Saturday, September 09, 2006

Get a job...

An unemployed man is desperate to support his family. His wife watches TV all day and his three teenage kids have dropped out of high school to hang around with the local toughs. He applies for a janitor's job at a large firm and easily passes an aptitude test.

The human resources manager tells him, "You will be hired at minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day."

Taken back, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address. To this the manager replies, "You must understand that to a company like ours that means that you virtually do not exist. Without an e-mail address you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm. Good day."

Stunned, the man leaves. Not knowing where to turn and having $10 in his wallet, he walks past a farmers' market and sees a stand selling 25lb crates of beautiful red tomatoes. He buys a crate, carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than 2 hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.

During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day. By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly. Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck.

At the end of a year he owns three old trucks. His two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife is buying the tomatoes, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.

By the end of the second year he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. He continues to work hard.

Time passes and at the end of the fifth year he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse which his wife supervises, plus two tomato farms that the boys manage.

The tomato company's payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work. His daughter reports that the business grossed a million dollars.

Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance.

Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.

When the man replies that he doesn't have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address, the insurance man is stunned, "What, you don't have e-mail? No computer? No Internet? Just think where you would be today if you'd had all of that five years ago!"

"Ha!" snorts the man. "If I'd had e-mail five years ago I would be sweeping floors at Microsoft and making $5.15 an hour."

Which brings us to the moral:
Since you got this story on the Internet and have e-mail, you're probably closer to being a janitor than a millionaire.

Sadly, I received it also.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Designated Driver

From the state where drink driving is considered a sport, comes an apparently true story from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a local neighbourhood tavern. Late in the evening the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so intoxicated that he could barely walk.

The man stumbled around the car park for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity and trying his keys on five vehicles, the man managed to find his car, which he fell into.

He was there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off. Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off (it was a fine dry night), flicked the indicators on, then off, tooted the horn and then switched on the lights.

He moved the vehicle forward a few cm, reversed a little and then remained stationary for a few more minutes as some more vehicles left.

At last he pulled out of the car park and started to drive slowly down the road.

The police officer, having patiently waited all this time, now started up the patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and carried out a breathalyser test.

To his amazement the breathalyser indicated no evidence of the man having consumed alcohol at all!

Dumbfounded, the officer said; "I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the Police station this breathalyser equipment must be broken."

"I doubt it," said the man, "tonight I'm the designated decoy".

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Understanding Engineers parts 5 to 8

Understanding Engineers - Take Five
The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"

The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"

The graduate with an Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Understanding Engineers - Take Six
"Normal people 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"

Understanding Engineers - Take Seven
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.

The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.

The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

The engineer said, "I like both."


"Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."

Understanding Engineers - Take Eight
An engineer was crossing a road one-day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one year."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."

Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, and that I'll stay with you for a year and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Understanding Engineers parts 1 to 4

Understanding Engineers - Take One
Two engineering students crossing the campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"

The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The first engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

Understanding Engineers - Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers - Take Three
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 firefighters. 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?"

Understanding Engineers - Take Four
What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
Mechanical Engineers build weapons and Civil Engineers build targets.

Parts 5 to 8 tomorrow

Monday, September 04, 2006

Project Manager's Assessment

Bob Smith, my assistant programmer, can always be found
hard at work in his cubicle. Bob works independantly, without
wasting company time talking to colleagues. Bob never
thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and always
finishes given assignments on time. Often Bob takes extended
measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee
breaks. Bob is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
vanity in spite of his high accomlishmants and profound
knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Bob can be
classed as a high caliber employee, the type which cannot be
dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Bob be
promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
sent away as soon as possible.

Project Manager.

A memo was soon sent, following the letter:

That stupid idiot was reading over my shoulder when I wrote the report sent to you earlier today. Kindly read every second line (i.e. 1,3,5,7,9 etc) for my true assessmant of him.

Project Manager

With thanks to Cappuccino Kid for this one

Sunday, September 03, 2006


For those who thought that a barometer was only any good for measuring air pressure...

Sir Ernest Rutherford, President of the Royal Academy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, related the following story.

Some time ago I received a call from a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed a perfect score. The instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.

I 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."

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 and certify competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this.

I suggested that the student have another try. 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 hadn't written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said 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*t^2, 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.

While 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 [gravity] 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," he said, "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 name of the student was Niels Bohr." (1885-1962) Danish Physicist; Nobel Prize 1922; best known for proposing the first 'model' of the atom with protons & neutrons, and various energy state of the surrounding electrons -- the familiar icon of the small nucleus circled by three elliptical orbits ... but more significantly, an innovator in Quantum Theory.