Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FUNdamental Engineering: a Smile or Two for the Technically-minded

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I’d meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

Craning her neck and shielding her eyes from the sun, the woman replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

The balloonist smiled. “You must be an engineer.”

“I am,” said the woman. “How did you know?”

“Well,” said the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I’m not a technical person, so I don’t know what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you haven’t been much help to me. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”

The woman, obviously indignant, put her hands on her hips and said, “You must be in Management.”

“That’s right,” the balloonist said, “but how did you know?”

The woman shook her finger at the balloonist. “Well, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. A massive amount of hot hair accounts for how you got where you are, right now. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met. But now, somehow, it’s my fault.”


One day, a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, chemical engineer and computer engineer were driving down the street in the same car when it broke down.

The mechanical engineer said, "I think a rod broke."

The chemical engineer said, "The way it sputtered at the end, I think it's not getting enough gas."

The electrical engineer said, "I think there was a spark and something's wrong with the electrical system."

All three turned to the computer engineer and said, "What do you think?"

The computer engineer said, "I think we should all get out and then get back in."
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