Jokes (Fall 1998Sherman)
I welcome contributions to this file. Send submissions
to sherman@umbc.edu. Submissions must have mathematical or algorithms
content.
 There are three types of algorithms students:
those who can count, and those who can't.
 Prove: Given any algorithm, you can always make
it run more slowly. Is the converse true?
 Arithmetic series: In 5th grade, Karl Frederick Gauss's
teacher attempted to punish him by demanding that he sum the integers
from 1 to 100. His teacher thought that that task ought to keep the young
Gauss out of mischief for a while. To his teacher's surprise, however,
Gauss immediately responded "5050", remarking that it's a simple
matter to sum the arithmetic series.
 Geometric series: A woman walks toward a man. With each step
she traverses half the remaining distance. Will she ever reach the man?
No, but she will come close enough for all practical purposes.

Superpolylogarithmic Subexponential Functions
 Mathematicians work with paper, pencil, and waste baskets. They
generate lots of ideassome good, some bad. Mathematicians recognize the
difference and use the waste basket to throw out the bad ideas. By contrast,
while philosophers also make mistakes, they work only with paper and pencil.
 The differences between a mathematician, physicist, and
engineer are highlighted by their approach to the following
hypothesis: "All odd integers are prime." The mathematician,
quickly observing that 9 is odd and composite, concludes thatby
counterexamplethe hypothesis is false. The physicist first collects
some data: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, nine is not prime, 11
is prime, ..., 15 is not prime, 17 is prime. The physicist concludes
that, within experimental error, the hypothesis is true.
The engineer reasons 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime,
11 is prime, and concludes that the hypothesis is true.
 A famous math professor was unusually absentminded the other day when
he picked up the phone, trying to dial for pizza, and heard: "The number
you have just dialed is imaginary. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees
and try your call again."
 Teaching over time.