Language Learning

Language Learning



An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician went on holiday together to Scotland. Shortly after they had crossed the border, they saw a black sheep. "Ah" said the astronomer, "all sheep in Scotland are black!". "No", said the physicist, "that is not accurate. All you are entitled to say is that some sheep in Scotland are black". "That is wrong too" said the mathematician. "To be precise, we can say only that 'in Scotland there exists one sheep, one side of which is black!'"

The Danger of Eating Bread

By P Sethi (in

A recent newspaper headline read, "Smell of baked bread may be health hazard." The article went on to describe the dangers of the smell of baking bread. The main danger, apparently, is that the organic components of this aroma may break down ozone. I was horrified. When are we going to do something about bread-induced global warming? Sure, we attack tobacco companies, but when is the government going to go after Big Bread? Well, I've done a little research, and what I've discovered should make anyone think twice....


1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread eaters.

2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.

5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average person eats more bread than that in one month!

7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after only two days.


Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling. In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:

1. No sale of bread to minors.

2. No advertising of bread within 1000 feet of a school.

3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.

4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.

5. A $40.2 billion fine on the three biggest bread manufacturers.

Please send this e-mail on to everyone you know who cares about this crucial issue.
REMEMBER "Think globally, act idiotically."


Here is a joke that I sent to the New Scientist magazine and they kindly published with an attribution to me (Feedback, p 104, 21 May 2005):

"Several readers have written in to tell us that our 'I used to think I was indecisive but now I am not so sure' joke is very old (16 April). They then went on to tell us similar jokes that we suspect were also very old. Despite this, two contributions particularly pleased us. One, which may also be apocryphal, concerns Niels Bohr, who reputedly kept a lucky horseshoe. When challenged that surely he didn't believe in such superstitious nonsense, he replied: 'Of course not, but I understand it works even if you don't believe in it.'

Thanks to Elaine Shipton for that, and to Gerry Wolff for telling us that some people think that the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin have profound meaning, but others think they are merely deep on the surface and shallow underneath."

My first memory of this joke was a comment I made to my parents about the dreadful "Dr Kildare" series on TV when I was about 12 years old! I have always liked to believe that I originated the joke but a search with Google shows that it is 'known'. It is still possible that I did think of it for myself but it is also possible that I heard it somewhere.

Many other jokes, courtesy of Emmanuel Pothos.



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