These are some of my favorite stories. Enjoy!

How Hot Is It In Hell? (A True Story from a Yale professor)

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: "Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with a proof."

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following: "First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So, we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are 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 how many souls are entering Hell, let's 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 since most people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Second, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:

1. 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.

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

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Miss Theresa Banyan during my freshman year that, "It will be a cold night in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded with her, then #2 cannot be true, and so Hell is exothermic."

The student got the only A.

A managed care company president was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Since she was unable to go, she gave the ticket to one of her managed care reviewers. The next morning she was handed a formal memorandum which read as follows:

1. For a considerable period, the oboe players had nothing to do. Their number should be reduced, and their work spread over the whole orchestra, avoiding peaks of inactivity.

2. All 12 violins were playing identical notes. This seems an unneeded duplication, and the staff of this section should be cut. If a volume of sound is really required, this could be accomplished with the use of an amplifier.

3. Much effort was involved in playing the 16th notes. This appears to be an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes be rounded up to the nearest 8th note. If this were done it would be possible to use para-professionals instead of experienced musicians.

4. No useful purpose is served by repeating with horns the passage that has already been handled by the strings. If all such redundant passages were eliminated then the concert could be reduced from two hours to twenty minutes.

5. The symphony had two movements. If Mr. Schubert didn't achieve his musical goals by the end of the first movement, then he should have stopped there. The second movement is unnecessary and should be cut.

In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Mr. Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had time to finish the symphony.

A math problem, 1960-1990:

IN 1960: "A logger sells a truck-load of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of this price. What is his profit?"

IN 1970: (traditional math): "A logger sells a truck-load of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of this price; in other words, $80. What is his profit?"

IN 1970: ("New Math"): "A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100, and each element is worth $1. Make one hundred dots representing the elements of the set M. The set C of costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set P of profits?"

IN 1980: "A logger sells a truck-load of wood for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assignment is to underline the number 20."

IN 1990: "By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making money? Topic for class participation: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?"

During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million U.S. the pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth.

The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

Texas Governor James "Pa" Ferguson explained, in 1917, why he had vetoed a bill to finance the teaching of foreign languages in the public school system: "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for the school children of Texas."

(The New York Times, Aug. 13, 1995.)

U.S. President Roosevelt was very surprised and concerned when he found out that around 50% of the Americans have an I.Q. which is below average...

Most statistics show that almost 95% of male card players who were asked on what they thought of the quality of their cards, thought that their cards were below average.

Perhaps surprisingly, completely opposite results were obtained when the same sample of males was asked on what they thought of the size of a certain part of their body...

A successful businessman flew to Vegas for the weekend to gamble. He lost the shirt off his back, and had nothing left but a quarter and the second half of his round trip ticket -- If he could just get to the airport he could get himself home. So he went out to the front of the casino where there was a cab waiting. He got in and explained his situation to the cabbie. He promised to send the driver money from home, he offered him his credit card numbers, his drivers license number, his address, etc. but to no avail. The cabbie said (adopt appropriate dialect), "If you don't have fifteen dollars, get the hell out of my cab!" So the businessman was forced to hitch-hike to the airport and was barely in time to catch his flight.

One year later the businessman, having worked long and hard to regain his financial success, returned to Vegas and this time he won big. Feeling pretty good about himself, he went out to the front of the casino to get a cab ride back to the airport. Well who should he see out there, at the end of a long line of cabs, but his old buddy who had refused to give him a ride when he was down on his luck. The businessman thought for a moment about how he could make the guy pay for his lack of charity, and he hit on a plan. The businessman got in the first cab in the line, "How much for a ride to the airport," he asked? "Fifteen bucks," came the reply.

"And how much for you to give me a blowjob on the way?" "What?! Get the hell out of my cab."

The businessman got into the back of each cab in the long line and asked the same questions, with the same result. When he got to his old friend at the back of the line, he got in and asked "How much for a ride to the airport?" The cabbie replied "fifteen bucks." The businessman said "ok" and off they went. Then, as they drove slowly past the long line of cabs the businessman gave a big smile and thumbs up sign to each of the other drivers.