Engineering, Science, and Other (Pretty Clean) Jokes Collection


[Document Version: 1.67] [Last Updated: 05/25/1998]

Chapter 1) About the Author & Copyright

Engineering, Science, and Other (Pretty Clean) Jokes Collection

Author: Samuel M. Goldwasser
Corrections/suggestions: | Email

Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
All Rights Reserved

Reproduction of this document in whole or in part is permitted if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. This notice is included in its entirety at the beginning.
  2. There is no charge except to cover the costs of copying.

Chapter 2) Introduction

This is a collection of jokes and other humorous stories I have collected
off the Net over the past few years.  Most relate to engineering or science
but some on other topics were just too good to pass up.

These should be mostly suitable for general audiences (unless you have a
lawyer in the family :-).  They are in no particular order.

In most cases, the actual authors are unknown but I have at least provided
attribution to the person who posted or emailed the article where available.

Chapter 3) A Brief Guide to Scientific Literature

(From: Chris Taylor (

Here is an old collection that I rediscovered recently:

Phrase                               Translation

It has been long known               I haven't bothered to check the references

It is known                          I believe

It is believed                       I think

It is generally believed             My colleagues and I think

There has been some discussion       Nobody agrees with me

It can be shown                      Take my word for it

It is proven                         It agrees with something mathematical

Of great theoretical importance      I find it interesting

Of great practical importance        This justifies my employment

Of great historical importance       This ought to make me famous

Some samples were chosen for study   The others didn't make sense

Typical results are shown            The best results are shown

Correct within order of magnitude    Wrong 

The values were obtained empirically The values were obtained by accident

The results are inconclusive         The results seem to disprove my hypothesis 

Additional work is required          Someone else can work out the details

It might be argued that              I have a good answer to this objection

The investigations proved rewarding  My grant has been renewed

Chapter 4) Carnot is dead ! Schaeffer disproves 2nd Law

(From: Brandon Davis (

The First Law of Thermodynamics:
    "You can't get something for nothing"

The Second Law of Thermodynamics:
   "As a matter of fact, you can't even break even."

Newton's first Law of Motion:
   "If you kick a can, it will move."

Newton's Second Law of Motion:
   "If you kick it harder, it will move faster."

Perhaps others know of similar restatements of other important Laws?

The best summary of the first and second laws of thermodynamics I have
seen (in 3 statments):
                    You can't win.
                    You can't break even.
                    You can't quit the game.

. . but surely simple things grow more complex as the cosmos iMplodes 
in retrograde time toward the initial collapse of the singularity?  Er, or 
is it that complex things break down to constituent particles as the cosmos 
eXplodes along linear time lines towards chaos (i.e., entropy). Wait. Where
is my local closed system where heat/energy/complexity can make a muddle of
the metaverse's puddle? Oh --i know, I will just sink into the quandary of the 
19th century, where the only part of probability that was important was babil 
(babbel) and ...oh, dear, where IS lewis carrol when he's needed?: The 

Chapter 5) Canonical Collection of Light Bulb Jokes

(From: Clay Belcher (

Time for a little levity, lighting fans.  Or should I say a little light
humor.  This collection of jokes was originally attributed to: Kurt Guntheroth
(kurt@tc.fluke.COM)) but I've been unable to raise him at that address.  I've
taken the liberty to post this here in a somewhat sterilized version (as the
original contained some pretty offensive stuff).  Enjoy, and feel free to
contribute additional ones.

Q:  How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Six.  One to turn the bulb, one for support, and four to
    relate to the experience.

Q:  How many Oregonians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Five.  One to change the bulb and four more to chase off
    the Californians who have come up to relate to the experience.
A': Nine.  One to change the bulb, and eight to protest the
    nuclear power plant that generates the electricity that powers it.

Q:  How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  None of your business!
A': 50.  50?  Yeah 50; its in the contract.

Q:  How many Virginians does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Twelve: one to replace it and eleven to talk about how much
    better the old one was.

Q:  How many yuppies does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Two.  One to call the electrician and one to mix the martinis.

Q:  How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Only one, but the bulb has got to really WANT to change.
A': None; the bulb will change itself when it is ready.

Q:  How many software people does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  None.  That's a hardware problem.
A': One, but if he changes it, the whole building will probably fall down.
A": Two.  One always leaves in the middle of the project.

Q:  How many hardware folks does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None.  That's a software problem.
A': None.  They just have marketing portray the dead bulb as a feature.

Q:  How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  As many as you want; they're all virtual, anyway.

Q:  How many Bell Labs Vice Presidents does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  That's proprietary information.  Answer available from AT&T on payment of
    license fee (binary only).
A': Nearly unanswerable, since the one who tries to change it usually drops
    it, and the others call for a planning session.
A": Three.  One to get the bulb and two to get the phone number of one of
    their subordinates to actually change it.

Q:  How many graduate students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Only one, but it may take upwards of five years for him to get it done.

Q:  How many `Real Men' does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None:  `Real Men' aren't afraid of the dark.

Q:  How many `Real Women' does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None:  A 'Real Woman' would have plenty of real men around to do it.

Q:  How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  None:  The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.

Q:  How many Russian leaders does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Nobody knows.  Russian leaders don't last as long as light bulbs.

Q:  How many nuclear engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Seven.  One to install the new bulb and six to figure out what to do with
    the old one for the next 10,000 years.

Q:  How many pre-med students does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Five:  One to change the bulb and four to pull the ladder out from under

Q:  How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  One, but it takes at least three light bulbs.

Q:  How many Feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  That's not funny!!!

Q:  How many supply-siders does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None.  The darkness will cause the light bulb to change by itself.

Q:  How many economists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two.  One to assume the ladder and one to change the bulb.
A': None.  If the government would just leave it alone, it would screw itself

Q:  How many Valley Girls does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Oooh, like, manual labor?  Gag me with a spoon!  For sure.

Q:  How many data base people does it take to change alight bulb?
A:  Three:
      One to write the light bulb removal program,
      one to write the light bulb insertion program, and
      one to act as a light bulb administrator to make sure
       nobody else tries to change the light bulb at the same time.

Q:  How many Carl Sagans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Billions and billions.

Q:  How many Zen masters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  A tree in a golden forest.
A': Two: one to change the bulb and one not to change it.
A": One to change and one not to change is fake Zen.  The true Zen answer is
    Four.  One to change the bulb.
A'":None. Zen masters carry their own light.

Q:  How many folk singers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two. One to change the bulb, and one to write a song about how good the
    old light bulb was.

Q:  How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Two, one to hold the giraffe, and the other to fill the bathtub with
    brightly colored machine tools.

Q:  How many gorillas does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Only one, but it takes a truckload of light bulbs!

Q:  How many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Three. One to find a bulb specialist, one to find a bulb installation
    specialist, and one to bill it all to Medicare.

Q:  How many [IBM] Technical Writers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  100. Ten to do it, and 90 to write document number GC7500439-0001,
    Multitasking Incandescent Source System Facility, of which 10% of the
    pages state only "This page intentionally left blank", and 20% of the
    definitions are of the form "A:...... consists of sequences of non-blank
    characters separated by blanks".
A': Just one, provided there's an engineer around to explain how to do it.

Q:  How many professors does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Only one, but they get three publications out of it.

Q:  How many people from New Jersey does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Three.  One to change the light bulb, one to be a witness, and the third
    to shoot the witness.

Q:  How many cops does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  None.  It turned itself in.

Q:  How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  How many can you afford?

Q:  How many football players does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  The entire team!  And they all get a semester's credit for it!

Q:  How many thought police does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  None.  There never was any light bulb.

Q:  How many Federal employees does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Sorry, that item has been cut from the budget!

Q:  How many psychics does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  ---- You should have hit "n"!

Q:  How many sorority sisters does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  51.  One to change the bulb, and fifty to sing about the bulb
    being changed.

Q:  How many frat guys does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Three: One to screw it in, and the other two to help him
    down off the keg.
A': Five:  One to hold the bulb, and four to guzzle beer until the room spins.

Q:  How many Harvard students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Just one. He grabs the bulb and waits for the world to revolve around him.

Q:  How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two.  One to assure the everything possible is being done while the other
    is incomplete pending resolution of some action items.  It will be
    continued next week.   Meanwhile...

Q:  How many brewers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  About one third less than for a regular bulb.

Q:  How many WASP Princesses does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two. One to get a Tab and one to call Daddy.

Q:  How many accountants does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  What kind of answer did you have in mind?

Q:  How many civil servants does it take to change the light bulb?
A:  45.  One to change the bulb, and 44 to do the paperwork.

Q:  How many junkies does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Oh wow, is it like dark, man?

Q:  How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  I will have an estimate for you a week from Monday.

Q:  How many U.S marines does it take to screw in a light bulb
A:  50. One to screw in the light bulb and the remaining 49 to guard him.

Q:  "How many Romulans does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
A:  "151, one to screw the light-bulb in, and 150 to self-destruct the ship
    out of disgrace."

Q:  How many dull people does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  one.

Q:  How many editors of Poor Richard's Almanac does it take to replace a light
A:  Many hands make light work.

Q:  How many Vulcans does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  "Approximately 1.00000000000000000000000"

Q:  How many members of the U.S.S. Enterprise does it take to change a light
A:  7. Scotty will report to Captain Kirk that the light bulb in the
    Engineering Section is burnt out, to which Kirk will send Bones to
    pronounce the bulb dead. Scotty, after checking around, notices that they
    have no more new light bulbs, and complains that he can't see in the dark
    to tend to his engines.  Kirk must make an emergency stop at the next
    uncharted planet, Alpha Regula IV, to procure a light bulb from the
    natives. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, and 3 red shirt security officers beam
    down. The 3 security officers are promptly killed by the natives, and the
    rest of the landing party is captured. Meanwhile, back in orbit, Scotty
    notices a Klingon ship approaching and must warp out of orbit to escape
    detection. Bones cures the native king who is suffering from the flu, and
    as a reward the landing party is set free and given all of the light bulbs
    they can carry. Scotty cripples the Klingon ship and warps back to the
    planet just in time to beam up Kirk et. al. The new bulb is inserted, and
    the Enterprise continues with its five year mission.

Q:  How many efficiency experts does it take to replace a light bulb?
A:  None.  Efficiency experts replace only dark bulbs.

Q:  How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Only one. They don't like to share the spotlight.

Q:  How many Chinese Red Guards does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  10,000 - to give the bulb a cultural revolution.

Q:  Do you know how many musicians it takes to change a light bulb?
A:  No, big daddy, but hum a few bars and I will fake it.
A': Twenty.  One to hold the bulb, two to turn the ladder, and seventeen in on
    the guest list.

Q:  How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two, one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a
    surprising twist at the end.

Q:  How many bikers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  It takes two.  One to change the bulb, and the other to kick the switch.

Q:  How many running-dog lackeys of the bourgeoisie does it take to change a
     light bulb?
A:  Two.  One to exploit the proletariat, and one to control the means of

Q:  How many existentialists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two: One to screw it in and one to observe how the light bulb itself
    symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a
    netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of

Q:  How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  One, if it knows its own Goedel number.

Q:  How many dadaists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  To get to the other side.

Q:  How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  None.  It's left to the reader as an exercise.
A': One.  He gives it to six Californians, thereby reducing the problem to an
    earlier joke.
A": One.  He gives it to five Oregonians, thereby reducing the
    problem to an earlier joke.
A'": In an earlier article, zeus!bobr writes:

Q:  How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  One.  He gives it to six Californians, thereby reducing the problem to an
    earlier joke...

In earlier work, Wiener [1] has shown that one mathematician can change a
light bulb.  If k mathematicians can change a light bulb, and if one more
simply watches them do it, then k+1 mathematicians will have changed the light
bulb. Therefore, by induction, for all n in the positive integers, n
mathematicians can change a light bulb.


    [1] Weiner, Matthew P., <11485@ucbvax>, "Re: YALBJ", 1986

Q:  How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  We don't know.  They never get past the feasibility study.

Q:  How many Ukrainians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  They don't need to, they glow in the dark.

Q:  How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Three.  One to curse the darkness, one to light a candle...
        ... and one to change the bulb.

Q:  How many stock brokers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Two.  One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell
    it before it crashes (knowing that it's already burned out).

Q:  How many aides does it take to change the President's light bulb?
A:  None, they like to keep him in the dark.

Q:  How many magicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Depends on what you want to change it into.

Q:  How many Macintosh users does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None.  You have to replace the whole motherboard.

And a couple more:

(From: Don Klipstein (

Q:  How many straight male West Hollywood residents does it take to change a
    light bulb?

A:  Either of them could probably do it themselves.

Q:  How many journalists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A:  Three.  One to report on the inspired program to bring light, one to
    report on the sinister government plot to deprive the poor of darkness,
    and one to report on the light bulb manufacturer assassinating the old
    light bulb.

(From: WB or CM Hilbrich (

Q: How many mailing list subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 1,331:

   - 1 to change the light bulb and to post to the list that the light bulb
     has been changed.

   - 14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light
     bulb could have been changed differently.

   - 7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

   - 27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light

   - 53 to flame the spell checkers.

   - 156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb
     discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.

   - 41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.

   - 109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take
     this e-mail exchange to alt.lite.bulb.

   - 203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and
     alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.

   - 111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we all use light bulbs
     and therefore the posts **are** relevant to this mail list.

   - 306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to
     buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this
     technique, and what brands are faulty.

   - 27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

   - 14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected

   - 3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this
     list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.

   - 33 to summarize all posts to date, then quote them including all headers
     and footers, and then add "Me Too."

   - 12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot
     handle the light bulb controversy.

   - 19 to quote the "Me Too's" to say, "Me Three".

   - 4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.

   - 1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.

   - 47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave
     it here.

   - 143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.

(From: Dan Hicks (

You forgot:

   - 37 empty posts.

   - 250 debating the merits of magnetic light bulb filters.

   - 3 giving you URLs for really sexy adult light bulbs.

Chapter 6) Pentium Bug Jokes

(From: Henry G. Baker (

The 0.000000000001th new Intel slogan for the Pentium:

   We give you the most megaflops.


