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True Humor

HELLO DEAR BOOKSELLER - (15,795 bytes; 1 pages)
An actual email exchange, involving a Nigerian, who expresses a wish to purchase books from this website, and Vinnie Carbone, our Manager of International Sales, who explains how this can easily be done...

COLLEGE ESSAY - (11,142 bytes; 3 pages)
A college essay, written by an actual high-school student.

WHAM ! - (200,561 bytes; 6 pages)
True Analysis: What would happen if a big space rock (like the asteroid Toutatis) were to hit Portland? Big trouble for Portland, but what about for folks in, say, Seattle? Read and learn...

MOMMA RESCUES BABY - (238,684 bytes; 5 pages)
True Story: Mother risks all to save endangered baby. In this case, momma and baby are squirrels and the threat is a big black dog...

SUBPRIME LOANS and CDOs - (229,465 bytes; 45 pages)
Way back, in 2009, when the economy nearly melted down, most folks didn't have a clue as to how a few bad home loans could have caused so much trouble. Here to explain things is a little graphical essay that came out of an introductory economics class at Harvard, taught by Greg Mankiw. Since the original presentation seems to have gone away, we reproduce it here. WARNING: some of the language in the presentation is a little effing strong in places.

For additional, related information, there is The Big Short, which you can either read as a book or watch as a movie. Both are good.

Every would-be website hacker and his brother try to break in to WordPress websites by requesting the wp-login.php file and then trying to brute force their way into the control of the website. Amateur hackers even try to this before determining that the target website is in fact run on WordPress. The result for non-WordPress sites is a bunch of NOT FOUND entries in the website logs. Here at ESP.ORG (not a WordPress site), we got tired of seeing all those NOT FOUND entries, so we created a wp-login.php file to give the wanna-be hackers something back, besides a 404 message.

Computational Humor

If Airlines Were Based on Computer Operating Systems - (4,750 bytes; 1 page)
A copy of material that has been circling the Net, looking for a place to land...

Haiku DOS - (6,740 bytes; 1 page)
Imagine if instead of cryptic text strings, your computer produced error messages in Haiku...

Classic Humor

Voltaire. 1759. Candide - (557,634 bytes; 104 pages)
Is there a more classic piece of humor than this? Besides it is in keeping with the biological orientation of this site, since it offers an alternative to evolution in explaining adaptation:

"It is demonstrable," Pangloss said, "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings, accordingly we wear stockings."

Mark Twain. 1897. Horrors of the German Language - (35,329 bytes; 3 pages)
Mark Twain brings his sense of humor to the German language with this speech that he delivered to the Vienna Press Club in 1897. Native English speakers are often initially confused be German word order, since in German sentences the verbs all at the end piled up are. Here is Twain's speech, both in good German and in a literal translation into English.

Swift, Jonathan. 1729. A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from being a burden to their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public - (56,167 bytes; 7 pages)
Modern black humor has nothing on this little essay, written more than 250 years ago.

Biological Humor

Getting Published - (html)
Scientific publishing is always a challenge, especially in a premier venue. Here's the story of what it took to publish a major finding in human genomics.

John, chapter 11, verse 35 - (4,396 bytes; 1 page)
Can biology provide dispensation? Here's a theological, ethological, evolutionary, and cladistic consideration of the notion, recently put forward by the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Most Reverand Richard Hollaway, that "adultery is caused by our genetics" and thus should not be condemned as sinful.

ZOO LABEL - (61,347 bytes; 1 page)
Support continuing education and place this sign next to a crib, playpen, or baby carriage to alert passers-by to the content.

Miscellaneous Humor

PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENTS - (16,976 bytes; 2 pages)
When President, George W. Bush sometimes made statements that seemed, well, a little mangled. Here, to set the record straight, is an analysis showing how Bush's apparent misstatements, upon closer consideration, turn out to be just right.

Hu's on First - (79,733 bytes; 2 pages)
Transcript of an exchange between Condi Rice and George Bush about the emergence of Hu Jintao as the new leader of China...

How to Attend a Meeting - (8,034 bytes; 2 pages)
Advice from Dave Barry on that most essential component of organizational behavior...

Teaching Mathematics - (43,350 bytes; 1 page)
A brief overview that shows how the teaching of mathematics has evolved over the years...

Moving to Seattle - (8,034 bytes; 2 pages)
A brief chronology, recording the typical joys experienced by newcomers to the northwest...

ANA - (4,064 bytes; 1 page)
White House Press Release: President Clinton signs the Americans with No Abilities Act into law. This startling new legislation, providing benefits and protection for more than 135 million talentless Americans, is being hailed as a major victory for the millions upon millions of U.S. citizens who lack any real skills or uses. Read about it here...

26 Jan 2018
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