Category: Englisch


The secret of Antigravity
If you drop a buttered piece of bread, it will fall on the floor butter-side down. If a cat is dropped from a window or other high and towering place, it will land on its feet.

But what if you attach a buttered piece of bread, butter-side up to a cat’s back and toss them both out the window? Will the cat land on its feet? Or will the butter splat on the ground?

Even if you are too lazy to do the experiment yourself you should be able to deduce the obvious result. The laws of butterology demand that the butter must hit the ground, and the equally strict laws of feline aerodynamics demand that the cat can not smash its furry back. If the combined construct were to land, nature would have no way to resolve this paradox. Therefore it simply does not fall.

That’s right you clever mortal (well, as clever as a mortal can get), you have discovered the secret of antigravity! A buttered cat will, when released, quickly move to a height where the forces of cat-twisting and butter repulsion are in equilibrium. This equilibrium point can be modified by scraping off some of the butter, providing lift, or removing some of the cat’s limbs, allowing descent.

Most of the civilized species of the Universe already use this principle to drive their ships while within a planetary system. The loud humming heard by most sighters of UFOs is, in fact, the purring of several hundred tabbies.

The one obvious danger is, of course, if the cats manage to eat the bread off their backs they will instantly plummet. Of course the cats will land on their feet, but this usually doesn’t do them much good, since right after they make their graceful landing several tons of red-hot starship and pissed off aliens crash on top of them.

And now a few words on solving the problem of creating a ship using the aforementioned anti-gravity device.

One could power a ship by means of cats held in suspended animation (say, about -190 degrees Celsius) with buttered bread strapped to their backs, thus avoiding the possibility of collisions due to temperamental felines. More importantly, how do you steer, once the cats are all held in stasis?

I offer a modest proposal:

We all know that wearing a white shirt at an Italian restaurant is a guaranteed way to take a trip to the laundromat. Plaster the outside of your ship with white shirts. Place four nozzles symmetrically around the ship, which is, of course, saucer shaped. Fire tomato sauce out in proportion to the directions you want to go. The ship, drawn by the shirts, will automatically follow the sauce. If you use t-shirts, you won’t go as fast as you would by using, say, expensive dress shirts. This does not work as well in deep gravity wells, since the tomato sauce (now falling down a black hole, perhaps) will drag the ship with it, despite the counter force of the anti-gravity cat/butter machine. Your only hope at that point is to jettison enormous quantities of Tide. This will create the well-known Gravitational Tidal Force.



Today’s scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster?

Here is a simple experiment that will teach you an important electrical lesson: On a cool, dry day, scuff your feet along a carpet, then reach your hand into a friend’s mouth and touch one of his dental fillings. Did you notice how your friend twitched violently and cried out in pain? This teaches us that electricity can be a very powerful force, but we must never use it to hurt others unless we need to learn an important electrical lesson.

It also teaches us how an electrical circuit works. When you scuffed your feet, you picked up a batch of „electrons“, which are very small objects that carpet manufacturers weave into carpets so they will attract dirt. The electrons travel through your bloodstream and collect in your finger, where they form a spark that leaps to your friend’s filling, then travels down to his feet and back into the carpet, thus completing the circuit.

Amazing electronic fact: If you scuffed your feet long enough without touching anything, you would build up so many electrons that your finger would explode! But this is nothing to worry about, unless you have carpeting.

Although we modern persons tend to take our electric lights, radios, mixers, etc. for granted, hundreds of years ago people did not have any of these things, which is just as well because there was no place to plug them in. Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lightning storm and received a serious electrical shock. This proved that lightning was powered by the same forces as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin’s brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as, „A penny saved is a penny earned“. Eventually, he had to be given a job running the post office.

After Franklin, came a herd of Electrical Pioneers whose names have become part of our electrical terminology: Myron Volt, Mary Louise Amp, James Watt, Bob Transformer, etc. These pioneers conducted many important electrical experiments. For example, in 1780 Luigi Galvani discovered (this is the truth) that when he attached two different kinds of metal to the leg of a frog, an electrical current developed and the frog’s leg kicked, even though it was no longer actually attached to the frog, which was dead anyway. Galvani’s discovery led to enormous advances in the field of amphibian medicine. Today, skilled veterinary surgeons can take a frog that has been seriously injured or killed, implant pieces of metal in its muscles, and watch it hop back into the pond just like a normal frog, except for the fact that it sinks like a stone.