On the tee-shirt of an inline skater in Mountain View:   :-)

"I asked for a refund on my Pentium, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt"


Q:  What is Intel's follow-on to the Pentium?

A:  Repentium.


Q:  What does the element Pentium decay into?

A:  Inert silicon with the emission of a press release.


The Pentium doesn't have bugs or produce errors; it's just Precision-Impaired.


Intel business executives have been so stressed by staying up late at night
trying to figure out what to do about the Pentium Problem, that they're past
the floating point.


I heard that Intel lost one of its divisions today...


(From: Mark Thorson (


Intel Inside sat on a wall.
Intel Inside had a great fall.
All the king's lawyers
and all the king's men
couldn't put Intel Inside
back together again.


Pentium Processor, puddin' and pie.
Pentium Processor, price real high.
When the bugs came out to play,
Pentium Processor ran away.

(From: John Cooley (

  Here's some of the hardware humor I've had mailed to me since the
  Intel Pentium floating point divide bug came out that's been such big news 
  lately.  It's not every day that we hardware designers get national 
  recognition for *anything* either positive or negative!  (Thought I'd
  post it as a refreshing diversion from the 100,000 serious hardware design
  oriented posts we see here all year through.)

                           - John Cooley
                             Part Time Sheep & Goat Farmer
                             Part Time EDA Consumer Advocate
                             Full Time ASIC, FPGA & EDA Design Consultant

  6.1) The top ten reasons to buy a Pentium machine

10. You current computer is too accurate.
9.  Want to get into the Guinness Book as "owner of the most expensive
8.  Math errors add zest to life.
7.  You need an alibi for the IRS.
6.  You want to see what all the fuss is about.
5.  You've always wondered what it would be like to be a plaintiff.
4.  The "Intel Inside" logo matches your decor perfectly.

3.  You no longer have to worry about the CPU overheating.
2.  You got a great deal from JPL.
And the #1 reason to buy a Pentium machine:
1.  It'll probably work.

  6.2) Q&A The Pentium FDIV bug

Q:  How many Pentium designers does it take to screw in a light bulb? 
A:  1.99904274017, but that's close enough for non-technical people.
Q:  What do you get when you cross a Pentium PC with a  research grant? 
A:  A mad scientist.
Q:  What's another name for the "Intel Inside" sticker they put on Pentiums?
A:  The warning label.
Q:  Complete the following word analogy:  Add is to Subtract as Multiply
    is to:
        1)  Divide
        2)  ROUND
        3)  RANDOM
        4)  On a Pentium, all of the above
A:  Number 4.
Q:  What algorithm did Intel use in the Pentium's floating point divider? 
A:  "Life is like a box of chocolates." (Source: F. Gump of Intel)
Q:  Why didn't Intel call the Pentium the 586?
A:  Because they added 486 and 100 on the first Pentium and got 585.999983605.

  6.3) Top ten new Intel slogans for the Pentium

  9.9999973251   It's a FLAW, Dammit, not a Bug 
  8.9999163362   It's Close Enough, We Say So 
  7.9999414610   Nearly 300 Correct Opcodes 
  6.9999831538   You Don't Need to Know What's Inside
  5.9999835137   Redefining the PC -- and Mathematics As Well 
  4.9999999021   We Fixed It, Really
  3.9998245917   Division Considered Harmful
  2.9991523619   Why Do You Think They Call It *Floating* Point? 
  1.9999103517   We're Looking for a Few Good Flaws
  0.9999999998   The Errata Inside

Chapter 7) Things They Never Taught in School

(From: Jim Weir (

And for those of you who went through school thinking that everything
above 30 MHz was powdered bat wings and mouse milk, 

1.  2 #24 PVC hookup wires twisted tightly is about 10 pf per inch.

2.  A file and a disk ceramic capacitor is the original one-set variable

3.  A wire is just some inductance, capacitance, and resistance floating in a
    loose formation.

4.  A file and a carbon COMPOSITION resistor is the original one-set variable

5.  A 50 ohm line on green glass PC board is about the thickness of the board

6.  Don't tug on Superman's cape, don't piss into the wind, and don't mess
    around with The Man.

Chapter 8) Virus Jokes

Immediately scan your computer for the following viruses:

* PAT BUCHANAN VIRUS: Your system works fine, but it complains 
  loudly about foreign software.

* COLIN POWELL VIRUS: Makes it presence known, but doesn't do 
  anything. Secretly you wish it would.

* HILLARY CLINTON VIRUS: Files disappear, only to reappear 
  mysteriously a year later, in another directory.

* O.J. SIMPSON VIRUS: You know it's guilty of trashing your system, 
  but you just can't prove it.

* BOB DOLE VIRUS: Could be virulent, but it's been around too long 
  to be much of a threat.

* STEVE FORBES VIRUS: All files are reported as the same size.

* PAUL REVERE VIRUS: This revolutionary virus does not horse 
  around. It warns you of impending hard disk attack: Once if by 
  LAN; twice if by C.

* POLITICALLY CORRECT VIRUS: Never identifies itself as a virus, 
  but instead refers to itself as an electronic micro-organism.

Chapter 9) The Fable of the Fox's FAX

(From: Frank Reid (
                        THE FABLE OF THE FOX'S FAX
                                 by Frank
                   Based _very_ loosely on a true story.
                 (G-rated version; use your imagination.)
Fox faced a fix;  Fox couldn't fax, for Fox's fax was fried.  "Fax failure 
forfeits fortunes faxing flax futures," figured Fox, frantically phoning 
Phoebe the Frugal Fax Fixer from Phoenix, who features fast fax fixes for 
flat fees of fifty French Francs.  "Fix my freaking fax!" Fox fumed 
Phoebe's fastest field fax-fixer, Pheasant, flew to Fox's flat.  Pheasant 
found flocks of faulty fuses, a familiar foible of funky faxes from 
Formosa.  Fetching fistfuls of fresh fuses forced Fox's fax to function 
with flawless finesse, faithfully focusing phalanxes of photons in phase 
with faraway photoelectron flux.
"Phooey!" Fox fussed, flipping Pheasant the finger. "I fail to fathom fifty 
French francs for fifteen-pfennig fuses.  Forget fiscal funds for 
fallacious fax-fix!"
Pheasant fervently feared fowl finagling, for Pheasant failed to find her 
father following the forementioned fox's fax-fix fiasco four fortnights 
from February.  Pheasant found feathers festooning Fox's foyer, and feared 
Fox feasted on Father.  Pheasant flew forthwith, fleeing Fox's flat.
Pheasant fingered Fox, forwarding fiendishly-forged fax to feds.  Federal 
fuzz ferreted Fox's fingerprints and fined Fox for filching fuses, 
fomenting forest fires, fencing foreign freon, fleecing folks with 
fraudulent faxed flax-futures, and felonious failure to file flat flax-fax 
tax.  Fox filibustered futilely, and finally fell afoul of a frizzy female 
fed who fired flintlocks and fancied fox fur.
Moral:  Fare fixers fairly or face fur-fetched frustration.

Chapter 10) Fixing a Flux Capacitor

Here is one that hasn't been posted to yet:

Subject: Flux Capacitor broken


We found what appears to be a Flux Capacitor that fell out of an alien
spaceship in their haste to depart after being approached by BIG BIRD.

The plutonium supply seems to be adequate but plugging the 3 wire cord into
115 VAC doesn't produce any response.  However, probing the logic circuits
with our HP 16500 analyzer indicates that the P9-1000 they are apparently
using to control the display is functional.  (It also passes the FDIV bug
test - must not be genuine Intel.)

Upon further examination, we note the device marked @@#$%-@#%@$#-11
appears to be burnt.  Would like to know of source for this device or
equivalent.  It seems to be in-line with the main power relay.

We would really like to get our infinite energy/time machine going
but are hesitant to jump across this device if it is not just a fuse
or if there are further problems.  A black hole in the middle of our
back yard would be really bad for property values.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.....:-)

--- us

Chapter 11) Engineers Explained

(From Jim Rauchut (

Engineers Explained

People who work in the fields of science and technology are not like
other people.  This can be frustrating to the nontechnical people who
have to deal with them.  The secret to coping with technology-oriented
people is to understand their motivations.  This chapter will teach
you everything you need to know.  I learned their customs and
mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about
the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming.

Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody wants to be one. 
The word "engineer" is greatly overused.  If there's somebody in your
life who you think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this
test to discern the truth.


You walk into a room and notice that a picture is hanging crooked.

A. Straighten it.
B. Ignore it.
C. Buy a CAD system and spend the next six months designing a 
   solar-powered, self-adjusting picture frame while often stating aloud
   your belief that the inventor of the nail was a total moron.

The correct answer is "C" but partial credit can be given to anybody
who writes "It depends" in the margin of the test or simply blames the
whole stupid thing on "Marketing."


Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social

"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from
social interaction:

   *Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation 
   *Important social contacts
   *A feeling of connectedness with other humans

In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for
social interactions:

  *Get it over with as soon as possible.
  *Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
  *Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.


To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of
two categories: (1) things that need to be fixed, and (2) things that
will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with
them. Engineers like to solve problems.  If there are no problems
handily available, they will create their own problems.  Normal people
don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke,
don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't
have enough features yet.

No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering
what it would take to turn it into a stun gun.  No engineer can take a
shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make
showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of
sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.


Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming the basic
thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied.  If no
appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or
mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective
of clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.


Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. 
It's a small wonder, since the engineers on the starship Enterprise
are portrayed as heroes, occasionally even having sex with aliens. 
This is much more glamorous than the real life of an engineer, which
consists of hiding from the universe and having sex without the
participation of other life forms.


Dating is never easy for engineers.  A normal person will employ
various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression
of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above

Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole.  They are widely
recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable,
employed, honest, and handy around the house.  While it's true that
many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal
people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing
engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before
losing their virginity.

Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than
normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid thirties
to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually irresistible
men in technical professions:

     *  Bill Gates.
     *  MacGyver.
     *  Etcetera.

Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain
that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. 
Longer if it's a warm day.


Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human 
relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from
customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the

Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work.  They say things
that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be
expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed

     "I won't change anything without asking you first." 
     "I will return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
     "I have to have new equipment to do my job." 
     "I'm not jealous of your new computer."


Engineers are notoriously frugal.  This is not because of cheapness or
mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a
problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape this situation
while retaining the greatest amount of cash?"


If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it is the ability
to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything
else in the environment.  This sometimes causes engineers to be
pronounced dead prematurely.  Some funeral homes in high-tech areas
have started checking resumes before processing the bodies.  Anybody
with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer
programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days just to see if
he or she snaps out of it.


Engineers hate risk.  They try to eliminate it whenever they can. 
This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little
mistake, the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.


 *   Hindenberg.
 *   Space Shuttle Challenger.
 *   SPANet(tm)
 *   Hubble space telescope.
 *   Apollo 13.
 *   Titanic.
 *   Ford Pinto.
 *   Corvair.

The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:

RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent
people. REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and
rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing.  The best way to
avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible
for reasons that are far too complicated to explain.

If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the
engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's technically
possible but it will cost too much."


Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:
     *   How smart they are.
     *   How many cool devices they own.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare
that the problem is unsolvable.  No engineer can walk away from an
unsolvable problem until it's solved.  No illness or distraction is
sufficient to get the engineer off the case.  These types of
challenges quickly become personal -- a battle between the engineer
and the laws of nature.

Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a
problem. (Other times just because they forgot.)  And when they
succeed in solving the problem they will experience an ego rush that
is better than sex--and I'm including the kind of sex where other
people are involved.

Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion that
somebody has more technical skill.  Normal people sometimes use that
knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer.  When an
engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means
it's not fun to do), some clever normal people have learned to glance
at the engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something
along these lines:  "I will ask Bob to figure it out.  He knows how to
solve difficult technical problems."

At that point it is a good idea for the normal person to not stand
between the engineer and the problem.  The engineer will set upon the
problem like a starved Chihuahua on a pork chop.

Chapter 12) The Sex Life of an Electron

(From: Tom The sparky (

One night when his charge was pretty high Micor Farad decided to
get a cute little coil to help him discharge.  He picked up
Millie Amp and took her for a ride on his megacycle.  They rode
across Wheatstone Bridge, around by the sine wave, and stopped in
a magnetic field by a flowing current.

Micor Farad, attracted by Millie Amp's characteristic
curve, soon began to lower her resistance to minimum and his
field was fully excited.  He laid her on the ground potential,
raised her frequency, lowered her capacitance, and plugged in his
high voltage probe.  He inserted it into her socket, connected
them in parallel, and began to short circuit her shunt.  Fully
excited Millie cried "ohm, ohm, ohm".

With his tube operating at a maximum peak, and her ciol
vibrating from current flow, she soon reached her maximum peak.
The excess current flow had gotten her hot and Micro Farad was
rapidly discharging having drained off every electron.

They fluxed all night trying different connections and
sockets until his bar magnet had lost all its field strength.
Afterwords, Millie Amp tried self-induction and damaged her
solenoid.  With his battery fully discharged, Micro Farad was
unable to excite her generator.  So they ended up by reversing
polarity and blowing each other's fuses

Chapter 13) About Sears Shop Vac HP Ratings

(From: Kevin AstirCS "1U" KO0B (

I note that air compressor manufacturers have taken after the vacuum sweeper
folks, and are re-inventing the horsepower.  Imagine, 6HP at 15A, 115VAC!

(From: sam).

Have you seen Sears shop vacs lately?  I think they are also up to 6 HP.
Every week or so, they seem to come out with one that is a little higher
in their HP ratings - I guess internal cold fusion or something.

(From: Pin 2 Hot (

Let's see, RPM X Torque = Horsepower.

Thus: No-load RPM X Locked-rotor Torque = Sears Horsepower


1.  testing done at 177V DC, equal to peak of 120V AC (AC-DC motors).

2.  Sears Horsepower: How "hoarse" you get trying to talk over one of their
    shop-vacs while it's on.

Or maybe it's got something to do with vacuuming performance out at
the stables.

Chapter 14) So You Want a Vacation Day?

