A few little nuggets that we tech folks like to share.
Other suggestions are welcomed (though publication is not guaranteed).
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Zen and the Art of Bicycle Riding
A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"
The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying the sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the first student, "You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do."
The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!" The teacher commended the second student, "Your eyes are open, and you see the world."
The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."
The fourth student replied, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings." The teacher was pleased, and said to the fourth student, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."
The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, "I am your student!"
About a century or two ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Vatican City. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. The Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Pope won, the Jews would have to leave.
The Jews realized they had no choice. They chose a middle-aged man named Moishe to represent them. Moishe asked for one addition to the debate - to make it more interesting, neither side would be allowed to talk. The Pope reluctantly agreed.
The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite one another for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed at the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay."
An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers, representing the Trinity. He held up one finger to remind me there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my fingers around to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground and showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything! What could I do?"
Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe. "What happened?" they asked. "Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that we had three days to get out. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he said the whole city would be cleared of Jews. I told him we were staying right here." "And then?" asked a woman.
"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch, so I took out mine."
Chemistry Midterm Exam
(Following is an actual question from a Texas A&M class.)
Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
Support your answer with proof.
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant. One student however, wrote the following:
"First we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving.
I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets into Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.
As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions. Some 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 since 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 what they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.
Now, we look at the rate of change in the volume of Hell, because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added.
This gives two possibilities:
(1) If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter, then the temperature and pressure will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
(2) Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the rate at which souls are entering, then the temperature will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Sheryl Atkinson during my freshman year, that "It will be a cold night in Hell before I sleep with you", and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then (2) cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic."
The student got the only "A".
Spoiler: [This is NOT an actual event... but it is still fun!]
The Y1K Bug
An Article from a London Newspaper (circa 999 A.D.)
Canterbury, England. A.D. 999.
An atmosphere close to panic prevails today throughout Europe as the millennial year 1000 approaches, bringing with it the so-called "Y1K Bug," a menace which, until recently, hardly anyone had ever heard of. Prophets of doom are warning that the entire fabric of Western Civilization, based as it now is upon monastic computations, could collapse, and that there is simply not enough time left to fix the problem.
Just how did this disaster-in-the-making ever arise? Why did no one anticipate that a change from a three-digit to a four-digit year would throw into total disarray all liturgical chants and all metrical verse in which any date is mentioned? Every formulaic hymn, prayer, ceremony and incantation dealing with dated events will have to be re-written to accommodate three extra syllables. All tabular chronologies with three-space year columns, maintained for generations by scribes using carefully hand-ruled lines on vellum sheets, will now have to be converted to four-space columns, at enormous cost. In the meantime, the validity of every official event, from baptisms to burials, from confirmations to coronations, may be called into question.
"We should have seen it coming," says Brother Cedric of St. Michael Abbey, here in Canterbury. "What worries me most is that THOUSAND contains the word THOU, which occurs in nearly all our prayers, and of course always refers to God. Using it now in the name of the year will seem almost blasphemous, and is bound to cause terrible confusion. Of course, we could always use Latin, but that might be even worse -- The Latin word for Thousand is Mille, which is the same as the Latin for mile. We won't know whether we are talking about time or distance!"
Stonemasons are already reported threatening to demand a proportional pay increase for having to carve an extra numeral in all dates on tombstones, cornerstones and monuments. Together with its inevitable ripple effects, this alone could plunge the hitherto-stable medieval economy into chaos.
A conference of clerics has been called at Winchester to discuss the entire issue, but doomsayers are convinced that the matter is now one of personal survival. Many families, in expectation of the worst, are stocking up on holy water and indulgences.