paper.

    Q: How many astronomers does it take to change a light bulb? A: None, astronomers prefer the dark.

    Q: How many radio astronomers does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. They are not interested in that short wave stuff.

    Q: How many general relativists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Two. One holds the bulb, while the other rotates the universe.

    Q: How many body builders does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: Three. One to screw in the light bulb, and two to stand nearby saying, "YOU'RE HUGE, MAN, YOU'RE HUGE!"

    Q: How many Liberals does it take to change a light bulb? A: That depends. Can we do it without offending anyone?

    Q: How many Conservatives does it take to change a light bulb? A: That depends. How many people can we offend?

    Q: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? A: (Sigh) Don't bother. I'll sit in the dark! I don't want to be a nuisance to anybody

    Q: How many teachers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Well, teachers don't change light bulbs, but they can help to make a dim one brighter.

    Q: How many car salesmen does it take to change a light bulb? A: I'm just going to work this out on my calculator and I know you will be pleasantly surprised.

    Q: How many chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb? A: One, but it takes at least 8 adjustments.

    Q. How many Borg does it take to screw in a light bulb? A. One, but the whole collective enjoys the experience.

    Q: How many Klingons does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. Klingons aren't afraid of the dark!

    Q: How many homeschoolers does it take to change a light bulb? A: First mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison, and do a skit based on his life. Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Then everyone takes a trip to the store, compares types of light bulbs and their prices, and figures out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill. On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money (and also Abraham Lincoln, because his picture is on the five dollar bill). Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the new light bulb is installed. And there is light!

    Q: How many stressed-out women does it take to change a light bulb? A: One. ONE!! And do you know WHY it only takes ONE? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb. They don't even know the bulb is BURNED OUT. They would sit in this house in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out. And once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the light bulbs, despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CUPBOARD for the past SEVENTEEN YEARS.

    But if they did, by some miracle, actually find the light bulbs, TWO DAYS LATER the chair that they dragged from two rooms over to stand on to change the stupid light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT!! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE CRUMPLED WRAPPER THE STUPID @*!#$% LIGHT BULBS CAME IN! WHY?! BECAUSE NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE EVER CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE!!


    Technical Light Bulbs:

    Q: How many Windows programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: 472.  One to write WinGetLightBulbHandle, one to write
       WinQueryStatusLightBulb, one to write WinGetLightSwitchHandle...

    Q: How many Tech Support folks does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: We have received your request concerning your hardware problem, and has assigned your request Ticket Number 39712. Please use this number for any future reference to this light bulb issue. As soon as a technician becomes available, you will be contacted.

    A': We have an exact copy of the light bulb here, and it seems to be working fine. Can you tell me what kind of system you have? OK. Now, exactly how dark is it? OK, there could be four or five things wrong... Have you tried the light switch?

    Q: How many Microsoft technicians does it take to change a light bulb? A: Three: two holding the ladder and one to hammer the bulb into a faucet.

    Q: How many Microsoft vice presidents does it take to change a light bulb? A: Eight: one to work the bulb and seven to make sure Microsoft gets $2 for every light bulb ever changed anywhere in the world.

    Q: How many test engineers does it take to change a light bulb? A: We just noticed the room was dark; we don't actually fix the problems.

    Q: How many MicroSoft Help Desk people dies it take to change a light bulb? A: Four: - One to ask "What is the registration number of the light bulb?" - One to ask "Have you tried rebooting it?" - One to ask "Have you tried reinstalling it?" - And the last one to say "It must be your hardware because the light bulb in our office works fine..."

    Q: How many Microsoft designers does it take to change a light bulb? A: We can see no need for uninstallation and have therefore made no provision for light bulbs to be removed.

    Q: How many C++ programmers does it take to change a light bulb? A: You're still thinking procedurally. A properly designed light bulb object would inherit a change method from a generic light bulb class, so all you'd have to do is send a light bulb change message.

    Q: How many shipping dept. personnel does it take to change a light bulb? A: We can change the bulb in 7-10 working days; if you call before 2 pm and pay an extra $15 we can get the bulb changed overnight. Don't forget to put your name in the upper right hand corner of the light bulb box.

    Q: How long does it take a DEC repairman to change a light bulb? A: It depends on how many burnt-out lightbulbs he brought with him.

    Q: How many Windows users does it take to change a lightbulb? A: One, but she/he'll swear up and down that it was JUST as easy for him as it would be for a Macintosh user.

    Q: How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a light bulb? A: None, Bill Gates will just redefine Darkness(tm) as the new industry standard.

    Q: How many AI researchers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: One to develop a knowledge representation scheme, one to model the domain, one to create a theoretical taxonomy, and one to write a paper on future research directions. Of course, the bulb won't actually get changed ....

    A few musical light bulb jokes:

    Q: How many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Two. One to change the bulb and the other to say "I can do it better
       than that!"

    Q: How many alto sax players does it take to change a light bulb? A: Five: One to handle the bulb, and four to contemplate how David Sanborn would've done it.

    Q: How many oboists does it take to change a light bulb? A: One. But by the time he gets done shaving the tip, you won't need it.

    Star Trek Light Bulb Jokes:

    If you're a Star Trek fan, look at these amazingly well-written parodies based on the "Light Bulb" theme:

    Peter Anspach's Star Trek Parodies.

    If you're NOT into Star Trek, don't bother. :)

    And now for astrology... As an astronomer, I don't care for astrology. But, as a pisces married to a taurus, I find this one REALLY funny!

    The Great Astrological Light Bulb Joke:

    How many members of your sign does it take to change a light bulb?

    ARIES: Just one. You want to make something of it?

    TAURUS: One, but just try to convince him that the burned-out bulb is useless and should be thrown away.

    GEMINI: Two, but the job never gets done -- they just keep discussing who is supposed to do it and how it's supposed to be done!

    CANCER: Just one. But it takes a therapist three years to help them through the grieving process.

    LEO: Leos don't change light bulbs, although sometimes their agent will get a Virgo in to do the job for them while they're out.

    VIRGO: Approximately 1.000000 with an error of +/- 1 millionth.

    LIBRA: Er, two. Or maybe one. No, on second thought, make that two. Is that OK with you?

    SCORPIO: That information is strictly secret and shared only with the Enlightened Ones in the Star Chamber of the Ancient Hierarchical Order.

    SAGITTARIUS: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned-out light bulb?

    CAPRICORN: I don't waste my time with these childish jokes.

    AQUARIUS: Well, you have to remember that everything is energy, so...

    PISCES: Light bulb? What light bulb?

    How Many Dogs Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?:

    Border Collie: Just one. And I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

    Dachshund: I can't reach the stupid lamp!

    Rottweiler: Go Ahead! Make me!

    Lab: Oh, me, me!!! Pleeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I?

    Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

    Pointer: I see it! There's the light bulb! There it is! There! Right there!

    Australian Shepherd: First, gather all the light bulbs in a little circle...

    Dalmatian: Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb?

    Church Worker Light Bulbs:

    Q: How many church music directors does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Only one.  It's not in his job description, but if you let him create
       his own new arrangement for it, he'll do it.

    Q: How many guitar-playing worship leaders does it take to change a light bulb? A: One. But soon all those around can warm up to its glowing.

    Q: How many Sunday School teachers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Four. One to work the relevant Bible verses into a word search puzzle, another to create a little drama about light bulbs, a third to assemble materials for the craft project, and a fourth to supervise the children as they each, in turn, remove and replace the bulb.

    Q: How many youth ministers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Youth ministers aren't around long enough for a light bulb to burn out.

    Church Denomination Light Bulbs:

    Q: How many Roman Catholics does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: None.  They always use candles.

    Q: How many Unitarians does it take to change a light bulb? A: This statement was issued: "We choose not to make a statement either in favour or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your journey you have found that a light bulb works for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb (or light source, or non dark resource) and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths of luminescence.

    Q: How many Amish does it take to change a light bulb? A: What's a "light bulb?"

    Q: How many Charismatics does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one. Hands are already in the air.

    Q: How many Pentecostals does it take to change a light bulb? A: Ten. One to change the light bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

    Q: How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. God has predestined when the lights will be on and off.

    Q: How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb? A: Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much better they liked the old bulb.

    Q: How many Mormons does it take to change a light bulb? A: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

    Q: How many Methodists does it take to change a light bulb? A: A whole congregation. One to change the light bulb, and the rest of the congregation to be sure that he doesn't backslide.

    Q: How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? A: At least fifteen. One to change the light bulb, five or six professors to search the Bible for authorization and then two or three committees to approve the change. Oh, and some faithful women to make a casserole.

    Q: How many Missouri Synod Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb? A: ...change?

    Q: How many Promise Keepers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Ten. Just one to change the lightbulb, but he is accountable to the other nine.

    Q: How many Jehovah's Witnesses does it take to change a light bulb? A: 144,000. Just one to change the bulb but the rest will canvas the community to try and convince everyone they are the only certified light bulb changers.

    Q: How many Scientology does it take to change a light bulb? A: Light bulb? Who told you about our light bulb? Where did you get that information? We'll see you in court.

    Q: How many Christian Scientists does it take to change a light bulb? A: While the light bulb may give off light to the unenlightened in this world, for those who have been visited by the divine wisdom, no light bulb is really necessary.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Pentium Bug Jokes

    (From: Henry G. Baker (

    The 0.000000000001th new Intel slogan for the Pentium

    We give you the most megaflops.

    On the tee-shirt of an inline skater in Mountain View: :-)

    (Intel Inside logo)

    "I asked for a refund on my Pentium, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt"

    Some Pentium Q & A and Random Comments

    Q: What is Intel's follow-on to the Pentium?

    A: Repentium.


    Q: What does the element Pentium decay into?

    A: Inert silicon with the emission of a press release.


    The Pentium doesn't have bugs or produce errors; it's just Precision-Impaired.


    Intel business executives have been so stressed by staying up late at night trying to figure out what to do about the Pentium Problem, that they're past the floating point.


    I heard that Intel lost one of its divisions today...


    (From: Mark Thorson (


    Intel Inside sat on a wall.
    Intel Inside had a great fall.
    All the king's lawyers
    and all the king's men
    couldn't put Intel Inside
    back together again.


    Pentium Processor, puddin' and pie.
    Pentium Processor, price real high.
    When the bugs came out to play,
    Pentium Processor ran away.

    (From: John Cooley (

    "Here's some of the hardware humor I've had mailed to me since the Intel Pentium floating point divide bug came out that's been such big news lately. It's not every day that we hardware designers get national recognition for *anything* either positive or negative! (Thought I'd post it as a refreshing diversion from the 100,000 serious hardware design oriented posts we see here all year through.)"

    John Cooley
    - Part Time Sheep & Goat Farmer
    - Part Time EDA Consumer Advocate
    - Full Time ASIC, FPGA & EDA Design Consultant

    The Top Ten Reasons to Buy a Pentium Machine

    10. You current computer is too accurate.

    9. Want to get into the Guinness Book as "owner of the most expensive paperweight".

    8. Math errors add zest to life.

    7. You need an alibi for the IRS.

    6. You want to see what all the fuss is about.

    5. You've always wondered what it would be like to be a plaintiff.

    4. The "Intel Inside" logo matches your decor perfectly.

    3. You no longer have to worry about the CPU overheating.

    2. You got a great deal from JPL.

    And the #1 reason to buy a Pentium machine:

    1. It'll probably work.

    Q&A: The Pentium FDIV bug

    Q:  How many Pentium designers does it take to screw in a light bulb? 
    A:  1.99904274017, but that's close enough for non-technical people.
    Q:  What do you get when you cross a Pentium PC with a  research grant? 
    A:  A mad scientist.
    Q:  What's another name for the "Intel Inside" sticker they put on Pentiums?
    A:  The warning label.
    Q:  Complete the following word analogy:  Add is to Subtract as Multiply
        is to:
            1)  Divide
            2)  ROUND
            3)  RANDOM
            4)  On a Pentium, all of the above
    A:  Number 4.
    Q:  What algorithm did Intel use in the Pentium's floating point divider? 
    A:  "Life is like a box of chocolates." (Source: F. Gump of Intel)
    Q:  Why didn't Intel call the Pentium the 586?
    A:  Because they added 486 and 100 on the first Pentium and got 585.999983605.

    Top Ten New Intel Slogans for the Pentium

      9.9999973251   It's a FLAW, Dammit, not a Bug 
      8.9999163362   It's Close Enough, We Say So 
      7.9999414610   Nearly 300 Correct Opcodes 
      6.9999831538   You Don't Need to Know What's Inside
      5.9999835137   Redefining the PC -- and Mathematics As Well 
      4.9999999021   We Fixed It, Really
      3.9998245917   Division Considered Harmful
      2.9991523619   Why Do You Think They Call It *Floating* Point? 
      1.9999103517   We're Looking for a Few Good Flaws
      0.9999999998   The Errata Inside

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    Things They Never Taught in School

    (From: Jim Weir (

    And for those of you who went through school thinking that everything above 30 MHz was powdered bat wings and mouse milk,

    1. 2 #24 PVC hookup wires twisted tightly is about 10 pf per inch.

    2. A file and a disk ceramic capacitor is the original one-set variable capacitor.

    3. A wire is just some inductance, capacitance, and resistance floating in a loose formation.

    4. A file and a carbon COMPOSITION resistor is the original one-set variable resistor.

    5. A 50 ohm line on green glass PC board is about the thickness of the board material.

    6. Don't tug on Superman's cape, don't piss into the wind, and don't mess around with The Man.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Virus Jokes

    Immediately scan your computer for the following viruses:

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Fable of the Fox's FAX

    (From: Frank Reid (

    by Frank
    Based *very* loosely on a true story.
    (G-rated version; use your imagination.)

    Fox faced a fix; Fox couldn't fax, for Fox's fax was fried. "Fax failure forfeits fortunes faxing flax futures," figured Fox, frantically phoning Phoebe the Frugal Fax Fixer from Phoenix, who features fast fax fixes for flat fees of fifty French Francs. "Fix my freaking fax!" Fox fumed furiously.

    Phoebe's fastest field fax-fixer, Pheasant, flew to Fox's flat. Pheasant found flocks of faulty fuses, a familiar foible of funky faxes from Formosa. Fetching fistfuls of fresh fuses forced Fox's fax to function with flawless finesse, faithfully focusing phalanxes of photons in phase with faraway photoelectron flux.

    "Phooey!" Fox fussed, flipping Pheasant the finger. "I fail to fathom fifty French francs for fifteen-pfennig fuses. Forget fiscal funds for fallacious fax-fix!"

    Pheasant fervently feared fowl finagling, for Pheasant failed to find her father following the forementioned fox's fax-fix fiasco four fortnights from February. Pheasant found feathers festooning Fox's foyer, and feared Fox feasted on Father. Pheasant flew forthwith, fleeing Fox's flat.

    Pheasant fingered Fox, forwarding fiendishly-forged fax to feds. Federal fuzz ferreted Fox's fingerprints and fined Fox for filching fuses, fomenting forest fires, fencing foreign freon, fleecing folks with fraudulent faxed flax-futures, and felonious failure to file flat flax-fax tax. Fox filibustered futilely, and finally fell afoul of a frizzy female fed who fired flintlocks and fancied fox fur.

    Moral: Fare fixers fairly or face fur-fetched frustration.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Fixing a Flux Capacitor

    Here is one that hasn't been posted to yet:

    Subject: Flux Capacitor broken


    We found what appears to be a Flux Capacitor that fell out of an alien spaceship in their haste to depart after being approached by BIG BIRD.

    The plutonium supply seems to be adequate but plugging the 3 wire cord into 115 VAC doesn't produce any response. However, probing the logic circuits with our HP 16500 analyzer indicates that the P9-1000 they are apparently using to control the display is functional. (It also passes the FDIV bug test - must not be genuine Intel.)

    Upon further examination, we note the device marked @@#$%-@#%@$#-11 appears to be burnt. Would like to know of source for this device or equivalent. It seems to be in-line with the main power relay.

    We would really like to get our infinite energy/time machine going but are hesitant to jump across this device if it is not just a fuse or if there are further problems. A black hole in the middle of our back yard would be really bad for property values.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance.....:-)

    --- us

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Beware Those Transformers

    (From: William Letendre (

    Engineerin' Department of our company is on 3rd floor; company's main power XFMR is on utility pole right outside window. This mornin', Scott, engineer (ME) whose desk is next to window asked, "Hey, Bill, how much power is that transformer carryin'?"

    Thought it over, answered, "Ah, with a full shift in the machine shop, should be about 200, 300 kW. Why?"

    "Hmmmm. So, how strong are the electromagnetic fields from that?"

    "Not very. Transformer designers go to fair pains to keep fields inside transformers!"

    "Oh. Well, what about those high tension wires? What if one broke? Would that be dangerous? Or, couldn't the transformer just explode?"

    "Well, yeah, I guess. Transformers do fail, once in a while. And the high voltage lines are probably up around 4400 volts, IIRC." Was gettin' a little irritated at this point, so added, "Guess if the transformer blew, or, if one of those lines broke and smashed through the window, coroner's report on you would read 'burned beyond recognition,' or maybe, 'grilled like a chop!' So what does this have to do with anything?"

    Scott shook his head. "I dunno, boss. I'm not real comfortable sittin' that close to machine carryin' that kind of power. There's an empty desk by the back wall. Mind if I move?"

    Rolled my eyes, said, "Sure, go ahead!"

    Just about time Scott had his CAD terminal moved, plugged into LAN drop next to back wall, one of the other guys pointed out window, "Hey, check out the transformer!" Damned thing had blue sparks, smoke, comin' out of one of the porcelain terminals. Consolidated Edison was out in about an hour with 3 trucks, overhaulin' transformer.

    Dunno what to make of this, but, do know one thing; if we're ever standin' on sidewalk, and Scott sez, "Gee, could we stand a little further from curb?" I won't ask why; I'll just do it!

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Engineers Explained

    (Forwarded by: Jim Rauchut (, apparently by Scott Adams (from his book: The Dilbert Principle).)

    People who work in the fields of science and technology are not like other people. This can be frustrating to the nontechnical people who have to deal with them. The secret to coping with technology-oriented people is to understand their motivations. This chapter will teach you everything you need to know. I learned their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming.

    Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody wants to be one. The word "engineer" is greatly overused. If there's somebody in your life who you think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this test to discern the truth.


    You walk into a room and notice that a picture is hanging crooked. You...

  • A. Straighten it.

  • B. Ignore it.

  • C. Buy a CAD system and spend the next six months designing a solar-powered, self-adjusting picture frame while often stating aloud your belief that the inventor of the nail was a total moron.

    The correct answer is "C" but partial credit can be given to anybody who writes "It depends" in the margin of the test or simply blames the whole stupid thing on "Marketing."


    Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.

    "Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

    In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:


    To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories: (1) things that need to be fixed, and (2) things that will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them. Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. Normal people don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering what it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer can take a shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.


    Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective of clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.


    Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. It's a small wonder, since the engineers on the starship Enterprise are portrayed as heroes, occasionally even having sex with aliens. This is much more glamorous than the real life of an engineer, which consists of hiding from the universe and having sex without the participation of other life forms.


    Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function.

    Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it's true that many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing their virginity.

    Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually irresistible men in technical professions:

    Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it's a warm day.


    Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.

    Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed below.

    "I won't change anything without asking you first."
    "I will return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
    "I have to have new equipment to do my job."
    "I'm not jealous of your new computer."


    Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape this situation while retaining the greatest amount of cash?"


    If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it is the ability to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers to be pronounced dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech areas have started checking resumes before processing the bodies. Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days just to see if he or she snaps out of it.


    Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little mistake, the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.


    The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this: Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain.

    If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's technically possible but it will cost too much."


    Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:

    The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it's solved. No illness or distraction is sufficient to get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal -- a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature.

    Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a problem. (Other times just because they forgot.) And when they succeed in solving the problem they will experience an ego rush that is better than sex--and I'm including the kind of sex where other people are involved.

    Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion that somebody has more technical skill. Normal people sometimes use that knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer. When an engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means it's not fun to do), some clever normal people have learned to glance at the engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something along these lines: "I will ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to solve difficult technical problems."

    At that point it is a good idea for the normal person to not stand between the engineer and the problem. The engineer will set upon the problem like a starved Chihuahua on a pork chop.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Sex Life of an Electron

    (From: Tom The sparky (

    One night when his charge was pretty high Micor Farad decided to get a cute little coil to help him discharge. He picked up Millie Amp and took her for a ride on his megacycle. They rode across Wheatstone Bridge, around by the sine wave, and stopped in a magnetic field by a flowing current.

    Micor Farad, attracted by Millie Amp's characteristic curve, soon began to lower her resistance to minimum and his field was fully excited. He laid her on the ground potential, raised her frequency, lowered her capacitance, and plugged in his high voltage probe. He inserted it into her socket, connected them in parallel, and began to short circuit her shunt. Fully excited Millie cried "ohm, ohm, ohm".

    With his tube operating at a maximum peak, and her ciol vibrating from current flow, she soon reached her maximum peak. The excess current flow had gotten her hot and Micro Farad was rapidly discharging having drained off every electron.

    They fluxed all night trying different connections and sockets until his bar magnet had lost all its field strength. Afterwords, Millie Amp tried self-induction and damaged her solenoid. With his battery fully discharged, Micro Farad was unable to excite her generator. So they ended up by reversing polarity and blowing each other's fuses

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    About Sears Shop Vac HP Ratings

    (From: Kevin AstirCS "1U" KO0B ( I note that air compressor manufacturers have taken after the vacuum sweeper folks, and are re-inventing the horsepower. Imagine, 6HP at 15A, 115VAC!

    (From: sam).

    Have you seen Sears shop vacs lately? I think they are also up to 6 HP. Every week or so, they seem to come out with one that is a little higher in their HP ratings - I guess internal cold fusion or something.

    (From: Pin 2 Hot (

    Let's see, RPM X Torque = Horsepower.

    Thus: No-load RPM X Locked-rotor Torque = Sears Horsepower


    1. testing done at 177V DC, equal to peak of 120V AC (AC-DC motors).

    2. Sears Horsepower: How "hoarse" you get trying to talk over one of their shop-vacs while it's on.
    Or maybe it's got something to do with vacuuming performance out at the stables.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    So You Want a Vacation Day?

    (From: contributor's name withheld so HR won't find out :-) ). So you want a day off, let's take a look at what you are asking for:

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Sources of Demos (Bill Gates Computer Joke)

    (From: Carter B. Schroy (CBS970@AOL.COM).)

    Bill Gates died. He was sent to the Afterlife Waiting Room. He was met by St. Peter, who asked him if he wanted to go to Heaven or Hell, and if he'd like to see them before he decided. Bill said yes, and St. Peter snapped his fingers. They appeared on a sunny beach, with people dancing, swimming, and playing volleball. Just basically having a wonderful time. Good food, good music, good people. Bill turns to St. Peter and says, "Wow, Heaven is great!" St. Peter says, "This isn't Heaven, it's Hell. Want to see Heaven?" Mr. Gates nods yes, and they appear in a shady park, with a few old people sitting on benches feeding birds. A gentle breeze blows by, and all is quiet and serene. St. Peter asks Bill, "Well, which would you like?" Bill thinks for a minute, and says, "Well, if this is Heaven, then I will take Hell." Instantly, he was plunged up to his neck in red-hot lava, the screams of other tortured souls filling his ears. He looks up, and sees St. Peter in the waiting room. Bill calls out to him, and said, "Hey! What's going on? Where's the beach? The bikini-clad women? The party?" St. Peter turns from his Macintosh to face Bill, and says, "That was just the demo."

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Knowledge, Power, Time and Money Equation...

    For all you mathematicians...

    After applying some simple algebra to some trite phrases and cliches a new understanding can be reached of the secret to wealth and success.

    Here it goes.

    So, substituting algebraic equations for these time worn bits of wisdom, we get: Now, do a few simple substitutions: Put M in for T into equation (4), which yields: Now we've got something. Expanding back into English, we get: What this MEANS is that:
    1. The More You Know, the More Work You Do, and
    2. The More You Know, the Less Money You Make.
    Solving for Money, we get: From equation (6) we see that Money approaches infinity as Knowledge approaches 0, regardless of the Work done.

    What THIS MEANS is:

    Solving for Work, we get From equation (7) we see that Work approaches 0 as Knowledge approaches 0.

    What THIS MEANS is:

    Working out the socioeconomic implications of this breakthrough is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    You Know You Are Too Serious About Computers If...

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    How Mil Specs Live Forever!

    (From: Jeff Wisnia, W1BSV (

    How Mil Specs Live Forever:

    The US Standard Railroad Gauge (the distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That is an exceedingly odd number; Why was that gauge used?

    Because that was the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

    Why did the English people build them that size? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that was the gauge they used.

    Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons. which used that wheel spacing.

    Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Because the first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. Those roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were originally made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made by or for Imperial Rome, they were all made with similar wheel spacing.

    Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The US Standard Railroad Gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches is derived from the original Mil Spec for Imperial Rome's army war chariots. Mil Specs, like bureaucracies, tend to exist forever.

    So, next time you read a Mil Spec and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because, the Imperial Roman war chariots were designed for maneuverability, as narrow as possible, just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.

    (Forwarded by: Kevin Theobald (

    Here is an amusing addition from a NASA guy, Howard Winsett:

    There is an interesting extension to the story about railroad gauges and horses' behinds. When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. Thiokol makes the SRBs at their factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.

    The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

    So, a major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass.

    (From: H Chris Spreckley.)

    May I in a very short dissertation attempt to correct you on the true British (and or American) Railway Rail Gauge.

    It is in fact 5ft 0 inches true which became known as the 4ft 8.5 inch gauge.

    This 5 feet is derived from the common engineering notation of the gauge using centre lines when draughting of any rail, girder, beam, column etc. In theory the rails are 3.5 inches wide as are the tyres on the locomotives wheels the centre line of these tyres and rails is therefore some 1.75 inches to the outer side of the stated (width or between wheel flanges) gauge of 4ft 8.5 inches. Therefore we are propelled back to Miss Hey again where in engineering terms the inside or 'flange' dimension of 4 ft 8.5 inches of between rails requires the two additions of 1.75inches (to centre line) equaling 3.5 inches to be added to the inside width providing the actual engineering gauge of 5 feet from which all this discourse commences.

    So at the onset of the steam engine running on wheels, generally agreed to be in mineral mines (on simple flat [steel plate/strap] later angled rail with the vertical to the outer side of the wheel) all prior to open country where they took over from the horse it is the contention that the very first thought that the chap that devised this 'new steam' gauge in some wet and dirty mine somewhere in England or other circa 1810 said to himself and no doubt others "The width of the rails shall be 5 Feet, then the designer draughtsman got the hands on it resulting in the gauge becoming known to be 4ft 8.5 inches to which size all gauging sticks were then manufactured. Prior to this the horse motivated mining rails were always of a narrower gauge.

    Hence we see the disambiguation of 4ft 8.5 inches and in a different light.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    On Replacing Fuses with Bullets

    You have repeatedly been warned: "Do not replace a fuse unless you have thoroughly checked all other components.... The new fuse may just blow the second time around."

    Not necessarily. I have seen cases where the second time around, some other component pops off and the fuse survives!

    (From: Keith Morgan (

    Was a .22 caliber bullet the other component Sam mentioned: (this is an article spotted by Gary Davis in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette 25 July 1996, and reported in the UK Private Eye magazine)

    "I thank God every hour that we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his nuts off, cos we'd both be pushing up the daisies by now," Billy Ray Wallis told reporters from his hospital bed in the Baptist Medical Center, Woodruff County. "When you leave, can you check if anyone got the frogs from the truck? I'd hate anything to happen to them."

    Wodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder later gave a more coherent account of that evening's events. "It seems that Thurston Poole, 33, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, were returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging trip, when the fuse for the headlights on Poole's pick-up truck burned out. They didn't have a spare, so Wallis took a .22 caliber bullet from his pistol and found that it fitted perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering wheel column. The headlights started working again, and they resumed their journey, with Poole at the wheel.

    "Apparently, it never occurred to them that, if the headlight wiring was faulty, then the bullet would soon overheat. They'd gone about twenty miles and were about to cross White River bridge when it got hot enough to discharge itself, striking Poole in the right testicle and partially severing his scrotum. As a result, the vehicle swerved off the road and drove through the front window of a hamburger bar. Poole (who sustained further abrasions from broken glass, and burns from fried onions) kept shouting at diners 'mind my frogs', while Wallis (who sustained a broken clavicle) attempted to steal a chip-fryer in the confusion. I tell you, I've been a state trooper for ten years, but this is the dumbest thing I've ever come across. I can't believe that those two would admit how the accident happened. And all they keep asking about are their damn frogs."

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Corporate Down-Sizing Affects Everyone Everywhere

    North Pole Memo:

    Subject: Famous Reindeer Terminated

    The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.

    Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance of the season's gift distribution business. Home shopping channels and mail order catalogues have diminished Santa's market share. He could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit picture.

    The reindeer down-sizing was made possible through the purchase of a late model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated.

    Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable press.

    I am pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose got that way, not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be under executive stress.

    As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economic measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:

    The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;

    The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated;

    The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French;

    The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;

    The five gold rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order;

    The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one;

    The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance their outplacement;

    As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;

    Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;

    Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;

    Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down to the bottom line;

    We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.

    Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing") action is pending.

    Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

    The executives at the North Pole wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a productive New Year.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Are You a Real Engineer?

    (From: Mark Sokos (

    A comment was recently made about the lack of humor on this newsgroup. So, I did an excite search on "electronics humor", and, nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. (Well, I only checked the first page of listings). So, I did remember snagging this off of the net. It's not quite electronics humor, but it is engineering humor, which I guess is as close as we're going to get.

    And yes, it's off topic, so go ahead and flame me.

    PS: I'm not going to admit (at least not publically) how many of these I said yes to.

    (Author: Jose Herrero (

    You may be an engineer...

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Hardware, Software, Management Humor

    (From: Dan Kuechle (

    A hardware engineer, a software engineer, and an engineering manager were skiing over the weekend. Upon leaving the resort the brakes failed on their car. They went screaming down the mountain until they drove into a snow bank. At this point they didn't know what to do. They still had half the mountain to descend, and no brakes. The engineering manager said "I will head up a task force to brainstorm the problem, and then come up with a schedule to implement the outcome." The hardware engineer said "I can fix these brakes! I will jack up the car, remove the wheels, and fix them with my Swiss army knife." The software engineer's only comments were "I think we ought to push the car back up the mountain, try it again, and see if it fails the same way"

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    Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books

    (From: Redd Emmett R (

    Here's one that a friend of mine sent me, I found it pretty funny.

    Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books

    Chocolate Chip Cookies:


    1. 532.35 cm3 gluten
    2. 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
    3. 4.9 cm3 refined halite
    4. 236.6 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride
    5. 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
    6. 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
    7. 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
    8. Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein
    9. 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao
    10. 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)
    To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation. In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radial flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six, and seven until the mixture is homogeneous. To reactor #2, add ingredient eight, followed by three equal volumes of the homogeneous mixture in reactor #1. Additionally, add ingredient nine and ten slowly, with constant agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the reaction to control any temperature rise that may be the result of an exothermic reaction.

    Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the mixture piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 x 600 mm). Heat in a 460K oven for a period of time that is in agreement with Frank & Johnston's first order rate expression (see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown. Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table, allowing the product to come to equilibrium.

    Someone's note: Cookie sheet thickness is unspecified :-).

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    How Data Really Travels

    (Author: Anonymous).

    If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

    If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the thrash, and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash, The your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

    You can't say this? What a shame, Sir! We'll find you another game, Sir...

    If the label on the cable on the table at your house, Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol, That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,

    And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of Gauss So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, Then you may as well reboot and then you go out with a bang, Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

    When the copy of your floppy's on the disk, And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk, Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM. Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?

    (From: Christopher Donham (

    A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question:

    "Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with a proof."

    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however wrote the following:

    "First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass.

    If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls 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 souls 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 people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to hell.

    With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.

    Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant.

    So, 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.

    Of course, if hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, than the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over."

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    English is Such a Crazy Language

    (From: Ravi Pillutla (

    Let's face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

    English muffins were not invented in England or french fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

    We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural of choose?

    If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

    In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

    How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can the weather be hot as h*ll one day and cold as h*ll another?

    When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm clock goes off by going on.

    When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?

    Now I know why I flunked my English. It's not my fault -- the silly language doesn't quite know whether it's coming or going.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    You Wouldn't Believe These on Amazing Stories

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    Some 'Facts' About Electricity

    (From: Jussi Kaasinen (

    Read this but be careful: you might not get any sleep tonight because of these shocking facts...

    Perhaps the greatest Electrical Pioneer of them all was Thomas Edison, who was a brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education and lived in New Jersey. Edison's first major invention in 1877, was the phonograph, which could soon be found in thousands of American homes, where it basically sat until 1923, when the record was invented. But Edison's greatest achievement came in 1879, when he invented the electric company. Edison's design was a brilliant adaptation of the simple electrical circuit: the electric company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then immediately gets the electricity back through another wire, then (this is the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again.

    This means that an electric company can sell a customer the same batch of electricity thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few customers take the time to examine their electricity closely. In fact the last year any new electricity was generated in the United States was 1937; the electric companies have been merely re-selling it ever since, which is why they have so much free time to apply for rate increases.

    -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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    Funny Ways to Get Rid of Telemarketers

    (Most from: SLEEZY (

    I look forward to telemarketers because I have great fun at their expense:

    1. Act hard of hearing and make them repeat things.

    2. When asked a questions, answer another one (Them: "Sir, would you be interested in buying our crap?" Me: "Why yes, I would like ice cream.").

    3. Act extremely stupid and ask off the wall questions ("So... How long does distance have to be before it's considered long distance?").

    4. I hand off the phone to my 13 month old.

    5. Start off talking to them but at some point quit talking. After they ask if your still there and seem like they're going to hang up, start talking and get them going again. Repeat as necessary.

    6. Act REALLY excited. (WHAT? I'm preapproved for my OWN CREDIT LINE? Off PHone: Oh honey, come quick!!! This nice man says I have excellent credit. OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!) This gets some really strange reactions.

    7. Let them go through their entire pitch then at the end say: "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else.".

    8. Let them go through their entire pitch, then at the end say: "Did you know you have spinach in your teeth?".

    9. Sound like a psycho-killer.

    10. Tell them you have a bad connection but really are interested. Then speak VERY loudly.

    11. Say "I'm sorry, you caught me right in the middle of (favorite sexual act here).

    12. If it's a person of the opposite sex, start hitting on them.

    13. Every once in a while, bark.

    14. Start arguing with yourself.

    (The following one suggested by: Courtney Eckhardt (

    1. Wait for an opportune moment and say something like: "I'm sorry, I'm really very interested in whatever you are selling, but you see, I just declared personal bankruptcy.....".
    So use your imagination. Add to this list.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Farmhouse (A Lawyer Joke)

    (From: Jim Lagerkvist (

    A rabbi, a hindu, and a lawyer are in a car. they run out of gas, and are forced to stop at a farmers house. The farmer says that there are only 2 extra beds, and one person will have to sleep in the barn. The hindu says, "I'm humble, I will sleep in the barn," so he goes out to the barn. In a few minutes, the farmer hears a knock on the door. It's the hindu and he says, "There is a cow in the barn. It's against my beliefs to sleep with a cow." So the rabbi says, "I'm humble, I will sleep in the barn." A few minutes later, the farmer hears another knock on the door and its' the rabbi. He says that it is against his beliefs to sleep where there is a pig and there is a pig in the barn. So the lawyer is forced to sleep in the barn.

    A few minutes later, there is a knock on the door. It's the pig and the cow.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Parrot

    (From: Dave A. Wreski (

    A magician was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The audience would be different each week, so the magician allowed himself to do the same tricks over and over again.

    There was only one problem: The captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician did every trick. Once he understood he started shouting in the middle of the show:

    "Look, it's not the same hat"

    "Look, he is hiding the flowers under the table"

    "Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?"

    The magician was furious but couldn't do anything; it was, after all, the captain's parrot.

    One day the ship had an accident and sank. The magician found himself on a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean with the parrot, of course.

    They stared at each other with hate, but did not utter a word. This went on for a day and another and another.

    After a week the parrot said: "OK, I give up. Where's the boat?"

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    How High Do You Jump (Discharging a TV)?

    (From: Bert Christensen).

    A tech that worked for me many years ago was holding on to a chassis and leaning forward to see something on the other side. He was always rather careless and had hooked up the HV lead in a sloppy >manner. His forehead came in contact with the 30kv. He jumped up into the air, turned around twice, said, "I almost f___ING lled myself, >walked out into the customer waiting area and cried. Ten minutes later he was in working on the same set.

    We later drew a scale on a leg of the bench. One inch represented how high you jumped with 1 kV and 25 inches for 25 kV, etc. It was remarkably accurate.

    (From: Vic Tosca (

    That's a KICKER!! I've got the same thing here, but I have it scaled to .808 in/kV. I found that's the accurate formula for the average weight bench tech, including glasses and pocket protector. We also put a bell on the ceiling- anyone that hits it with his head because of a shock gets a day off!

    It's located right under the emergency repair tool kit, which consists of a rabbit's foot, a magic wand, a crystal ball, and a hammer. We had to get rid of the hand laws, y'know. THAT was a *great* tool for tough dogs and irate customers!

    Clients love it.

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    New and Improved Hell

    (From: Dave A. Wreski (

    Author unknown:

    An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer -- you're in the wrong place."

    So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

    One day God calls Satan on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell?"

    Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

    God replies, "What??? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake - he should never have gotten down there; send him up here."

    Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him."

    God says, "Send him back up here or I will sue."

    Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Don't Lose Those Unpacking Instructions!

    A SCSI drive shipped from Bubba's in Louisiana with THIS article in the packaging. No kidding!!!