(From: contributor's name withheld so HR won't find out :-) ).

So you want a day off, let's take a look at what you are asking for.
There are 365 days per year available for work.  There are 52 weeks per year
in which you already have two days off per week, leaving 261 day available
for work.

Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days,
leaving only 91 days available.

You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break that accounts for 23 days each
year, leaving only 68 days available. with a one hour lunch period each day,
you have used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.

You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave. This leaves you only 20 days
available for work.

We are off for 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to
15 days.

We generously give you 14 days vacation per year which leaves only 1 day
available for work, and I will be damned if you're going to take that day

Chapter 15) Beware of demos (Bill Gates Computer Joke)

(From: Carter B. Schroy (CBS970@AOL.COM)).

Bill Gates died. He was sent to the Afterlife Waiting Room. He was met by
St. Peter, who asked him if he wanted to go to Heaven or Hell, and if he'd
like to see them before he decided. Bill said yes, and St. Peter snapped his
fingers. They appeared on a sunny beach, with people dancing, swimming, and
playing volleball. Just basically having a wonderful time. Good food, good
music, good people. Bill turns to St. Peter and says, "Wow, Heaven is great!"
St. Peter says, "This isn't Heaven, it's Hell. Want to see Heaven?" Mr. Gates
nods yes, and they appear in a shady park, with a few old people sitting on
benches feeding birds. A gentle breeze blows by, and all is quiet and serene.
St. Peter asks Bill, "Well, which would you like?" Bill thinks for a minute,
and says, "Well, if this is Heaven, then I will take Hell." Instantly, he was
plunged up to his neck in red-hot lava, the screams of other tortured souls
filling his ears. He looks up, and sees St. Peter in the waiting room. Bill
calls out to him, and said, "Hey! What's going on? Where's the beach? The
bikini-clad women? The party?"  St. Peter turns from his Macintosh to face
Bill, and says, "That was just the demo."

Chapter 16) Knowledge, Power, Time and Money Equation...

For all you mathematicians...

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.


    The More you Make, the Less you Know.

Solving for Work, we get

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

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


    The stupid rich do little or no work.

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

Chapter 17) You Know You Are Too Serious About Computers If...

* If you did an error-free installation of Windows 95.

* When your modem starts smoking.

* If no one can reach you by phone since your computer is always online.

* If you log-off your system because it's time to go to work.

* If you call in sick because you found a great new WWW site.

* If you can type your top 10 favorite web heart.

* If you can locate a particular home page without using a search engine.

* If you can write your own html page.

* If you can access more than 20 erotic no-pay sites.

* If you download more than 20Mb from a binary one session.

* If while reading a magazine, you look for the Zoom icon for a better look at
  a photograph.

* You comment, while watching a sunset, that the image would be enhanced with
  10% more magenta and a higher resolution.

* If while driving down the street, you are confused by the numbers on the
  houses... they do not appear to be legitimate WWW addresses.

* When someone tells you to remember something, and you look for File/Save

* When you discover there is no little car icon with a forward arrow on the
  dashboard of your car, to make it go.

* When you think the File/Kill command should apply to your system

* When you find it easier to dial-up the National Weather Service:
  Weather/your_town/now.html than to simply look out the window.

* When you start using phrases like:

* If you have a heart attack when you forgot to pay your phone bill and
  receive a "pending disconnection of service" notice.

* When you order most of what you

* If your fingers quit moving because you've been online for 36 hours.

* When you find yourself engaged to someone you've never actually met, except
  through E-mail.

* When you log-off from a session in your favorite newsgroup, and your log
  reads:  Online time:  56 hours 24 minutes.

* If your net provider suggests you try a competitor, because you're exceeding
  300 hours a month, connect time.

* When you add your third modem and dedicated phone line.

* You access Microsoft's Web page every Sunday morning from Brother Bill's

* When that 112 GB hard drive is full.

* If 300 Mhz is simply too slow.

* When your desk collapses under the weight of your computer peripherals.

* If you have an "online" light installed on your car to tell you when the
  engine is running.

* When you discover that in order to drive your car somewhere, you do not have
  an http://  or  ftp://  address.

* If you can actually talk to the computers in your new car, and understand
  what they say.

* When you modify the programming of your car's computers and actually get
  better mileage.

* When you can access the Net, via your portable and cellular phone.

* If on the way home from work, you use your portable and cellular phone in
  your car, to reprogram a Tomahawk missile, in flight, and redirect it to
  take out the joker in the Cadillac who cut you off.

* If you try to press Alt-F4 to close your car window.

* When you put a CD-ROM in your car's player.

* When someone tells you about a great new program and you're very 
  disappointed to find it's on TV.

* If every sentence you utter begins with, "On the Net..."

* If you put your e-mail address in the upper left-hand corner of envelopes.

* If you have your e-mail address printed on your stationery.

* When you insist on seeing the movie "The Net"  for the 63rd time.

* If magazine like "InternetWorld" are of greater interest than "Playboy" or

* If you maintain more than 6 e-mail addresses.

* If you use more than 20 passwords.

* If you set up your own Web page.

* If you set up a Web page for each of your kids...and your pets.

* If, instead of a phone number, you ask someone for their e-mail address.

* If you don't know anyone who DOESN'T have an e-mail address.

* If, to you, "safe sex" means doing it online.

* If you convince your mom that she HAS to get online because e-mail is so much
  cheaper than long distance phone charges.

* If you can write a list like this.

* If you can relate to a list like this.

Chapter 18) How Mil Specs live forever!

(From: Jeff Wisnia, W1BSV (

How Mil Specs Live Forever:

The US Standard Railroad Gauge (the distance between the rails) is 4 feet,
8.5 inches.  That is an exceedingly odd number; Why was that gauge used?

Because that was the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were
built by English expatriates.

Why did the English people build them that size? Because the first rail lines
were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that
was the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then?  Because the people who built the tramways
used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons. which used
that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing?  Because the first long
distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their
legions.  Those roads have been used ever since.  And the ruts?  The initial
ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons,
were originally made by Roman war chariots.  Since the chariots were made by
or for Imperial Rome, they were all made with similar wheel spacing.

Thus, we have the answer to the original question.  The US Standard Railroad
Gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches is derived from the original Mil Spec for Imperial
Rome's army war chariots.  Mil Specs, like bureaucracies, tend to exist

So, next time you read a Mil Spec and wonder what horse's ass came up with it,
you may be exactly right.  Because, the Imperial Roman war chariots were
designed for maneuverability, as narrow as possible, just wide enough to
accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.

Chapter 19) On Replacing Fuses with Bullets

You have repeatedly been warned: "Do not replace a fuse unless you have
thoroughly checked all other components....  The new fuse may just blow
the second time around."

Not necessarily.  I have seen cases where the second time around, some other
component pops off and the fuse survives!

(From: Keith Morgan (

Was a .22 caliber bullet the other component Sam mentioned:
(this is an article spotted by Gary Davis in the Arkansas Democrat
Gazette 25 July 1996, and reported in the UK Private Eye magazine)

"I thank God every hour that we weren't on that bridge when Thurston
shot his nuts off, cos we'd both be pushing up the daisies by now,"
Billy Ray Wallis told reporters from his hospital bed in the Baptist
Medical Center, Woodruff County. "When you leave, can you check if
anyone got the frogs from the truck? I'd hate anything to happen to

Wodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder later gave a more coherent account
of that evening's events. "It seems that Thurston Poole, 33, and Billy
Ray Wallis, 38, were returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging trip,
when the fuse for the headlights on Poole's pick-up truck burned out.
They didn't have a spare, so Wallis took a .22 caliber bullet from his
pistol and found that it fitted perfectly into the fuse box next to
the steering wheel column. The headlights started working again, and
they resumed their journey, with Poole at the wheel.

"Apparently, it never occurred to them that, if the headlight wiring
was faulty, then the bullet would soon overheat. They'd gone about
twenty miles and were about to cross White River bridge when it got
hot enough to discharge itself, striking Poole in the right testicle
and partially severing his scrotum. As a result, the vehicle swerved
off the road  and drove through the front window of a hamburger bar.
Poole (who sustained further abrasions from broken glass, and burns
from fried onions) kept shouting at diners 'mind my frogs', while
Wallis (who sustained a broken clavicle) attempted to steal a
chip-fryer in the confusion. I tell you, I've been a state trooper for
ten years, but this is the dumbest thing I've ever come across. I
can't believe that those two would admit how the accident happened.
And all they keep asking about are their damn frogs."

Chapter 20) Corporate Down-Sizing Affects Everyone Everywhere

North Pole Memo:

Subject: Famous Reindeer Terminated

The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the
early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about
whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the
North Pole.

Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance of the season's
gift distribution business.  Home shopping channels and mail order catalogues
have diminished Santa's market share.  He could not sit idly by and permit
further erosion of the profit picture.

The reindeer down-sizing was made possible through the purchase of a late
model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip.  Improved productivity from
Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated.

Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for
which the North Pole has received unfavorable press.

I am pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed.
Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies, in
the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose got that
way, not from the cold, but from substance abuse.  Calling Rudolph "a lush who
was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate
comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of
year when he is known to be under executive stress.

As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole
to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately,
the following economic measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of
Christmas" subsidiary:

The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the
cash crop forecasted.  It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant,
providing considerable savings in maintenance;

The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost
effective.  In addition, their romance during working hours could not be
condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated;

The three French hens will remain intact.  After all, everyone loves the

The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with
a call waiting option.  An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have
been calling, how often and how long they talked;

The five gold rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications
for institutional investors.  Diversification into other precious metals as
well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order;

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded.
It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is
an example of the decline in productivity.  Three geese will be let go, and an
upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that
from now on every goose it gets will be a good one;

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times.
The function is primarily decorative.  Mechanical swans are on order.  The
current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance
their outplacement;

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny
by the EEOC.  A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought.  The more
militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation
of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number.  This function will be
phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;

Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill.  The high cost of Lords plus the expense of
international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest
replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen.  While leaping ability
may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an
oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the
band getting too big.  A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new
music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down to the
bottom line;

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and
other expenses.  Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries
over twelve days is inefficient.  If we can drop ship in one day, service
levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion
to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing") action is pending.

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in
the future to stay competitive.  Should that happen, the Board will request
management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the
right number.

The executives at the North Pole wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a
productive New Year.

Chapter 21) Are You a Real Engineer?

(From: Mark Sokos (

A comment was recently made about the lack of humor on this newsgroup.
So, I did an excite search on "electronics humor", and, nothing. Zip.
Zero. Nada. (Well, I only checked the first page of listings).
So, I did remember snagging this off of the net. It's not quite
electronics humor, but it is engineering humor, which I guess is as
close as we're going to get.

And yes, it's off topic, so go ahead and flame me.

PS: I'm not going to admit (at least not publically) how many of
these I said yes to.

(Author: Jose Herrero (

You may be an engineer...
* If Dilbert is your hero.

* If you stare at an orange juice container because it says CONCENTRATE.

* If you want an 8X CDROM for Christmas.

* If you can name 6 Star Trek episodes.

* If the only jokes you receive are through e-mail.

* If your wrist watch has more computing power than a 486DX2-50.

* If your idea of good interpersonal communication means getting the 
  decimal point in the right place.

* If you look forward to Christmas only to put together the kids' toys.

* If you introduce your wife as "mylady@home.wife".

* If your spouse sends you an e-mail instead of calling you to dinner.

* If you can quote scenes from any Monty Python movie.

* If you use a CAD package to design your son's Pine Wood Derby car.

* If you have used coat hangers and duct tape for something other than 
  hanging coats and taping ducts.

* If, at Christmas, it goes without saying that you will be the one to 
  find the burnt-out bulb in the string.

* If you window shop at Radio Shack.

* If your ideal evening consists of fast-forwarding through the latest 
  Sci-Fi movie looking for technical inaccuracies.

* If you have "Dilbert" comics displayed anywhere in your work area.

* If you carry on a one-hour debate over the expected results of a test 
  that actually takes five minutes to run.

* If you are convinced you can build a phaser out of your garage door 
  opener and your camera's flash attachment.

* If you don't even know where the cover to your personal computer is.

* If you have modified your can-opener to be microprocessor driven.

* If you know the direction the water swirls when you flush.

* If you own "Official Star Trek" anything.

* If you have ever taken the back off your TV just to see what's inside.

* If a team of you and your co-workers have set out to modify the 
  antenna on the radio in your work area for better reception.

* If you ever burned down the gymnasium with your Science Fair project.

* If you are currently gathering the components to build your own 
  nuclear reactor.

* If you own one or more white short-sleeve dress shirts.

* If you have never backed-up your hard drive.

* If you are aware that computers are actually only good for playing 
  games, but are afraid to say it out loud.

* If you truly believe aliens are living among us.

* If you have ever saved the power cord from a broken appliance.

* If you have ever purchased an electronic appliance "as-is".

* If you see a good design and still have to change it.

* If the sales people at Circuit City can't answer any of your questions.

* If you still own a slide rule and you know how to work it.

* If the thought that a CD could refer to finance or music never enters 
  your mind.

* If you own a set of itty-bitty screw drivers, but you don't remember 
  where they are.

* If you rotate your screen savers more frequently than your automobile 

* If you have a functioning home copier machine, but every toaster you 
  own turns bread into charcoal.

* If you have more toys than your kids.

* If you need a checklist to turn on the TV.

* If you have introduced your kids by the wrong name.

* If you have a habit of destroying things in order to see how they work.

* If your I.Q. number is bigger than your weight.

* If the microphone or visual aids at a meeting don't work and you rush 
  up to the front to fix it.

* If you can remember 7 computer passwords but not your anniversary.

* If you have memorized the program schedule for the Discovery Channel 
  and have seen most of the shows already.

* If you have ever owned a calculator with no equal key and know what 
  RPN stands for.

* If your father sat 2 inches in front of your family's first color TV 
  with a magnifying lens to see how they made the colors, and you grew 
  up thinking that was normal.

* If you know how to take the cover off of your computer, and what size 
  screw driver to use.

* If you can type 70 words a minute but can't read your own handwriting.