But the greatest Electrical Pioneer of all was Thomas Edison, who was a brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education and lived in New Jersey. Edison’s first major invention, in 1877, was the phonograph, which could soon be found in thousands of American homes, where it basically sat until 1923, when the record was invented. But Edison’s greatest achievement came in 1879, when he invented the electric company. Edison’s design was a brilliant adaptation of the simple electrical circuit: The electric company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then immediately gets the electricity back through another wire, then (this is the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again.

This means that an electric company can sell a customer the same batch of electricity thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few customers take the time to examine their electricity closely. In fact, the last year in which any new electricity was generated in the United States was 1937: the electric companies have been merely re-selling it ever since, which is why they have so much free time to apply for rate increases.

Today, thanks to men like Edison and Franklin, and frogs like Galvani’s, we receive almost unlimited benefits from electricity. For example, in the past decade scientists developed the laser, an electronic appliance that emits a beam of light so powerful that it can vaporize a bulldozer 2,000 yards away, yet so precise that doctors can use it to perform delicate operations on the human eyeball, provided they remember to change the power setting from „VAPORIZE BULLDOZER“ to „DELICATE.“

the talking frog

A young man was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, „If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful Princess.“ He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, „If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful Princess, I will stay with you for one week.“ The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket.

The frog then cried out, „If you kiss me and turn me back into a Princess, I’ll stay with you and do ‚anything‘ you want.“ Again the man took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally the frog asked, „What is it? I’ve told you I’m a beautiful Princess, that I’ll stay with you for one week and do ‚anything‘ you want. Why don’t you kiss me?“

The young man said, „Look, I’m a computer programmer. I don’t have time for girlfriends, but a talking frog is really cool.“

how many ways are there to catch an elephant

hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left.

will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise.

will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate students.

hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:

1) Go to Africa.
2) Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
3) Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west.
4) During each traverse pass,
a) Catch each animal seen.
b) Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
c) Stop when a match is detected.

modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.

prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees.

hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephant.

don’t hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves.

hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an elephant.

don’t hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do.

can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.

don’t hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them.

don’t hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings.

will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.

try hard to hunt elephants, but their staffs are designed to prevent it. When the vice president does get to hunt elephants, the staff will try to ensure that all possible elephants are completely prehunted before the vice president sees them. If the vice president does happen to see a elephant, the staff will:

  • compliment the vice president’s keen eyesight and
  • enlarge itself to prevent any recurrence.

set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices.

ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.

don’t hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they haven’t caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.

ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant.

catch rabbits, paint them gray, and sell them as desktop elephants

smartHouse – vision from back in 1991

November 28, 1995
Moved in at last. Finally, we live in the smartest house in the neighborhood. Everything’s networked. The cable TV is connected to our phone, which is connected to my PC, which is connected to the power lines, all the appliances and the security system. Everything runs off a universal remote with the friendliest interface I’ve ever used. Programming is a snap. I’m, like, totally wired.

November 30
Hot stuff! Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the thermostat and switched on the lights with the car phone, remotely tweaked the oven a few degrees for my pizza. Everything nice and cozy when I arrived. Maybe I should have the universal remote surgically attached.

December 3
Yesterday, the kitchen crashed. Freak event. As I opened the refrigerator door, the light bulb blew. Immediately, everything else electrical shut down – lights, microwave, coffee maker – everything! Carefully, I unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing. Called the cable company (but not from the kitchen phone). They refer me to the utility. The utility insists the problem was in the software. So the software company runs some remote telediagnostics via my house processor.

Their expert system claims it has to be the utility’s fault. I don’t care, I just want my kitchen back. More phone calls. More remote diagnostics. Turns out the problem was „unanticipated failure mode“ – the network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door was open. So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power surge and shut down the entire kitchen. But because sensor memory confirmed that there hadn’t actually been a power surge, the kitchen’s logic sequence was confused so it couldn’t do a standard restart.

The utility guy swears this was the first time this has ever happened. Rebooting the kitchen took over an hour.

December 7
The police are not happy. Our house keeps calling them for help. We discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25 decibels, it creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get amplified when they hit the window. When these vibrations mix with a gust of wind, the security sensors are actuated and the police computer concludes that someone is trying to break in. Go figure….