    Congratulations! You have purchased an extremely fine device that would give you thousands of years of trouble-free service, except that you undoubtedly will destroy it via some typical bonehead consumer maneuver.

    Which is why we ask you to:


    We're sorry. We just get a little crazy sometimes because we're always getting back "defective" merchandise where it turns out that the consumer inadvertently bathed the device in acid for six days. So, in writing these instructions, we naturally tend to assume that your skull is filled with dead insects, but we mean nothing by it. OK? Now let's talk about:


    The device is encased in foam to protect it from the Shipping People, who like nothing more than to jab spears into outgoing boxes.


    Ida Mae really wants that ring back, because it is her only proof of engagement, and her fiancee, Stuart, is now seriously considering backing out on the whole thing, in as much as he had consumed most of a bottle of Jim Beam in Quality Control when he decided to pop the question. It is not without irony that Ida Mae's last name is "Barker", if you catch our drift. WARNING: DO NOT EVER, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE, THROW AWAY THE BOX OR ANY OF THE PIECES OF STYROFOAM, EVEN THE LITTLE ONES SHAPED LIKE PEANUTS.

    If you attempt to return the device to the store, and you are missing one single peanut, the store personnel will laugh in the chilling manner exhibited by Joseph Stalin just after he enslaved Eastern Europe.

    Besides the device, the box should contain:

  • Eight little rectangular snippets of paper that say "WARNING".

  • A little plastic packet containing four 5/17 inch pilfer grommets and two club-ended 6/93 inch boxcar prawns.

    YOU WILL NEED TO SUPPLY: a matrix wrench and 60,000 feet of tram cable.

    IF ANYTHING IS DAMAGED OR MISSING: YOU IMMEDIATELY should turn to your spouse and say "Margaret, you know why this country can't make a car that can get all the way through the drive-through at Burger King without a major transmission overhaul? Because nobody cares, that's why."

    WARNING: This is assuming your spouse's name is Margaret. And not Pete.


    The plug on this device represents the latest thinking of the electrical industry's Plug Mutation Group, which, in a continuing effort to prevent consumers from causing hazardous electrical current to flow through their appliances, developed the Three-Pronged Plug, then the Plug Where One Prong Is Bigger Than The Other. Your device is equipped with the revolutionary new Plug Whose Prongs Consist Of Six Small Religious Figurines Made Of Chocolate.


    Lay it gently on the floor near an outlet, out of direct sunlight, and water it weekly with a damp handkerchief.




    INSTRUCTIONS: For results that can be the finest, it is our advising that: NEVER to hold these buttons two times!! Except the battery. Next taking the (something) earth section may cause a large occurrance! However. If this is not a trouble, such rotation is a very maintenance action, as a kindly (something) virepoint from Drawing B.


    Be it hereby known that this device, together with but not excluding all those certain parts thereunto, shall be warranted against all defects, failures and malfunctions as shall occur between now and Thursday afternoon, shortly before 2, during which time the Manufacturer will, at no charge to the Owner, send the device to our Service People, who will emerge from their caves and engage in rituals designed to cleanse it of evil spirits. This warranty does not cover the attractive designer case.


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    An Engineer in Paradise

    (From Glenn E Wilkop (

    This one comes from our beloved Mr. Tibbs... Enjoy!

    A rather inhibited engineer finally splurged on a luxury cruise to the Caribbean. It was the "craziest" thing he had ever done in his life. Just as he was beginning to enjoy himself, a hurricane roared on the huge ship, capsizing it like a child's toy. Somehow the engineer, desperately hanging on to a life preserver, managed to wash ashore on a secluded island. Outside of beautiful scenery, a spring-fed pool, bananas and coconuts, there was little else. He lost all hope and for hours on end, sat under the same palm tree.

    One day, after several months had passed, a gorgeous woman in a small rowboat appeared. "I'm from the other side of the island," she said. "Were you on the cruise ship, too?" "Yes, I was", he answered, "But where did you get that rowboat?" "Well, I whittled the oars from gum tree branches, wove the reinforced gunnel from palm branches, and made the keel and stern from a Eucalyptus tree." "But what did you use for tools?" asked the man. "There was an unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed on the south side of the island. I discovered that if I fired it to a particular temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. Anyhow, that's how I got the tools. But enough of that," she said, "where have you been living all this time? I don't see any shelter." "To be honest, I have just been sleeping on the beach," he said. "Would you like to come to my place?" the woman asked. The engineer nodded dumbly.

    She expertly rowed them around to her side of the island, and tied up the boat with a handsome strand of hand-woven hemp topped with a neat back splice. They walked up a winding stone walk she had laid around a palm tree. There stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. "It's not much but I call it home."Inside she said, "sit down, please. Would you like to have a drink?" "No, thanks," said the man. "One more coconut juice and I will throw up." "It won't be coconut juice," the woman replied. I have a crude still out back so we can have authentic Pina Coladas." Trying to hid his amazement, the man accepted the drink and they sat down on her couch to talk. After they had exchanged stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had a beard?" "No," the man replied. " I was clean shaven all my life till I ended up on this island." "Well, if you'd like to shave, there's a razor upstairs in the bathroom." The man, no longer questioning anything, went upstairs to the bathroom and shaved with an intricate bone-and-shell device that was honed razor sharp. Next he showered, not even attempting to guess how she managed to get warm water into the bathroom. Then he went back downstairs. "You look great," said the woman. "I think I will go up and slip into something more comfortable." As she did, the man continued to sip his Pina Colada. After a short time, the woman, smelling of gardenias. returned revealing a gown fashioned out of pounded palm fronds. "Tell me," she asked, "We've both been out here for a very long time with no companionship. You know what I mean. Have you been there anything you really miss? Something that all men and women need? Something that would be really nice right now?" "Yes there is!" the man replied, shucking off his shyness. "There is something I've wanted to do for so long but on this island it was well...impossible." "Well, it is not impossible any more" the woman said. The man, practically panting in excitement, said breathlessly, "You mean you actually figured out some way we can check our e-mail here?"

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    Hot Water and Ice Makers

    (From: Chris Hagwood (

    My neighbor just bought a new fridge. He said he was gonna put in an icemaker line, so I stopped by to see how he was getting along. He said he was almost done, but had some trouble early on:

    He had called his cousin, who told him to tap into the HOT water line, since "hot water freezes faster--that's a fact" he tells me. So I bit my tongue and waited for him to finish telling me what went wrong. "Did it melt the plastic line?", I thought. No, it seems that he forgot that the same water that was going into his icemaker was going to the "cold water through the door". He would get one glass of cold water, then a glass of HOT! So he had to redo everything on a cold line.

    Geez Louis! What people will believe.... "hot water freezes faster"! Insane.

    Editor's note: The "Hot water freezes faster" thread, like "NiCds and the memory effect" and "PCs versus Macs" threads are typically never ending. There are simply too many variables to consider in an Internet discussion.

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    Horsepower Ratings and AC Line Magnets

    "How can an electric motor generate 5HP from a 120VAC, 15A wall outlet that puts out only 2.4 HP?"

    (From: John M. Feiereisen (

    Maybe they were using Ecoblow(tm) power line magnets. Ordinary electricity molecules clump up and do not efficiently energize electrical equipment. The powerful magnetic field of the Ecoblow breaks up these clumps and aligns the electricity molecules through a process known as gullibility-induced victimization, thereby resulting in more efficient scam - oops - operation.

    Using an Ecoblow, you can squeeze almost 35 HP out of an ordinary 120 V, 15 A circuit!

    A local bakery installed an Ecoblow 3 on the power cord to their industrial size mixer. Heck, the thing spins so fast now, they don't even have use the oven to bake their bread. (Good thing, too, since they burn their bread with it ever since they installed the Ecoflow(tm) gas line magnet.)

    I've got an Ecoblow 3 on the power cord to my 128K Mac and now it's about twice as fast as a Sun Ultra 2! An amazing side effect is that I'm now able run codes in 128KB of memory when they used to take a minimum of 64 MB!

    I'm currently in the process of coupling an electric motor to an electrical generator. An Ecoblow 3 on the output of the generator will allow me to power the electric motor *and* produce enough electricity to power my house!

    Ecoblow - buy one now, because somebody's got to take your money.

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    All About AC Batteries

    From a sci.electronics.misc (or related) newsgroup posting:

    "This AC Battery thing is all conspiracy - a US Government cover-up. However, now we have the "Net" and soon the truth will be out about Elvis, Roswell, lost socks and AC 9V batteries."

    (From: Bob Myers (


    I can't believe what a young, gullible crowd we have here. You guys will swallow ANYTHING.

    Any true Old Hand at electronics would know that the AC output from 9V batteries is simply a holdover from the days of portable tube radios. The AC was used to run the filaments, and also served to drive the DC-to-DC converter that was used to obtain the 100-200V of plate voltage from the 9V DC output. (Yes, they tried the obvious route of simply making 200 VDC batteries - still with the necessary AC output, mind you! - but some tragic accidents at a few K-marts (which were ultimately traced to a simple packaging defect) ended THAT standard really quickly, let me tell you.

    Today, of course, it's rare to find a product which actually makes USE of the AC output from these batteries, with the exception of some earlier portable CD players which derived the base for the multiple-phase oversampling input oscillation-compensation stage backup clock from it. (And boy, weren't THOSE designs fun, huh?) But once a standard is established, it's hard to get rid of it. Especially with all those production lines already tooled up. Sure, they might save a little in not having to add the cavorite in at the anode insertion process, but it's NOT worth completely rebuilding the line, trust me.

    Sure glad I could clear that up for you.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    CDs in the Microwave

    In response to the following exchange:

    "Yes, my microwave-damaged CD's are difficult to repair too. :)"

    "What are micro wave damaged CD's?"

    (From: DaViD Boulet/Don Harley (

    The trick is to use a very high-quality line-conditioner for the microwave. I try to microwave my CD's late at night when the electricity is "cleanest" to get the best results. Also, I've found that the newer microwaves with LED time-displays seem to add some euphonic properties to the sound...more relaxed treble, smoother string sound and more liquid midrange. What would be great is if I could get a microwave oven with a detachable power cord so I could use a good-quality MIT power cable. Now *that* would be neat.

    I'm hoping that some audiophile company picks up on this and gives a tube-based microwave. Too bad Audio Alchemy went out of business. I heard that they had plans to release an audiophile-designed (tube?) microwave oven before they went under. Any ideas if Camelot might pick up on this? The important thing is that they keep the price under the $1000 to make it affordable to the "normal" starving audiophile.

    "Ahh, have you tried STEREO m'waves yet? You have to buy 2 CDs, but the sound is well worth it. Make sure that both microwaves are the same brand so that you can use just 1 remote..."

    (From: DaViD Boulet/Don Harley (

    I like your suggestion except for one thing...I don't believe that remotes should be part of a high-end microwave set-up. In my should get up to change the minutes/defrost setting. My experience has shown that, in general, companies who offer remotes with their microwaves seem to compromise in sound-quality. Then again, this effect is not resultant from the remote itself. It just seems to stem from a "philosophy" of consumer-gadgetry that many "receiver" style microwave ovens reflect. My favorite (and best sounding) microwave is plain black...with a simple "on-off" switch and no tone controls.

    (From: Pat Crean (

    Mine sounded FANTASTIC until the turntable stopped - I'm going to make sure my next microwave has a built-in carousel for uninterrupted listening pleasure!

    (From: Ian Stirling

    Hmm, anyone thought about making a plasma speaker, using a modulated microwave?

    (From: Armand (

    I tried shaking my MV rapidly and nothing happened-- although my macaroni and cheese did resemble plasma. ;}

    (From: Dave).

    I doubt that with the grade of microwave-wire you're'd possibly be able to hear the improvement. Why invest hundreds of dollars in a high-end microwave set-up (including disc treatments like the marinating solvent...which I heard at my friend's house and it *really* makes a noticeable difference...especially in the bass--much more dynamic and full) only to shove that signal through a cheap pair of interconnects? IMO, you should have *just* as much money invested in your microwave cables as you spend on the rest of microwave-system.

    (From: Derrick Hopkins (

    Oh please. If you're going to go with Microwaved CD's(instead of the vastly superior Oven cooked LP's) it doesn't really matter kind of interconnect you use. A micro waved atom is a microwaved atom..period. Even if it's garbled a little, the average person can hear a difference.

    When you get past all of the audiophile/gourmet snobbery, you'll realize that a $99 Walmart microwave sounds just as good as a $7000 McIntosh microwave.

    Consumer Reports did a huge feature on this back in March '92. A Kmart microwave placed ahead of Carver, Sony, Westinghouse, and Adcom. The only model to beat it was Denon and that's only because it was THX/Redenbokker certified.

    (From: DaViD Boulet/Don Harley (

    First of all...we *all* know that when consumer reports rates microwaves...sound quality is the last thing on their mind. If I recall, they didn't even feel that gold-plated-audiophile microwaves offered any sonic improvement! Consumer reports is only interested in specs and features...

    Secondly, your assertion that a 10 year old conventional oven-baked LP can sound *better* than a microwaved CD won't be true much longer. Once we get the next-generation of DVD-based Microwaves with 24-beep/96-calories and multi-panel sound, the debate between analog-ovens and digital microwaves will be over once and for all.

    (From: Guillermo Gonzalez (

    Yeah, but my problem remains, that the copper sulfate used in the green marker that I use on my CD's, well, it causes some serious arcing in the microwave...

    Alas, what is an audiophile to do?

    (From: L. E. Sixma (

    Reheat the lot in a gas-oven for 24 hours at a temperature of 215 degrees Centigrade could do the trick. This is a classic analogue trick. Still you got to be shure that the cookies are taken out in time or else they will be sounding awful. Cassette-spaghetti takes less cooking time and in this case 100 degrees will do for audiophile ear-food.

    (From: Nicholas Bodley (

    Just a tad off color, but curious. Reminds me of the apparently true story about the red-tailed hawks that would periodically let out a long stream above high-voltage transmission lines and cause arcs that tripped circuit breakers and shut down the lines. This was a significant problem for a while, until they found out how to make the hawks move elsewhere (I've forgotten how they did it). Apparently, the hawks weren't hurt...

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Barking Dog

    (From: Jack Kraft (

    It is common practice in England to ring a telephone by signaling extra voltage across one side of the two wire circuit and ground (earth in England). When the subscriber answers the phone, it switches to the two wire circuit for conversation. This method allows two parties on the same line to be signaled without disturbing each other.

    Anyway, an elderly lady with several pets called to say that her telephone failed to ring when her friends called and on the few occasions when it did ring her dog always barked first just before the ring. Pat proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog.

    He climbed the nearby pole, hooked his test set to the lady's line, and dialed the number. The phone didn't ring. He tried again. The dog barked loudly, followed by a ringing telephone. Climbing down the pole the amazed Pat found:

    1. The dog was tied to the telephone systems ground post via a metal chain and collar.

    2. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current.

    3. After several such jolts, the dog would start barking and urinating on the ground.

    4. The wet ground now completed the circuit and the phone would ring.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    On the Effects of Magnetic Water Softeners

    (From: several authors, unknown, for obvious reasons).
    "Testing magnetic softeners can be very dangerous. Should you accidentally over-magnetize the water and unknowingly drink the same, your stomach could burst if you come too near a large ferrous object."

    "This happened to a friend of mine. With the philosophy "if one is good, two is better", he put two magnetic water softeners on the same line. Being warm from doing the job, he took a large drink, than walked by a steel support post in his basement. He was in the hospital for over a month while they did reconstructive surgery on his guts...

    Oddly enough, until the magnets were removed, all his faucets constantly oriented themselves toward the north. It was spooky..."

    "This really explains a lot for me!

    I installed one of these when we first moved into our house 4 years ago. Ever since then we wake up each morning facing north for no apparent reason. If my wife and I sleep facing the same direction (head to toe) we wake up on opposite sides of the bed. If we sleep in opposite directions we wake up clinging to each other in the middle of the bed. Our dishes and clothes always manage to align with north after several days in the drawers too. My 10 month old daughter just started to crawl and she only crawls towards north. We have shale in the ground here and a well. Shale contains lots of iron. We must be magnetizing the iron molecules in the water. The grass that I water always seems to bend north no matter which way I mow. Several floppy disks and video tapes which I stored near an humidifier were mysteriously erased. I seem to bump into large steel objects a lot. Some times I have a hard time getting out of the car, and I never seem to be able to get a compass to work correctly."

    In response to the question: "Why are magnetic water softeners so expensive":
    "That's probably because you're pricing it as though they were ORDINARY magnets, which of course are fairly inexpensive. But, as anyone will tell you, ordinary magnets do not have any water-conditioning capabilities.

    I believe the magnets used in these water conditioners are quantum-mechanic super-heterodyne field effect tachyon-modulated (QMSHFETM) magnets, which of course are more expensive. The manufacturer uses a proprietary process which converts ordinary magnets into the QMSHFETM type, and the process ain't cheap. (This same process, I believe, is what is used to make the 'blue water' that goes into those Laundry CD's and other devices which replace laundry detergent. Hence, these devices are also much more expensive than one would expect for a piece of plastic filled with blue dye.)"

    "Of course the price is higher than the materials; the question is, what are the potential benefits worth to you?

    After we started using it, our water became so soft we have to add salt to it to get the soap off our skin; my polyps shrank; and my children started getting better grades at school. If Monsieur Henri Paul had passed his wine through a magnetic conditioner, all this would never have happened. So anyway, I recommend it highly at any price.

    In addition, I have been watering my flowers with the magnetized water. You've never seen such roses...they're the size of satellite dishes. (I mean those new DSS ones, not the old large ones. Maybe if I planted old roses...) Curiously, the roses all point north. I guess that's because they're magnetized. This makes them useless as satellite dishes, because the geosynchronous satellites are all in the southern sky."

    "Yeah, but have you tried putting the conditioned water on dollar bills? Several weeks after getting mine, I left a couple of one dollar bills in my pants in the wash. Boy was I surprised when I took the pants out of the dryer to find two *TEN* dollar bills in the pocket.

    Since then, I've laundered over 70 one dollar bills, netting me a $630 profit, which was almost enough to pay for the magnet. I'm seriously saving up for another one, figuring my dryer will then spit out $100 bills, saving me lots of time!"

    (From: Andy Wing).

    A magnetic water softener limerick:

    "The MWT pundits won't yield
    Despite no 'hard' evidence to wield
    , of course
    will flog the dead horse
    And insists that it works in the field!
    Sorry folks, couldn't resist, puns intended. :-)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Suggestions for Repairing Scratched CDs

    (From: Christopher Bedwell (

    Try connecting the laser on your CD player to a flux capacitor. That should generate the 1.21 Giga Watts needed to repair the proton electrical photon surface. Hopefully with enought plutonium you can glow in the dark too!!!

    Or you could just rub it in a MacDonalds burger! that certainly has enough chemical content residue to melt and re-bond anything.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Warnings about Sucking up Radio Waves

    (From: Pat Crean (

    You have to be very careful when using devices with good sensitivity.