* If people groan at the party when you pick out the music.

* If you can't remember where you parked your car for the 3rd time this week.

* If you did the sound system for your senior prom.

* If your checkbook always balances.

* If your wristwatch has more buttons than a telephone.

* If you have more friends on the Internet than in real life.

* If you thought the real heroes of "Apollo 13" were the Mission 

* If you think that when people around you yawn, it's because they 
  didn't get enough sleep.

* If you spend more on your home computer than your car.

* If you know what http:/ stands for.

* If you've ever tried to repair a $5.00 radio.

* If you have a neatly sorted collection of old bolts and nuts in your 

* If your three year old son asks why the sky is blue and you try to 
  explain atmospheric absorption theory.

* If your lap-top computer costs more than your car.

* If your 4 basic food groups are: 1. Caffeine 2. Fat 3. Sugar  4. 

Chapter 22) Hardware, Software, Management Humor

(From: Dan Kuechle (

A hardware engineer, a software engineer, and an engineering manager were
skiing over the weekend.  Upon leaving the resort the brakes failed on their
car.  They went screaming down the mountain until they drove into a snow 
bank.  At this point they didn't know what to do.  They still had half the 
mountain to descend, and no brakes.  The engineering manager said "I will head
up a task force to brainstorm the problem, and then come up with a schedule to
implement the outcome."  The hardware engineer said "I can fix these brakes!
I will jack up the car, remove the wheels, and fix them with my Swiss army
knife."  The software engineer's only comments were "I think we ought to push
the car back up the mountain, try it again, and see if it fails the same way"

Chapter 23) Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books

(From: Redd Emmett R (

Here's one that a friend of mine sent me, I found it pretty funny.

Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books: 
Chocolate Chip Cookies:
 1. 532.35 cm3 gluten
 2. 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
 3. 4.9 cm3 refined halite
 4. 236.6 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride 
 5. 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
 6. 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
 7. 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
 8. Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein
 9. 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao
10. 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)
To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat
transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two
and three with constant agitation.  In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a
radial flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six,
and seven until the mixture is homogeneous.  To reactor #2, add ingredient
eight, followed by three equal volumes of the homogeneous mixture in reactor
#1. Additionally, add ingredient nine and ten slowly, with constant
agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the reaction to control any
temperature rise that may be the result of an exothermic reaction.
Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the mixture
piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 x 600 mm).  Heat in a 460K oven for a
period of time that is in agreement with Frank & Johnston's first order
rate expression (see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown. Once the
reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table,
allowing the product to come to equilibrium.

Someone's note: Cookie sheet thickness is unspecified :-).

Chapter 24) How Data Really Travels

(Author: Anonymous).

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the thrash, 
and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash, 
The your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this? What a shame, Sir!
We'll find you another game, Sir...

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of Gauss
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and then you go out with a bang,
Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

Chapter 25) Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?

(From: Christopher Donham (

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate
students.  It had one question:

"Is hell exothermic or endothermic?  Support your answer with a proof."

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some
variant.  One student, however wrote the following:

"First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass.

 If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass.  So, at what
 rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I
 think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will
 not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

 As for souls entering hell, lets look at the different religions that
 exist in the world today.  Some of these religions 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 people do not belong to more
 than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to

 With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of
 souls in hell to increase exponentially.

 Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle's Law
 states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay
 the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay

 So, if hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls
 enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase
 until all hell breaks loose.

 Of course, if hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of
 souls in hell, than the temperature and pressure will drop until hell
 freezes over."

Chapter 26) English is Such a Crazy Language

(From: Ravi Pillutla (

Let's face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant or
ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins were not invented in England or french fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is
neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but
fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham? If the
plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2
geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural
of choose?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats
vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital? Ship by
truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park
on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a
wise guy are opposites? How can the weather be hot as h*ll one day and cold
as h*ll another?

When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out
and an alarm clock goes off by going on.

When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they
are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I
wind up this essay, I end it?

Now I know why I flunked my English. It's not my fault -- the silly
language doesn't quite know whether it's coming or going.

Chapter 27) You Wouldn't Believe These on Amazing Stories

* Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport
  hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.

* A man in Johannesberg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in
  the face, seriously wounding him, while the two practiced shooting
  beer cans off each other's head.
* A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record
  showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety
  goggles on the job.  According to Industrial Machinery News, the
  film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that
  twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave
  the screening room.  Thirteen others fainted, and one man required
  seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while
  watching the film.
* The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons,
  setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits.

* A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by
  the time police arrived on the scene, fourteen pedestrians had
  boarded the bus and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and
  back pain.

* Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book
  about Swedish economic solutions.  He took the 250-page manuscript to
  be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in
  seconds when a worker confused the copier with the shredder.
* A convict broke out of jail in Washington D.C., then a few days later
  accompanied his girl friend to her trial for robbery.  At lunch, he
  went out for a sandwich.  She needed to see him, and thus had him
  paged.  Police officers recognized his name and arrested him as he
  returned to the courthouse in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.
* Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a
  metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a
  photocopy machine.  The message "He's lying." was placed in the
  copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the
  suspect wasn't telling the truth.  Believing the "Lie Detector" was
  working, the suspect confessed.

* When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to
  hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to
  call the police.  They still refused, so the robber called the police
  and was arrested.
* A Los Angeles man who later said he was "tired of walking," stole a
  steamroller and led police on a 5 mph chase until an officer stepped
  aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.

Chapter 28) Some 'Facts' About Electricity

(From: Jussi Kaasinen (

Read this but be careful: you might not get any sleep tonight because of
these shocking facts... 

Perhaps the greatest Electrical Pioneer of them 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 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
                -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

Chapter 29) Funny Way to Get Rid of Telemarketers

(From: SLEEZY (

I look forward to telemarketers because I have great fun at their expense.

1.  Act hard of hearing and make them repeat things.

2.  When asked a questions, answer another one (Them: Sir, would you be 
    interested in buying our crap?  Me: Why yes, I would do like ice cream).

3.  Act extremely stupid and ask off the wall questions ( long does 
    distance have to be before it's considered long distance?).

4.  I hand off the phone to my 13 month old.

5.  Start off talking to them but at some point quit talking.  After they ask 
    if your still there and seem like they're going to hang up, start talking 
    and get them going again.  Repeat as necessary.

6.  Act REALLY excited.  (WHAT?  I'm preapproved for my OWN CREDIT LINE?  
    Off PHone: Oh honey, come quick!!! This nice man says I have excellent 
    credit.  OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!)  THis gets some really strange reactions.

7.  Let them go through their entire pitch then at the end say, "Oh, I'm 
    sorry, I thought you were someone else."

8.  Let them go through their entire pitch, then at the end say, "Did you 
    know you have spinach in your teeth?".

9.  Sound like a pysco-killer

10. Tell them you have a bad connection but really are interested.  Then 
    speak VERY loudly.

11. Say "I'm sorry, you caught me right in the middle of [favorite sexual 
    act here].

12. If it's a person of the opposite sex, start hitting on them.

13. Every once in a while bark.

14. Start arguing with yourself.

So use your imagination...add to this list.

Chapter 30) The Farmhouse (A Lawyer Joke)

(From: Jim Lagerkvist (

A rabbi, a hindu, and a lawyer are in a car. they run out of gas, and are
forced to stop at a farmers house. The farmer says that there are only 2
extra beds, and one person will have to sleep in the barn.  The hindu says,
"I'm humble, I will sleep in the barn," so he goes out to the barn.  In a few
minutes, the farmer hears a knock on the door.  It's the hindu and he says,
"There is a cow in the barn. It's against my beliefs to sleep with a cow."
So the rabbi says, "I'm humble, I will sleep in the barn." A few minutes
later, the farmer hears another knock on the door and its' the rabbi.  He says
that it is against his beliefs to sleep where there is a pig and there is a
pig in the barn. So the lawyer is forced to sleep in the barn.

A few minutes later, there is a knock on the door. It's the pig and the cow. 

Chapter 31) The Parrot

(From: Dave A. Wreski (

A magician was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  The audience would
be different each week, so the magician allowed himself to do the same tricks
over and over again.

There was only one problem:  The captain's parrot saw the shows each week and
began to understand how the magician did every trick.  Once he understood he
started shouting in the middle of the show:

"Look, it's not the same hat"

"Look, he is hiding the flowers under the table"

"Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?"

The magician was furious but couldn't do anything; it was, after all, the
captain's parrot.

One day the ship had an accident and sank.  The magician found himself on a
piece of wood in the middle of the ocean with the parrot, of course.

They stared at each other with hate, but did not utter a word.  This went on
for a day and another and another.

After a week the parrot said:  "OK, I give up.  Where's the boat?"

Chapter 32) How High Do You Jump (Discharging a TV)?

(From: Bert Christensen).

A tech that worked for me many years ago was holding on to a chassis and
leaning forward to see something on the other side. He was always rather
careless and had hooked up the HV lead in a sloppy >manner. His forehead came
in contact with the 30kv. He jumped up into the air, turned around twice,
said, "I almost f___ING lled myself, >walked out into the customer waiting
area and cried. Ten minutes later he was in working on the same set.

We later drew a scale on a leg of the bench. One inch represented how high you
jumped with 1 KV and 25 inches for 25 KV, etc. It was remarkably accurate.

(From: Vic Tosca (

That's a KICKER!! I've got the same thing here, but I have it scaled
to .808 in/KV. I found that's the accurate formula for the average
weight bench tech, including glasses and pocket protector. We also put
a bell on the ceiling- anyone that hits it with his head because of a
shock gets a day off!

It's located right under the emergency repair tool kit, which consists
of a rabbit's foot, a magic wand, a crystal ball, and a hammer. We had
to get rid of the hand laws, y'know. THAT was a
*great* tool for tough dogs and irate customers!

Clients love it.

Chapter 33) New and Improved Hell

(From: Dave A. Wreski (

Author unknown:

An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates.  St. Peter checks his
dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer -- you're in the wrong place."
So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon,
the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and
starts designing and building improvements.  After a while, they've got
air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a
pretty popular guy.
One day God calls Satan on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So,
how's it going down there in hell?"

Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great.  We've got air conditioning
and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this
engineer is going to come up with next."

God replies, "What???  You've got an engineer?  That's a mistake - he
should never have gotten down there; send him up here."

Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm
keeping him."

God says, "Send him back up here or I will sue."

Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right.  And just where
are YOU going to get a lawyer?"

Chapter 34) Don't lose Those Unpacking Instructions!

A SCSI drive shipped from Bubba's in Louisiana with THIS article in the
packaging.  No kidding!!!   ACTUAL UNPACKING INSTRUCTIONS


Congratulations!  You have purchased an extremely fine device that would give
you thousands of years of trouble-free service, except that you undoubtedly
will destroy it via some typical bonehead consumer maneuver.

Which is why we ask you to:


We're sorry.  We just get a little crazy sometimes because we're always getting
back "defective" merchandise where it turns out that the consumer inadvertently
bathed the device in acid for six days.  So, in writing these instructions, we
naturally tend to assume that your skull is filled with dead insects, but we
mean nothing by it.  OK? Now let's talk about:


The device is encased in foam to protect it from the Shipping People, who like
nothing more than to jab spears into outgoing boxes.


Ida Mae really wants that ring back, because it is her only proof of
engagement, and her fiancee, Stuart, is now seriously considering backing out
on the whole thing, in as much as he had consumed most of a bottle of Jim Beam
in Quality Control when he decided to pop the question.  It is not without
irony that Ida Mae's last name is "Barker", if you catch our drift. WARNING:

If you attempt to return the device to the store, and you are missing one
single peanut, the store personnel will laugh in the chilling manner exhibited
by Joseph Stalin just after he enslaved Eastern Europe.

Besides the device, the box should contain:

* Eight little rectangular snippets of paper that say "WARNING".

* A little plastic packet containing four 5/17 inch pilfer grommets and two
  club-ended 6/93 inch boxcar prawns.

YOU WILL NEED TO SUPPLY: a matrix wrench and 60,000 feet of tram cable.

spouse and say "Margaret, you know why this country can't make a car that can
get all the way through the drive-through at Burger King without a major
transmission overhaul?  Because nobody cares, that's why."

WARNING: This is assuming your spouse's name is Margaret.  And not Pete.


The plug on this device represents the latest thinking of the electrical
industry's Plug Mutation Group, which, in a continuing effort to prevent
consumers from causing hazardous electrical current to flow through their
appliances, developed the Three-Pronged Plug, then the Plug Where One Prong Is
Bigger Than The Other.  Your device is equipped with the revolutionary new Plug
Whose Prongs Consist Of Six Small Religious Figurines Made Of Chocolate.


Lay it gently on the floor near an outlet, out of direct sunlight, and water it
weekly with a damp handkerchief.




INSTRUCTIONS:  For results that can be the finest, it is our advising that:
NEVER to hold these buttons two times!!  Except the battery.  Next taking the
(something) earth section may cause a large occurrance!  However.  If this is
not a trouble, such rotation is a very maintenance action, as a kindly
(something) virepoint from Drawing B.


Be it hereby known that this device, together with but not excluding all those
certain parts thereunto, shall be warranted against all defects, failures and
malfunctions as shall occur between now and Thursday afternoon, shortly before
2, during which time the Manufacturer will, at no charge to the Owner, send the
device to our Service People, who will emerge from their caves and engage in
rituals designed to cleanse it of evil spirits.  This warranty does not cover
the attractive designer case.


Chapter 35) An Engineer in Paradise

(From Glenn E Wilkop (

This one comes from our beloved Mr. Tibbs... Enjoy!

A rather inhibited engineer finally splurged on a luxury cruise to the 
Caribbean. It was the "craziest" thing he had ever done in his life. 
Just as he was beginning to enjoy himself, a hurricane roared on the 
huge ship, capsizing it like a child's toy. Somehow the engineer, 
desperately hanging on to a life preserver, managed to wash ashore on 
a secluded island. Outside of beautiful scenery, a spring-fed pool, 
bananas and coconuts, there was little else. He lost all hope and for 
hours on end, sat under the same palm tree.

