These techcentric jokes,
song parodies, anecdotes and assorted humor have been collected from friends and
websites across the Internet. This humor is lighthearted and sometimes slightly
offensive to the easilyoffended, so you are forewarned. It is all workplacesafe.
Humor #1,
#2,
#3
Proof by example: The author gives only
the case n = 2 and suggests that it contains most of the ideas of the general proof. Proof by
intimidation: "Trivial."
Proof by vigorous handwaving: Works well in a classroom or seminar
setting. Proof by cumbersome notation:
Best done with access to at least four alphabets and special symbols.
Proof by exhaustion: An issue or two of a journal devoted to your proof is
useful. Proof by omission:
'The reader may easily supply the details'
"The other 253 cases are analogous"
"..."
Proof by obfuscation: A long plotless sequence of true and/or meaningless
syntactically related statements. Proof by wishful citation:
The author cites the negation, converse, or generalization of a theorem from
the literature to support his claims.
Proof by funding: How could three different government agencies be wrong?
Proof by eminent authority:
"I saw Karp in the elevator and he said it was probably NP complete."
Proof by personal communication:
"Eightdimensional colored cycle stripping is NPcomplete [Karp, personal
communication]."
Proof by reduction to the wrong problem: "To see that
infinitedimensional colored cycle stripping is decidable, we reduce it to the halting problem."
Proof by reference to inaccessible literature:
The author cites a simple corollary of a theorem to be found in a privately
circulated memoir of the Slovenian Philological
Society, 1883. Proof by importance:
A large body of useful consequences all follow from the proposition in question.
Proof by accumulated evidence:
Long and diligent search has not revealed a counterexample.
Proof by cosmology: The negation of the proposition is unimaginable or
meaningless. Popular for proofs of the existence of God. Proof by mutual reference:
In reference A, Theorem 5 is said to follow from Theorem 3 in reference B, which is shown to follow
from Corollary 6.2 in reference C, which is an easy consequence of
Theorem 5 in reference A. Proof by metaproof: A method is given
to construct the desired proof. The correctness of the method is proved by any of these techniques.
Proof by picture: A more convincing form of proof by example. Combines well
with proof by omission.
Proof by vehement assertion: It is useful to have some kind of authority
relation to the audience. Proof by ghost reference:
Nothing even remotely resembling the cited theorem appears in the reference
given. Proof by forward reference:
Reference is usually to a forthcoming paper of the author, which is often not as
forthcoming as at first.
Proof by semantic shift: Some of the standard but inconvenient
definitions are changed for the statement of the result. Proof by appeal to intuition:
Cloudshaped drawings frequently help here. The above material is by Dana Angluin and
was published in Sigact News, WinterSpring, 1983, Volume 15 #1.