    Remember, the transmitters are pumping a certain amount of power into the VHF/UHF bands with the expectation that there are receiving devices available to absorb it. If too many people use highly sensitive receivers, the excess energy not being absorbed will accumulate until we have an explosion in the affected band that will rival Krakatoa in its effects.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Engineers versus Business Executives

    (From: Marcio Domene (

    Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives.

    Now a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:

    As every engineer knows:      WORK
                                --------- = POWER
    Since KNOWLEDGE = POWER, and TIME = MONEY, we have:   WORK
                                                        --------- = KNOWLEDGE 
    Solving for money, we get:        WORK
                                  ------------- = MONEY
    Thus, as KNOWLEDGE approaches zero, MONEY approaches infinity, regardless of the WORK done!

    Conclusions: The less you know, the more money you Make.

    Note: It has been speculated that the reason why Bill Gates dropped out of Havard's math program was because he stumbled upon this proof as an undergraduated, and dedicated the rest of his carrer to the pursuit of ignorance.

    (From: John Woodgate (

    But there is a third postulate, at least equally well-known as those:

    But WORK/TIME = MONEY only if you are paid by the hour: monthly staff do not get overtime pay.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Keeping Electricity Working

    (From: Dave VanHorn" (

    Warning: Do not read while drinking!

    This is even funnier if you follow Alt.religion.scientology, but all by itself, it's a hoot.


    The loyalist officers in 4th dimensional hiding captured the following post from the alt.religion.electricity newsgroup in an alternate universe. Any resemblance to Earth people living or dead is purely accidental and is due to God playing dice with the various universes.

    -- The Pilot

    KEEPING ELECTRICITY WORKING - A 21st Century Retrospective

    By David MissCambridge, Keeper of the Current

    Issue authority granted by the first Church of Edison

    As KofC of the CofE, it is with humble pride and pleasure that I announce the upcoming hundredth anniversary of one of our most basic policies, Keeping Electricity Working, issued by our glorious founder on Jan 17, 1898.

    It is this policy above all others which has preserved the technology of electricity for us and future generations.

    It was here that TOM first identified the evil world conspiracy of financiers, plagiarists, and space aliens that was attempting to pervert his discoveries and deny electricity to mankind.

    Consider, for example, the evil Tesla who proposed that the divine current should ALTERNATE! A stupid and ridiculous idea. How would it achieve any useful work if the current simply zig zagged back and forth in the wires? He would have undermined the entire structure of DIRECT CURRENT which moves DIRECTLY to its target and achieves LIGHTNING FAST 100 PERCENT STANDARD RESULTS.

    But TAE, by virtue of his superior genius, saw that it wasn't just the yappings of Tesla and Westinghouse, for the same attacks and unworkable ideas were showing up all over the world.

    Of course we know that the characteristics of a suppressive person would be to deny the truth of the CofE and seek to deny it financing by undercutting its prices. But it was only TAE himself who could spot the true source of all these SPs, the true suppressive influence behind them.

    We now know that it was the Venusians, led by their evil telepathic ruler, XeMoonie, who inspired these diabolical attacks. But by means of our tin foil protective hats and an enlightened legal system, we have driven his influences off of Earth and will keep mankind free of his dreadful doings.

    Now remember the key points,

    1. Stamp out any experimentation or variation of our workable tech.

    2. Buy a fresh foil hat from your local CofE every year

    3. Report any squirrel wire twisters to the police immediately.
    Remember that only certified CofE graduates may work on anything connected with electricity. We know that the courses are expensive, but the results are proven.

    For Electricity is dangerous and anyone who applys squirrel practices to twist wires on their own could be electrocuted or have their house burned down. Your entire neighborhood is at risk if you ignore them. Keeping our homes safe is everybody's job.

    And we have a wonderful new TECH BREAKTHROUGH to announce.

    By careful study of TAE's research notes, we have discovered that the size of the wire might be increased to carry more current.

    Our new double sized copper conductors will be available next year at only $100 dollars a yard. Not only will this bring about obvious savings, but it will allow the average apartment house to support more lighting fixtures.

    With this breakthrough, we think that it will even be possible to place lights in stairwells. Just imagine it, your iceman will no longer have to stumble around in the dark with a heavy and potentially dangerous cube of ice for your icebox.

    We are working now on a project to carve TAE's writings onto iron plates and bury these in secret vaults all over the world. This will ensure that future civilizations will benefit from his wisdom and knowledge. Send your contributions in now.

    Building a better future,

    -- Davy

    (End of interdimensionally captured transmission)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Transistors, Anyone?

    I don't think the following questions are quite addressed but anyhow....

    "Would you please tell me what transistors do and how they do so? What is the difference between PNP and NPN transistors? What is the concept of using a transistor as a switch? Thanks a lot."

    (From: Gareth Alun Evans (, © 1997 by Gareth Alun Evan.)

    A transistor is rather like the human alimentary canal, after the typical USA diet of burgers and chips; - it constipates, as do semiconductor diodes with no appled bias - the available holes get filled in and nothing can move.

    The base current is like a small application of laxative; some of the constipation passes through, until the effect of the laxative wears off. The total throughput depends upon the Mobility. By applying a continuous feed of laxative, then a continuous current passes through. Applying too much laxative results in saturation - i.e., there is a limit to the maximum throughput, depending on the external circuit; in this case, the maximum rate at which you can feed in the burgers at one end. (If you are a customer of MacDonalds, here in Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK then this rate is very low - I have been there twice, and both times, the service was *APPALLING*.)

    The difference between PNP and NPN is the direction. In the old days, PNP was used, whereby one injected from the rear end, using a sort of huge syringe - hence PNP - "Put-in Near Poo". More recently NPN is more common, where the laxative is entered via a carrier of some sort, usually chocolate and so we have NPN - "Now Pleasant Nutrient".

    Despite the adverse effects, the USA diet of burgers and chips carries on, and recourse has to be made once again to the chocolate. Now the ratio of the carriers of the constipation, the burgers and chips, is much higher than that of the chocolate. Thus they are referred to as the Majority Carriers and the Minority Carriers. If you indulge too much, you find that the vendor will provide you with a paper bag, known as an Excess Carrier.

    More recently, there are problems with impurities and you find that the opposite effect occurs. You have no time to reach home before diarrhea takes over. You have no option but to stop the car and nip over a gate into a field. Hence the Field Effect Transistor. This time you have to inject something to STOP the flow. Now, assuming that there was a certain control over events; nothing happened until the Gate was encountered, you then became the Source of flow, and the field itself acted as the Drain. What was originally dirt, became grass, was consumed by the Cow, you ate it as a burger, and it has now returned to the topsoil, an effect known in the trade as Surface Recombination. (Incidentally, did you know that Diarrhea is hereditary? Apparently it runs in the jeans.)

    Some of the impurities accumulate in your rear end, and no matter how valiantly you try, you cannot rid yourself of them. Hence In-de-Bum is known as a Try-Valiant Impurity. In the same way, Arsenic, well known for its ill-effects and accumulation in the body tissues is known as a Pent-Up-Valiant Impurity.

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    Bill Gates' New House

    (Forwarded by: Bob Parker.)

    While the Gateses are moving in from their temporary quarters nearby, final construction of their new house is not expected to be completed until the end of the year. Now if I were a contractor with a sense of humor...

    Bill: "There are a few issues we need to discuss."

    Contractor: "Ah, you have our basic support option. Calls are free for the first 90 days and $75 a call thereafter. Okay?"

    Bill: "Uh, yeah... the first issue is the living room. We think it's a little smaller than we anticipated."

    Contractor: "Yeah. Some compromises were made to have it out by the release date."

    Bill: "We won't be able to fit all our furniture in there."

    Contractor: "Well, you have two options. You can purchase a new, larger living room; or you can use a Stacker."

    Bill: "Stacker?"

    Contractor: "Yeah, it allows you to fit twice as much furniture into the room. By stacking it, of course, you put the entertainment center on the couch... the chairs on the table... etc. You leave an empty spot, so when you want to use some furniture you can unstack what you need and then put it back when you're done."

    Bill: "Uh... I dunno... issue two. The second issue is the light fixtures. The bulbs we brought with us from our old home won't fit. The threads run the wrong way."

    Contractor: "Oh! Thats easy. Those bulbs aren't plug and play. You'll have to upgrade to the new bulbs."

    Bill: "And the electrical outlets? The holes are round, not rectangular. How do I fix that?"

    Contractor: "Just uninstall and reinstall the electrical system."

    Bill: "You're kidding!?"

    Contractor: "Nope. Its the only way."

    Bill: " Well... I have one last problem. Sometimes, when I have guests over, someone will flush the toilet and it won't stop. The water pressure drops so low that the showers don't work."

    Contractor: "That's a resource leakage problem. One fixture is failing to terminate and is hogging the resources preventing access from other fixtures."

    Bill: "And how do I fix that?"

    Contractor: "Well, after each flush, you all need to exit the house, turn off the water at the street, turn it back on, reenter the house and then you can get back to work."

    Bill: "That's the last straw. What kind of product are you selling me?"

    Contractor: "Hey, if you don't like it... nobody made you buy it."

    Bill: "And when will this be fixed?"

    Contractor: "Oh, in your next house -- which will be ready to release sometime near the end of next year. Actually it was due out this year, but we've had some delays..."

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    The Philogiston Theory of Electronics

    (Original author's name not available or he didn't want credit.)

    (Forwarded by: Atesli (

    A sheet of paper crossed my desk the other day and as I read it, realization of a Basic Truth came to me. So simple! So obvious we couldn't see it! John Kuivinen, Chairman of the Palomar Repeater Committee, (an amateur radio group), I think has discovered what makes integrated circuits work. He says that smoke (yes, you read smoke) is the thing that makes ICs work because every time you let the smoke out of it, the IC stops working. I was flabbergasted!!! Why of course he's right!!!

    Smoke makes all things electrical work. Remember the last time the smoke escaped from your Lucas voltage regulator? Didn't it stop working?

    I sat and smiled like an idiot as more of the truth dawned. It's the wiring harness that carries smoke from one device to another in your machine and when the harness springs a leak, it lets the smoke out all at once, and then nothing works. Can't you see now why motors have to be large to handle all that smoke, and don't they have smoke all over the inside when they quit working? Think about it!

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    Microsoft TV Dinners

    (Forwarded from: Nicholas Bodley (

    Instructions for Microsoft's New TV Dinner Product:

    You must first remove the plastic cover. By doing so you agree to accept and honor Microsoft's rights to all TV dinners. You may not give anyone else a bite of your dinner (which would constitute an infringement of Microsoft's rights). You may, however, let others smell and look at your dinner and are encouraged to tell them how good it is.

    If you have a PC microwave oven, insert the dinner into the oven. Set the oven using these keystrokes: <\mstv.dinn.//08.5min@50%heat//. Then enter: If you have a Mac oven, insert the dinner and press start. The oven will set itself and cook the dinner.

    If you have a Unix oven, insert the dinner, enter the ingredients of the dinner (found on the package label), the weight of the dinner, and the desired level of cooking and press start. The oven will calculate the time and heat and cook the dinner exactly to specifications. Be forewarned that Microsoft dinners may crash, in which case your oven must be restarted.

    This is a simple procedure. Remove the dinner from the oven and enter Many users have reported that the dinner tray is far too big, larger than the dinner itself, having many useless compartments, most of which are empty. These are for future menu items. If the tray is too large to fit in your oven you will need to upgrade your equipment.

    Dinners are only available from registered outlets, and only the chicken variety is currently produced. If you want another variety, call Microsoft Help and they will explain that you really don't want another variety. Microsoft Chicken is all you really need. Microsoft has disclosed plans to discontinue all smaller versions of their chicken dinners. Future releases will only be in the larger family size. Excess chicken may be stored for future use, but must be saved only in Microsoft approved packaging.

    Microsoft promises a dessert with every dinner after '98. However, that version has yet to be released. Users have permission to get thrilled in advance.

    Microsoft dinners may be incompatible with other dinners in the freezer, causing your freezer to self-defrost. This is a feature, not a bug. Your freezer probably should have been defrosted anyway.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Is Windows a Virus or a Bug?

    (From: John Borchard (

    Is Windows a Virus? No, Windows is not a virus. Here's what viruses do:

    1. They replicate quickly - okay, Windows does that.

    2. Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system as they do so - okay, Windows does that.

    3. Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk - okay, Windows does that too.

    4. Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with valuable programs and systems. Sigh... Windows does that, too.

    5. Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup, that's with Windows, too.
    Until now it seems Windows is a virus... But there are fundamental differences:

    Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems, their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become more sophisticated as they mature.

    So Windows is not a virus.

    It's a bug.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Did They Really Say That?

    (Forwarded by: Barry Werner (

    Caveat emptor! Read on...

    Recently reported in the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Journal:

    The following are questions actually asked of witnesses by attorneys during trials and, in certain cases, the responses given by insightful witnesses:

    1. "Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?"

    2. "The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?"

    3. "Were you present when your picture was taken?"

    4. "Were you alone or by yourself?"

    5. "Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?"

    6. "Did he kill you?"

    7. "How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?"

    8. "You were there until the time you left, is that true?"

    9. "How many times have you committed suicide?"

    10. Q: "So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?"
      A: "Yes."
      Q: "And what were you doing at that time?"

    11. Q: "She had three children, right?"
      A: "Yes."
      Q: "How many were boys?"
      A: "None."
      Q: "Were there any girls?"

    12. Q: "You say the stairs went down to the basement?"
      A: "Yes."
      Q: "And these stairs, did they go up also?"

    13. Q: "Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?"
      A: "I went to Europe, Sir."
      Q: "And you took your new wife?"

    14. Q: "How was your first marriage terminated?"
      A: "By death."
      Q: "And by who's death was it terminated?"

    15. Q: "Can you describe the individual?"
      A: "He was about medium height and had a beard."
      Q: "Was this a male, or a female?"

    16. Q: "Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice
      which sent to your attorney?"
      A: "No, this is how I dress when I go to work."

    17. Q: "Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?"
      A: "All my autopsies are performed on dead people."

    18. Q: "All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?"
      A: "Oral."

    19. Q: "Do you recall the time that you examined the body?"
      A: "The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.."
      Q: "And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?"
      A: "No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy."

    20. Q: "You were not shot in the fracas?"
      A: "No, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel."

    21. Q: "Are you qualified to give a urine sample?"
      A: "I have been since early childhood."

    22. Q: "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?"
      A: "No."
      Q: "Did you check for blood pressure?"
      A: "No."
      Q: "Did you check for breathing?"
      A: "No."
      Q: "So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?"
      A: "No."
      Q: "How can you be so sure, Doctor?"
      A: "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."
      Q: "But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?"
      A: "It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere."

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Battery Humor


    You did hear about the Electrical Engineer that was arrested for battery. They put him in a dry cell :).

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    What Happens When Engineers Think Too Much About Christmas

    (Forwarded by: Steve Seaman (

    It's an oldie, but a goodie.

    1. No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has seen.

    2. There are 2 billion children (under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't appear to handle Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish children, that reduces the work load to 15% of the total - 378 million or so. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.

      One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

    3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with thanks to time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west. This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining gifts under the tree, eat the snacks, get back up the a chimney, get back in the sleigh, and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million homes are distributed evenly (which we know to be false but for the sake of these calculations we will accept) we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75 1/2 million miles, not counting bathroom stops. This means that Santa's sleigh is traveling at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe moves at a poky 27.4 MPS; the average reindeer runs at 15 MPH.

    4. The sleighs payload adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons not counting Santa, who is inexorably described as overweight. On land, confessional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point one) could pull TEN TIMES the usual amount, we can not do the job with 8 or even 9, we need 214,000 reindeer. This increases the weight, not even counting the sleigh, to 353,430 tons. Again for comparison this is 4 times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth 2.

    5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer in the same manner as a spacecraft re-entering the earth+s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.2 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the next pair of reindeer, and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousands of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times the force of gravity. A 300 pound Santa would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

    6. Conclusion: There was a Santa, but he's dead now.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Old Digital Engineers

    (From: John Woodgate (

    Old digital engineers (well, there will be some, one day) never die, they only lose their most significant bits.

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    That Darn Oops Button

    Haven't you always wanted a button labeled 'oops' on your keyboard for those occasions where 1 microsecond after posting something to (or a more juicy newsgroups), you realized how stupid it was?

    Maybe the 'Oops' button would create a market for those no-longer-needed 'printer buffers'??? :-) Darn, that great an idea shouldn't be in a publicly accessible document. Oops!

    (From: Mr Fixit (

    I believe I could retire in style if I can design a ad-on computer button labeled 'Oops'. It would be wired to a small, but high powered electronic box that would go in-line at the modem connection.

    Once in place, we usenet users would have a means of dealing with that dreaded situation when we push the 'post' button at the same instant we realize that we shouldn't have pushed it. A quick slap on the 'oops' button would instantly send a high powered jolt down the phone line where it would catch up to the inadvertently sent message and blow it to smitherines, like a Patriot missile intercepting a Scud.

    I know I would make regular use of it, as well as Sam, Joe and countless others on this NG alone. And just think of how many NG's there are with their own regretful posters!

    Of course, I would have to SPAM all of the NG's to get the word out and start my $millions rolling in. But, knowing me I would probably have second thoughts about being a SPAMMER the instant I push the 'post' button. My knee-jerk reaction would undoubtably be to slap the new prototype 'oops' button on my computer and blast my own SPAM before it could be delivered. The end result being that I would be the only one on usenet with this powerful technology-turned personal toy.

    Never mind that this would be grossly unfair to everyone else, the cold reality would be that I just blasted away my comfortable retirement.

    Retirement.....that reminds me...I've got toilets, sinks, tubs, floors, walls, windows, doors, etc., etc., to fix. I don't have time to be inventing toys!

    So, in lieu of all that, we'll all just have to accept human nature for what it is (occasionally unreliable) and offer Sam a knowing grin, and get on with what we're here for.

    Now, what was it we are here for?

    Where's that darned 'oops' button now when I need it? Umm, never mind.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Atomic Charge

    (Forwarded from: Brad Albing (

    Two atoms are sitting in a bar:

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    Transformer Design - Tomato Launcher

    This is actually part of a long thread on (much of it between Chuck Parsons and Winfield Hill) but I got tired of extracting and formatting all the relevant stuff!

    (From: Chuck Parsons (

    Well there is nothing I like better than finding the right intuitive model fo something. Intuition is so fast if you can keep out the bad intuition. Many thanks for helping me lay another block in my EE foundation I hope others benefited as well.

    While mulling this over last night I tried to come up with a circuit that explored both converters. I came up with a hybrid design that uses both converters in a single transformer. First though I needed a reason for building it, this is what I came up with. I don't claim that the design is particularly good I was just trying to bring some of the issues in to play. I invite anyone who cares to to disparage or (better) improve the designs.

    Our story begins many years ago (at least for some of us) when all of us in the gang happened to be about 16. Old enough to drive, but young enough that the police might still take us too our parents instead of jail.

