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Revision as of 16:14, 9 December 2007 by Gwern (talk | contribs) (sm fmt)

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  • Laziness
  Greedy Son: Dad, I need some new clothes. Gimme some money.
  Strict Dad: How many money do you need [pulls out wad of bills]
  Greedy Son: Mind your own business! I don't tell you how to earn the money,
              so don't tell me how to spend it! I'll ask Mom instead.
  Lazy Mom  : Here's a credit card, Son. Just charge what you need.
  • Borrowing from the Future
  Student: I need a list of prime numbers
  Teacher: Easy. I'll give you the first one: 2. Now test each odd integer starting at 3 and try dividing by every prime up to its square root.
  Student: But I need to already know the primes in order to divide them into my candidates, don't I?
  Teacher: No problem, I have an infinite list of them! I'll make you a deal.
           I'll feed you these divisor primes as you need them, and you tell
           me whether your numerator ended up being prime.
  Student: OK, 3 is the next prime number
  Teacher: [Quickly writes this down on his list]
  Student: Hey, you're cheating! I'm the one doing all the work here! I'm
           generating primes faster than I need them, so really I'm stealing
           from myself. What's the use pretending I'm getting them from you?
  Teacher: No, I'm just doodling, I really do know all the primes. Your code
           is much simpler with me handing you the divisor primes anyway.
           What do you care where I get them from? It's no extra work for you!
  • Running in Circles
  Athlete: I run on an infinitely long track. I can go forever in a straight line without coming to the end.
  Trainer: Dummy, you're running on a treadmill. Look around: the walls aren't even moving.
  Athlete: I can't, the lights are off. The only thing I can see is the lighted path at my feet.
  Trainer: Moron! Don't you see that number "2" painted on the treadmill that keeps repeating every couple meters?
  Athlete: Of course, amazing how someone had the patience to keep painting the number 2 over and over.
  Trainer: Has it occurred to you that that is the same number "2" going by each time?
  Athlete: Prove it!
  Trainer: Easy, I'll just write a "3" next to it. See, the "2" is gone, now it's "23".
  Athlete: Now who's the dummy? You know this ground is immutable - chalk won't stick to it.
           You must have transported me to a completely different track where the number "23" is written over and over.
           That God must be powerful to have made so many tracks like this.
  Trainer: Your logic is too lazy for me. You can't tell the difference between an infinite list and a cyclic one.
  Athlete: What do I care? I still get all the exercise I need!