Fun_People Archive
9 Nov
Yucky Bits V7 #22

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun,  9 Nov 97 20:50:00 -0800
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Yucky Bits V7 #22

["Yucky," as used here, derives from "yucks" and means "funny" and should
 not be confused with its homonym "eeechy," derived from "eeech!"  -psl]

Excerpted-from: Yucks Digest  Sun,  9 Nov 97  Volume 7 : Issue  22
Forwarded-by: (Gene "Chief Yuckster" Spafford)


From: (Wilson Turner)

   The quarter is over, and we have to liquidate all
   '96 answers to make room for the '97s.
   Here is just a sample of our HUGE selection:
*Short Answer*
  Bipedalism, increased cranial capacity.
  The square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle
  equals the sum of the squares of the remaining sides.
  George Washington
  Charles Lyell
*Multiple Choice*
Hurry!  Our prices are insane and our supply is limited!!!!

[Also see <> -psl]
[UPDATE: The Fun_People archive moved in September 1998 to:
	<>  -psl]

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Andrew Partan <>
Forwarded-by: (Randy Bush)
From: Marcello Truzzi <soc_truzzi@EMUVAX.EMICH.EDU>

"If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their
feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?"

After a great deal of experimentation, in which I used up two loaves of
Wonder Bread, a tub of Land 'O Lakes butter, and quite a few cats, I can
say that the results are inconclusive. 80% of the time, the cat landed on
its feet. I suspected however that this might be due to the disproportion
in the cat/buttered-toast masses.  Increasing the number of slices of
buttered toast as well as decreasing the size of the cat seemed to bear this
supposition out.  The closer the relative weights of cat:buttered toast
approached 1:1, the more the initial drop configuration (i.e. cat up or
down) seemed to influence the landing. My conclusion was that buttered toast
didn't work.

My observations however inspired me to try strapping two cats back-to-back
and dropping them. I discovered that if you work from a sufficient height
(a second-story balcony seems to do nicely), 30% of the time (on average)
one of the cats landed on its feet; however in the other 70% of the trials,
the two cats landed on their sides.  This confirmed my observations (of the
cat+buttered toast experiments) that the assemblage was capable of *rotating
under its own power as it fell*. In other words, angular momentum was being
generated and this suggested that, if it could be harnessed, it might prove
to be a source of (relatively) clean and cheap energy.

I tested this hypothesis a few times with FOUR cats strapped to a 4-by-4
beam dropped from a height of ten meters. Unfortunately the muscular energy
of just four cats proved to be insufficient to cause the mass of the beam
to rotate at all. An 8-cp (eight cat-power) assemblage with a four-cat array
strapped at either end of such a beam should, in theory, work; but trials
have revealed that, with this many cats involved, their individual efforts
to land feet-first are cancelled out because the cats don't all try to right
themselves in the same direction or at the same time. Although some angular
motion does occur, it is erratic at best.

I intend to continue this research by experimenting with lighter,
composite-material beams and also with better ways of timing and
coordinating cat-effort delivery and will be getting on with it just as soon
as the suspicions of the neighborhood's (former) cat-owners have been
allayed and a new supply of cats is available.


Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Per Persson <>
Forwarded-by: Mats Persson <>
From: alberto%sole@Sun.COM (Alberto Savoia)

Subject: Biographies of lesser mathematicians #1

Biographies of lesser mathematicians #1

		Gerard Lepu'

Gerard Lepu' was born February 31, 1889 in the small Danish town of
Leipxingburger.  At age 23 he was already showing considerable mathematical
talent by balancing checkbooks on his nose.  After graduating from primary
school at age 27 he enrolled at LJC (Leipxingburger Junior College) where
he managed to pull off a C- in trigonometry in his first quarter by
tattoeing every trigonometric formula known to man on his left forearm.

Encouraged by his early successes he took Calculus I, and failed it four
times, after which he realized that the tests and quizzes given out where
the same every quarter and managed to pass the seventh time with a C-.

With the help of several general education courses, Lepu' graduated with an
AA in Math at the tender age of 42. For the next three years Lepu' audited
several courses because he was still unclear on several matters, in
particular differentiation of e^x, the +- in the quadratic formula and the
concept of 'area-under-a-curve'.

