Go Back > Miscellaneous > The Off-Topic Lounge
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Stay in touch wirelessly

This forum is for posting anything (excluding topics prohibited by the forum rules) that's unrelated to email. General discussions, in other words.

Thread Tools
Old 11 Nov 2003, 04:18 AM   #31
[email protected]
The "e" in e-mail
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 4,681
Talking Medicine through the ages!

Patient: "Oh great and wise one, I have a dreadful fever — can you offer me a cure?"

and the replies:

2000 BC: "Eat this root."

1000 BC: "That root is barbarian — say this prayer."

1000 AD: "That prayer is heathen — say this one."

1850: "That prayer is superstition — take this potion."

1950: "That potion is snake oil — take this antibiotic."

1990: "That antibiotic no longer works — take this pill."

2003: "That pill is artificial — eat this root."
robert@fm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 05:39 AM   #32
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 8,686
"Signs of the times:"

1.) You tried to enter your password on the microwave.
2.) You now think of three espressos as "getting started."
3.) You haven't played solitaire with a real deck of cards
in years.
4.) You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family
of 3.
5.) You e-mail your son in his room to tell him that dinner
is ready, and he e-mails you back "What's for dinner?"
6.) Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.
7.) You chat several times a day with a stranger from South
Africa ,but you haven't spoken to your next door neighbor
yet this year.
8.) Your grandmother clogs up your e-mail Inbox, asking you
to send her JPEG files of your newborn so she can create a
screen saver.
9.) You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone
to see if anyone IS home.
10.) Every commercial on television has a web-site address
at the bottom of the screen.
11.) You buy a computer and a week later it is out of date
and now sells for half the price you paid.
12.) The concept of using real money, instead of credit or
debit, to make a purchase is foreign to you.
13.) Cleaning up the dining room means getting the fast food
bags out of the backseat of your car.
14.) Your reason for not staying in touch with family is
that they do not have e-mail addresses.
15.) You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.
16.) Your dining room table is now your flat filing cabinet.
17.) Your idea of being organized is multiple-colored Post-
it notes.
18.) You hear most of your jokes via e-mail instead of in
19.) You're reading this.
20.) Even worse... you're going to forward it to someone
Sherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 06:01 AM   #33
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kingaroy, AU
Posts: 3,159
Ouch. Number 7 is particularly telling - not so funny. Recently someone from Church had rung me to tell me that my next door neighbour, an older guy who had well progressed dementia and had been in hospital for a week, was very low and could I drop in next door and see his wife. They couldn't get through to me because I was on the net. So they sent me an email. By the time I responded he had gone.

JeffK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 06:30 AM   #34
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 153

** And I'm an engineer **

People who work in the fields of science and technology are not like other people. This can be frustrating to the non-technical
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 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 interaction. "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 TV 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 could 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.
Anything else is a waste.


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 function.

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 is true that many normal people would prefer not to date
an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to date them.


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 truth.

Engineer's 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 below:

*"I won't change anything without asking first."
*"I'll 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 loungs for a few days just to ss if he or she pops 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.


*Space Shuttle Challenger
*Hubble Space Telescope
*Apollo 13
*Ford Pinto

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 frame.

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 inportant to engineers:

*How smart are they.
*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 is 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 hygeine 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.

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 ans say something along th lines: "I'll ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to solve difficult
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.
Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 06:38 AM   #35
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 153
Top Engineers' Terms and Expressions

Sorry if the lines in the previous post are cut in strange places. I have these things in Word documents, and I'm just copying and pasting**

What they say versus what they mean...

1. A number of different approaches are being tried.
(We are still guessing at this point.)

2. Close project coordination.
(We sat down and had coffee together.)

3. An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach.
(We just hired three punk kids out of school.)

4. Major technological breakthrough!
(It works OK; but looks very hi-tech!)

5. Customer satisfaction is believed assured. (We are so far behind schedule, that the customer will take anything.)

6. Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive. (The da*n thing
blew up when we threw the switch.)