Another glitch: whenever the basement is in self-diagnostic mode, the universal remote won’t let me change the channels on my TV. That means I actually have to get up off the couch and change the channels by hand. The software and the utility people say this flaw will be fixed in the next upgrade – SmartHouse 2.1, but it’s not ready yet.

December 12
This is a nightmare. There’s a virus in the house. My personal computer caught it while browsing on the public access network. I come home and the living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are covered with ice, the refrigerator has defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycling up and down and the TV is stuck on the Home Shopping channel. Throughout the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes until they explode from the strain. Broken glass is everywhere. Of course, the security sensors detect nothing.

I look at a message slowly throbbing on my PC screen: „Welcome to HomeWrecker!!! Now the FUN begins….(be it ever so humble, there’s no virus like HomeWrecker….)“. I get out of the house. Fast.

December 18
They think I’ve digitally disinfected the house but the place is a shambles. Pipes have burst and we’re not completely sure we’ve got the part of the virus that attacks toilets. Nevertheless, The Exorcists (as the anti-virus SWAT members like to call themselves) are confident the worst is over. „HomeWrecker is pretty bad,“ one tells me, „but consider yourself lucky you didn’t get Poltergeist. That one is really evil“.

December 19
Apparently, our house isn’t insured for viruses. „Fires and mudslides yes,“ says the claims adjuster, „viruses, no.“

My agreement with the SmartHouse people explicitly states that all claims and warranties are null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any way, shape or form with an uncertified on-line service. Everybody’s very, very sorry but they can’t be expected to anticipate every virus that may be created.
We call our lawyer. He laughs. He’s excited.

December 21
I get a call from a SmartHouse sales rep. As a special holiday offer, we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company’s new SmartHouse 2.1 upgrade.
He says I’ll be able to meet the programmers personally. „Sure,“ I tell him….

songs you might know – with new lyrcis

It’s Broken (to the tune of „She Loves You“
(with apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

You think you know the code, and you know just what to say-ay
you tried another load, then you called me yesterday-ay
you said It’s Broken-  and I think it’s pretty bad
the APAR’s open, and my boss is getting mad

You didn’t read the docs or put your tapes in sequence
it’s quite a paradox and it’s getting pretty frequent
you said It’s Broken – and I think it’s pretty bad
the APAR’s open, and my boss is getting mad

It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
and we don’t care how – we want it fixed today

You signed onto the node and you started to install
you watched VM explode, then you tried another call
you said It’s Broken, and I think it’s pretty bad
the APAR’s open – and my boss is getting mad

It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
and it’s not our fault – we want it fixed today


   don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand
(with apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

You should know how to do this
you say you understand
then why, now, are you calling?
Don’t wanna hold your hand]

When I hear that phone ring
And hear you make demands
then I try to keep cool
Don’t wanna hold your hand]

Don’t wanna hold your hand] Don’t wanna hold your hand]

And when you call I feel a growing
We just went over that this morning
were you there?
are you there?
do I care?

Don’t wanna hold your hand] Don’t wanna hold your hand]


With special thanks to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
(to the tune of „50 ways to leave your lover“)


I heard them talking round the terminal one night,
They were working on a problem and they couldn’t get it right.
Then someone said, „hey guys, although it may sound trite,
there must be
50 ways to close an APAR.“

They turned and asked him, „what exactly do you mean ?“
He said, „first you really have to understand the service scene,
but, if you’ll let me, I’ll be glad to intervene
and show you
50 ways to close an APAR
50 ways to close an APAR.“

Call it a DOC, Jock.
User made a mistake, Jake.
Say it’s RACF’s fault, Walt,
and get yourself free.
Make it a SUG, Doug,
it ain’t really a JES bug.
Then take a month’s leave, Steve.
and get yourself free.

(repeat-Call it a…)

He said, „now listen very carefully to me
It’s a waste of time to fix ‚em; they only go PE,
so why not just apply this simple remedy,
and use those
50 ways to close an APAR?“

They all returned to work with cries of childish glee,
and they quickly brought the backlog from 200 down to three,
which only goes to show how simple life can be
when you know
50 ways to close an APAR
50 ways to close an APAR.

