Monday, March 19, 2012

Trash Cans

At a recent conference of science and mathematics, a physicist, a mathematician, an engineer, and a statistician were all staying on the same floor of their hotel.

The engineer woke up in the middle of the night to find his trash can had started on fire.

He jumped out of bed, quickly filled his ice bucket with water, extinguished the flames, and went back to sleep.

A little later, the physicist woke up and also discovered his trash can to be ablaze.

He paused for a moment, pulled out his slide rule, and made a few quick calculations. He filled up his ice bucket with exactly 1/2 liter of water and used it to extinguish the fire, and then went back to sleep.

Shortly after, the mathematician was awoken and his trash can was also on fire.

He grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and frantically scribbled out pages and pages of equations. When he found the solution he went to bed, comfortable just knowing that the solution existed.

And the statistician?

He was found running around lighting other people's trash cans on fire because he needed a bigger sample size.


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