Professor Phil O’Mathy and two of his colleagues, all savants in mathematical logic, went down to the local pub. A waitress came over to their table and asked “Do you all want a beer?”

“I don’t know”, replied the first professor.

“I’m not sure”, replied the second professor.

“Yes”, answered O’Mathy.

Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.


  1. You have, I assume, heard the Beyond the Fringe Bertrand Russell skit. This reminds me of that. “Are there any apples in that basket?”

  2. Very nice, Mike.

    If mathematical logic were as easy as this joke implies, my GPA in grad school would have been marginally higher.

    • I received the grade that’s effectively a Graduate School F.


      • Actually, that’s not right. I got an A- in that course, now that I think about it. It certainly feltlike an F, tho. Errr, I mean a B+. The only reason I got that grade was that so many other students were doing so much worse than me.

        • That (and Cell Biology 302 – I know!) was the hardest class I ever took.

    • Here’s a harder one:

      Three perfect logicians, A, B, and C, sit around a circular table. There is a set of stamps, four red and four green. Each logician has had two stamps pasted on his forehead; he doesn’t know which they are, he can see the other ones’ stamps. They are asked, in rotation, if they know which stamps (red-red, red-green, or green-green) are ion their own forehead.

      A: “No.”
      B: “No.”
      C: “No.”
      A: “No.”
      B: “Yes.”

      What stamps does B have? (Easy.) And how does he know it? (Hard.)

      • V’z tbvat gb thrff gung ur unf erq/terra ba uvf urnq naq gur gjb bgure qhqrf unir qhoon erq naq qhoon terra.

        V’z thrffvat gung ur arrqrq gb xabj jurgure gur bgure thlf pbhyq pbhag gb sbhe. Fvapr ur abj xabjf gung gur bgure thlf pnaabg pbhag gb sbhe ba gur bgure gjb thlf’ urnqf, ur xabjf gung ur zhfg unir n ahzore bs fgnzcf gung bayl nyybjf gur bgure thlf pbhagvat gb trg gb guerr.

        Naq vs gur svefg thl, thl N, ybbxvat ng n svryq bs 3 naq 1, fgvyy qbrfa’g xabj sbe fher jung ur unf.

        Jnf V pybfr?

        • Zber be yrff, gubhtu gur nethzrag pna or znqr zber cerpvfr. Naq vg’f vagrerfgvat gung lbh fxvccrq gur rnfl nafjre gb tb fgenvtug gb gur uneq bar.

      • Urnevat N fnl ntnva gung ur qbrfa’g xabj jung fgnzcf ner ba uvf urnq gur frpbaq gvzr juvyr O xabjf, nsgre urnevat gung vasbezngvba, zrnaf gung vasbezngvba tyrnarq sebz N’f frpbaq erfcbafr qrgrezvarf gur nafjre. Gur bayl jnl gung pbhyq or vf vs jung N vf frrvat ba bgure crbcyr’f urnqf pbhcyrq jvgu gurve nafjref erznvaf vaqrgrezvangr.

        Jung ner gur cbffvovyvgvrf haqre juvpu gung fvghngvba (N’f hapregnvagl naq O’f pregnvagyl) nevfr? Gung obgu N naq P unir unir gjb gvyrf bs gur fnzr pbybe ba gurve urnqf ohg juvpu ner qvssrerag guna rnpu bgure. (Vs O unq gjb gvyrf bs rvgure pbybe, gura rvgure N be P jbhyq unir nafjrerq Lrf. Vs gurl rnpu unq qvssrerag pbyberq gvyrf, gura O pbhyqa’g unir fnvq lrf.) Fb O unf bar bs rnpu gvyr.

        • Xvaq bs unaq-jnil. Gur nethzrag pbhyq or znqr irel cerpvfryl.

          Naq, yvxr Wnloveq, lbh fxvccrq gur rnfl cneg.

          • Hand wavy? Try this on for size.

            Vs obgu thlf ner hapregnva, gung zrnaf arvgure thl pna nppbhag sbe nyy sbhe pbybef. Gur bayl jnl va juvpu arvgure thl pna nppbhag sbe nyy sbhe pbybef vf vs ur unf bar bs rnpu.

    • That’s awesome. The first two were completely over my head, but the programming one cracked me up.

      • George Washington would like the kleptomaniac joke, honestly.

    • What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhinoceros?

      ||elephant|| ||rhino|| sinθ n

      • What’s normal to both an elephant and a rhino? Trampling stuff!

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