7. Test results were extremely gratifying!
(Unbelievable, it actually worked!)

8. The entire concept will have to be abandoned.
(The only guy who understood the thing quit.)

9. It is in process. (It is so wrapped in red tape that
the situation is completely hopeless.)

10. We will look into it.
(Forget it! We have enough problems already.)

11. Please note and initial.
(Let's spread the responsibility for this.)

12. Give us the benefit of your thinking.
(We'll listen to what you have to say as long as
it doesn't interfere with what we have already done or
with what we are going to do.)

13. Give us your interpretation.
(We can't wait to hear your baloney.)

14. See me or let's discuss.
(Come to my office, I've screw*d up again.)

15. All new.
(Parts are not interchangeable with previous design.)

16. Rugged.
(Don't plan to lift it without major equipment.)

17. Robust!
(Rugged, but more so)

18. Light weight.
(Slightly lighter than rugged)

19. Years of development.
(One finally worked)

20. Energy saving.
(Achieved when the power switch is off.)

21. No maintenance.
(Impossible to fix)

22. Low maintenance.
(Nearly impossible to fix)

23. Fax me the data.
(I'm too lazy to write it down.)

24. We are following the standard!
(That's the way we have always done it!)
Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 06:43 AM   #36
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kingaroy, AU
Posts: 3,159
Just before I read Lily's email above I had to (again) do the laborious task of explaining to the green, public relations types that my concise, detailed engineering statements for the company's annual environmental report now did not contain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Becuse in their action to make my statements palatable to the man on the Clapham omnibus, they had completely rung the truth out of them until in some cases they now meant the complete opposite of what I originally said.

Woe is me, an engineer. May God have mercy on me.
JeffK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 07:16 AM   #37
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 153
LOL, Jeff!

I worked on systems implementation for 8 years, all of them in the same company (my BS is in systems engineering. Don't ask why I chose that because I don't like it, and nobody forced me to get into systems. Anyway, now I'm finishing my master's in aero engineering, majoring in dynamics & controls, which is an area where all engineers from different branches are welcomed, not only people with a BS in aero).

As I said, I worked for 8 years in systems implementation. That covered everything from implementation, to technical support, help desk, user training, etc. Multitasking... Hehehehe

I certainly can relate to your problem, Jeff. It happened to me too many times.

Now, talking about support, something funny I remember. We had all those customers nervous about Y2K.
I had a client who had received our standard notification about the Y2K compatibility. He got it and asked in writing about the software's compatibility with the year 10,000.
After we all had a good laugh at the office, I called him, and he told me he needed a written answer. So after my boss and me finished laughing, I had to send him an email telling him that in the year 9,999 a new modification would be sent to all our costumers.


**edited for typos**

Last edited by Lily : 11 Nov 2003 at 07:20 AM.
Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 09:32 AM   #38
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: York, UK
Posts: 101
I don't know where this is from, it was originally told to me a few years ago in a Maths class.


There once was a beggar sitting on park bench.

On an impulse he got up, walked over to a house nearby and knocked on the door. After a while a man answered.

"Yes?" asked the man, surveying the beggars clothes distastefully.

"Hi, I wondered if you could spare some change."

"What!?! Why should I give you any money? What have you ever done for me? It's bad enough that sit at the side of the road, coming and knocking on my door is just taking it too far!"

With that he slammed the door. The beggar went and sat on his bench again.

A little later on, a big lorry came speeding down the road. As it approached, a little girl skipped out into the road in front of it. Seeing that she would get run over, the beggar leapt up and pulled her to safety.

The man who had refused him money came running out of my house.

"Thankyou!" he exclaimed, "you just saved my daughter's life! Look, I feel really bad about not giving you money before - here's a blank cheque, just fill in any amount you like."

The beggar took the cheque and wrote £5 on it.

"Is that all!? You can take as much as you like?"

"No no, I got a good holiday for £5 once. I feel like a holiday."

With that, the beggar set off to the travel agent. When he got there he asked:

"Hi, have you got any good holidays for £5?"

"Yeah," replied the lady behind the counter, "we've got one place left on a luxury cruise that's due to leave in 10 minutes."

