Effect Measure

A virus walks into a bar . . .

All geeks love science jokes (one of my favorites: what’s purple and drives to work? Answer: an Abelian grape [explanation, the elements of an Abelian group commute, i.e., a + b = b + a]).

Science jokes are good. You can learn some science from them. In particular, the first three or four of this set of groaners involve viruses and infectious diseases and each tell you — vividly — an important truth. The rest are pretty good, too.

Enjoy (hat tip Boingboing):


  1. #1 carl
    November 24, 2009

    Those were great. Passed on url to some of my collagues who do actual science 🙂

  2. #2 JJackson
    November 24, 2009

    The neutrino joke was a bit wimpish but the rest were good.

  3. #3 Ole
    November 24, 2009

    Those were fun. Thanks a lot 🙂

  4. #4 Colin
    November 24, 2009

    A biochemist eats some D-dextrose and then tries some L-dextrose. Since he didn’t get sick he assumes he’s ambidextrose.

  5. #5 Queef
    November 24, 2009

    These were bad.

  6. #6 Don S
    November 24, 2009

    JJackson – I saw what you did there you MACHO guy you.

  7. #7 Boris
    November 24, 2009

    “She has worms, and I love to fish.”

  8. #8 Mathematician
    November 24, 2009

    I’ve always heard your opener as “what’s purple and commutes?” which strikes me as much funnier than your version. I think because it makes the punchline close enough for the “I should have seen that coming” reaction. Ah, and google agrees: all 7 hits for your version are you, against 49,200 hits for my version!

  9. #9 Paula
    November 24, 2009

    (originated with the late Peggy G., probably the best math student in our year)–
    You’ve heard of the group of two elements? One is the identity element. And so is the other.

  10. #10 JJackson
    November 24, 2009

    I don’t know what’s the matter with you Don, always so dark.

  11. #11 FLC
    November 24, 2009

    A Dr., a lawyer & a statistician go deer hunting with bow & arrow.

    The Dr. shoots 1st: 20 ft short.. the lawyer next – 20 ft long.

    The statistician shouts, “We got ‘im”

  12. #12 revere
    November 24, 2009

    Here’s an original (of mine): Why didn’t the statistician like the two-tailed test? Because he thought it was bi-assed.

  13. #13 Mathematician
    November 24, 2009

    Much better!

  14. #14 Snowy Owl
    November 24, 2009

    Hilarious and so smart.

    Still coughing for laughing out loud, got to listen to it again.

    Thanks Revere


  15. #15 Lina Inverse
    November 25, 2009

    My favorite is an old one that’s found in many forms; here’s one that’s close to my favorite of it (I’ve substituted Scientist for Physicist), found at http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/6_2.html

    An Engineer, a Scientist, and a Mathematician all go the same Conference. University budgets being what they are, they all stay in the same cheap hotel. Each room has the same floor plan, has the same cheap TV, the same cheap bed, and a small bathroom. Instead of a sprinkler system, the hotel has opted for Fire Buckets.

    The Engineer, Scientist, and Mathematician are all asleep in bed. At about 2AM, the Engineer wakes up because he smells smoke. He looks in the corner of the room and sees that the TV set is on fire! He dashes into the bathroom, fills the Fire Bucket to overflowing with water, and drenches the TV set. The fire goes out, and the Engineer goes back to sleep.

    A little while later, the Scientist wakes because he smells smoke. He looks in the corner and sees that the TV set is on fire. He grabs a handy envelope, estimates the BTU output of the fire, scribbles a quick calculation, then dashes into the bathroom and fills the Fire Bucket with just enough water to douse the flames. He puts the fire out and goes back to sleep.

    In a little while, the Mathematician wakes up to the smell of smoke. He looks in the corner and sees the TV on fire. He looks into the bathroom and sees the Fire Bucket. Having determined that a solution exists, he goes back to sleep.

    (In academics I was a scientist, in my career a software and systems engineer, and my first job was for a group of mathematicians.)

  16. #16 Jody Lanard
    November 25, 2009

    JJackson, you massively annihilated Don! (Not that I’m accusing him of being dense or anything)

  17. #17 JJackson
    November 25, 2009

    Jody three quarters of Don’s post are obscure, most of the rest at least have the power to move me but I can periodically tabulate those that really throw light on the matter in no more than about 3% of cases.
    P.S. Liked your vaccine supply piece

  18. #18 David Marjanović
    November 25, 2009

    Jody[,] three quarters of Don’s post are obscure

    At the risk of ruining that joke: MACHO = massive compact [ = dense!] halo object, WIMP = weakly interacting massive particle. Both used to be candidates for what dark matter might be, and MACHOs have been ruled out.

  19. #19 David Marjanović
    November 25, 2009

    And then I watched the video. Now my jaw joints hurt.

  20. #20 Don S
    November 25, 2009

    Yes we are geeks … and proud of it!

  21. #21 Jody Lanard
    November 25, 2009

    It’s fun, isn’t it, Don S?

    I oscillate between trying to top JJackson (impossible) and giving up because I’m too scattered.

    (And JJackson, thanks. Will pass your compliment on to Peter. That kind of comment makes our day.)

    Revere(s), thanks so much for posting “A Virus Walks Into a Bar!”

  22. #22 JJackson
    November 25, 2009

    Charming Jody, you may be oscillating but I am all in a spin, tops down, bottoms up. Strange it makes me want to bark like a duck.

  23. #23 Jody Lanard
    November 25, 2009

    “Quark quark!”

  24. #24 JJackson
    November 25, 2009

    I wondered if you would get the answer right. I knew you get the reference but you got the exact answer very nice.

  25. #25 mistah charley, ph.d.
    November 29, 2009

    from a riddle song some may recall, which I heard in my youth at a university paralyzed around science:

    “Don’t know Avogadro’s number – he ain’t got no phone.
    You don’t put ice cream in a cube – you put it in a cone.”

    And here’s a joke I made up myself:

    How many catatonics does it take to change a light bulb?

  26. #26 ErikEdge
    October 28, 2011

    2 Hydrogen atoms are hanging out, when one turns to the other and say, “Holy Shit! I just lost an electron.”
    The other turns to him and asks, “Are you sure?”
    The first one replies, “Yeah, I’m positive!”

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