anecdote may or may not be authentic (I don't know where it comes from) but it's
very amusing and interesting
Some time ago I received a call from a colleague, who asked if I would be the referee on the grading of an examination question. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed he should receive a perfect score and would if the system were not set up against the student. The instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.
I went to my colleague's office and read the examination question: "Show how it is possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer." The student had answered: "Take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to the street, and then bring it up, measuring the length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the building."
I pointed out that the student really had a strong case for full credit since he had really answered the question completely and correctly. On the other hand, if full credit were given, it could well contribute to a high grade in his physics course. A high grade is supposed to certify competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this. I suggested that the student have another try at answering the question. I was not surprised that my colleague agreed, but I was surprised when the student did.
I gave the student six minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he had not written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said no. He had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one. I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on. In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read: "Take the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge of the roof. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using the formula x =0.5 * a * t2, calculate the height of the building." At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up. He conceded, and gave the student almost full credit.
In leaving my colleague's office, I recalled that the student had said that he had other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were.
"Well," said the student. "there are many ways of getting the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer. For example , you could take the barometer out on a sunny day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow, and the length of the shadow of the building, and by the use of simple proportion, determine the height of the building."
"Fine," I said, "and others?"
"Yes," said the student. “There is a very basic measurement method you will like. In this method, you take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb the stairs, you mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks, and this will give you the height of the building in barometer units.”
"A very direct method."
"Of course, if you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of g at the street level and at the top of the building. From the difference between the two values of g, the height of the building, in principle, can be calculated. On this same tack, you could take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street, and then swing it as a pendulum. You could then calculate the height of the building by the period of the precession".
"Finally," he concluded, "there are many other ways of solving the problem. Probably the best is to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent's door. When the superintendent answers, you speak to him as follows: 'Mr. Superintendent, here is a fine barometer. If you will tell me the height of the building, I will give you this barometer.'"
At this point, I asked the student if he really did not know the conventional answer to this question. He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with high school and college instructors trying to teach him how to think.
The student was Neils Bohr and the arbiter Rutherford...
Microsoft marketing strategy (MARKET.EXE):
#include <spyware.h> /* Microsoft Network Connectivity library */
#include <process.h> /* For the court of law */
#define say(x) lie(x)
#define computeruser ALL_WANT_TO_BUY_OUR_BUGWARE
#define next_year soon
#define the_product_is_ready_to_ship another_beta_version
make_false_promise(it_will_be_multitasking); /* Standard Call, in lie.h */
say("It will be ready in one month);
say("It will be ready in", today+30_days," we're just testing");
say("Yes it will work");
say("It will run on a 8086 with lightning speed due to"
" the 32 bits architecture");
inform(INTEL, "Pentium sales will rise skyhigh");
inform(SAMSUNG, "Start a new memorychip plant"
"'cos all those customers will need at least 32 megs");
inform(QUANTUM, "Thanks to our fatware your sales will triple");
get_big_bonus(INTEL, SAMSUNG, QUANTUM);
say("Oh no, we are just here to make a better world for
order(journalist, "write a nice objective article");
introduction_date++; /* Delay */
say("It will be ready in",today+ONE_MONTH);
bills_bank_account +=3D 150*megabucks;
say("that is a hardware problem, not a software problem");
order(microsoft_intelligence_agency, "Keep an eye on this guy");
hire(a_lot_of_lawyers); /* in process.h */
/* Now everyone realizes that we sell bugware and they are all angry at us */
say("It is not a bugfix but a new version");
/* We'll get him when everyone uses Billware!!*/
Is Windows a Virus
Sub: Basic Windows Study...
Through extensive studying, we found that we needed to ask a basic question of Windows, and here is our basic conclusion:
Q. Is Windows a virus?
A. No, Windows is not a virus. Here's what viruses do:
Maybe Windows is a virus.
Nope! There is a difference!
Viruses are well supported by their authors, are frequently updated, and tend to become more sophisticated as they mature.
So there! Windows is NOT a virus.
Addicted to Internet
You find yourself typing 'com' after every period when using a word processor.com
You turn off your modem and get this awful empty feeling, like you just pulled the plug on a loved one.
Your start introducing yourself as 'John at I-I-Net dot com.'
Your wife drapes a blond wig over your monitor to remind you of what she looks like.
All of your friends have an @ in their name.
You can't call your mother - she doesn't have a modem.
Your phone bill comes to your doorstep in a box.
You laugh at people with 2400 modems.
You move into a new house and decide to Netscape before you landscape.
You refer to going to the bathroom as [downloading].
You tell the cab driver you live at: http://123.elm.street/house/bluetrim.html
Your spouse makes a new rule: 'The computer cannot come to bed.'
You ask a plumber how much it would cost to replace the chair in front of your computer with a commode.