One day, after several months had passed, a gorgeous woman in a small 
rowboat appeared. "I'm from the other side of the island," she 
said. "Were you on the cruise ship, too?"  "Yes, I was", he answered, 
"But where did you get that rowboat?"  "Well, I whittled the oars from 
gum tree branches, wove the reinforced gunnel from palm branches, and 
made the keel and stern from a Eucalyptus tree."  "But what did you 
use for tools?" asked the man. "There was an unusual strata of 
alluvial rock exposed on the south side of the island. I discovered 
that if I fired it to a particular temperature in my kiln, it melted 
into forgeable ductile iron. Anyhow, that's how I got the tools. But 
enough of that," she said, "where have you been living all this time? 
I don't see any shelter."  "To be honest, I have just been sleeping on 
the beach," he said. "Would you like to come to my place?" the woman 
asked. The engineer nodded dumbly.

She expertly rowed them around to her side of the island, and tied up 
the boat with a handsome strand of hand-woven hemp topped with a neat 
back splice. They walked up a winding stone walk she had laid around a 
palm tree. There stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and 
white.  "It's not much but I call it home."Inside she said, "sit 
down, please. Would you like to have a drink?" "No, thanks," said the 
man. "One more coconut juice and I will throw up." "It won't be coconut 
juice," the woman replied. I have a crude still out back so we can 
have authentic Pina Coladas."  Trying to hid his amazement, the man
accepted the drink and they sat down on her couch to talk. After they 
had exchanged stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had 
a beard?"  "No," the man replied. " I was clean shaven all my life 
till I ended up on this island." "Well, if you'd like to shave, 
there's a razor upstairs in the bathroom." The man, no longer 
questioning anything, went upstairs to the bathroom and shaved with an 
intricate bone-and-shell device that was honed razor sharp.  Next he 
showered, not even attempting to guess how she managed to get warm 
water into the bathroom. Then he went back downstairs. "You look 
great," said the woman. "I think I will go up and slip into something 
more comfortable."  As she did, the man continued to sip his Pina 
Colada. After a short time, the woman, smelling of gardenias. returned 
revealing a gown fashioned out of pounded palm fronds.  "Tell me," she 
asked, "We've both been out here for a very long time with no 
companionship. You know what I mean. Have you been there 
anything you really miss? Something that all men and women need?  
Something that would be really nice right now?" "Yes there is!" the 
man  replied, shucking off his shyness. "There is something I've 
wanted to do for so long but on this island it was well...impossible." 
"Well, it is not impossible any more" the woman said.  The man, 
practically panting in excitement, said breathlessly, "You mean you 
actually figured out some way we can check our e-mail here?"

Chapter 36) Hot Water and Ice Makers

(From: Chris Hagwood (

My neighbor just bought a new fridge.  He said he was gonna put in an
icemaker line, so I stopped by to see how he was getting along.  He said he
was almost done, but had some trouble early on:

He had called his cousin, who told him to tap into the HOT water line,
since "hot water freezes faster--that's a fact" he tells me.  So I bit my
tongue and waited for him to finish telling me what went wrong.  "Did it
melt the plastic line?", I thought.  No, it seems that he forgot that the
same water that was going into his icemaker was going to the "cold water
through the door".  He would get one glass of cold water, then a glass of
HOT!  So he had to redo everything on a cold line.

Geez Louis!  What people will believe.... "hot water freezes faster"!  Insane.

Editor's note: The "Hot water freezes faster" thread, like "NiCds and the
memory effect" and "PCs versus Macs" threads are typically never ending.
There are simply too many variables to consider in an Internet discussion.

Chapter 37) Horsepower Ratings and AC Line Magnets

"How can an electric motor generate 5HP from a 120VAC, 15A wall outlet that
 puts out only 2.4 HP?"

(From: John M. Feiereisen (

Maybe they were using Ecoblow(tm) power line magnets.  Ordinary electricity
molecules clump up and do not efficiently energize electrical equipment.  The
powerful magnetic field of the Ecoblow breaks up these clumps and aligns the
electricity molecules through a process known as gullibility-induced
victimization, thereby resulting in more efficient scam - oops - operation.

Using an Ecoblow, you can squeeze almost 35 HP out of an ordinary 120 V, 15 A

A local bakery installed an Ecoblow 3 on the power cord to their industrial
size mixer.  Heck, the thing spins so fast now, they don't even have use the
oven to bake their bread.  (Good thing, too, since they burn their bread with
it ever since they installed the Ecoflow(tm) gas line magnet.)

I've got an Ecoblow 3 on the power cord to my 128K Mac and now it's about
twice as fast as a Sun Ultra 2!  An amazing side effect is that I'm now able
run codes in 128KB of memory when they used to take a minimum of 64 MB!

I'm currently in the process of coupling an electric motor to an electrical
generator.  An Ecoblow 3 on the output of the generator will allow me to power
the electric motor *and* produce enough electricity to power my house!

Ecoblow - buy one now, because somebody's got to take your money.

Chapter 38) All About AC Batteries

> This AC Battery thing is all conspiracy - a US Government cover-up. 
> However, now we have the "Net" and soon the truth will be out about
> Elvis, Roswell, lost socks and AC 9V batteries.

(From: Bob Myers (


I can't believe what a young, gullible crowd we have here.  You guys will
swallow ANYTHING.

Any true Old Hand at electronics would know that the AC output from 9V
batteries is simply a holdover from the days of portable tube radios.  The AC
was used to run the filaments, and also served to drive the DC-to-DC converter
that was used to obtain the 100-200V of plate voltage from the 9V DC output.
(Yes, they tried the obvious route of simply making 200 VDC batteries - still
with the necessary AC output, mind you! - but some tragic accidents at a few
K-marts (which were ultimately traced to a simple packaging defect) ended THAT
standard really quickly, let me tell you.

Today, of course, it's rare to find a product which actually makes USE of the
AC output from these batteries, with the exception of some earlier portable CD
players which derived the base for the multiple-phase oversampling input
oscillation-compensation stage backup clock from it.  (And boy, weren't THOSE
designs fun, huh?)  But once a standard is established, it's hard to get rid
of it.  Especially with all those production lines already tooled up.  Sure,
they might save a little in not having to add the cavorite in at the anode
insertion process, but it's NOT worth completely rebuilding the line, trust

Sure glad I could clear that up for you.

Chapter 39) CDs in the Microwave

In response to the following exchange:

"Yes, my microwave-damaged CD's are difficult to repair too. :)"
"What are micro wave damaged CD's?"

(From: DaViD Boulet/Don Harley (

The trick is to use a very high-quality line-conditioner for the microwave. I
try to microwave my CD's late at night when the electricity is "cleanest" to
get the best results. Also, I've found that the newer microwaves with LED
time-displays seem to add some euphonic properties to the sound...more relaxed
treble, smoother string sound and more liquid midrange. What would be great is
if I could get a microwave oven with a detachable power cord so I could use a
good-quality MIT power cable. Now *that* would be neat.

I'm hoping that some audiophile company picks up on this and gives a
tube-based microwave. Too bad Audio Alchemy went out of business. I heard that
they had plans to release an audiophile-designed (tube?)  microwave oven
before they went under. Any ideas if Camelot might pick up on this? The
important thing is that they keep the price under the $1000 to make it
affordable to the "normal" starving audiophile.

"Ahh, have you tried STEREO m'waves yet? You have to buy 2 CDs, but the
 sound is well worth it. Make sure that both microwaves are the same
 brand so that you can use just 1 remote..."

(From: DaViD Boulet/Don Harley (

I like your suggestion except for one thing...I don't believe that remotes
should be part of a high-end microwave set-up. In my should get
up to change the minutes/defrost setting. My experience has shown that, in
general, companies who offer remotes with their microwaves seem to compromise
in sound-quality. Then again, this effect is not resultant from the remote
itself.  It just seems to stem from a "philosophy" of consumer-gadgetry that
many "receiver" style microwave ovens reflect. My favorite (and best sounding)
microwave is plain black...with a simple "on-off" switch and no tone controls.

(From: Pat Crean (

Mine sounded FANTASTIC until the turntable stopped - I'm going to make sure my
next microwave has a built-in carousel for uninterrupted listening pleasure!

(From: Ian Stirling

Hmm, anyone thought about making a plasma speaker, using a modulated microwave?

(From: Armand (

I tried shaking my MV rapidly and nothing happened-- although my macaroni
and cheese did resemble plasma. ;}

(From: Dave).

I doubt that with the grade of microwave-wire you're'd possibly be
able to hear the improvement. Why invest hundreds of dollars in a high-end
microwave set-up (including disc treatments like the marinating
solvent...which I heard at my friend's house and it *really* makes a
noticeable difference...especially in the bass--much more dynamic and full)
only to shove that signal through a cheap pair of interconnects? IMO, you
should have *just* as much money invested in your microwave cables as you
spend on the rest of microwave-system.

(From: Derrick Hopkins (

Oh please. If you're going to go with Microwaved CD's(instead of the vastly
superior Oven cooked LP's) it doesn't really matter kind of interconnect you
use. A micro waved atom is a microwaved atom..period. Even if it's garbled a
little, the average person can hear a difference.

When you get past all of the audiophile/gourmet snobbery, you'll realize that
a $99 Walmart microwave sounds just as good as a $7000 McIntosh microwave.

Consumer Reports did a huge feature on this back in March '92.  A Kmart
microwave placed ahead of Carver, Sony, Westinghouse, and Adcom. The only
model to beat it was Denon and that's only because it was THX/Redenbokker

(From: DaViD Boulet/Don Harley (

First of all...we *all* know that when consumer reports rates
microwaves...sound quality is the last thing on their mind. If I recall, they
didn't even feel that gold-plated-audiophile microwaves offered any sonic
improvement! Consumer reports is only interested in specs and features...

Secondly, your assertion that a 10 year old conventional oven-baked LP can
sound *better* than a microwaved CD won't be true much longer. Once we get the
next-generation of DVD-based Microwaves with 24-beep/96-calories and
multi-panel sound, the debate between analog-ovens and digital microwaves will
be over once and for all.

(From: Guillermo Gonzalez (

Yeah, but my problem remains, that the copper sulfate used in the green marker
that I use on my CD's, well, it causes some serious arcing in the microwave...

Alas, what is an audiophile to do?

(From: L. E. Sixma (

Reheat the lot in a gas-oven for 24 hours at a temperature of 215 degrees
Centigrade could do the trick. This is a classic analogue trick. Still you got
to be shure that the cookies are taken out in time or else they will be
sounding awful. Cassette-spaghetti takes less cooking time and in this case
100 degrees will do for audiophile ear-food.

(From: Nicholas Bodley (

Just a tad off color, but curious. Reminds me of the apparently true story
about the red-tailed hawks that would periodically let out a long stream above
high-voltage transmission lines and cause arcs that tripped circuit breakers
and shut down the lines. This was a significant problem for a while, until
they found out how to make the hawks move elsewhere (I've forgotten how they
did it). Apparently, the hawks weren't hurt...

Chapter 40) The Barking Dog

(From: Jack Kraft (

It is common practice in England to ring a telephone by signaling extra
voltage across one side of the two wire circuit and ground (earth in England).
When the subscriber answers the phone, it switches to the two wire circuit for
conversation.  This method allows two parties on the same line to be signaled
without disturbing each other.

Anyway, an elderly lady with several pets called to say that her telephone
failed to ring when her friends called and on the few occasions when it did
ring her dog always barked first just before the ring.  Pat proceeded to the
scene, curious to see this psychic dog.

He climbed the nearby pole, hooked his test set to the lady's line, and dialed
the number.  The phone didn't ring.  He tried again.  The dog barked loudly,
followed by a ringing telephone.  Climbing down the pole the amazed Pat found:

1. The dog was tied to the telephone systems ground post via a metal chain and

2. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current.

3. After several such jolts, the dog would start barking and urinating on the

4. The wet ground now completed the circuit and the phone would ring.

Chapter 41) On the Effects of Magnetic Water Softeners

(From: several authors, unknown, for obvious reasons).

"Testing magnetic softeners can be very dangerous. Should you accidentally
 over-magnetize the water and unknowingly drink the same, your stomach
 could burst if you come too near a large ferrous object."

"This happened to a friend of mine.  With the philosophy "if one is good,
 two is better", he put two magnetic water softeners on the same line.  Being
 warm from doing the job, he took a large drink, than walked by a steel
 support post in his basement.  He was in the hospital for over a month
 while they did reconstructive surgery on his guts...

 Oddly enough, until the magnets were removed, all his faucets constantly
 oriented themselves toward the north.  It was spooky..."

"This really explains a lot for me!

 I installed one of these when we first moved into our house 4 years
 ago.  Ever since then we wake up each morning facing north for no
 apparent reason. If my wife and I sleep facing the same direction
 (head to toe) we wake up on opposite sides of the bed. If we sleep in
 opposite directions we wake up clinging to each other in the middle of
 the bed.  Our dishes and clothes always manage to align with north
 after several days in the drawers too. My 10 month old daughter just
 started to crawl and she only crawls towards north.  We have shale in
 the ground here and a well. Shale contains lots of iron. We must be
 magnetizing the iron molecules in the water. The grass that I water
 always seems to bend north no matter which way I mow.  Several floppy
 disks and video tapes which I stored near an humidifier were
 mysteriously erased. I seem to bump into large steel objects a lot.
 Some times I have a hard time getting out of the car, and I never seem
 to be able to get a compass to work correctly."

In response to the question: "Why are magnetic water softeners so expensive":

"That's probably because you're pricing it as though they were ORDINARY
 magnets, which of course are fairly inexpensive. But, as anyone will tell you,
 ordinary magnets do not have any water-conditioning capabilities.

 I believe the magnets used in these water conditioners are quantum-mechanic
 super-heterodyne field effect tachyon-modulated (QMSHFETM) magnets, which of
 course are more expensive.  The manufacturer uses a proprietary process which 
 converts ordinary magnets into the QMSHFETM type, and the process ain't cheap.
 (This same process, I believe, is what is used to make the 'blue water' that
 goes into those Laundry CD's and other devices which replace laundry
 detergent.  Hence, these devices are also much more expensive than one would
 expect for a piece of plastic filled with blue dye.)"