    Those jerks in alt.pdf_not_gif.big_binaries.wannabies.geese. are getting their due at the hands of our car mounted linear induction motor tomato launcher. It launches 1kg tomatoes. 1 kg tomatoes are rather large, but we have gardening expertise here in sci.electronics and have no trouble procuring our superior ammunition. I have grown 1.1kg tomatoes, and last summer was hours away from picking 4 even larger ones when those &%#@* alt.pdf_not_gif.big_binaries.wannabies GEESE got them.

    Careful, but messy, testing has determined that 30 meter per second (108 kph or 67 mph) launch speeds are possible without PPF ( premature projectile fragmentation) requiring another trip to the car wash. Naturally we want to come as close to this as possible without exceeding it. The energy of a 1kg projectile traveling at 30 mps is 450 Joules. Our launcher has an impressive 45% efficiency (of course we designed it!) so a launch requires 1000 Joules of energy. We store this energy in 220,000 uF of capacitance at 100 Volts. the caps are discharged all the way to 30 volts during firing, so only 1100 Joules of energy storage is needed to deliver 1000 Joules. Testing has also shown that for small variations in the linear motor input voltage the variation in projectile speed is reasonably linearly related to the voltage variation.

    Generation 1 used a simple 20 watt 100 kHz PWM flyback design to generate the 100 volts from the car battery. The ferrite needs to store 200 uJ on each pulse. A ferrite capable of storing 400uJ was chosen to avoid saturation at high input voltages. This design worked great. The 100 volts was accurate assuring reproducible launches whether or not we had the car revving for get away or had the battery just about dead after a long day of field trials. I sketch it here:

                                +----------|>|----------+-------+-----o 100 V
     Vin 10-15 volts o-----+ ||(                        |       |
                            )||(                       _|_      |
                            )||(                 .22 F ---      |
                            )||(                        |       |
                        +--+ ||(                       _|_      |
            30 V        |       +--+                    -       |
            MOSFET .|---+         _|_                           |
                   ||<--.          -                            |
               +---'|---+                                       |
               |       _|_                                      |
               |        -                                       |
               |     +----------------------------------+       |
               +-----| PWM Controller: 0-80% duty cycle |-------+
    The inductance of the primary and the avalanche capability of the Mosfet have served to protect the circuit from those nasty 50 Volt transients in the car's ignition system.

    Unfortunately after a few successful raids the alters took advantage of the 50 second recharge time to close and return fire from close range.

    Generation 2 then using the same ferrite modified the design to use forward conversion allowing an average 200 watts of power transfer and a much quicker 5 second reload time, which is about how long it took Win to pass up those tomatoes from the back seat through the sun roof anyway.

                                    +---+    +----|>|-------+-------+-----o 100 V
     Vin 10-15 volts o---------+ ||(   _|_   |              |       |
                                )||(    -    |             _|_      |
                                )||(         |       .22 F ---      |
                                )||(         |              |       |
                     +----+----+ ||(         |             _|_      |
         30 V        |    |         +--------+              -       |
         MOSFET .|---+   _|_                                        |
                ||<--.   --- Snubber                                |
            +---'|---+    |                                         |
            |       _|_  _|_                                        |
            |        -    -                                         |
            |     +------------------------------------------+      |
            +-----| Fixed 100 kHz Controller: 80% duty cycle |------+
    We had to add a snubber because now the magnetization flux is just being dumped into the mosfet at the end of every cycle. Since we are using the same transformer and frequency as well as maximum duty cycle this energy amounts to just the 20 watts of the flyback converter.

    This produced a glorious victory over the alters, plastering them at close range as they closed with their basket of 100 gram wormy tomatoes.

    However, there were problems. The Generation 1 circuit could be left on continuously and preloaded allowing instant reaction to sneak attacks when getting in the car in the morning. Leaving the Generation 2 circuit on all night killed the battery, despite nearly 90% efficiency at full load (and full output voltage).

    The efficiency at low loads, or low output voltages is poor. Continuous firing is possible until the transformer overheats. At full load _and_ output voltage, the transformer heat load is not bad, but during the output rampup currents are only limited by the leakage inductance (much lower than the full winding inductance), winding resistance and MOSFET on resistance. To minimize the charging time we of course minimized all of these, leading to 100 amp peak currents. Furthermore changes in the input voltage lead to problems in figuring range and aiming accurately. Indeed several second shots while racing away at low gear and high RPMs lead to high battery charging voltages and embarrassing PPF (premature projectile fragmentation).

    Generation 3 is to combine the best features of both designs. (The turns on the secondary are reduced 10% to ensure the flyback is the only active energy transfer at full load. This isn't always enough reduction to ensure the output voltage never exceeds 100 volts, but it is a compromise between overcharging at high input voltages and slow charging at low input voltages. )

                                +--+--|>|--------+--------+-----+--o Vout: 100 V
     Vin 10-15 volts o-----+ ||(   |             |        |     |
                            )||(   +--|<|--+--+  |       _|_    |
                            )||(           | _|_ | .22 F ---    |
                            )||(   +--|<|--+  =  |        |     |
                        +--+ ||(   |             |       _|_    |
            30 V        |       +--+--|>|--------+        -     |
            MOSFET .|---+                                       |
                   ||<--.                                       |
               +---'|---+                                       |
               |       _|_                                      |
               |        -                                       |
               |  +------------------------------------------+  |
               +--| 100 kHz PWM Controller: 0-80% duty cycle |--+
    In this design the snubber disappears because the magnetization energy is captured for use in the output flyback. At low output voltage the design works primarily as forward conversion but at some point the output voltage equals the input voltage multiplied by the turns ratio and the design transfers over to pure flyback. We can once again leave the circuit running continuously. We can get off 10 shots in 50 seconds before the transformer and mosfets overheat, though the output voltage will then be 90 instead of 100 leading to reduced range. The flyback just has to top off the capacitors so if we can 15 seconds instead of 5 (but not 50) between shots we can assure a steady output voltage. The biggest problem is that variation in the input voltage leads to variations in the amount of time spent in flyback versus forward conversion. A second problem is that the flyback, moving charge all the way from ground to 100 volts at the end of the top-off is rather slow. Basically we would like to extend the period of time in forward conversion but we have to adjust the winding turns so that at maximum input voltage the forward conversion output voltage is less than the desired Vout. We can increase the amount of work done in forward conversion as follows, simultaneously greatly improving the charge delivery of the flyback, by giving it a slower rampdown.
                                +--+--|>|------+--------+-------+--o Vout 1: 100 V
     Vin 10-15 volts o-----+ ||(   |           |        |       |
                            )||(   +--|<|--+   |       _|_      |
                            )||(          _|_  | .22 F ---      |
                            )||(           -   |        |       |
                        +--+ ||(               |       _|_      |
            30 V        |       +--+--|>|------+        -       |
            MOSFET .|---+          |                            |
                   ||<--.          +--o Vout 2: 80 V            |
               +---'|---+         _|_                           |
               |       _|_        --- 2,000 uF, low ESR         |
               |        -         _|_                           |
               |                   -                            |
               |  +------------------------------------------+  |
               +--| 100 kHz PWM Controller: 0-80% duty cycle |--+
    A miracle has happened, with our generation 4 design even in August we don't have enough tomatoes. Maybe we should modify it for zucchini ;-).

    Much more - search via Google Groups (formerly for: "", and "Re: Transformer design equations - tomato launcher", or maybe just "cherry tomatoes" or "zucchini" for the subject line! :-)

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    Leave It To The Physicists

    (From: Chuck Parsons (

    A biologist, a engineer and a physicist are assigned to monitor a building. After watching for a whole day two people are observed going in and three people come out:

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    Vc Versus Vs

    (From: Jim Klein (

    The speed of light is greater than the speed of sound. That's why some people seem very bright until you hear them speak.

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    Selling It

    (Forwarded by: Chris Cobb" (

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    Parts Replacement

    So many repair questions take the form:

    "Where can I get the microprocessor or flyback or CRT or mainboard or 'most expensive part' because I think THAT must be the problem".

    (From: David J. Pittella (

    I frequently read or overhear discussions about the repair of products that are controlled by a microprocessor or microcontroller and wonder why technicians are always trying to replace these, typically prior to any testing or troubleshooting?

    I wonder if they will ever believe that these devices are typically very reliable and that the lack of a proper voltage, or a failed or dirty sensor or switch be the real fault?

    New troubleshooting technique:

    1. Replace ALL the biggest chips FIRST, the more pins the better.

    2. If step #1 doesn't resolve the problem, see if there is service literature available?

    3. If there is no service literature, see if the something called the MAIN BOARD! Just replace anything that could be a MAIN BOARD - that should fix the problem!

    4. If steps (1) to (3) don't cure the problem, advise the customer that "parts are no longer available" or "the cost of repair exceeds the cost of replacement".
    WARNING: DO NOT attempt to use a voltmeter to make simple voltage tests, or an ohmmeter to possibly check the continuity of the on/off switch!! :-)

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    But Does it do Windows?

    From a sci.electronics newsgroup posting:
    "Free Theory and Plans. Levitation craft. Hover silently above trees. Lands anywhere. Unlimited ceiling. Lifts over 250 lbs. Requires no fuel. Operates on Inverted-Gravity Chamber (IGC). Perpetual motion machine. Consists of mass circulation upward through IGC and downward outside chamber. Generates electrical power. Utilizes less power than it generates. Based on field theory, rather than old-fashion particle theory."
    From: George X. Kambic (

    Damn! I wish people would tell me when the laws of physics change.

    [...deleted to save stomach contents.....]"

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    You Know You're from Silicon Valley When...

    (From: Filip Fuma (

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    Lawyer One-Liners

    Sorry (well not really) for any lawyers reading this. :-)

    (Forwarded by: Jim Lagerkvist (

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    Garage Tools

    (Forwarded by:

    HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

    MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.

    ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling rollbar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just above the brake line that goes to the rear axle.

    HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

    VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

    OXY-ACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale garage cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the Whitworth socket drawer (what wife would think to look in there?) because you can never remember to buy lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you got from the PX at Fort Campbell.

    ZIPPO LIGHTER: See oxy-acetylene torch.

    WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for hiding six-month-old Salems from the sort of person who would throw them away for no good reason.

    DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against the Rolling Stones poster over the bench grinder.

    WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you to say, "Django Reinhardt."

    HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a Mustang to the ground after you have installed a set of Ford Motorsports lowered road springs, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front air dam.

    EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2x4: Used for levering a car upward off a hydraulic jack.

    TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

    PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor Chris to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

    SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

    E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

    TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup on crankshaft pulleys.

    TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and hydraulic clutch lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

    CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

    BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a door nail, just as you thought.

    AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.

    TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

    PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

    AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty suspension bolts last tightened 40 years ago by someone in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and rounds them off.

    JESUS CLIP: "Jesus" every time you drop one of these.

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    Tesla Coil Caps

    Actually, the warnings about PCBs (and I don't mean Printed Circuit Boards) are real!

    So you are looking for BIG capacitors...... :-)

    (From: Bill Coderre (

    Just watch out for PCB-laden oil-filled caps.... Those are usually the ones you find at the junk yard or the surplus place for REAL cheap, big grey cans with lightning protectors on top, usually labeled something like "1 uF @ 100 kV." They're extra cheap if they're already leaking!

    Just remember, if you come across a pile of drum caps in an abandoned lot in an industrial section of town - even if the sign on top says "FREE! FREE!" - they are not good for you. Just Say No to PCBs.

    I personally wish that Norm Abrams, host of the New Yankee Workshop, would run a show for electronics experimenters, something like the New Geek Workshop:

    "Today we're going to be making a tesla coil from champagne bottles, a spark coil from a 53 DeSoto, and this hand-knurled lightning rod. It'll look great next to my Louis XIV-style marquetry and scrollwork Orgone Cabinet!. But first, let's talk about Safety Glasses...."

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    Customer Translations

    (From: Dan (

    I once had a customer who insisted on "helping" me fix his TV. I politely told him that he had done enough damage to it already."

    How about the customer who brought his TV in and said that "it worked fine until" he worked on it. (At least he was honest.)

    (From: Michelle Hunt (

    I had one of those the other day... This guy brought in a little Magnavox 19" and the conversation went something like this:

    Him: "I don't know what happened, it just suddenly quit working."

    Me: "Was that before or after you dropped it?"

    Him: "How did you know I dropped it?"

    Me: "It was easy... the cabinet usually isn't broken into pieces like this".

    (From: Chris Mann).

    How about customer translations such as:

    "I think it's got a shorted fuse" - "I don't have a clue as to what's wrong but I know some electronic words so don't rip me off".

    "I think it's just a bad connection" - "I know something major happened. I just don't want to think that something major happened."

    "I think something's loose inside" - "My child uses it for his piggy bank".

    "It fell off the shelf".

    "It just stopped working" - "I spilled my drink and it went inside"

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    Advertising to Dummies

    (I was going to use the 'for' word but then a certain publisher's lawyers would come complaining.)

    (From: Charley S. McCue (

    I once spent 15 minutes trying to convince a customer they had not bought a $20 satellite dish from TV Guide (back when C band was the only option).

    (From: Gary Woods (

    That's the ad that I still think is the high-water mark of advertising to stupid people:

    "You're not paying cable fees, because this is not a satellite antenna. It uses proven RF technology to pick signals RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR!"

    People still bought them thinking they'd get cable or something. We had a copy on the door of the tech shop for a while.

    Reminds me of the fellow who offered on a bulk emailer site one million email addresses for only ten dollars. "Generated by sophisticated random number technology", they are all guaranteed undeliverable! People actually sent him orders!

    P.T. Barnum was right!

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    The Hazards of Multimeters

    (From: Ed Price (

    Let me add my own tale of knowledge gained through stupid experimentation. In 1961, right after I built my Knight Kit VTVM, I was measuring the voltage and resistance of everything I could find. I eventually found an old "Press" style flashbulb, about an inch in diameter. I started out on a high Ohms range, and worked my way down to the 1x range. The lessons I learned involved design of experiments, resistance testing, chemical reaction of magnesium, optical transfer of energy and emergency room procedure. Did you know that those old bulbs had a plastic outer layer which could very effectively fuse to charred skin?

    Dirty Harry Callahan was right; "...when properly used, you can REMOVE the fingerprints."

    Next time (if somebody asks politely), I'll tell you how I got radiation burns from a pencil.

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    The Surgeons' Choice

    (Forwarded by Fil Fuma (

    5 surgeons are taking a coffee break:

    The first surgeon says: "Accountants are the best to operate on because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

    The second surgeon says: "Nah, librarians are the best. Everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

    The third responds: "Try electricians, man! Everything inside THEM is color coded."

    The fourth intercedes: "I like engineers...they always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end."

    To which the fifth surgeon, who has been quietly listening to the conversation, says: "You're all wrong. Lawyers are the easiest. There's no guts, no heart, no spine and their head and butt are interchangeable."

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    VCR Only Works Upside-Down

    (From: Clifton T. Sharp Jr. (

    Maybe you should reverse the wires to the vertical yoke windings of the TV as well. :-)

    I'll never forget the old 21" round picture tubes and the giant yokes that went on them; the yokes had quick-disconnect spade terminals which connected to the chassis through individual wires. When I had a customer with a sense of humor, or when I worked on my brother's TV, I would first reverse the horizontal winding wires and "work on some adjustments" while waiting for the reaction. They'd say "the picture is backwards, look at the text," and I'd hold my mirror up from behind the set and say, "Looks just fine to me, I can read it." I'd let them remind me about the mirror image or coax me out from behind the set, then I'd shut the set off and instead of fixing the horizontal windings, reverse the vertical. Turning on the set always got "Now it's upside-down!" at which I would rise and lean over the set from the back, chin above forehead, and say "Looks okay to me."

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    Abbott and Costello Meet Windows 95

    (Forwarded by: Barry Werner (

    Costello: Hey, Abbott!

    Abbot: Yes, Lou?

    Costello: I just got my first computer.

    Abbot: That's great Lou. What did you get?

    Costello: A Pentium II-266, with 40 Megs of RAM, a 2.1 Gig hard drive, and a 24X CD-ROM.

    Abbot: That's terrific, Lou

    Costello: But I don't know what any of it means!!

    Abbot: You will in time.

    Costello: That's exactly why I am here to see you.

    Abbot: Oh?

    Costello: I heard that you are a real computer expert.

    Abbot: Well, I don't know-

    Costello: Yes-sir-ee. You know your stuff. And you're going to train me.

    Abbot: Really?

    Costello: Uh huh. And I am here for my first lesson.

    Abbot: OK Lou. What do want to know? Costello: I am having no problem turning it on, but I heard that you should be very careful how you turn it off.

    Abbot: That's true.

    Costello: So, here I am working on my new computer and I want to turn it off. What do I do?

    Abbot: Well, first you press the Start button, and then-

    Costello: No, I told you, I want to turn it off.

    Abbot: I know, you press the Start button-

    Costello: Wait a second. I want to turn it off. Off. I know how to start it. So tell me what to do.

    Abbot: I did.

    Costello: When?

    Abbot: When I told you to press the Start button.

    Costello: Why should I press the Start button?

    Abbot: To shut off the computer.

    Costello: I press Start to stop.

    Abbot: Well Start doesn't actually stop the computer.

    Costello: I knew it! So what do I press.

    Abbot: Start

    Costello: Start what?

    Abbot: Start button.

    Costello: Start button to do what?

    Abbot: Shut down.

    Costello: You don't have to get rude!

    Abbot: No, no, no! That's not what I meant.

    Costello: Then say what you mean.

    Abbot: To shut down the computer, press-

    Costello: Don't say, "Start!"

    Abbot: Then what do you want me to say?

    Costello: Look, if I want to turn off the computer, I am willing to press the Stop button, the End button and Cease and Desist button, but no one in their right mind presses the Start to Stop.

    Abbot: But that's what you do.

    Costello: And you probably Go at Stop signs, and Stop at green lights.

    Abbot: Don't be ridiculous.

    Costello: I am being ridiculous? Well. I think it's about time we started this conversion. Abbot: What are you talking about?

    Costello: I am starting this conversation right now. Good-bye.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    A Pound of Electrons, Please!

    (From: Clifton T. Sharp Jr. (

    Once on a very very bored day, I and a friend decided to compute how long it would take for a black-and-white TV to shoot a pound of electrons at the screen. If you ever get so bored that you want to duplicate this entirely silly exercise:

    1. Take the rest mass of an electron.
    2. Convert from nanopicofemtoattograms (whatever) to pounds.
    3. Invert to find quantity of electrons in a pound.
    4. Determine average beam current of the TV.
    5. Convert amps to coulombs per second.
    6. Divide quantity in (3) by quantity in (5) to determine number of seconds. Convert to megacenturies.
    7. Tell your friends.
    8. Do what your friends tell you and get a life.
    (Anyone who doesn't see how entirely silly this is and posts corrections to the lousy data should be bolted by aliens to a spaceship and towed through the galaxy until struck by a pound of cosmic rays.)