Make it a WAD, Rod.
Call it a DUP, Rupe.
Tell a little white lie, Cy,
listen to me.
Say it won’t be reproduce, Bruce,
you JES gotta hang loose, Bruce,
then resign from the firm, Herm
and get yourself free.

(repeat- Make it a…)

product development (the other way)

How big firms develop products nowadays


2.PRODUCT SPECIFICATION: multifunctional, integrated, user-friendly and
non-expensive „solution“ compatible with future system
architecture concepts aimed at avoiding the effect of
extensive humidity and other environmental
influences to human heads and other body parts.

3.MARKETING SPECIFICATION: Get hold of it ! Now !

Pre-Version:      Type: Hazelnut-stick
(because of strict confidentiality, the shape of the
product can only be guessed at).

Beta-Version:     Plastic tarp sized 5 square meters including 320 pages
of technical documentation.

Golden Version:   5-color pamphlet, sunny weather report and about
4-15 months postponement of GA (general availability).

Release 1.0:      Frame without covering; the mechanism is working
reasonably, it unfolds effortlessly, but there are
problems with folding it again.
The handle is offered as a separate feature with its own
order number.

Release 1.1:      Frame without covering, fully integrated handle, mechanism
is working problem-free. Development is praising
the well thought-out design, marketing stresses
the products‘ universial usability.
The weight of 18.9kg is to be addressed in one of the
next releases. The opening mechanism takes about
12.5 minutes at the moment, but is caused by the
hypermodern microscalar hydraulics being used for
the first time in a worldwide product of this type.
They announce plans for further performance improvements.

Release 2.0:      Milestone in development: the product is delivered
with full (!) covering.
The customers criticize only one item: They should
use watertight materials for the covering.

Release 2.1:      The covering is now watertight, but the opening mechanism
doesn’t work anymore.
Marketing tries to place the product as a sun-shade;
development thinks about functional extensions such as
a suitable leather bag.
As a second variant, the firm considers the involvement of a
new Business Partner.
The Business Partner cannot deliver a product, but he
promises a rain-dance to avoid tropical rains.

Release 2.2:      Suitable leather bag is being developed.
Marketing praises the architectural concept of a
non-opening umbrella with a suitable bag (an open
umbrella wouldn’t fit into the bag anyway, right ?).

Release 3.0:      Upgrade to a fully functional model with watertight
covering – free of charge !
For this, the firm unfortunately had to change the dimension
of the leather bag, so the customers have to buy
a new version which is twice as expensive as before.

Release X.X:      Development defends itself against repeated attacks
by stating that the product passed various test cycles
and that no involved tester could find any functional

Final:            Product development is transfered from a lab
in Saudi Arabia to a lab near London.

simplifing the english language

English in the future?
„How difficult is english?? A Vision For The Future“

Having chosen English as the preferred language in the EEC, the European Parliament has commissioned a feasibility study in ways of improving efficiency in communications between Government departments.

European officials have often pointed out that English spelling is unnecessarily difficult; for example: cough, plough, rough, through, and thorough. What is clearly needed is a phased programme of changes to iron out these anomalies. The programme would, of course, be administered by a committee staffed at top level by participating nations.

In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest using ’s‘ instead of the soft ‚c‘. Sertainly, sivil servants in all sities would resieve this news with joy. Then the hard ‚c‘ could be replased by ‚k‘ sinse both letters are pronounced alike. Not only would this klear up konfusion in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be made with one less letter.

There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, it was announsed that the troublesome ‚ph‘ would henseforth be written ‚f‘. This would make words like ‚fotograf‘ twenty per sent shorter in print.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible. Governments would enkourage the removal of double letters which have always been a deterent to akurate speling.

We would al agre that the horible mes of silent ‚e’s in the languag is disgrasful. Therefor we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ as though nothing had hapened. By this tim it would be four years sins the skem began and peopl would be reseptiv to steps such as replasing the ‚th‘ by ‚z‘. Perhaps zen ze funktion of ‚w‘ kould be taken on by ‚v‘, vitsh is, after al, half a ‚w‘. Shortly after zis, ze unesesary ‚o‘ kould be droped from words kontaining ‚ou‘. Similar arguments vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli hav reli sensibl riten styl. After tventi yers zer vud be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vud find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drems of the Guvenmnt vud finali hav kum tru.

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