"Of course the price is higher than the materials; the question is, what are
 the potential benefits worth to you?

 After we started using it, our water became so soft we have to add salt to it
 to get the soap off our skin; my polyps shrank; and my children started
 getting better grades at school. If Monsieur Henri Paul had passed his wine
 through a magnetic conditioner, all this would never have happened.  So
 anyway, I recommend it highly at any price. 

 In addition, I have been watering my flowers with the magnetized water. You've
 never seen such roses...they're the size of satellite dishes.  (I mean those
 new DSS ones, not the old large ones. Maybe if I planted old roses...)
 Curiously, the roses all point north. I guess that's because they're
 magnetized. This makes them useless as satellite dishes, because the
 geosynchronous satellites are all in the southern sky."

"Yeah, but have you tried putting the conditioned water on dollar bills?
 Several weeks after getting mine, I left a couple of one dollar bills in my
 pants in the wash. Boy was I surprised when I took the pants out of the dryer
 to find two *TEN* dollar bills in the pocket.

 Since then, I've laundered over 70 one dollar bills, netting me a $630 profit,
 which was almost enough to pay for the magnet. I'm seriously saving up for
 another one, figuring my dryer will then spit out $100 bills, saving me lots
 of time!"

(From: Andy Wing).

A magnetic water softener limerick:

"The MWT pundits won't yield
 Despite no 'hard' evidence to wield
 , of course
 will flog the dead horse
 And insists that it works in the field!

Sorry folks, couldn't resist, puns intended :-).

Chapter 42) Suggestions for Repairing Scratched CDs

(From: Christopher Bedwell (

Try connecting the laser on your CD player to a flux capacitor.  That should
generate the 1.21 Giga Watts needed to repair the proton electrical photon
surface.  Hopefully with enought plutonium you can glow in the dark too!!!
Or you could just rub it in a MacDonalds burger!  that certainly has enough
chemical content residue to melt and re-bond anything.

Chapter 43) Warnings about Sucking up Radio Waves

(From: Pat Crean (

You have to be very careful when using devices with good sensitivity. 

Remember, the transmitters are pumping a certain amount of power into the
VHF/UHF bands with the expectation that there are receiving devices
available to absorb it.  If too many people use highly sensitive receivers,
the excess energy not being absorbed will accumulate until we have an
explosion in the affected band that will rival Krakatoa in its effects. 

Chapter 44) Engineers versus Business Executives

(From: Marcio Domene (

Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives.

Now a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:
      Postulate 1: KNOWLEDGE is POWER
      Postulate 2: TIME is MONEY

As every engineer knows:      WORK
                            --------- = POWER

Since KNOWLEDGE = POWER, and TIME = MONEY, we have:   WORK
                                                    --------- = KNOWLEDGE 

Solving for money, we get:        WORK
                              ------------- = MONEY

Thus, as KNOWLEDGE approaches zero, MONEY approaches infinity, regardless
of the WORK done!

Conclusions: The less you know, the more money you Make.

Note: It has been speculated that the reason why Bill Gates dropped out of
Havard's math program was because he stumbled upon this proof as an
undergraduated, and dedicated the rest of his carrer to the pursuit of

(From: John Woodgate (

But there is a third postulate, at least equally well-known as those:

        Postulate 3: MONEY is POWER

But WORK/TIME = MONEY only if you are paid by the hour: monthly staff do not
get overtime pay.

Chapter 45) Keeping Electricity Working

(From: Dave VanHorn" (

Warning: Do not read while drinking!

This is even funnier if you follow Alt.religion.scientology, but all by
itself, it's a hoot.


The loyalist officers in 4th dimensional hiding captured the following post
from the alt.religion.electricity newsgroup in an alternate universe.  Any
resemblance to Earth people living or dead is purely accidental and is due to
God playing dice with the various universes.

 - The Pilot


KEEPING ELECTRICITY WORKING -  A 21st Century Retrospective

By David MissCambridge, Keeper of the Current

Issue authority granted by the first Church of Edison

As KofC of the CofE, it is with humble pride and pleasure that I announce the
upcoming hundredth anniversary of one of our most basic policies, Keeping
Electricity Working, issued by our glorious founder on Jan 17, 1898.

It is this policy above all others which has preserved the technology of
electricity for us and future generations.

It was here that TOM first identified the evil world conspiracy of financiers,
plagiarists, and space aliens that was attempting to pervert his discoveries
and deny electricity to mankind.

Consider, for example, the evil Tesla who proposed that the divine current
should ALTERNATE!  A stupid and ridiculous idea.  How would it achieve any
useful work if the current simply zig zagged back and forth in the wires?  He
would have undermined the entire structure of DIRECT CURRENT which moves

But TAE, by virtue of his superior genius, saw that it wasn't just the
yappings of Tesla and Westinghouse, for the same attacks and unworkable ideas
were showing up all over the world.

Of course we know that the characteristics of a suppressive person would be to
deny the truth of the CofE and seek to deny it financing by undercutting its
prices.  But it was only TAE himself who could spot the true source of all
these SPs, the true suppressive influence behind them.

We now know that it was the Venusians, led by their evil telepathic ruler,
XeMoonie, who inspired these diabolical attacks.  But by means of our tin foil
protective hats and an enlightened legal system, we have driven his
influences off of Earth and will keep mankind free of his dreadful doings.

Now remember the key points,

1. Stamp out any experimentation or variation of our workable tech.

2. Buy a fresh foil hat from your local CofE every year

3. Report any squirrel wire twisters to the police immediately.

Remember that only certified CofE graduates may work on anything connected
with electricity.  We know that the courses are expensive, but the results are

For Electricity is dangerous and anyone who applys squirrel practices to twist
wires on their own could be electrocuted or have their house burned down.
Your entire neighborhood is at risk if you ignore them.  Keeping our homes
safe is everybody's job.

And we have a wonderful new TECH BREAKTHROUGH to announce.

By careful study of TAE's research notes, we have discovered that the size of
the wire might be increased to carry more current.

Our new double sized copper conductors will be available next year at only
$100 dollars a yard.  Not only will this bring about obvious savings, but it
will allow the average apartment house to support more lighting fixtures.

With this breakthrough, we think that it will even be possible to place lights
in stairwells.  Just imagine it, your iceman will no longer have to stumble
around in the dark with a heavy and potentially dangerous cube of ice for your

We are working now on a project to carve TAE's writings onto iron plates and
bury these in secret vaults all over the world.  This will ensure that future
civilizations will benefit from his wisdom and knowledge.  Send your
contributions in now.

Building a better future,


(end of interdimensionally captured transmission)

Chapter 46) Transistors, Anyone?

I don't think the following questions are quite addressed but anyhow....

"Would you please tell me what transistors do and how they do so? What is the
 difference between PNP and NPN transistors? What is the concept of using a
 transistor as a switch? Thanks a lot."

(From: Gareth Alun Evans (

A transistor is rather like the human alimentary canal, after the
typical USA diet of burgers and chips; - it constipates, as do
semiconductor diodes with no appled bias - the available holes get
filled in and nothing can move.

The base current is like a small application of laxative; some of
the constipation passes through, until the effect of the laxative wears
off. The total throughput depends upon the Mobility. By applying a
continuous feed of laxative, then a continuous current passes through.
Applying too much laxative results in saturation - i.e., there is a limit
to the maximum throughput, depending on the external circuit; in this
case, the maximum rate at which you can feed in the burgers at one end.
(If you are a customer of MacDonalds, here in Chippenham, Wiltshire,
UK then this rate is very low - I have been there twice, and both times,
the service was *APPALLING*.)

The difference between PNP and NPN is the direction. In the old
days, PNP was used, whereby one injected from the rear end, using a sort
of huge syringe - hence PNP - "Put-in Near Poo". More recently NPN is
more common, where the laxative is entered via a carrier of some sort,
usually chocolate and so we have NPN - "Now Pleasant Nutrient".

Despite the adverse effects, the  USA diet of burgers and chips
carries on, and recourse has to be made once again to the chocolate. Now
the ratio of the carriers of the constipation, the burgers and chips, is
much higher than that of the chocolate. Thus they are referred to as the
Majority Carriers and the Minority Carriers. If you indulge too much,
you find that the vendor will provide you with a paper bag, known as an
Excess Carrier.

More recently, there are problems with impurities and you find that
the opposite effect occurs. You have no time to reach home before
diarrhea takes over. You have no option but to stop the car and nip
over a gate into a field. Hence the Field Effect Transistor. This time
you have to inject something to STOP the flow. Now, assuming that there
was a certain control over events; nothing happened until the Gate was
encountered, you then became the Source of flow, and the field itself
acted as the Drain. What was originally dirt, became grass, was consumed
by the Cow, you ate it as a burger, and it has now returned to the
topsoil, an effect known in the trade as Surface Recombination.
(Incidentally, did you know that Diarrhea is hereditary? Apparently it
runs in the jeans.)

Some of the impurities accumulate in your rear end, and no matter how
valiantly you try, you cannot rid yourself of them. Hence In-de-Bum is
known as a Try-Valiant Impurity. In the same way, Arsenic, well known
for its ill-effects and accumulation in the body tissues is known as a
Pent-Up-Valiant Impurity.

Chapter 47) Bill Gates' New House

(Forwarded by: Bob Parker (

While the Gateses are moving in from their temporary quarters nearby, final
construction of their new house is not expected to be completed until the end
of the year.  Now if I were a contractor with a sense of humor...

Bill:  "There are a few issues we need to discuss."

Contractor:  "Ah, you have our basic support option. Calls are free
for the first 90 days and $75 a call thereafter. Okay?"

Bill:  "Uh, yeah... the first issue is the living room.  We think it's
a little smaller than we anticipated."

Contractor:  "Yeah. Some compromises were made to have it out by the
release date."

Bill:  "We won't be able to fit all our furniture in there."

Contractor:  "Well, you have two options. You can purchase a new,
larger living room; or you can use a Stacker."

Bill:  "Stacker?"

Contractor:  "Yeah, it allows you to fit twice as much furniture into
the room. By stacking it, of course, you put the entertainment center
on the couch... the chairs on the table... etc. You leave an empty
spot, so when you want to use some furniture you can unstack what you
need and then put it back when you're done."

Bill:  "Uh... I dunno... issue two. The second issue is the light
fixtures. The bulbs we brought with us from our old home won't fit.
The threads run the wrong way."

Contractor:  "Oh!  Thats easy. Those bulbs aren't plug and play.
You'll have to upgrade to the new bulbs."

Bill:  "And the electrical outlets? The holes are round, not
rectangular. How do I fix that?"

Contractor:  "Just uninstall and reinstall the electrical system."

Bill:  "You're kidding!?"

Contractor:  "Nope. Its the only way."

Bill:  " Well... I have one last problem. Sometimes, when I
have guests over, someone will flush the toilet and it won't stop.
The water pressure drops so low that the showers don't work."

Contractor:  "That's a resource leakage problem. One fixture is
failing to terminate and is hogging the resources preventing access
from other fixtures."

Bill:  "And how do I fix that?"

Contractor:  "Well, after each flush, you all need to exit the house,
turn off the water at the street, turn it back on, reenter the house
and then you can get back to work."

Bill:  "That's the last straw. What kind of product are you selling

Contractor:  "Hey, if you don't like it... nobody made you buy it."

Bill:  "And when will this be fixed?"

Contractor:  "Oh, in your next house -- which will be ready to release
sometime near the end of next year. Actually it was due out this
year, but we've had some delays..."

Chapter 48) The Philogiston Theory of Electronics

(Original author's name not available or he didn't want credit.)

(Forwarded by: Atesli (

A sheet of paper crossed my desk the other day and as I read it, realization of
a Basic Truth came to me.  So simple!  So obvious we couldn't see it!  John
Kuivinen, Chairman of the Palomar Repeater Committee, (an amateur radio
group), I think has discovered what makes integrated circuits work.  He says
that smoke (yes, you read smoke) is the thing that makes ICs work because
every time you let the smoke out of it, the IC stops working.  I was
flabbergasted!!!  Why of course he's right!!!

Smoke makes all things electrical work.  Remember the last time the smoke
escaped from your Lucas voltage regulator?  Didn't it stop working?

I sat and smiled like an idiot as more of the truth dawned.  It's the wiring
harness that carries smoke from one device to another in your machine and when
the harness springs a leak, it lets the smoke out all at once, and then
nothing works.  Can't you see now why motors have to be large to handle all
that smoke, and don't they have smoke all over the inside when they quit
working?  Think about it!

Chapter 49) Microsoft TV Dinners

(Forwarded from: Nicholas Bodley (

Instructions for Microsoft's New TV Dinner Product:

You must first remove the plastic cover.  By doing so you agree to accept
and honor Microsoft's rights to all TV dinners.  You may not give anyone
else a bite of your dinner (which would constitute an infringement of
Microsoft's rights). You may, however, let others smell and look at your
dinner and are encouraged to tell them how good it is.

If you have a PC microwave oven, insert the dinner into the oven. Set the
oven using these keystrokes: <\mstv.dinn.//08.5min@50%heat//.  Then enter:

Chapter 50) Is Windows a Virus or a Bug?

(From: John Borchard (

Is Windows a Virus? No, Windows is not a virus. Here's what viruses do:

1. They replicate quickly - okay, Windows does that.

2. Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system as they
   do so - okay, Windows does that.

3. Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk - okay, Windows does
   that too.

4. Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with valuable
   programs and systems.  Sigh... Windows does that, too.

5. Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow
   (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup, that's with Windows, too.

Until now it seems Windows is a virus...  But there are fundamental

Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems,
their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become
more sophisticated as they mature.

So Windows is not a virus.

It's a bug.

Chapter 51) Did They Really Say That?

(Forwarded by: Barry Werner (
Caveat emptor! Read on...

Recently reported in the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Journal:

The following are questions actually asked of witnesses by attorneys during
trials and, in certain cases, the responses given by insightful witnesses:

1.  "Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't
     know about it until the next morning?"

2.  "The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?"

3.  "Were you present when your picture was taken?"

4.  "Were you alone or by yourself?"

