Monday, October 07, 2013

Life Humor 2.4

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


Heard on the radio - "Quintuplets were born today to ---------.  All will be named Thursday."

Is that to be Thursday 1, Thursday, 2, etc.?

When people think of Jersey City, they remember the good old days and people such as Barney Doyle, who was named superintendent of weights and measures as political payoff by the ruling Democratic machine.

"Superintendent, how many ounces in a pound?" yelled one reporter after Barney's swearing-in ceremony.

"Give me a break, fellows." he replied. "I just got the job."

[Forbes, December 31, 1984]


As reported by the May 28th issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology:

Ma Bell Rescue

It took a while to surface, but it appears that a long-distance credit card may have saved a U.S. Army unit from heavy casualties during the Grenada military rescue/invasion. Major General David Nichols, (Air Force) said the Army unit was in a house surrounded by Cuban forces. One soldier found a telephone and, using his credit card, called Ft. Bragg, N.C., telling Army officers there of the perilous situation. The officers in turn called the Air Force, which sent in gunships to scatter the Cubans and relieve the unit.


The reasons that each of these countries has had to renege on its financial commitments were all somewhat different:

Argentina: because of a war

Poland: because of its vast misguided over investment in heavy

Honduras: because the coffee price went sour

Zaire because nobody in the government there has a clue as to how to run a country.

  Paul Erdman's Money Book


Taken from the Rochester paper:

ROCKFORD,  ILL.  --When  temperatures  plunged to minus  26,  the Rockford  Register asked its readers to finish the  sentence,  "It  was so cold that----". Here are some of the responses:

O    Our snowman begged us not to leave him out another night.
O    Even the world leaders couldn't get into a heated argument
O    When I went out, my shadow froze to the sidewalk
O    I saw a fish jump in the river and the splash froze
O    My false teeth chattered-- and they weren't even in my mouth
O    When the police saw a robbery suspect they said 'freeze'-- and he did
O    The snow is turning blue


Date: Thursday, 21 March 1985  19:44-EST

From: Joe Pistritto 

To:   Soft-Eng at MIT-MC Re: Disastrous bugs

 Well, there was this cement factory that a company [who shall remain nameless], I used to work for built an 8080 based distributed control system for (at the time this was state-of-the-art in process control).

 The plant crushed boulders into sand before mixing with other things to make cement.  The conveyors to the rock crusher (and the crusher itself) were controlled by the 8080s.  A batch of defective MOSTEK ram chips used in the processor had a habit of dropping bits (no parity or ECC), causing at one point the 2nd of a series of 3 conveyors to switch off.  This caused a large pile of boulders (about 6-8 feet in diameter) to pile up on top of the conveyor (about 80 feet up), eventually falling off and crushing several cars on the parking lot, and damaging a building.  We noticed the problem when we couldn't explain the dull thuds we were hearing in the control room and looked out the window...

 You had to be there...


PS: I became a convert to error correcting memories (which were quite expensive at the time, this was 1975), immediately.

PPS: Everyone I know in industrial process control has a dozen of these type stories (all true) to tell.  Its just amazing what happens when you let computers control BIG things.

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