You start tilting your head sideways to smile :-).
You turn on your computer and turn off your spouse.
Your spouse says communication is important in a marriage, so you buy another computer and install a second phone line so the two of you can chat..."
Three Engineers in a car
There are three engineers in a car; an electrical engineer, a chemical engineer, and a Microsoft Software Engineer.
Suddenly the car just stops by the side of the road, and the three engineers look at each other wondering what could be wrong.
The electrical engineer suggests stripping down the electronics of the car and trying to trace where a fault might have occurred.
The chemical engineer, not knowing much about cars, suggests that maybe the fuel is becoming emulsified and getting blocked somewhere.
Then the Microsoft engineer, not knowing much about anything, comes up with a suggestion. "Why don't we close all the windows, get out, get back in, open the windows again, and maybe it'll work!?"
Are you a prostitute or a consultant?
1. You work very odd hours.
2. You are paid a lot of money to keep your client happy.
3. You are paid well but your pimp gets most of the money.
4. You spend a majority of your time in a hotel room.
5. You charge by the hour but your time can be extended for the right price.
6. You are not proud of what you do.
7. Creating fantasies for your clients is rewarded.
8. It's difficult to have a family.
9. You have no job satisfaction.
10. If a client beats you up, the pimp just sends you to another client.
11. You are embarrassed to tell people what you do for a living.
12. People ask you, "What do you do?" and you can't explain it.
13. Your family hardly recognizes you at reunions (at least the reunions you attend.)
14. Your friends have distanced themselves from you and you're left hanging with only other "professionals."
15. Your client pays for your hotel room plus your hourly rate.
16. Your client always wants to know how much you charge and what they get for the money.
17. Your pimp drives nice cars like Mercedes or BMWs.
18. Your pimp encourages drinking and you become addicted to drugs to ease the pain of it all.
19. You know the pimp is charging more than you are worth but if the client is foolish enough to pay it's not your problem.
20. When you leave to go see a client, you look great, but return looking like hell (compare your appearance on Monday AM to Friday PM).
21. You are rated on your "performance" in an excruciating ordeal.
22. Even though you get paid the big bucks, it's the client who walks away smiling.
23. The client always thinks your "cut" of your billing rate is higher than it actually is, and in turn, expects miracles from you.
24. When you deduct your "take" from your billing rate, you constantly wonder if you could get a better deal with another pimp.
25. Everyday you wake up and tell yourself, "I'm not going to be doing this stuff the rest of my life."
Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is really quite as satisfying as an income tax refund. - F.J. Raymond
Foreign Aid: taxing poor people in rich countries for the benefit of rich people in poor countries. - Bernard Rosenberg
You know it's a bad day when your income tax refund check bounces.
I believe we should all pay our tax bill with a smile. I tried - but they wanted cash.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents? - Peg Bracken
The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. - Will Rogers
Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today. - Herman Wouk
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors, and miss. - Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"
There is only one thing worse than the flu season; the tax season. You can recover from the flu.
The best things in life are free, but sooner or later the government will find a way to tax them.
Bumper snicker: Save Our Trees. Stop Printing Tax Forms!
All the taxes paid over a lifetime by the average American are spent by the government in less than a second. - Jim Fiebig
According to the tax bill signed by President Reagan on December 22, 1987, Don Tyson and his sister-in-law Barbara run a "family farm." Their "farm" has 25,000 employees and grosses $1.7 billion a year. But as a "family farm" they get tax breaks that save them $135 million a year.
I owe the government $3400 in taxes. So I sent them two hammers and a toilet seat. - Sue Murphy
I'm proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is - I could be just as proud for half the money. - Arthur Godfrey
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages. - H. L. Mencken
Death and taxes are inevitable; at least death doesn't get worse every year.
There is nothing more permanent than a temporary tax.
Taxpayers don't have to take a civil service exam to work for the government.
There is only one way to kill capitalism - by taxes, taxes, and more taxes.
Micro-Ap, a manufacturing company based in Londonderry, N.H., paid $18,267.40 in taxes last year. In September, the firm received a bill from the Internal Revenue Service for 1 cent, plus a penalty of $194.72.
fine is a tax for doing something wrong.
Isn't it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool's Day and ends with cries of "May Day!"? - Rob Knauerhase
Old MacDonald had an agricultural real estate tax abatement.
Born Free...Taxed to Death
The IRS sent back my tax return saying I owed $800. I said "If you'll notice, I sent a paper clip with my return. Given what you've been paying for things lately, that should more than make up the difference."
Have you ever wondered if taxation without representation was cheaper?
The only time the average child is as good as gold is April 15th.
Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.
The reward of energy, enterprise and thrift - is taxes. - W. Feather
In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. - Benjamin Franklin