5.  "Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?"

6.  "Did he kill you?"

7.  "How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?"

8.  "You were there until the time you left, is that true?"

9.  "How many times have you committed suicide?"

10. Q: "So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?"
    A: "Yes."
    Q: "And what were you doing at that time?"

11. Q: "She had three children, right?"
    A: "Yes."
    Q: "How many were boys?"
    A: "None."
    Q: "Were there any girls?"

12. Q: "You say the stairs went down to the basement?"
    A: "Yes."
    Q: "And these stairs, did they go up also?"

13. Q: "Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?"
    A: "I went to Europe, Sir."
    Q: "And you took your new wife?"

14. Q: "How was your first marriage terminated?"
    A: "By death."
    Q: "And by who's death was it terminated?"

15. Q: "Can you describe the individual?"
    A: "He was about medium height and had a beard."
    Q:  "Was this a male, or a female?"

16. Q: "Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice
        which sent to your attorney?"
    A: "No, this is how I dress when I go to work."

17. Q: "Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?"
    A: "All my autopsies are performed on dead people."

18. Q: "All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?"
    A: "Oral."

19. Q: "Do you recall the time that you examined the body?"
    A: "The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.."
    Q: "And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?"
    A: "No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy."

20. Q: "You were not shot in the fracas?"
    A: "No, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel."

21. Q: "Are you qualified to give a urine sample?"
    A: "I have been since early childhood."

22. Q: "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?"
    A: "No."
    Q: "Did you check for blood pressure?"
    A: "No."
    Q: "Did you check for breathing?"
    A: "No."
    Q: "So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the
    A: "No."
    Q: "How can you be so sure, Doctor?"
    A: "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."
    Q: "But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?"
    A: "It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law

Chapter 52) Battery Humor


You did hear about the Electrical Engineer that was arrested for battery.
They put him in a dry cell :).

Chapter 53) What Happens When Engineers think too much about Christmas

(Forwarded by: Steve Seaman (

It's an oldie, but a goodie.
1. No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species 
   of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are 
   insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer, 
   which only Santa has seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (under 18) in the world. But since Santa 
   doesn't appear to handle Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish children, 
   that reduces the work load to 15% of the total - 378 million or so. At 
   an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.

   One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with thanks to time zones and 
   the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west. This works 
   out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian 
   household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop
   out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute 
   the remaining gifts under the tree,  eat the snacks, get back up the 
   a chimney, get back in the sleigh, and move on to the next house. Assuming 
   that each of these 91.8 million homes are distributed evenly (which we 
   know to be false but for the sake of these calculations we will accept) 
   we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75 1/2 
   million miles, not counting bathroom stops.
   This means that Santa's sleigh is traveling at 650 miles per second, 
   3000 times the speed of sound. For comparison, the fastest man made 
   vehicle, the Ulysses space probe moves at a poky 27.4 MPS; the average 
   reindeer runs at 15 MPH.

4. The sleighs payload adds another interesting element. Assuming that 
   each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (2 pounds), 
   the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons not counting Santa, who is 
   inexorably described as overweight. On land, confessional reindeer can 
   pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see 
   point one) could pull TEN TIMES the usual amount, we can not do the job 
   with 8 or even 9, we need 214,000 reindeer. This increases the weight, 
   not even counting the sleigh, to 353,430 tons. Again for comparison this 
   is 4 times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth 2.
5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air 
   resistance. This will heat the reindeer in the same manner as a 
   spacecraft re-entering the earth+s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer 
   will absorb 14.2 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In 
   short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the 
   next pair of reindeer, and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. 
   The entire team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousands of a second. 
   Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 
   times the force of gravity. A 300 pound Santa would be pinned to the 
   back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

6. Conclusion: There was a Santa, but he's dead now. 

Chapter 54) Old Digital Engineers

(From: John Woodgate (

Old digital engineers (well, there will be some, one day) never die, they only
lose their most significant bits.

Chapter 55) That Darn Oops Button

Haven't you always wanted a button labeled 'oops' on your keyboard for those
occasions where 1 microsecond after posting something to
(or a more juicy newsgroups), you realized how stupid it was?

Maybe the 'Oops' button would create a market for those no-longer-needed
'printer buffers'??? :-).  Darn, that great an idea shouldn't be in a publicly
accessible document.  Oops!

(From: Mr Fixit (

I believe I could retire in style if I can design a ad-on computer button
labeled 'Oops'. It would be wired to a small, but high powered electronic
box that would go in-line at the modem connection.

Once in place, we usenet users would have a means of dealing with that
dreaded situation when we push the 'post' button at the same instant we
realize that we shouldn't have pushed it. A quick slap on the 'oops' button
would instantly send a high powered jolt down the phone line where it would
catch up to the inadvertently sent message and blow it to smitherines, like
a Patriot missile intercepting a Scud.

I know I would make regular use of it, as well as Sam, Joe and countless
others on this NG alone. And just think of how many NG's there are with
their own regretful posters!

Of course, I would have to SPAM all of the NG's to get the word out and
start my $millions rolling in. But, knowing me I would probably have second
thoughts about being a SPAMMER the instant I push the 'post' button. My
knee-jerk reaction would undoubtably be to slap the new prototype 'oops'
button on my computer and blast my own SPAM before it could be delivered.
The end result being that I would be the only one on usenet with this
powerful technology-turned personal toy.

Never mind that this would be grossly unfair to everyone else, the cold
reality would be that I just blasted away my comfortable retirement.

Retirement.....that reminds me...I've got toilets, sinks, tubs, floors,
walls, windows, doors, etc., etc., to fix. I don't have time to be inventing

So, in lieu of all that, we'll all just have to accept human nature for
what it is (occasionally unreliable) and offer Sam a knowing grin, and get
on with what we're here for.

Now, what was it we are here for?

Where's that darned 'oops' button now when I need it?  Umm, never mind.

Chapter 56) Atomic Charge

(Forwarded from: Brad Albing (

Two atoms are sitting in a bar:

Atom 1 (in a whisper): I think I've lost an electron.
Atom 2: Are you sure?
Atom 1: I'm positive.

Chapter 57) Transformer design - Tomato Launcher

This is actually part of a long thread on (much of it
between Chuck Parsons and Winfield Hill) but I got tired of extracting and
formatting all the relevant stuff!

(From: Chuck Parsons (

Well there is nothing I like better than finding the right intuitive model fo
something. Intuition is so fast if you can keep out the bad intuition. Many
thanks for helping me lay another block in my EE foundation I hope others
benefited as well.

While mulling this over last night I tried to come up with a circuit that
explored both converters. I came up with a hybrid design that uses both
converters in a single transformer. First though I needed a reason for building
it, this is what I came up with. I don't claim that the design is particularly
good I was just trying to bring some of the issues in to play. I invite anyone
who cares to to disparage or (better) improve the designs.

Our story begins many years ago (at least for some of us) when all of us in
the gang happened to be about 16. Old enough to drive,
but young enough that the police might still take us too our parents instead
of jail.

Those jerks in alt.pdf_not_gif.big_binaries.wannabies.geese. are getting
their due at the hands of our car mounted linear induction motor tomato
launcher.  It launches 1kg tomatoes. 1 kg tomatoes are rather large, but we
have gardening expertise here in sci.electronics and have no trouble procuring
our superior ammunition. I have grown 1.1kg tomatoes, and last summer was
hours away from picking 4 even larger ones when those &%#@*
alt.pdf_not_gif.big_binaries.wannabies GEESE got them.

Careful, but messy, testing has determined that 30 meter per second (108 kph
or 67 mph) launch speeds are possible without PPF ( premature projectile
fragmentation) requiring another trip to the car wash. Naturally we want to
come as close to this as possible without exceeding it. The energy of a 1kg
projectile traveling at 30 mps is 450 Joules.  Our launcher has an impressive
45% efficiency (of course we designed it!) so a launch requires 1000 Joules of
energy. We store this energy in 220,000 uF of capacitance at 100 Volts.  the
caps are discharged all the way to 30 volts during firing, so only 1100 Joules
of energy storage is needed to deliver 1000 Joules. Testing has also shown
that for small variations in the linear motor input voltage the variation in
projectile speed is reasonably linearly related to the voltage variation.

Generation 1 used a simple 20 watt 100 kHz PWM flyback design to generate the
100 volts from the car battery.  The ferrite needs to store 200 uJ on each
pulse.  A ferrite capable of storing 400uJ was chosen to avoid saturation at
high input voltages. This design worked great. The 100 volts was accurate
assuring reproducible launches whether or not we had the car revving for get
away or had the battery just about dead after a long day of field trials. I
sketch it here:
                            +----------|>|----------+-------+-----o 100 V
 Vin 10-15 volts o-----+ ||(                        |       |
                        )||(                       _|_      |
                        )||(                 .22 F ---      |
                        )||(                        |       |
                    +--+ ||(                       _|_      |
        30 V        |       +--+                    -       |
        MOSFET .|---+         _|_                           |
               ||<--.          -                            |
           +---'|---+                                       |
           |       _|_                                      |
           |        -                                       |
           |     +----------------------------------+       |
           +-----| PWM Controller: 0-80% duty cycle |-------+

The inductance of the primary and the avalanche capability of the Mosfet have
served to protect the circuit from those nasty 50 Volt transients in the car's
ignition system.

Unfortunately after a few successful raids the alters took advantage of the 50
second recharge time to close and return fire from close range.

Generation 2 then using the same ferrite modified the design to use forward
conversion allowing an average 200 watts of power transfer and a much quicker
5 second reload time, which is about how long it took Win to pass up those
tomatoes from the back seat through the sun roof anyway.

                                +---+    +----|>|-------+-------+-----o 100 V
 Vin 10-15 volts o---------+ ||(   _|_   |              |       |
                            )||(    -    |             _|_      |
                            )||(         |       .22 F ---      |
                            )||(         |              |       |
                 +----+----+ ||(         |             _|_      |
     30 V        |    |         +--------+              -       |
     MOSFET .|---+   _|_                                        |
            ||<--.   --- Snubber                                |
        +---'|---+    |                                         |
        |       _|_  _|_                                        |
        |        -    -                                         |
        |     +------------------------------------------+      |
        +-----| Fixed 100 KHz Controller: 80% duty cycle |------+

We had to add a snubber because now the magnetization flux is just being dumped
into the mosfet at the end of every cycle. Since we are using the same
transformer and frequency as well as maximum duty cycle this energy amounts to
just the 20 watts of the flyback converter.

This produced a glorious victory over the alters, plastering them at close
range as they closed with their basket of 100 gram wormy tomatoes.

However, there were problems.  The Generation 1 circuit could be left on
continuously and preloaded allowing instant reaction to sneak attacks when
getting in the car in the morning. Leaving the Generation 2 circuit on all
night killed the battery, despite nearly 90% efficiency at full load (and
full output voltage).

The efficiency at low loads, or low output voltages is poor. Continuous firing
is possible until the transformer overheats. At full load _and_ output
voltage, the transformer heat load is not bad, but during the output rampup
currents are only limited by the leakage inductance (much lower than the full
winding inductance), winding resistance and MOSFET on resistance. To minimize
the charging time we of course minimized all of these, leading to 100 amp peak
currents. Furthermore changes in the input voltage lead to problems in
figuring range and aiming accurately. Indeed several second shots while racing
away at low gear and high RPMs lead to high battery charging voltages and
embarrassing PPF (premature projectile fragmentation).

Generation 3 is to combine the best features of both designs. (The turns on
the secondary are reduced 10% to ensure the flyback is the only active energy
transfer at full load.  This isn't always enough reduction to ensure the
output voltage never exceeds 100 volts, but it is a compromise between
overcharging at high input voltages and slow charging at low input voltages. )

                            +--+--|>|--------+--------+-----+--o Vout: 100 V
 Vin 10-15 volts o-----+ ||(   |             |        |     |
                        )||(   +--|<|--+--+  |       _|_    |
                        )||(           | _|_ | .22 F ---    |
                        )||(   +--|<|--+  =  |        |     |
                    +--+ ||(   |             |       _|_    |
        30 V        |       +--+--|>|--------+        -     |
        MOSFET .|---+                                       |
               ||<--.                                       |
           +---'|---+                                       |
           |       _|_                                      |
           |        -                                       |
           |  +------------------------------------------+  |
           +--| 100 KHz PWM Controller: 0-80% duty cycle |--+

In this design the snubber disappears because the magnetization energy is
captured for use in the output flyback.  At low output voltage the design
works primarily as forward conversion but at some point the output voltage
equals the input voltage multiplied by the turns ratio and the design
transfers over to pure flyback. We can once again leave the circuit running
continuously. We can get off 10 shots in 50 seconds before the transformer and
mosfets overheat, though the output voltage will then be 90 instead of 100
leading to reduced range. The flyback just has to top off the capacitors so if
we can 15 seconds instead of 5 (but not 50) between shots we can assure a
steady output voltage. The biggest problem is that variation in the input
voltage leads to variations in the amount of time spent in flyback versus
forward conversion.  A second problem is that the flyback, moving charge all
the way from ground to 100 volts at the end of the top-off is rather slow.
Basically we would like to extend the period of time in forward conversion but
we have to adjust the winding turns so that at maximum input voltage the
forward conversion output voltage is less than the desired Vout. We can
increase the amount of work done in forward conversion as follows,
simultaneously greatly improving the charge delivery of the flyback, by giving
it a slower rampdown.

                            +--+--|>|------+--------+-------+--o Vout 1: 100 V
 Vin 10-15 volts o-----+ ||(   |           |        |       |
                        )||(   +--|<|--+   |       _|_      |
                        )||(          _|_  | .22 F ---      |
                        )||(           -   |        |       |
                    +--+ ||(               |       _|_      |
        30 V        |       +--+--|>|------+        -       |
        MOSFET .|---+          |                            |
               ||<--.          +--o Vout 2: 80 V            |
           +---'|---+         _|_                           |
           |       _|_        --- 2,000 uF, low ESR         |
           |        -         _|_                           |
           |                   -                            |
           |  +------------------------------------------+  |
           +--| 100 KHz PWM Controller: 0-80% duty cycle |--+

A miracle has happened, with our generation 4 design even in August we don't
have enough tomatoes. Maybe we should modify it for zucchini ;-).