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    In Defense of Fuse Eating Equipment

    (From: Frank McNally (

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a TV that eats fuses , most of them do it at some time , What is wrong is that a non technical person should try checking his fuses in a TV that eats fuses . When it has eaten one it is quite likely that it will want to eat another ! and another ! until its appetite has been quenched.

    Just how hard did the TV eat the Fuse - was it just a small nibble or the fully grown. "I haven't eaten a fuse for god knows how many years." Bite that left the fuse black and charred.? I have seen Philips TVs that have eaten fuses down to the Glass tube that surrounds them leaving only metal caps in the fuse holder. If the fuse doesn't look burnt, like the TV toasted it before it ate it, the possibility is that the fuse died of old age and thermal shock before it parted company with its end-caps.

    A fuse that, like the one that lost its jacket as well as its cool, and must have been eaten alive, before it even had time to think about whether it should holiday in a warm sunny or a cold wintry climate, has definitely wetted the appetite of even the most expensive piece of equipment.

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    The Ultimate Toaster

    (Frowarded by: Jeff Granito (

    Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?"

    One advisor, an electrical engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said.

    The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?"

    The advisor: "Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantifies its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype."

    The second advisor, a software developer, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, "Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years."

    "With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various omelet classes."

    "The ham and cheese omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs."

    "Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too."

    "We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX v.8.3' appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook."

    "Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the implementation phase. An Intel Pentium with 48MB of memory, a 1.2GB hard disk, and a SVGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking, object oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built-in GUI, writing the program will be a snap."

    The king wisely had the software developer beheaded, and they all lived happily ever after.

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    Ten Commandments of Electrical Safety

    Navy style, at least. :-)

    (From: Gordon S. Hlavenka (

    I    Beware of the lightning that lurketh in seemingly uncharged capacitors,
         lest it cause thee to bounce upon thy buttocks in an unseamanlike manner
         and cause thy hair to stand on end, thereby exceeding regulation length.

    II Cause thou the switch that supplieth large quantities of juice to be opened and thusly tagged, that thy days may be long in this earthly vale.

    III Prove to thyself that all circuits that radiateth and upon which thou worketh are grounded and thusly tagged, lest they lift thee to radio frequency potential and causeth thee to radiate with the angels.

    IV Tarry thou not amongst those fools that engage in intentional shocks, for they are not long of this world and are surely unbelievers.

    V Take care thou useth the proper method when thou taketh the measure of high voltage so that thou dost not incinerate both thee and thy test meter. For verily, though thou has no NSN and can be easily surveyed, the test meter has one, and as a consequence, bringeth much woe unto thy supply officer.

    VI Take care thou tamperest not with interlocks and safety devices, for this incurreth the wrath of thy department head and bringeth the fury of thy commanding officer on thy head.

    VII Work thou not on energized equipment without proper procedures, for if thou dost so, thy shipmates will surely be buying beers for thy widow and consoling her in certain ways not generally acceptable to thee.

    VIII Verily, verily, I say unto thee, never service equipment alone, for electrical cooking is a slow process, and thou might sizzle in thy own fat upon a hot circuit for hours on end before thy maker sees fit to end thy misery and drag thee into his fold.

    IX Trifle thee not with radioactive tubes and substances lest thou commence to glow in the dark like a lightning bug and thy wife be frustrated and have no further use for thee except for thy wages.

    X Commit thou to memory all the words of the prophets which are written down in the 300th chapter of thy Bible which is the "Naval Ships' Technical Manual", and giveth out with the straight dope and consoleth thee when thou hast suffered a ream job by thy division LPO.

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    Information Transfer - NOT

    (If you are actually an engineer, substitute "Engineering" for "Information Technology", below. :)

    (From: Martin (

    A hot-air balloonist realises he is lost, and so reduces height to ask directions from a man on the ground.

    "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

    "Yes," says the man below, "You're in a hot-air balloon, hovering about 30 feet above the ground."

    "You must work in Information Technology" says the balloonist.

    "I do," replies the man."How did you know?"

    "Well," says the balloonist "everything you have told me is technically correct, but its no use to anyone."

    The man below is now getting pissed off.

    "You must work in business as a manager," he says.

    "I do," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

    "Well," says the man, "You don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    If Cars were like PCs

    (Forwarded by: Cye Landy (

    At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon."

    In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

    1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day.

    2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.

    3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

    4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn, would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to re-install the engine.

    5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95" or "CarNT". But, then you would have to buy more seats.

    6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the Sun, was reliable, 5 times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on 5% of the roads.

    7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.

    8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.

    9. The airbag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.

    10. Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

    11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 percent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Dept.

    12. Every time GM introduced a new model car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

    13. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine.

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    Why Windows is so Huge, Slow, and Buggy

    (Forwarded by: Cye Landy (

    /* Windows '98 source code. TOP SECRET Microsoft(c) Code

    Project: Chicago(tm) Projected release-date: Summer 1998 */

    #include "win31.h" #include "win95.h" #include "evenmore.h" #include "oldstuff.h" #include "billrulz.h" #define INSTALL = HARD

    char make_prog_look_big[1600000];

    void main() { while(!CRASHED) { display_copyright_message(); display_bill_rules_message(); do_nothing_loop(); if (first_time_installation) { make_50_megabyte_swapfile(); do_nothing_loop(); totally_screw_up_HPFS_file_system(); search_and_destroy_the_rest_of_OS/2(); hang_system(); } write_something(anything); display_copyright_message(); do_nothing_loop(); do_some_stuff(); if (still_not_crashed) { display_copyright_message(); do_nothing_loop(); basically_run_windows_3.1(); do_nothing_loop(); do_nothing_loop(); } }

    if (detect_cache()) disable_cache();

    if (fast_cpu()) { set_wait_states(lots); set_mouse(speed, very_slow); set_mouse(action, jumpy); set_mouse(reaction, sometimes); }

    /* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.11"); */ /* printf("Welcome to Windows 95"); */ printf("Welcome to Windows 98"); if (system_ok()) crash(to_dos_prompt); else system_memory = open("a:\swp0001.swp", O_CREATE);

    while(something) { sleep(5); get_user_input(); sleep(5); act_on_user_input(); sleep(5); } create_general_protection_fault();

    } crash_no_warning_message

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    How NOT to Repair a TV

    (From: Wes Hilterbrand (

    Here's a humorous (hopefully) little story I wanted to share with everyone.

    This is about the people on this earth, and my area especially, that think they can repair stuff without having any clue as to what they are doing. I'm sure most of you know the type.

    It happened that a good ol' boy, we'll call him Bubba, had bought a TV, a pretty nice Sanyo DS25030 stereo 25", at a pawn shop I do repairs for. Bubba shortly brought the set back, saying that it quit working. After some questioning, Bubba admitted to connecting the set to 220V(don't ask me how - maybe he thought his reception would be twice as good). The set was in rough condition (more about this follows) and he was told that it may be scrap, but wanted it looked at anyway. The following is my guess as to how the set died - the sequence of events is based on the most obvious things that I found when I looked inside the set. The situations are fictitious - the result of these fictitious situations, however, is sitting on my shop floor.

    After Bubba finds out that TVs don't particularly like being fed 220 volts (he was clued in by the loud belch immediately following the feeding), he decides that he can fix whatever ails it. Now he knows that 'lektric'ty is bad for you, so he does unplug the set (Safety first, you know!). Now, instead of finding a 1/4" nut driver or even a socket and ratchet, he uses an angle grinder to cut open the back of the TV. He finds C006, a 470uF 200V electrolytic (that beer-can lookin' thang), blown open. So being the resourceful fellow he is, he wraps approx. 12" of bare 24AWG solid wire around the terminals of the capacitor (about 10 turns) and uses Scotch tape to hold it in place, since he thinks that this part is kinda unnecessary anyway. He plugs the set back in (to 110V this time - he did learn a little), and the main 4A line fuse opens. Again, being the astute repairman, he wraps the fuse with a foil gum wrapper (works ev'ry time!). After plugging the set back in, resistor R001 opens (Why don't this dang thang work?). There are no outward signs that the resistor is open, so Bubba gets discouraged (dang cheap crap TV). He decides he's gonna take it back and claim it's a junk TV. It's a good thing he does, because it probably saves the trailer, outhouse, and dog-lot from burning down.

    Well, I picked the TV up yesterday at the pawn shop. The shop owner told me that I didn't need to try to fix it; he was giving it to me. In his exact words, "Anyone stupid enough to open a TV with a grinder is too stupid to own a television anyway." :-)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Cheat Sheet for Stock Market Reporters

    (From: Stan Tamulevich

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Some Mice are Just Plain Stupid

    (Forwarded by: Andre ( Some tech was doing a post mortem on a blown TV chassis (fuse kept blowing.) Examined further, found a dead mouse with its teeth firmly embedded in the mains lead to the switch. Its tail was shorting to ground, hence instantly smoked fuses. Tech extracted mouse, set worked OK.

    Mouse demonstrated its own stupidity by:

    1. Managing to get into a TV without using proper tools (i.e. its teeth).
    2. Doing this while set was energized.
    3. Chewing the mains HOT lead when it could have munched any of 22 other cables happily without getting fried.
    4. Not taking proper electrical safety precautions.
    5. Not using established repair techniques (e.g. using own body as a test probe with no series resistor ).
    6. Forgetting to use an isolation transformer.
    Here's what a smart mouse would have done...
    1. Waited until set was switched off
    2. Chewed half through flyback HV lead in several places
    3. Then wait for the action...

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    Worst Techs Ever - Take Your Pick

    (From: Bill Rosen (

    By far the worst "tech" I even saw was when I was in the military some thirty something years ago. He would "troubleshoot" boxes that popped circuit breakers (or blew fuses) by holding in the circuit breaker (or putting in a larger fuse) until something smoked and then marking it for "depot" repair. He was great at repairing items that used tubes. He just replaced every tube. It fixed the problem 95 percent of the time. He got transferred at last and I think someone finally got w1 (From: Vince, AA9TL (

    Made him a COOK??? This kinda guy would probably try everything in the pot until he found something that WOULDN'T kill you

    (From: Brad Thompson (

    During a hitch at Sears as a TV tech, I noted an absence of Phillips screwdrivers. When I borrowed one from the senior tech, he informed me that I should get my own and stash them away where "Bob", another tech, (his real name) couldn't find them.

    Apparently, when "Bob" needed a scratch awl or a flat-bladed screwdriver, he'd simply find a Phillips and spend a few minutes at the bench grinder....

    "Bob" also once installed a new refrigerator and an icemaker at a customer's house, using only one of two possible screws to fasten the icemaker's "vampire tap" to the cold water line. When the customer returned a few hours later, he found six inches of water in the basement - "Bob's" handiwork had failed.

    I wonder what "Bob" does for work today.... He's probably an HMO exec. :-)

    (From: Alan Peterman (

    For reasons I could never fathom, our AVIONICS shop hired this fellow right out of avionics school. He darn near had to shown which end of the soldering iron to hold.

    He once used silicon GLUE, instead of silicon GREASE to pack an aileron servo. That was a fun test flight - I happened to be on it, and when I engaged the autopilot, it promptly blew the circuit breakers - luckily the clutches did their job so we could hand fly the plane.

    Then there was the time he wired the lights in a new radio for 12 volts, and put it into a 24 volt plane. Ah well..

    Of course we had one mechanic in the power plane shop who often came in somewhat hung over - he forgot to safety wire an oil drain plug on a heart surgeon's plane. Luckily, the plane was a twin so when the plug came off in flight, the doctor was able to land the plane. The shop bought and installed a new engine for him - $18,000 if I remember right.

    If you knew the general level of aviation repairmen, you'd be way less happy when flying..

    (From: Tobi Scags (

    Just as well he was a heart surgeon, then. He could restart his own when that engine went bang! :)

    (From: BillK2 (

    When I started in an engine overhaul shop, airplane yet, all seven of the clamshell balancing machines were down hard. Seems like this fellow replaced the 1/4 amp fuse with a 25 amp fuse in all the controllers. Servos make terrible fuses. A couple of years later I left. Six months after that I got a call from the fellow to see if I had his multimeter. He didn't use it much.

    (From: Alan Peterman (

    Sounds like the same guy I wrote about. :-)

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    Blue Screen on Emerson TV

    From a posting on (From: Robert Blackshaw (

    Is it running Windows 95?

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Airplane Maintenance

    WARNING: Don't read if you fly a lot. :-)

    (From: Chris (

    Here are some apparently actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews. \223Squawks\224 are problem listings that pilots generally leave for maintenance crews.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    You Might Be An Engineer If...

    (Forwarded by: Marvin Moss (

  • The only jokes you receive are through email.

  • At Christmas, it goes without saying that you will be the one to find the burnt-out bulb in the string of Christmas lights.

  • Buying flowers for your girl friend or spending the money to upgrade your RAM is a moral dilemma.

  • Everyone else on the Alaskan Cruise is on deck peering at the scenery, and you are still on a personal tour of the engine room.

  • In college, you thought Spring Break was metal fatigue failure.

  • The Sales People at Circuit City can't answer any of your questions.

  • You are always late to meetings.

    You are at an air show and know how fast the sky divers are falling.

  • You are next in line on death row in a French Prison and you find that the guillotine is not working properly, so you offer to fix it.

  • You bought your wife a new CD ROM for her birthday.

  • You forget to get a haircut (for 6 months!).

  • You can quote scenes from any Monty Python movie.

  • You can type 70 words per minute but can't read your own handwriting.

  • You can't write unless the paper has both horizontal and vertical lines.

  • You comment to your wife that her straight hair is nice and parallel.

  • You go on the rides at Disneyland and sit backwards in the chairs to see how they do the special effects.

  • You have Dilbert comics displayed anywhere in your work area.

  • You have ever saved the power cord from a broken appliance.

  • You have more friends on the internet than in real life.

  • You have never backed up your hard drive.

  • You have never bought any new underwear or socks for yourself since you got married.

  • You have used coat hangars and duct tape for something other than hanging coats and taping ducts.

  • You know what http:// stands for.

  • You look forward to Christmas only to put together the kids' toys.

  • You own one or more white short-sleeve dress shirts.

  • You see a good design and still have to change it.

  • You spent more on your calculator than you did on your wedding ring.

  • You still own a slide rule and you know how to use it .

  • You think a pocket protector is a fashion accessory .

  • You think that when people around you yawn, it's because they didn't get enough sleep.

  • You wear black socks with tennis shoes (or vice versa).

  • You window shop at Radio Shack.

  • You're in the back seat of your car, she's looking wistfully at the moon, and you're trying to locate a geosynchronous satellite.

  • Your checkbook always balances.

  • Your laptop computer costs more than your car.

  • Your wife hasn't the foggiest idea of what you do at work.

  • Your wrist watch has more computing power than a 300 MHz pentium.

  • You've already calculated how much you make per second.

  • You've ever tried to repair a $5 radio.

  • Your four basic food groups are: (1) Caffeine, (2) Fat, (3) Sugar, (4) Chocolate.

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    The Dark Sucker Theory and the Truth About Light Bulbs

    (Forwarded by: Martin Griffith

    For years, it has been believed that electric bulbs emit light, but recent information has proved otherwise. Electric bulbs don't emit light; they suck dark. Thus, we call these bulbs Dark Suckers.

    The Dark Sucker Theory and the existence of dark suckers prove that dark has mass and is heavier than light.

    First, the basis of the Dark Sucker Theory is that electric bulbs suck dark. For example, take the Dark Sucker in the room you are in. There is much less dark right next to it than there is elsewhere. The larger the Dark Sucker, the greater its capacity to suck dark. Dark Suckers in the parking lot have a much greater capacity to suck dark than the ones in this room. So with all things, Dark Suckers don't last forever. Once they are full of dark, they can no longer suck - just like a vacuum cleaner does if you forget to change the bag. This is proven by the dark spot on a full Dark Sucker. Then the Dark Sucker quits working.

    A candle is a primitive Dark Sucker. A new candle has a white wick. You can see that after the first use, the wick turns black, representing all the dark that has been sucked into it. If you put a pencil next to the wick of an operating candle, it will turn black. This is because it got in the way of the dark flowing into the candle. One of the disadvantages of these primitive Dark Suckers is their limited range.

    There are also portable Dark Suckers. In these, the bulbs can't handle all the dark by themselves and must be aided by a Dark Storage Unit. When the Dark Storage Unit is full, it must be either emptied or replaced before the portable Dark Sucker can operate again.

    Dark has mass. When dark goes into a Dark Sucker, friction from the mass generates heat. Thus, it is not wise to touch an operating Dark Sucker.

    Candles present a special problem as the mass must travel into a solid wick instead of through clear glass. This generates a great amount of heat and therefore it's not wise to touch an operating candle.

    Also, dark is heavier than light. If you were to swim just below the surface of the lake, you would see a lot of light. If you were to slowly swim deeper and deeper, you would notice it getting darker and darker. When you get really deep, you would be in total darkness. This is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the lighter light floats at the top. The is why it is called light.

    Finally, we must prove that dark is faster than light. If you were to stand in a lit room in front of a closed, dark closet, and slowly opened the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet. But since dark is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave the closet.

    So next time you see an electric bulb, remember: It's really a Dark Sucker!

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    The Microsoft Phone

    (Forwarded by: Brian Karas (

    I heard that the current version only allows you to TALK, and the speaker functionality to HEAR the other party is planned for Phone2000.

    Also, the 7,9,5,6,3,4,2,0 and * keys do not work, but Microsoft has a special support phone number: 888-888-8888.

    The phone is currently available to beta testers, but you can only call other people with the same build of phone that you have, and each call is limited to 7 seconds, including the time while the phone is ringing.

    There is a similar product that works with Linux, the sound quality rivals that of $5,000 audio systems, the range of the cordless model is 20 miles, and it stores the entire phone directory locally. However, you need to hardcode the number you are calling into the phone's microcode (in assembler), then recompile it's kernel.

    IBM will have their own version shortly, it's just the Microsoft phone in a grey case, but they've also disables the # key, to distinguish it from the Microsoft version.

    (From: David Richards (

    Then there's the OpenBSD phone, which works just like the Linux phone except it eliminates the 42 assorted buffer overflows and 'rootshell' holes (which allow anybody to bill international calls to your phone) and is specifically designed to link against a MD5 triple-DES PGP encryption module that you can only download from a server in Argentina. :-)

    Oh, and instead of recompiling your kernel, a runtime LKM holds the number to be dialed...

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    Miscellaneous Error Messages and Other One-Liners

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Guaranteed to Start a Flame War

    How about...

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    How to Cure a Parrot with a Bad Attitude

    (Forwarded by: Redgie (

    David received a parrot for his birthday. The parrot was fully grown with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive. Those that weren't expletives, were to say the least, rude.

    David tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything he could think of to try and set a good example...

    Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird and the bird yelled back. He shook the bird and the bird just got more angry and more rude. Finally, in a moment of desperation, David put the parrot in the freezer.

    For a few moments he heard the bird squawk and kick and scream - then suddenly, there was quiet. Not a sound for half a minute.

    David was frightened that he might have hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto David's extended arm and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I will endeavor at once to correct my behavior. I really am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness."

