Archive for the 'Nerd' Category

18
Feb
07

Geekish Song for the Believers

ETERNAL FLAME

I was taught assembler
in my second year of school.
It’s kinda like construction work —
with a toothpick for a tool.
So when I made my senior year,
I threw my code away,
And learned the way to program
that I still prefer today.

Now, some folks on the Internet
put their faith in C++.
They swear that it’s so powerful,
it’s what God used for us.
And maybe it lets mortals dredge
their objects from the C.
But I think that explains
why only God can make a tree.

For God wrote in Lisp code
When he filled the leaves with green.
The fractal flowers and recursive roots:
The most lovely hack I’ve seen.
And when I ponder snowflakes,
never finding two the same,
I know God likes a language
with its own four-letter name.

Now, I’ve used a SUN under Unix,
so I’ve seen what C can hold.
I’ve surfed for Perls, found what Fortran’s for,
Got that Java stuff down cold.
Though the chance that I’d write COBOL code
is a SNOBOL’s chance in Hell.
And I basically hate hieroglyphs,
so I won’t use APL.

Now, God must know all these languages,
and a few I haven’t named.
But the Lord made sure, when each sparrow falls,
that its flesh will be reclaimed.
And the Lord could not count grains of sand
with a 32-bit word.
Who knows where we would go to
if Lisp weren’t what he preferred?

And God wrote in Lisp code
Every creature great and small.
Don’t search the disk drive for man.c,
When the listing’s on the wall.
And when I watch the lightning burn
Unbelievers to a crisp,
I know God had six days to work,
So he wrote it all in Lisp.

Yes, God had a deadline.
So he wrote it all in Lisp.

Listen to it at Prometheus Music.

Advertisements
27
Jul
06

The Ultimate Physics Exam

The following concerns a question in a physics exam at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark several decades ago…

The simple question was: “Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer.” To which one student replied: “You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building.”

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed. The student then appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the University appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer, which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn’t make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

  • “Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer.”
  • “Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper’s shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.”
  • “But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi square root (l / g).”
  • “Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.”
  • “If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.”
  • “But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor’s door and say to him ‘If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper’.”

Who was the student ? Continue reading ‘The Ultimate Physics Exam’

14
Jul
06

Wanna do some Math?

Shamelessly CTRL+C CTRL+V from Princeton:

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.

  • Knowledge is Power
  • Time is Money and as every engineer knows,
  • Power is Work over Time.
    So, substituting algebraic equations for these time worn bits of wisdom, we get:

  • K = P (1)
  • T = M (2)
  • P = W/T (3)
    Now, do a few simple substitutions:

  • Put W/T in for P in equation (1), which yields:
  • K = W/T (4)
    Put M in for T into equation (4), which yields:

  • K = W/M (5).
    Now we’ve got something. Expanding back into English, we get:

  • Knowledge equals Work over Money.
    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:

  • M = W/K (6)
  • Money equals Work Over Knowledge.


From equation (6) we see that Money approaches infinity as Knowledge approaches 0, regardless of the Work done.

    What THIS MEANS is:

  • The More you Make, the Less you Know.
    Solving for Work, we get

  • W = M K (7)
  • Work equals Money times Knowledge


From equation (7) we see that Work approaches 0 as Knowledge approaches 0.

    What THIS MEANS is:

  • The stupid rich do little or no work.

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

technorati tags:,




Random

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!