Much more - search at for: "",
and "Re: Transformer design equations - tomato launcher", or maybe just
"cherry tomatoes" or "zucchini" for the subject line! :-)

Chapter 58) Leave It To The Physicists

(From: Chuck Parsons (

A biologist, a engineer and a physicist are assigned to
monitor a building.  After watching for a whole day two people
are observed going in and three people come out:

   Biologist:  "They must be breeding."
   Engineer:   "There must have been am measurement error."
   Physicist:  "Now if one more person goes in the building will be empty."

Chapter 59) Vc Versus Vs

(From: Jim Klein (

The speed of light is greater than the speed of sound. That's why some
people seem very bright until you hear them speak.

Chapter 60) Selling It

(Forwarded by: Chris Cobb" (

* Illiterate? Write today for free help.

* Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you'll never go
  anywhere again.

* Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals, and smacks

* Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.

* Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.

* Stock up and save. Limit: one.

* Semi-Annual after-Christmas Sale.

Chapter 61) Parts Replacement

So many repair questions take the form:

"Where can I get the microprocessor or flyback or CRT or mainboard or 'most
 expensive part' because I think THAT must be the problem".

(From: David J. Pittella (

I frequently read or overhear discussions about the repair of products that are
controlled by a microprocessor or microcontroller and wonder why technicians
are always trying to replace these, typically prior to any testing or

I wonder if they will ever believe that these devices are typically very
reliable and that the lack of a proper voltage, or a failed or dirty sensor or
switch be the real fault?

New troubleshooting technique:

1. Replace ALL the biggest chips FIRST, the more pins the better.

2. If step #1 doesn't resolve the problem, see if there is service literature

3. If there is no service literature, see if the something called the MAIN
   BOARD!  Just replace anything that could be a MAIN BOARD - that should fix
   the problem!

4. If steps (1) to (3) don't cure the problem, advise the customer that "parts
   are no longer available" or "the cost of repair exceeds the cost of

WARNING: DO NOT attempt to use a voltmeter to make simple voltage tests, or
an ohmmeter to possibly check the continuity of the on/off switch!! :-)

Chapter 62) But Does it do Windows?

From a sci.electronics newsgroup posting:

"Free Theory and Plans.  Levitation craft.  Hover silently above trees.
 Lands anywhere.  Unlimited ceiling.  Lifts over 250 lbs.  Requires no
 fuel.  Operates on Inverted-Gravity Chamber (IGC).  Perpetual motion
 machine.  Consists of mass circulation upward through IGC and downward
 outside chamber.  Generates electrical power.  Utilizes less power than
 it generates.  Based on field theory, rather than old-fashion particle

From: George X. Kambic (

Damn!  I wish people would tell me when the laws of physics change.

[...deleted to save stomach contents.....]"

Chapter 63) You Know You're from silicon Valley When...

(From: Filip Fuma (
* You make $120,000 a year, but can't find a place to live.

* You see nothing but expensive cars because of .

* Your commute time is 45 minutes and you live 8 miles from  work.

* You stop asking how much things cost and start asking: "How long will it

* Two-thirds of the people you know are from Boston, Austin, Raleigh-Durham or
  New York, but you are living in PST.

* You know vast and subtle differences between Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese,
  Japanese, Cantonese, and Korean food.

* Your home computer contains mostly hardware/software that isn't on the
  consumer market yet.

* You go to "The City" on weekends but don't live there because you like your

* You think that "I'm going to Fry's Electronics" is an acceptable excuse to
  leave the office for a while.  And your boss does too.

* You /lost/never had/don't know how to set the alarm clock.  You'll just get
  to work when you get there.

* You go to an industrial-heavy-metal bar and see two guys get into a fight
  over what flavor of UNIX is better.

* You own more than 10 articles of clothing that have hardware and/or software
  companies printed on them.  (Bonus for embroidered stuff.) 

* You know where Woz Way, Resistor Ave, and Floppy Drive are located.

* You know where Woz is.

* You know Hwy 280 North runs west, and Hwy 680 North runs East.

* Even though Microsoft employs quite a few programmers in the Bay Area, they
  only work on Powerpoint, and the company is still the embodiment of Satan.
  (Even if their stock IS worth more than yours.)

* You see a billboard that says "FGPA2ASIC" and aren't fazed.

* When you need the updated Diamond Monster 3D drivers, you just walk across
  the street.

* You have more bandwidth in your apartment or condo than most major

* You have to hire security to keep the panhandlers off your terrace.

* None of the people you work with are bible thumpers.

* You scan yard sales for back issues of "Dr. Dobbs."

* Your favorite computer reseller speaks only Cantonese.

* Your workplace vending machines dispense "100% natural twig-bars" right next
  to Jolt cola and Instant Espresso mix.

* No one brings radios into work - they just use RealAudio and listen to the,, or other out-of-state stations.

* You don't understand how the carpool lanes work because you normally don't
  commute during those hours.

* You meet a friend for lunch and the first  topic is where they are working

* You go to the movies and EVERYBODY claps along with the SciFi theme music.

* You entice prospective employees to join your  company by bragging about the
  speed of your internet  connection.

* You've replaced your box of floppies with a box of Zip disks, but that's
  just until you get your box of Jaz disks.

* You have completely forgotten how to write longhand.

Chapter 64) Lawyer One-Liners

Sorry (well not really) for any lawyers reading this :-).

(Forwarded by: Jim Lagerkvist (

Q: What do you call a lawyer with an I.Q. of 50?
A: Your honor.

Q: What do you call a lawyer whose gone bad?
A: Senator.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a trampoline?
A: You take off your shoes to jump on a trampoline!

Q: What do you call 5000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start!

Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
A: His lips are moving.

Q: What's the difference between a dead dog and a dead lawyer in the road?
A: There are skid marks in front of the dog.

Q: How many lawyers does it take to roof a house?
A: Depends on how thin you slice them.

Q: Why won't sharks attack lawyers?
A: Professional courtesy.

Q: What do have when a lawyer is buried up to his neck in sand?
A: Not enough sand.

Q: When lawyers die, why are they buried in a hole 24 feet deep?
A: Because down deep, they are all nice guys!!!!

Q: How do you get a lawyer out of a tree?
A: Cut the rope.

Q: How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?
A: Shoot him before he hits the water.

Q: What is the definition of a shame (as in "that's a shame")?
A: When a bus load of lawyers goes off a cliff.

Q: What is the definition of a "crying shame"?
A: There was an empty seat.

Q: How many lawyers does it take to stop a moving bus?
A: Never enough.

Q: Have you heard about the lawyers word processor?
A: No matter what font you select, everything come out in fine print.

Q: What's the difference between a porcupine and two lawyers in a Porsche?
A: With a porcupine, the pricks are on the outside!

Q: What do you buy a friend graduating from Law School?
A: A lobotomy.

Q: What's the difference between a catfish and a lawyer?
A: One's a bottom-crawling scum sucker and the other's just a fish.

Q: Hear about the terrorist that hijacked a 747 full of lawyers?
A: He threatened to release one every hour if his demands weren't met.

Q: What does a lawyer and a sperm have in common?
A: Both have about a one in 3 million chance of becoming a human being.

Q: Why is it that many lawyers have broken noses?
A: From chasing parked ambulances.

Q: Where can you find a good lawyer?
A: In the cemetery

Q: What do lawyers use as contraceptives?
A: Their personalities.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?
A: The lawyer charges more.

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a vampire?
A: A vampire only sucks blood at night.

Q: What is brown and black and looks good on a lawyer?
A: A doberman.

Q: What is the difference between a lawyer and a rooster?
A: When a rooster wakes up in the morning, its primal urge is to cluck

Q: How many law professors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Hell, you need 250 just to lobby for the research grant.

Q: Why did the post office recall the new lawyer stamps?
A: Because people could not tell which side to spit on.

Q: Did you hear about the new sushi bar that caters exclusively to lawyers?
A: It's called, Sosumi.

Q: Did you hear about the lawyer from Texas who was so big when he died that
   they couldn't find a coffin big enough to hold the body?
A: They gave him an enema and buried him in a shoe box.

Q: Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer and an old drunk are walking
   down the street together when they simultaneously spot a hundred dollar
   bill. Who gets it?
A: The old drunk, of course, the other three are mythological creatures.

Q: What is the ideal weight of a lawyer?
A: About three pounds, including the urn.

Chapter 65) Garage Tools

(Forwarded by:

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as
a kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far from the object
we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard
cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes
containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their
holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling rollbar
mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just above the brake line that
goes to the rear axle.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board
principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion,
and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they
can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXY-ACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale garage
cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the Whitworth socket drawer (what
wife would think to look in there?) because you can never remember to buy
lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you got from the PX at Fort Campbell.

ZIPPO LIGHTER: See oxy-acetylene torch.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and
motorcycles, they are now used mainly for hiding six-month-old Salems from the
sort of person who would throw them away for no good reason.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal
bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your
beer across the room, splattering it against the Rolling Stones poster over
the bench grinder.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the
workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and
hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you to say, "Django

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a Mustang to the ground after you have
installed a set of Ford Motorsports lowered road springs, trapping the jack
handle firmly under the front air dam.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2x4: Used for levering a car upward off a
hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor Chris to see if he has another hydraulic
floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading
mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is
ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup on
crankshaft pulleys.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength
of ground straps and hydraulic clutch lines you may have forgotten to

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that
inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from
car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery
is dead as a door nail, just as you thought.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop
light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not
otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose
is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105mm howitzer
shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the
Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style
paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the
name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power
plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by
hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty suspension bolts
last tightened 40 years ago by someone in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and rounds
them off.

JESUS CLIP: "Jesus" every time you drop one of these.

Chapter 66) Tesla Coil Caps

Actually, the warnings about PCBs (and I don't mean Printed Circuit Boards) are

So you are looking for BIG capacitors :-)......

(From: Bill Coderre (

Just watch out for PCB-laden oil-filled caps.... Those are usually the ones you
find at the junk yard or the surplus place for REAL cheap, big grey cans with
lightning protectors on top, usually labeled something like "1 uF @ 100 KV."
They're extra cheap if they're already leaking! 

Just remember, if you come across a pile of drum caps in an abandoned lot in an
industrial section of town - even if the sign on top says "FREE! FREE!" - they
are not good for you.  Just Say No to PCBs.

I personally wish that Norm Abrams, host of the New Yankee Workshop, would run
a show for electronics experimenters, something like the New Geek Workshop:

"Today we're going to be making a tesla coil from champagne bottles, a spark
 coil from a 53 DeSoto, and this hand-knurled lightning rod.  It'll look great
 next to my Louis XIV-style marquetry and scrollwork Orgone Cabinet!.  But
 first, let's talk about Safety Glasses...."

Chapter 67) Customer Translations

(From: Dan (

I once had a customer who insisted on "helping" me fix his TV. I politely told
him that he had done enough damage to it already."

How about the customer who brought his TV in and said that "it worked fine
until" he worked on it. (At least he was honest.)

(From: Michelle Hunt (

I had one of those the other day... This guy brought in a little Magnavox 19"
and the conversation went something like this:

Him: "I don't know what happened, it just suddenly quit working."

Me:  "Was that before or after you dropped it?"

Him: "How did you know I dropped it?"

Me:  "It was easy... the cabinet usually isn't broken into pieces like this".

(From: Chris Mann).

How about customer translations such as:

"I think it's got a shorted fuse" - "I don't have a clue as to what's wrong
 but I know some electronic words so don't rip me off".

"I think it's just a bad connection" - "I know something major happened. I
 just don't want to think that something major happened."

"I think something's loose inside" - "My child uses it for his piggy bank".

"It fell off the shelf".

"It just stopped working" - "I spilled my drink and it went inside"

Chapter 68) Advertising to Dummies

(I was going to use the 'for' word but then a certain publisher's lawyers
would come complaining.)

(From: Charley S. McCue (

I once spent 15 minutes trying to convince a customer they had not bought a
$20 satellite dish from TV Guide (back when C band was the only option).

(From: Gary Woods (

That's the ad that I still think is the high-water mark of advertising to
stupid people:

"You're not paying cable fees, because this is not a satellite antenna.  It
 uses proven RF technology to pick signals RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR!"

People still bought them thinking they'd get cable or something.  We had a
copy on the door of the tech shop for a while.

Reminds me of the fellow who offered on a bulk emailer site one million email
addresses for only ten dollars.  "Generated by sophisticated random number
technology", they are all guaranteed undeliverable!  People actually sent him

P.T. Barnum was right!

Chapter 69) The Hazards of Multimeters

(From: Ed Price (

Let me add my own tale of knowledge gained through stupid experimentation.  In
1961, right after I built my Knight Kit VTVM, I was measuring the voltage and
resistance of everything I could find. I eventually found an old "Press" style
flashbulb, about an inch in diameter. I started out on a high Ohms range, and
worked my way down to the 1x range. The lessons I learned involved design of
experiments, resistance testing, chemical reaction of magnesium, optical
transfer of energy and emergency room procedure. Did you know that those old
bulbs had a plastic outer layer which could very effectively fuse to charred

Dirty Harry Callahan was right; "...when properly used, you can REMOVE the

Next time (if somebody asks politely), I'll tell you how I got radiation burns
from a pencil.

Chapter 70) The Surgeons' Choice

(Forwarded by Fil Fuma (

5 surgeons are taking a coffee break:

The first surgeon says: "Accountants are the best to operate on because when
you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second surgeon says: "Nah, librarians are the best.  Everything inside
them is in alphabetical order."

The third responds: "Try electricians, man!  Everything inside THEM is color

The fourth intercedes:  "I like engineers...they always understand when you
have a few parts left over at the end."

To which the fifth surgeon, who has been quietly listening to the
conversation, says: "You're all wrong. Lawyers are the easiest.  There's no
guts, no heart, no spine and their head and butt are interchangeable."

Written by Samuel M. Goldwasser. | [mailto]. The most recent version is available on the WWW server [Copyright] [Disclaimer]