Gopal's interests

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**Engineer:**Remember to tip 18% everybody.

**Mathematician:**Is that 18% of the

*pre*-tax total, or of the total with tax?

**Physicist:**You know, it’s simpler if we assume the system doesn’t have tax.

**Computer Scientist:**But it

*does*have tax.

**Physicist:**Sure, but the numbers work out more cleanly if we don’t pay tax and tip. It’s a pretty small error term. Let’s not complicate things unnecessarily.

**Engineer:**What you call a “small error,” I call a “collapsed bridge.”

**Economist:**Forget it. Taxes are inefficient, anyway. They create deadweight loss.

**Mathematician:**There you go again…

**Economist:**I mean it! If there were no taxes, I would have ordered a second soda. But instead, the government intervened, and by increasing transaction costs, prevented an exchange that would have benefited both me and the restaurant.

**Engineer:**You

*did*order a second soda.

**Economist:**In practice, yes. But my argument still holds in theory.

*The computer scientist lays a smart phone on the table.*

**Computer Scientist:**Okay, I’ve coded a program to help us compute the check.

**Mathematician:**Hmmph. Any idiot could do that. It’s a trivial problem.

**Computer Scientist:**Do you even know how to code?

**Mathematician:**Why bother? Learning to code is also a trivial problem.

**Engineer:**Uh… your program says we each owe $8400.

**Computer Scientist:**Well, I haven’t de-bugged it yet, if that’s what you’re getting at.

**Physicist:**This is a waste of time. Let’s just split it evenly.

**Economist:**No! That’s so inefficient. Let’s each write down the amount we’re willing to put in, then auction off the remainder at some point on the contract curve.

**Physicist:**Huh?

**Mathematician:**Like most economics, that’s just gibberish with the word “auction” in it.

**Engineer:**Look, it’s simple. Total your items, add 8% tax, and 18% tip.

**Mathematician:**Sure. Does anybody know 12 plus 7?

**Computer Scientist:**You don’t?

**Mathematician:**What do I look like, a human calculator? Numbers are for children, half-wits, and bored cats.

*The engineer looks at the cash they’ve gathered.*

**Engineer:**Is everyone’s money in? It seems we’re a little short…

**Physicist:**How short?

**Engineer:**Well, the total was $104, not including tip… and so far we’ve got $31.07 and an old lottery ticket.

**Physicist:**Close enough, right? It’s a small error term.

**Mathematician:**Which of you idiots wasted your money on a

*lottery*ticket?

**Economist:**I should mention that I’m not planning to eat here again. Are any of you?

**Computer Scientist:**What does that matter?

**Economist:**Well, in a non-iterated prisoner’s dilemma, the dominant strategy is to defect.

**Engineer:**Meaning?

**Economist:**We should be tipping 0%, since we’ll never see that waiter again.

**Computer Scientist:**That’s awful.

**Physicist:**Will the waiter really care – 0%, 20%? Let’s not split hairs. It’s a small error term.

*The engineer looks up from a graphing calculator.*

**Engineer:**All right. I’ve computed the precise amount each of us should pay, using double integrals and partial derivatives. I triple-checked my work.

**Mathematician:**Didn’t we all order the same thing? You could have just divided the total by five.

**Engineer:**I could? I mean… of course I could! Shut up! You think you’re so clever!

**Economist:**So, we’re all agreed on a 0% tip?

**Computer Scientist:**Well… the waiter did only bring two orders of fries for the table.

**Physicist:**We only ordered two.

**Computer Scientist:**Exactly. We got the 1st order, and the 2nd, but never the 0th.

**Economist:**I’ll be frank. At this point, my self-interest lies in not paying. And the economy prospers when we each pursue our individual self-interest. See you later!

*The economist dashes off. The engineer and computer scientist glance at one another, then follow.*

**Mathematician:**Looks like it’s just me and you, now.

**Physicist:**Good. The two-body problem will be easier to solve.

**Mathematician:**How?

**Physicist:**By reducing it to a one-body problem.

*The physicist scampers away.*

**Mathematician:**Wait! Come back here!

**Waiter:**I notice your friends have gone. Are you done with paying the check?

**Mathematician:**Well, I’ve got a proof that we

*can*pay. But I warn you: it’s not constructive.

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Take a look at this video on YouTube:

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Decanter from whirler

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InqZin Sales

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2015-03-29

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