(This was a true story told to me by my Resident Advisor at Harvard. She = my RA) She was a 7th year PhD student and had been working on a paper for ~2.5 years. She and her supervisor finally submitted the paper on a Friday. Her supervisor says to her, Congratulations on finally finishing that paper! You’ve been working so hard. I think you should treat yourself and take the weekend off. She replied to her supervisor, No - thank you for all your support! You’ve been so helpful. I think you should treat yourself and take the weekend off. Oh, I intend to! her supervisor replied. On Monday, they reconvened to discuss new potential projects. My RA said to her supervisor, Can I let you in on a little secret? Of course! I didn’t really take the weekend off, she says. Can I let you in a secret too? her supervisor asks. I didn’t really take the weekend off either!
Happy Birthday to Henri Lebesgue! His legacy was integral to mathematics and his contributions are without measure.
At a recent real-time Java conference, the participants were given an awkward question to answer: If you had just boarded an airliner and discovered that your team of programmers had been responsible for the flight control software, how many of you would disembark immediately? Among the forest of raised hands only one man sat motionless. When asked what he would do, he replied that he would be quite content to stay aboard. With my team’s software, he said, the plane wouldn’t make it to the runway.
(Warning: Causal Inference Joke) One day at the airport, a very tiny, very petite grandmother is passing through security. As she steps up to the scanner, it reveals that her winter coat is filled with explosives! A security guard asks her to step inside a private room and take off her coat. “Ma’am, you can’t fly like that!” the guard says. “What are you thinking??” The grandmother replies, “I read online that the probability of one bomb on a flight is small, but that the probability of two bombs on a flight is even smaller!”
A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts:Excuse me, can you help me? I promised my friend. I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am. The man below says, Yes, you are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees North latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees West longitude. You must be a programmer, says the balloonist. I am, replies the man. How did you know? Well, says the balloonist, everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. The man below says, You must be a project manager I am, replies the balloonist, but how did you know? Well, says the man, you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault.
Shlemiel gets a job as a street painter, painting the dotted lines down the middle of the road. On the first day he takes a can of paint out to the road and finishes 300 yards of the road. That’s pretty good! says his boss, you’re a fast worker! and pays him a kopeck. The next day Shlemiel only gets 150 yards done. Well, that’s not nearly as good as yesterday, but you’re still a fast worker. 150 yards is respectable, and pays him a kopeck. The next day Shlemiel paints 30 yards of the road. Only 30! shouts his boss. That’s unacceptable! On the first day you did ten times that much work! What’s going on? I can’t help it, says Shlemiel. Every day I get farther and farther away from the paint can!
It’s often said that software engineers have no code of ethics. This is untrue. For example, no respectable software engineer would ever consent to writing a function called DestroyBaghdad(). Professional ethics would compel them to instead write a function DestroyCity, to which Baghdad could be passed as a parameter.
Three logisticians just finished dinner, and the waitress comes up and asks do y’all want dessert? The first logistician says I don’t know. The second also says I don’t know. The last says yes, we would.
A physicist, an engineer and a programmer were in a car driving over a steep alpine pass when the brakes failed. The car was getting faster and faster, they were struggling to get round the corners and once or twice only the feeble crash barrier saved them from crashing down the side of the mountain. They were sure they were all going to die, when suddenly they spotted an escape lane. They pulled into the escape lane, and came safely to a halt. The physicist said We need to model the friction in the brake pads and the resultant temperature rise, see if we can work out why they failed. The engineer said I think I’ve got a few spanners in the back. I’ll take a look and see if I can work out what’s wrong. The programmer said Why don’t we get going again and see if it’s reproducible?
A farmer wants to section off part of his field with a fixed length of fence. He is unsure what the best strategy is so he unwisely calls the local university, who send an engineer, a physicist and a mathematician. The engineer makes a circle with the fence, declaring it to have the greatest area for any given perimeter length. The physicist makes a straight line as far as the eye can see in either direction, and says that, to all intents and purposes, it goes all the way around the world and he has fenced in half the world. The mathematician fences off a tiny one metre area around himself, and says I declare myself to be on the outside.
What do we want? Now! When do we want it? Fewer race conditions!
What’s the difference between an introverted programmer and an extroverted programmer? The extroverted programmer looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you.