    David was astonished at the bird's change in attitude and was about to ask what had made such a dramatic change when the parrot continued,

    "May I ask what the chicken did?".

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    One Frustrated Frog

    (Forwarded by: Larry Steckler (

    A guy is taking a walk and sees a frog on the side of the road. As he comes closer, the frog starts to talk. 'Kiss me and I will turn into a princess.' The guy picks the frog up and puts it in his pocket.

    The frog starts shouting, 'Hey! Didn't you hear me? I'm a Princess. Just kiss me and I will be yours.' The guy takes the frog out of his pocket and smiles at it and puts it back.

    The frog is really frustrated. 'I don't get it. Why won't you kiss me? I will turn into a beautiful princess and do anything you ask.'

    The guy says, 'Look, I'm a computer geek. I don't have time for girls. But a talking frog is cool!'

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    A Little Project

    (From: Ralph & Diane Barone (

    Someone wrote:

    "I need to convert 300,000 Volts DC to 240 VAC, 60 Hz. 80 mA is available from a 300 kV DC source which equals 24 kW. This means 100 Amps capability from the 240 volt 60 Hz output of >some type of converter.

    Does anyone have recommendations or schematic diagrams that would provide a conversion for high voltage/low current TO low voltage/ high current as stated above?


    No problem. We have one almost like that where I work (ratings are only slightly different). However, here is the description:

    We use SCRs because we are connected to an existing AC power supply and we can let the external supply commutate the SCRs. If you don't have an external AC supply, you will need to use power MOSFETS, IGBTs or GTOs. In our application, each SCR is in an arrangement of 360 devices connected in series parallel (180 series/2 parallel) with the requisite firing pulse isolation transformers (720), RC snubbers (2,160), voltage breakover firing circuits (4,320) and dI/dt limiting series reactors (1,980). Firing pulses come from a custom GE control system which occupies three 3' wide cabinets. From the transformers, we go into our 230 kV AC bus. We have filters on the AC bus to remove the harmonics created by the conversion process. These filters consist of air core (but oil cooled) reactors and a whole wack of capacitors. These filters occupy approx 300 square meters of space in the switchyard.

    After the 230 kV bus, we step the power down to 25 kV, then we have another transformer that goes 25 kV to 240 V with a grounded center tap.

    If you would like photocopies of our design drawings, please send me five (5) empty 4 drawer filing cabinets and $10,000 to cover copying and shipping. :)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Ultimate Engineering Test

    What we REALLY need here is a test that checks to see if you're competent to deal with REAL-WORLD design issues. I will humbly (yeah, right) now offer a few example questions to get us started:

    (Test questions from: Bob Myers ( Answers from: Sarlock T. (

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Battery Powered Human

    So, how many AA batteries would it take to power a standard adult human for one day?

    (From: Ben Gebeau (

    A Manganese/Alkaline AA cell it rated at about 2.4 AH. If we assume 1.5 volts average this gives approximately 3.6 watt hours (slightly optimistic). Since there are 3,600 seconds in an hour this is equivalent to 12,960 Joules.

    A human consumes about 2,000 calories/day. A dietician calorie is equal to 1,000 engineering calories. A calorie is equal to 4.2 Joules. Therefore this is equivalent to 2,000 * 1,000 * 4.2 = 8.4 * 10E6 Joules per day.

    Dividing one by the other you will need about 648 AA cells to power a human for one day.

    This assumes that the power from the AA cell will go through the same inefficiencies as the chemical processes in a human. (A human runs at about 20% efficiency chemical energy to mechanical energy). If we can circumvent this inefficiency we would only need 20% of this number of cells - say 130 cells.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Cooking Versus Engineering

    (From: ANHCNS (

    In my month+ of unemployment, I've been keeping busy around the house between the occasional interviews or lead followup. One of the things that has been filling my time is cooking.

    I'm not a pro-chef, but I believe it is the result of a 'Transferrable Skill' of Electronics.

    Let's compare...

          Baking cookies                Assembling a circuit
         First get a recipe             First get a schematic
         then round up ingredients      then round up components
         Mix ingredients                Bend and cut leads, etch PCB, etc.
         Bake                           Solder
         Enjoy                          Enjoy!

    (From: Sam)

    The true engineer will insist on NIH - Not Invented Here - and do their own design. Likewise, the true chef will create his/her own recipe for each batch of cookies!

    (From: Robert Hancock (

    Not to mention that in both activities, you can tell you screwed up by all the smoke and the bad smell. :-)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Sometimes it DOES take a Rocket Scientist

    (Source unknown, forwarded by Jeff Gronito (

    Scientists at NASA have developed a gun built specifically to launch dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields. British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made. But when the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurtled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, crashed through the control console, snapped the engineer's backrest in two and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin. Horrified Britons sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield, and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions. NASA's response was just one sentence, "Thaw the chicken."

    (From: David Cary (

    The The Rooster Booster Page and Urban Legends Reference Page have more facts and links on this exciting topic.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Ultimate in New and Improved Speaker Cable!

    (From Steve Roberts (

    We here at Infinite Audio have a announcement of our new product line, speaker cables for the wickedly rich.

    First of all, our new Dark Optical Speaker Cable: Tired of shot noise and 1/F noise interfering with your quiet passages? Our new dark cable relies on the fact that the speed of darkness is indeed faster then the speed of light. Our cable converts your amp output to light, thus when there is no audio, there is dark, to quickly sweep away light noise, long before it can start. $1995 a foot, polishing and termination extra.

    Second is our new Blumlein Series Speaker Cable: We use a second mirror cable to add capacitance in parallel with the existing cable, then just when you need it for those splendid tweeter blowing highs or that extra megawatt of base, our patented superswitch RCA Tee connector/switch takes the stored energy in your cable and uses it to its maximum by converting from series to parallel. Superswitch's patented tin plating makes the switching decisions far faster then any solid state device could. By using our short pulse energy techniques, you will actually be able to see your tweeter diaphragms move, and move faster. 2300$ a foot, exclusive licensing and secrecy agreement required. Inquire today about our boosted storage version for class D PWM amps!

    Finally, Cryocord, our revolutionary new cable for home theater installs. Cryocord consists of a 99.9% pure copper core zip cord plated with 14 karat gold then dipped with a layer of of our patented mercury superconductor material. This core is then wrapped with 20 turns of our super low leakage kraft paper insulator and shoved down a long piece of large diameter glass tubing which is ringed by a another silver plated glass tube with a vacuum in it, thus preventing loss of your precious audio signal by the dreaded permittivity and resistivity of dry air. Copious quantities of liquid nitrogen from a 16 meter long 3 meter diameter tank on a semi truck are then pumped through the cable, insuring that your amps see a zero ohm, zero parasitic cable straight to your speakers. Each speaker has its own glasswork, thus greatly reducing crosstalk. Note: If you need to move a speaker, please schedule a visit from Horatio, our friendly glassblower two to three months before you need to move the speaker. Pricing available on request, please bring you current rating in Whos Who and Your listing in Standard and Poor's along with some stock certificates with intact coupons before ordering. Remember with our Dewer covered cables, you can brag about being hollow state through your system!

    Seriously, $7K for a chunk of pink pre-soldered ribbon cable with cheap shrink and Far East RCA plugs! Man, am I in the wrong business!!!!! They didn't even bother to make every other strand a ground to reduce crosstalk. ;-) And, they forgot the silver solder for better conductivity.

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    The Technology of Startrek

    Some of my observations, in no particular order:
    1. Life and death are a binary process - with one quick low cost test using the Tricorder, the Doc will know if the patient will survive and if not, down to the microsecond when death will occur, unless (1) there is a stasis chamber handy or (2) some alien technology is available.

    2. It is generally possible to duck the 24th century hand weapon. I recommend a 1930's vintage submachine gun if you have a choice.

    3. Starship weapons couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and targeting servo systems are totally useless.

    4. Diagnostics are guaranteed to determine everything there is about the ship's systems. The remedy will always involve improving the efficiency of something.

    5. Computer backups aren't used any more frequently in the 24th century than our own.

    6. The concept of the 'copy' and 'cp' command was lost sometime after the breakup of Microsoft.

    7. Somehow, it is possible to send an entire person (real or holographic) through an alien comm link or wormhole that won't even pass a short audio fragment intact.

    8. The Holodeck safety systems can somehow be disabled by the holographic characters. Somehow, this is the first thing to happen in a crisis.

    9. The Transporter acts as a high resolution 3-D fax XOR a matter transfer device depending the script's needs.

    10. The Enterprise crew will fail to attack a knowingly hostile alien ship at point-blank range that everyone in the audience knows should be vaporized instantly if the rest of the plot would be nullified by its destruction (e.g., the Borg sphere in "First Contact").

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    If God were an Engineer

    I (Sam) must note that I firmly believe in Darwinian evolution as the basis for all life on Earth. However, much of the structure of DNA might just be consistent with creationism if God were an engineer:

    Considering the tight (but not unusual) schedule of 6 days for the "Earth Project", any resourceful engineer must do whatever it takes. Note that even for God, I do suspect that the 6 day goal was just a bit optimistic and with the usual delays, it probably did in fact stretch to 3 or 4 billion years in schedule overruns as is typical in these cases.

    Any seasoned engineer, having outgrown the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome will always attempt to reuse whatever can be reused. Programmers take their old programs and rework them; computer designers base new products on those that have come before. Why should Life be any different? When assigned to create, say, a Better Bug, one should always start with a success story like the cockroach and just make minor modifications (another thing all Engineers know is to change as little possible between revisions). Shorten a leg, lengthen a mouth part, tinker with their mating call, etc., based on all the considerable stack of problem report forms collected over a few billion years.

    In the case of Man, being quite complex after all, even if not quite as complex as everyone thought a little while ago, any approach that saves time would be beneficial. So the overworked Engineer would download the best features (in their opinion, lacking realistic input from the Marketing Department or Management, "No chance, adding 2 additional arms would blow the project schedule and budget!") of mice and monkeys and just add the necessary DNA to combine them as quickly as possible. Note that during this process, its not surprising at all that some unfortunate defects (bugs?) have crept into the DNA. And, what about all that junk DNA? Any software programmer knows that when writing a new program, it is expedient to include all the subroutines ever likely to be used - computer memory is cheap but trying to figure out exactly what will be needed ahead of time takes too much time. However, much of that code never actually gets used and ends up in this case as what our greatest minds have declared to be filler. (But, some small amount could also be comment statements!) So, it's not unexpected that Man has only about twice as many genes as a fruit fly. However, if an ear of corn really does have about the same number of genes as Man, some cost reduction should certainly be possible (for the corn at least).

    The dinosaurs were one of those Marketing experiments that wasn't entirely successful and the product line had to be cut in conjunction with a down-sizing. Same for wooly mammoths. These had both been pushed over the considerable objections of the Engineering Department unworkable and inefficient and it was thus quite amazing they lasted as long as they did. Insects, on the other hand, have been one of the best collections of critters providing a steady return over the eons.......

    So, if God were an engineer, one could almost believe in creationism. :)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Truth About Electric Circuits

    (Forwarded: Tom MacIntyre (

    Quote from Dave Barry:

    "Electricity originates inside clouds. There, it forms into lightning, which is attracted to the Earth by golfers. After entering the ground, the electricity hardens into coal, which, when dug up by power companies and burned in big ovens called 'generators,' turns back into electricity, where it is transformed by TV sets into commercials for beer, which passes through the consumers and back into the ground, thus completing what is known as a 'circuit.'"

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    More Takes on Comprehending Engineers

    (Forwarded by: Dave Carpenter (

    1. Three engineering students were gathered together discussing God. One said, "God is a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints." Another said, "No, God is an electrical engineer. The nervous systems has many thousands of electrical connections." The last said, "Actually, God is a civil engineer. Who else would run a sewage pipeline through a recreation area?"

    2. A priest, a lawyer and an engineer are about to be guillotined. The priest puts his head on the block, they pull the rope and nothing happens. He declares that he's been saved by divine intervention, so he's let go.

      The lawyer is put on the block, and again the rope doesn't release the blade. He claims he can't be executed twice for the same crime and he is set free too.

      They grab the engineer and shove his head into the guillotine. As he looks up at the release mechanism, he says, "Wait a minute, I see your problem..."

    3. There once was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge.

      He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "This is where your problem is". The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The engineer responded briefly:

      • One chalk mark: $1.
      • Knowing where to put it: $49,999.

      It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

      (A common variation on this one is that the "X" marked where to smack the machine with a big hammer. --- Sam)

    4. The Top 10 Things Engineering School Didn't Teach

        #10. There are at least 10 types of capacitors.
        #9. Theory tells you how a circuit works, not why it does not work.
        #8. Not everything works according to the specs in the data book.
        #7. Anything practical you learn will be obsolete before you use it, except the complex math, which you will never use.
        #6. Always try to fix the hardware with software.
        #5. Engineering is like having an 8 a.m. class and a late afternoon lab every day for the rest of your life.
        #4. Overtime pay? What overtime pay?
        #3. Managers, not engineers, rule the world.
        #2. If you like junk food, caffeine and all-nighters, go into software.
        #1. Dilbert is a documentary.

    5. What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers? Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.

    6. Engineers think that equations approximate the real world.
      Scientists think that the real world approximates equations.
      Mathematicians are unable to make the connection...

    7. A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."

      "Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

      The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime." The group was silent for a moment.

      The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

      The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

      The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

    8. In the high school gym, all the girls in the class were lined up against one wall, and all the boys against the opposite wall.

      Then, every ten seconds, they walked toward each other until they were half the previous distance apart.

      A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were asked, "When will the girls and boys meet?"

      The mathematician said, "Never".

      The physicist said, "In an infinite amount of time."

      The engineer said, "Well... in about two minutes, they'll be close enough for all practical purposes."

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Where weatherman come from

    (Originally from a college chemistry text. Forwarded by: Dave Carpenter (

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    How to make a perpetual motion machine

    (Portions from: Stephen Shaw (

    The only known way to make a perpetual motion machine is with a cat and a slice of buttered toast. Buttered toast always lands face down when dropped. A cat always lands on its feet when dropped. Therefore, if you tie a slice of buttered toast face up on the cats back you will have a (hovering) perpetual motion machine as both items try to land on their respective correct positions.

    The greatest minds pondering the secrets of the Universe have been unable to explain away the violation of laws of conservation of energy but as "they" say: "If it works, use it!" :)

    (From: Duke McMullan, N5GAX (

    It's a nice idea, but it doesn't work. Evidently the spin states of the bread/cat dipole are unresolved, so it spins in a superposition of clockwise and counterclockwise. All attempts to collapse its collective wave function to date have extracted no useful energy, have gotten butter all over the experimenter's clothes, and usually deep claw marks resulted in the experimenter's arm and hand.

    ("What did you do to the cat? It looks half dead." --- Schrödinger wife.)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Patient Advice and Consultation

    (From: Lance Dyer (

    Patient's guardian complained of a washed out vision with prominent white lines across the face when awoken. Secondary complaint of bright red face when going to sleep as well as turning green or red when channels rolled over and prominent white lines in the face as well.

    Patient history

    Consent for treatment signed by guardian.


    9:30 am:

    Upon initial diagnosis found patient to be suffering from a malfunction at the junction of the E-C of q2906 luminance buffer. Junction was shorted.

    Action taken:

    9:45 am:

    Patient was immediately scheduled for transistor-ectomy to remove the failed component. Solder pads were cauterized with hot iron and excess fluid removed with sterile solder wick gauze. Diseased part was skillfully replace with donor transistor. Pads were recauterized and an antiseptic 60/40 solder was placed over joints for strength and protection.

    Patient Status

    9:50 am:

    Patient awoke from operation with normal vision and all vital signs checked normal and within acceptable parameters.

    Patient transferred to intensive care for monitoring:

    10:20 am:

    Patient went into arrest. Face flashed, shrunk in height and died. Attempt to restart patient with power button failed. Unit unplugged and expletives expressed to the corpse. Removed guts and began examination again. Found same malfunction at the junction. Applied power to patient to check vital signs and patient was alive with washed out white face and lines. Patient had relapsed. Repeated transistor-ectomy with another donor transistor, checked vital still normal.

    5:30 pm:

    Left to go golfing for the day. Patient was still stable at this time.

    Would like a consultation and second opinions on whether or not this patient has:

    1. An incurable disease of an intermittently shorting picture tube causing cancer of the buffer.

    2. A virus or leprosy of the luminance buffer that is attacking it at random.

    Sorry my HMO or Health Care provider will not pay for consultation fees but your input is greatly appreciated.

    Signed: Dr. Lance R.A.T.S (Radio And Television Service)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Mental Calculation in the Service Shop

    (From: Jerry Greenberg (

    The benefit is to have a good idea of what your answer is going to be.

    This is especially true in calculation your customer's reaction when you tell him the bad news, and how much it is going to cost him! You then square that factor, and convert it to the distance that will be required between you and him. Just make sure that you have a very wide service counter between you and him to start with!

    The width of the service counter should be at least 1-1/2 his arm length plus 12% of his height. You should be standing at a distance of about 30% more then the sum of his blood pressure + the other mentioned factors. Also, it is important that you are wearing a very good pair of high-grip running shoes, shorts, and a tee-shirt. A good non-slip coating on the bottom of the running shoe soles would also be a good idea. There should be a clear path between you and the opposite direction from him.

    Now this is a good logical mental calculation for you.

    I think this should sum things up for Y'a!

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The System Administrator

    (With minor changes, the following applies to many in the IT community other than system administrators.)

    This is the individual (usually a human being but perhaps not always) who runs the computer system or ISP you use. They are all alike. Pimply-faced teenagers or if older than 19, pimply-faced teenager wannabees who have never grown up. They have absolute power over their kingdom, whether it's a unix, linux, VMS, or Win NT system, or server farm. This is something not found in many other professions or even most nation states.

    Their domain will be an office or cubical with at least 4 of the fastest computers (not accessible to "users") with the best flat panel LCD monitors currently available. If asked a question, the reply will not be a complete sentence or even in English but some obscure technospeak designed to be impossible to understand. When asked to clarify, the response is likely to be a similar sentence fragment selected to indicate that anyone with intelligence greater than that of a typical carrot should have understood the first time. Very often, the first attempt to fix something will not work but when told this, they will never admit the possibility of having made a mistake but will just try something else that doesn't work. Only after several aborted attempts obviously becoming increasingly annoyed at having to cater to a mere mortal, will the concept of actually testing what was done enter their mind. And then, it will somehow have been the user's fault even if protections and variables in 17 locations which could be accessed only by the Sysadmin with root privilages for the Universe had to be changed. That is, if they can take time out from playing Doom to actually respond to questions.....

    Now, if one attempts to get something corrected via email or (gasp!) phone, the scenario is roughly similar, except that after utterly failing to solve the problem after not trying too hard, and having much more important affairs to attend to (see above), they will simply direct your service tag ID into their kill file or put any calls from you on indefinite hold, and then ignore any future requests.

    My apologies to those system administrators who are actually real human beings. :)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Reward Offered

    (From a posting on the USENET newsgroup by Bob Parker.)