Once reassured on the above technicalities he proceeded to compose and send
out 120 resumes', forgetting to include his name and address in every single

Eventually Lepu' managed to get a job as a mathematician for the SDD (Swiss
Defense Department), his main responsibility was forecasting the need for
army boots and the distribution of the various sizes.  Due to a incorrect
long-division, omission of a '-' sign, and a statistical sample based on
his wife's and 3 year old daughter's feet, the SDD received 180,000 pairs
of army boots ranging in size from a 3 to a 4.  After attempting to excuse
himself by blaming Poisson's distributions he was fired.

Without the burden of a job Lepu' decided to use his inheritance to retire
and work on mathematical problems for the rest of his life.

His major contribution is Lepu's Numbers (LN) which he discovered quite
accidentally while practicing the multiplication tables.

Lepu's numbers are, to put it simply, numbers that are easy to for Lepu' to
use.  The following is a quote from Lepu's unpublished paper:

	"Let X, no N, be a number, any number.  Then X, I mean N, is a Lepu
	Number (LN) if, but only if, the number is easy for me to divide
	into, or out-to, of."

He proceeded to give numerous examples of LN, accompanied by very confused
and subjective arguments.

	"1 is a LN because it is very easy to divide or multiply, even with
	a non LN.  For example, 7, which I really dislike, when multiplied
	by 1 is still 7, which I still do not like."

	"2 is also a very LN number, but not as much as 1"

Lepu' experienced major problems with the number 3, classifying it as a LN,
only to remove it from the list again and again when he found a number that
did not divide easily into it:

	"3 is small enough and 3/3, 6/3 and 9/3 are all pretty easy for me
	to do, hencefore 3 is a LN"

and later

	"3 is a bastard because 10, which is a very nice LN, does not divide
	into it easily.  When I attempt 10/3 I get 3.337333133393353337331
	which, in my humble opinion has too many 3s in it so there must be
	something wrong with it"

The tremendous strain that LN put on Lepu' led him to an early death at 63.
The executors of his estate collected all of his notes which included
several lists of LN which, with the exclusion of the numbers 1 and 2, were
full of contradiction.

I hope you enjoyed this mini biography. Next time Luigi Minestrone who spent
the last part of his life, and several tons of paper, in an attempt to count


Forwarded-by: Fred Douglis <>

A truck driver hauling a tractor-trailer load of computers stops for a
beer.  As he approaches the bar he sees a big sign on the door saying:


He goes in and sits down. The bartender comes over to him, sniffs, says he
smells kind of nerdy, asks him what he does for a living.  The truck driver
says he drives a truck, and the smell is just from the computers he is
hauling. The bartender says OK, truck drivers are not nerds, and serves him
a beer.

As he is sipping his beer, a skinny guy walks in with tape around his
glasses, a pocket protector with twelve kinds of pens and pencils, and a
belt at least a foot too long.  The bartender, without saying a word, pulls
out a shotgun and blows the guy away.

The truck driver asks him why he did that.  The bartender said not to worry,
the nerds are overpopulating the Silicon Valley, and are in season now.
You don't even need a license, he said.

So the truck driver finishes his beer, gets back in his truck, and heads
back onto the freeway.  Suddenly he veers to avoid an accident, and the load
shifts.  The back door breaks open and computers spill out all over the
freeway.  He jumps out and sees a crowd already forming, grabbing up the
computers.  They are all engineers, accountants and programmers wearing the
nerdiest clothes he has ever seen.  He can't let them steal his whole load.
So remembering what happened in the bar, he pulls out his gun and starts
blasting away, felling several of them instantly.

A highway patrol officer comes zooming up and jumps out of the car screaming
at him to stop.

The truck driver said, "What's wrong?  I thought nerds were in season."

"Well, sure," said the patrolman, "But you can't bait 'em."


Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: Scott Patrick <>
Forwarded-by: "Jim Rosenberg" <>

A concert featuring the Bee Gees, K.C. and the Sunshine Band
and other disco stars of the '70s to mark the 20th anniversary
of the seminal movie "Saturday Night Fever" was canceled
Saturday when rainwater leaked into the Brooklyn nightclub where
the movie had been shot. Now, is there anyboyd out there who
still doesn't believe in God?


Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Subject: Well, *duh*!
Forwarded-by: John Kunze <>
Subject: minor fix for url-syntax-02
Forwarded-by: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@liege.ICS.UCI.EDU>

This is from Gisle Aas <>.  The regular expression
in Appendix B can be slightly simplified from



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