"Excellent." said the beggar and climbed aboard the cruise ship (which was nearby).

On board the captain came up to him and said quietly,

"Er, look ... some people have spent a lot of money on this cruise ... they might feel a little ... upset if they found out that you got on for just £5 ... would you mind staying out of sight?"

"Ok." replied the beggar, and stayed out of sight.

Later on in the evening when nearly everyone else had gone to bed he went to the captain.

"Now that no one is about, would it be all right for me to take a swim in the pool?"

"Yes, by all means."

So the beggar went and climbed on to the diving board and then did the most amazing dive you ever saw, with twirls and somersaults and all sorts. The captain was very impressed.

"That was amazing!" he exclaimed, "hey, there's a party tomorrow night, would you mind doing that again then, for the guests?"

"Ok" replied the beggar.

So the next day the beggar stepped out to do his dive. He was really nervous doing it in front of all those people, but he grit his teeth and started to climb the ladder.

He climbed up and up, higher than the clouds until he was amost into space. Then he jumped off and plummetted down down, through the water in the swimming pool, through the ship's hull, down through the sea, through the Earth's crust, right the way down through the magma, all the way to the Earth's core.

Then he swam back up again, the sound of people cheering showing him the way to go.

"Wow!" said the captain, "that was amazing!"

"Oh," replied the beggar modestly, "I've been through a lot of hardships in my time."
pwb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 09:59 AM   #39
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kingaroy, AU
Posts: 3,159
Is there a prize for this thread's corniest joke?
JeffK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 10:03 AM   #40
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: York, UK
Posts: 101
You get a box of cereal?
pwb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 10:06 AM   #41
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 153
Originally posted by pwb
You get a box of cereal?
Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 10:19 AM   #42
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 8,686
On a bottle of sleeping pills
Warning: May cause drowsiness

On a bottle of children’s cough medicine
Caution: Do not drive while taking this medication

On a bag of chips
You could be a winner
No purchase necessary
Details inside
Sherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 10:25 AM   #43
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 153

-I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on
the toilet.

-The garbage collector is NOT stealing our stuff.

-I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm lying
under the coffee table.

-I will not roll my toys behind the fridge.

-I must shake the rainwater out of my fur BEFORE entering the

-I will not eat the cats' food, before or after they eat it.

-I will stop trying to find the few remaining pieces of
clean carpet in the house when I am about to throw up.

-I will not throw up in the car.

-I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc.

-I will not lick my human's face after eating animal poop.

-"Kitty box crunchies" are not food.

-I will not eat any more socks and then redeposit them in the
backyard after processing.

-The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.

-I will not wake Mommy up by sticking my cold, wet nose in
her bottom.

-I will not chew my human's toothbrush and not tell them.

-I will not chew crayons or pens, especially not the red ones,
or my people will think I am hemorrhaging.

-When in the car, I will not insist on having the window
rolled down when it's raining outside.

-We do not have a doorbell. I will not bark each time I hear
one on TV.

-I will not steal my Mom's underwear and dance all over the
backyard with it.

-The sofa is not a face towel. Neither are Mom & Dad's laps.

-My head does not belong in the refrigerator.

- I will not bite the police officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's driver's license and car registration.
Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 10:58 AM   #44
Cornerstone of the Community
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 736


Dear Dogs and Cats, When I say to move, it means go someplace else, not switch positions with each other so there are still two of you in the way.

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a race track. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help, because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort. Look at videos of dogs and cats sleeping, they can actually curl up in a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space used is nothing but sarcasm.

My compact discs are not miniature Frisbees.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years, canine attendance is not mandatory.

To pacify you I have posted the following message on our front door...

*Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

They live here. You don't.

If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.

I like my pet a lot better than I like most people.

To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and speaks clearly.

Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about buying the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and if they get pregnant, you can sell the results.
SAS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 Nov 2003, 11:13 AM   #45
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 153
Why did the blonde stop going out with the scientist?

She found out that he was dating a fossil.
Lily is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT +9. The time now is 03:30 AM.


Copyright 1998-2013. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy