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Kennedy Airport, NY: Teacher Arrested

An individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested today trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, the attorney general said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. "Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," a Justice Department spokesman said.

"They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns'. We have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'there are three sides to every triangle'."

When asked to comment on the arrest, the president said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes".

Research bits & bytes

The latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world's population!

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research!

The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong!

The ten characteristics of bad research

  • Ignore the problem and go immediately to the solution, that is where the profit lies.
  • The budget is always smaller than the problem, hence more research is needed.
  • Names are control variables.
  • The aptness of the critique is directly related to the clarity of the presentation.
  • Most of the research dealt with invention of the wheel.
  • The respondents are to blame for undesirable results.
  • A mistake is never admitted; rather, the error is extended.
  • Progress is a function of the assumed reference system.
  • Rigorous solutions to assumed problems are offered rather than assumed solutions to rigorous problems.
  • The problems are only addressed in reflection.

More Cartoons

Enjoy the original artwork that shows that researchers and statisticians see the funny moments in their work (click on an image for a larger view)


A dictionary of useful research phrases

Some of the below originally appeared in a scientific journal article, written by: Graham Jr., C.D., (May 1957). Metal Progress. Volume 71, Number 5.

Research phrase Translation
It has long been known ... I didn't look up the original reference
A definite trend is evident ... These data are practically meaningless
Of great theoretical and practical importance ... Interesting to me
While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to these questions ... An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published
Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study ... The results of the others didn't make any sense
Typical results are shown ... The best results are shown
These results will be shown in a subsequent report ... I might get around to this sometime if I'm pushed
The most reliable results are those obtained by Jones ... He was my graduate assistant
It is believed that ... I think
It is generally believed that ... A couple of other people think so too
It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of the phenomenon occurs ... I don't understand it
Correct within an order of magnitude ... Wrong
It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation in this field ... This is a lousy paper, but so are all the others on this miserable topic
Thanks are due to Joe Blotz for assistance with the experiment and to George Frink for valuable discussions ... Blotz did the work and Frink explained to me what it meant
A careful analysis of obtainable data ... Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of beer
A titanic conclusion was reached Two or more events of low probability occurred in the worst possible combination
Conclusion The place where you got tired of thinking

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