    A reward of 500 microfarads is offered for information leading to the arrest of Hopalong Capacity. This unrectified criminal escaped from a Weston Primary cell, where he had been Clamped in Ions awaiting the Gauss chamber.

    He is charged with the induction of an 18 turn Coil named Milli Henry, who was found Choked and robbed of valuable Joules. He is armed with a Carbon Rod and is a Potential killer.

    Hopalong Capacity is also charged with driving a DC motor over the Wheatstone bridge and refusing to let the Band Pass. If encountered he may offer Series Resistance.

    The Electromotive Force spent the night searching for him in the Magnetic Field where he had gone to Earth. They had no success and believed Capacity returned Ohm via a Short Circuit. He was last seen, riding a Kilocycle with his friend, Eddy Current, who was playing "Ohm on the Range" on his Harmonic.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Engineering Marketing Hype Translated

    (From: nipperchipper (

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    A Guide to Abacus Repair

    "My abacus, the most advanced computing device known to mankind, is damaged. What do I need to repair such a highly sophisticated device ? Please help!"

    (From: Jeff Liebermann (

    You forgot to specify the maker, model, and exact mode of failure. In most cases, the failure is not mechanical but can be attributed to operator error. However, there are some common problems found in the common abacus:

    1. Do you have a worm? This is found by running one of the various worm and virus removal programs. They'll help you spot the holes in the main frame bored by the worm. Remedial action depends upon the type of worm. To avoid further infections, please use an anti-worm cover and scan for worms often.

    2. When did you last reboot your abacus? Simply shaking the abacus to remove cached numbers often helps with arithmetic errors.

    3. Have you installed all the updates and patches necessary for efficient operation? While many of these patches may look like band-aids, cloths pins, hose clamps, sticky goo, and other temporary contrivances, it's the best that the manufacturers can offer.

    4. Are you running an open source abacus? If so, you may be missing some dependency or library required to run the abacus. Please inspect the storage area to insure that everything is properly installed. Consult your librarian for the missing libraries.

    5. Utilities often interfere with the operation of the abacus. For example, a bolt on fan, cell phone, and CCFL lamp will suck all the power from the abacus. I suggest unloading all your utilities and accessories and see if that helps.

    6. Do you have sufficient cooling? The high performance abacus can have considerable friction between the main frame data paths and the beads. If you overclock the abacus and operate the beads faster than the manufacturer intended, heating will be an issue.

    Hopefully, these pointers will help you repair or mitigate your undisclosed abacus problem. This is a good thing because when computers are universally banned as a serious detriment to productivity, the abacus will then be the primary computing system.

    (From: Sam.)

    Also note that accidentally installing some of the beads upside-down can result in subtle errors in lengthy calculations. If the abacus was recently repaired, this may be the problem. Unfortunately, I do not know how to determine if the beads are orientated correctly. :)

    In the future, please include the builder's name and approximate date of construction (within a century or two would be adequate). This is the only way anyone can provide specific repair information.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    Elements of Government

    (Contributed by: Scott Reames ( with some editing by Sam.)


    A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium".

    Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 11 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years, it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass". You will know it when you see it.

    Although governmentium has no electrical charge because of the lack of electrons and protons, all those neutrons, assistant neutrons, deputy neutrons, and assistant deputy neutrons will have equivalent gravitational and other nuclear attractions which will cause it to collapse in on itself, forming neutronium. Enough neutronium will create a black hole, which by definition allows the escape of NOTHING - no light, no heat, no energy. Everything in the universe will eventually be sucked in by the overwhelming gravity of this governmentium induced black hole.

    (From: Sam. I'm not sure how the number 312 came about since it is almost 3 times the actual number of particles but that is probably easily explained.)

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.

    The Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge Device

    (The original source for this is unknown. I'll be happy to include an acknowledgment.)


    Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, acronym - BOOK.

    BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

    Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

    Here's how it works:

    BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper, ( recyclable ), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information.

    The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

    Opaque Paper Technology (OPT), allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

    BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it.

    BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a hard surface. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pin-points the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

    An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards. Thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once.

    The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.

    You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Style (PENCILS).

    Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators! have committed to the format.

  • Back to Humor Table of Contents.


    (Sam Goldwasser, August 2009)

    STUFF is what makes the Western World go around.

    Manufacturers convert raw materials into STUFF.

    Consumers use STUFF for various purposes and then send it to land-fills.

    Marketers, merchandisers, and advertisers are there to get us to want new STUFF, more STUFF, better STUFF. Their mission is to convince us that our old STUFF is no longer adequate for whatever it was intended to do even if it does exactly the same thing as the new improved STUFF. Once we have accepted that premise, we ignore all objectivity and view our old STUFF as decayed, moth eaten, run-down, and rotten, no matter how perfect it may still be in form and function. At that point we're hooked.

    The same principle applies to shoes, clothing, electronic gadgets, entertainment equipment, automobiles, yachts, condos, houses, and for some, islands and nation-states.

    Banks, mortgage companies, and credit card issuers provide the lubrication to finance our addiction to STUFF.

    If we buy even as little as a few percent less STUFF per annum than the producers have been set up to produce, the economy goes into a tailspin called a recession or depression. Gloom and doom rains down upon us and the analysts make us feel guilty for not buying enough STUFF whether we can afford it or not.

    The STUFF we own provides some transitory perceived benefit until better STUFF comes along. We impress our friends and collegues with STUFF. STUFF creates a Band-Aid to temporarily cover over a miserable job or marriage, or mid-life crisis, or other situation that needs covering over. Ultimately, like a real Band-Aid, it deteriorates and falls off, so new fancier STUFF is needed to reseal the wound.

    All the old STUFF has to go somewhere once we have our new STUFF. But, it's not a good idea to throw STUFF away and send it to the land-fill early if there's even an extremely unlikely remote infinitesimal chance it might be useful in the future. So, we hoard STUFF, at least temporarily.

    We load up our houses with STUFF and ultimately have to move into bigger houses to hold all the new and the old STUFF. Room upon room is piled floor to ceiling with STUFF which we have not uncovered in eons. Some people may postpone the inevitable move a small amount by renting space for their overflow STUFF in one, or perferably, several public storage facilities. An entire industry is based on our need to find space for STUFF. But once STUFF ends up packed like sardines in those concrete-walled cubicles, it's destined never to see the light of day until declared abandoned at the end of time.

    Before that inevitable move, we may have a garage sale or moving sale or put a few items on eBay or donate a few items to charity, but the truth is that we can't part with the vast majority of STUFF. Such decisions are simply too traumatic to make, especially under the pressure of an impending move. Only during the actual move, do we gain the slightest notion of all the STUFF we have and wonder why we have it all. But by then it is too late, and we soon forget about all the STUFF we have but do not use. Box after box, all simply marked "STUFF" are dutifully transported from the old house to the new house. We are destined to repeat the cycle since we underestimated the required size of the house we've just moved into. STUFF seems to expand whenever it is moved and the new house can barely hold the STUFF from the old house despite being twice as large. For those who are rich enough, houses then become part of the STUFF to be collected. It's simply easier that way since then there's never a need to uncover the old STUFF and make difficult decisions.

    When we die, our heirs have estate sales (a.k.a. MacMansion-size garage sales, tag sales, or simply house sales) in which all the STUFF we've acquired over a lifetime is fought over by total strangers in a hectic afternoon, so they can fill their houses with STUFF at bargain prices. To some, bargain STUFF is even more valuable than new STUFF regardless of what they can afford, or what condition it is in. What doesn't get sold, goes to the land-fill.

    But if not then, in the end, it all goes to the land-fill and the fundamental purpose of Western society is to convert raw materials into land-fill.

    Entropy increases as it should and all is well.

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    (This is sort of part humor and part philosophy.)

    While out caving, you stumble across a large alien machine, clearly in mint condition and active (as there is a low hum emanating from somewhere within). You know it's of alien manufacture because there is a sticker that says: "Made on Terra #4, Proxima Centuri, SD 5A6.3G4.P3". :) After reading the instructions manual, conveniently translated into the poor English common with foreign-made equipment (and base 10), it's possible to deduce its purpose and function: It is a Whole Person Replicator (WPR). But the version in front of you is set for Demo mode only so there are some, err, restrictions. And there are no instructions on getting it out of Demo mode. Presumably, that requires an "unlock code" and the transfer of some large amount of something valuable to the beings on Terra #4, Proxima Centuri.

    The WPR is a walk-in garden-shed-size box with 3 doors labeled I, O1, and O2, and nothing much else. It must have an internal fusion generator or worm hole connection to a remote power source since there is no power cord (and no power outlets in the cave). :)

    There is a "Quick Start Guide" (QSG), only 10 pages, so that's what we'll use here. (The complete manual is around 13,536 pages, similar to a typical Congressional bill these days, neither of which anyone is expected to read in its entirety, downloaded separately.)

    The QSG says simply that one is supposed to walk into the "I" door and close it behind you. A short (but unspecified) time later, two people will exit from doors "O1" and "O2". They will be identical to the original in every detail down to beyond the level of cells, atoms, elementary particles, and even quarks, and will also preserve any neural activity and energy fields present at the time of the sampling (which is stated to be essentially instantaneous). So, these are not clones but absolute perfect duplicates with all the memories and abilities of the originals. The QSG does not say whether one of them IS the original or simply a perfect copy not subject to normal entropy increase (with the original presumably having been recycled in some manner), but does say that there is no known test that can be used to determine this.

    So, in many ways, the WPR is similar to the Star Trek Transporter when in one of its misbehaving modes. But, it is known for a fact, thankfully, that the WPR was developed totally independently and uses none of its 23,613,723,658 lines of buggy source code. :)

    Now, given that the WPR is in Demo mode (and includes a bin full of Proxima Centuri Terra #4 business cards), there are a few restrictions:

    Thus, after 25.6534 hours, there is no machine and one person absolutely identical to you (when you existed) but possibly with some very strange memories.

    So the question:

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    Smart Phones on the Rise

    (This is an expanded version of a letter of mine published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.)

    While heavily involved in other areas of high tech, I do not have a smart phone and have little desire for one. I have a cell phone for - gasp - making calls, what a concept. And mostly for emergencies. Nor as an engineer would I want to go back to the dark ages before a Web search requiring literally a wall of databooks to select parts for a design. Nonetheless....

    A hand-full of geniuses in Silicon Valley are creating technology to make the vast majority of us stupider. And this isn't just about smart phones - it applies to all sorts of high tech gadgets including the personal computer. We are now dependent on extra-cranial assistance for the following: basic math (imagine finding a square root or even long division without a calculator App), spelling (try hippopotamus or bureaucracy without spell check or Autospell), current weather conditions (without an App), planning a road trip (without Mapquest or Google Maps), navigating the road system (without GPS), geography (without Google Earth) real research (without the use of any silicon-based search engines), or eventually the ability to do any critical thinking at all. If Google or IBM's Watson can provide a solution to any question posed to it, and similar systems can now routinely beat grand masters at chess and other sophisticated games, where does it leave homo-sapiens?

    There were undoubtedly similar concerns with the introduction of fire, the wheel, indoor plumbing, refrigeration, processed food, automobiles that didn't require constant tinkering, and all sorts of other products and services that are now taken for granted. However, one major difference is that the capabilities that are now being taken over by technology include some of those that were thought for ages to be uniquely human.

    It's ironic that so-called "expert systems" have or will soon be far more proficient at tasks like medical diagnosis and treatment recommendations, so that the holographic doctor of Star Trek may not be far behind. But menial jobs like janitorial services may be the last to be replaced by machines.

    But notwithstanding the wearable computer cyborg wanna-bees and Internet connected toaster enthusiasts, there needs to be more consideration of where all this is all leading. Is it ultimately improving the quality of life? Providing more free time? Enhancing happiness? The more mechanized computerized systems we own, the less we understand about them and there is more that can go wrong in ways that only those geniuses would be able to untangle. I only replace my PC when it becomes unreliable enough to be annoying. That's usually several years and by then not only has the technology changed dramatically, but I've forgotten a lot of the details of putting a new system together to work in the environment I expect.

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    How Murphy's Law Came About

    (Forwarded by: Bob Parker (

    The Contributions of Edsel Murphy to the Understanding of the Behaviour of Inanimate Objects

    Abstract - Consideration is given to the effects of the contributions of Edsel Murphy to the discipline of electronics engineering. His law is stated in both general and special form. Examples are presented to corroborate the author's thesis that the law is universally applicable.


    IT HAS LONG BEEN the consideration of the author that the contributions of Edsel Murphy, specifically his general and special laws delineating the behavior of inanimate objects, have not been fully appreciated. It is deemed that this is, in large part, due to the inherent simplicity of the law itself.

    It is the intent of the author to show, by references drawn from the literature, that the law of Murphy has produced numerous corollaries.

    It is hoped that by noting these examples, the reader may obtain a greater appreciation of Edsel Murphy, his law, and its ramifications in engineering and science.

    As is well known to those versed in the state-of-the-art, Murphy's Law states that "If anything can go wrong, it will." Or, to state it in more exact mathematical form:

    1 + 1 = 2 (1)

    where "=" is the mathematical symbol for hardly ever.

    Some authorities have held that Murphy's Law was first expounded by H. Cohen [1] when he stated that "If anything can go wrong, it will - during the demonstration." However, Cohen has made it clear that the broader scope of Murphy's general law obviously takes precedence.

    To show the all-pervasive nature of Murphy's work, the author offers a small sample of the application of the law in electronics engineering.


    II.1. A patent application will be preceded by one week by a similar application made by an independent worker.

    II.2. The more innocuous a design change appears, the further its influence will extend.

    II.3. All warranty and guarantee clauses become void upon payment of invoice.

    II.4. The necessity of making a major design change increases as the fabrication of the system approaches completion.

    II.5. Firmness of delivery dates is inversely proportional to the tightness of the schedule.

    II.6. Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable term. Velocity, for example, will be expressed in furlongs per fortnight. [2]

    II.7. An important Instruction Manual or Operating Manual will have been discarded by the Receiving Department.

    II.8. Suggestions made by the Value Analysis group will increase costs and reduce capabilities.

    II.9. Original drawings will be mangled by the copying machine. [3]


    III.1. In any given miscalculation, the fault will never be placed if more than one person is involved.

    III.2. Any error that can creep in, will. It will be in the direction that will do the most damage to the calculation.

    III.3. All constants are variables.

    III.4. In any given computation, the figure that is most obviously correct will be the source of error.

    III.5. A decimal will always be misplaced.

    III.6. In a complex calculation, one factor from the numerator will always move into the denominator.


    IV.1. Any wire cut to length will be too short.

    IV.2. Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum difficulty of assembly.

    IV.3. Identical units tested under identical conditions will not be identical in the field.

    IV.4. The availability of a component is inversely proportional to the need for that component.

    IV.5. If a project requires n components, there will be n-1 units in stock. [4]

    IV.6. If a particular resistance is needed, that value will not be available. Further, it cannot be developed with any available series or parallel combination. [5]

    IV.7. A dropped tool will land where it can do the most damage (also known as the law of selective gravitation).

    IV.8. A device selected at random from a group having 99% reliability, will be a member of the 1% group.

    IV.9. When one connects a 3-phase line, the phase sequence will be wrong. [6]

    IV.10. A motor will rotate in the wrong direction. [7]

    IV.11. The probability of a dimension being omitted from a plan or drawing is directly proportional to its importance.

    IV.12. Interchangeable parts won't.

    IV.13. Probability of failure of a component, assembly, subsystem or system is inversely proportional to ease of repair or replacement.

    IV.14. If a prototype functions perfectly, subsequent production units will malfunction.

    IV.15. Components that must not and cannot be assembled improperly will be.

    IV.16. A DC meter will be used on an overly sensitive range and will be wired in backward. [8]

    IV.17. The most delicate component will drop. [9]

    IV.18. Graphic recorders will deposit more ink on humans than on paper. [10]

    IV.19. If a circuit cannot fail, it will. [11]

    IV.20. A fail-safe circuit will destroy others. [12]

    IV.21. An instantaneous power-supply crowbar circuit will operate too late. [13]

    IV.22. A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by blowing first. [14]

    IV.23. A self-starting oscillator won't.

    IV.24. A crystal oscillator will oscillate at the wrong frequency - if it oscillates.

    IV.25. A PNP transistor will be an NPN. [15]

    IV.26. A zero-temperature-coefficient capacitor used in a critical circuit will have a TC of -750 ppm/deg. C.

    IV.27. A failure will not appear till a unit has passed Final Inspection. [16]

    IV.28. A purchased component or instrument will meet its specs long enough, and only long enough, to pass Incoming Inspection. [17]

    IV.29. If an obviously defective component is replaced in an instrument with an intermittent fault, the fault will reappear after the instrument is returned to service. [18]

    IV.30. After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed. [19]

    IV.31. After an access cover has been secured by 16 hold-down screws, it will be discovered that the gasket has been omitted. [20]

    IV.32. After an instrument has been fully assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.

    IV.33. Hermetic seals will leak.


    V.1. Specified environmental conditions will always be exceeded.

    V.2. Any safety factor set as a result of practical experience will be exceeded.

    V.3. Manufacturers' spec sheets will be incorrect by a factor of 0.5 or 2.0, depending on which multiplier gives the most optimistic value. For salesmen's claims these factors will be 0.1 or 10.0.

    V.4. In an instrument or device characterized by a number of plus-or- minus errors, the total error will be the sum of all errors adding in the same direction.

    V.5. In any given price estimate, cost of equipment will exceed estimate by a factor of 3. [21]

    V.6. In specifications, Murphy's Law supersedes Ohm's.

    * In some cases where no reference is given, the source material was misplaced during preparation of this paper (another example of Murphy's Law). In accordance with the law, these misplaced documents will turn up on the date of publication of this paper.

    FINAL NOTE: The man who developed one of the most profound concepts of the twentieth century is practically unknown to most engineers. He is a victim of his own law. Destined for a secure place in the engineering hall of fame, something went wrong.

    His real contribution lay not merely in the discovery of the law but more in its universality and in its impact. The law itself, though inherently simple, has formed a foundation on which future generations will build.

    In fact, the law first came to him in all its simplicity when his bride-to-be informed him of the impending birth of an heir to the family fortunes.

    (From: Laurence G. Dishman.)

    Actually, there really was a Murphy. I don't remember his first name but he was a Captain in the US Air Force. During the late 1950s the Air Force was testing human endurance by shooting people down rails on a rocket powered sled. Captain Murphy was responsible for the electronic sensors that measured the forces that the body was subjected to.

    Apparently, one poor electronics technician could never seem to assemble strain transducers correctly and a very frustrated Murphy complained loudly to the tech's NCO that "if it can possibly be wired wrong, he'll find a way to do it!" Which was quickly corrupted to the more general case and attributed to the Captain.

    When the Air Force went public with the project after the test with [I'm not certain of the rank but I believe it was] Lt Col Stapp in the sled. One of the Public Relations Officers remarked to reporters that the program was progressing in spite of Murphy's Law.

    And that's how Murphy's Law came about.

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