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HOAXThis speech was an internet hoax, falsely attributed as a commencement address at MIT by Kurt Vonnegut.
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.
I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
Four economists are going to a meeting on the same train as four statisticians. The economists can't help noticing that the statisticians only buy a single ticket, where they bought four. When they inquire, the statisticians say, "Don't worry, you'll see."
They get on the train, and when the conductor starts in their car the four statisticians all lock themselves in the WC. When the conductor knocks on the WC door and yells "TICKET", they slide the ticket out under the door, and the conductor stamps it and slides it back. After he's gone, the statisticians emerge.
At the station on the way back from the meeting, the economists buy only one ticket, but they can't help noticing that the statisticians don't buy any. When they inquire, the statisticians say, "Don't worry, you'll see." As the conductor approaches their car, the economists all pile in the nearest WC and lock the door. One of the statisticians goes and knocks on the door; the economists slide the ticket out. The statisticians take the ticket and lock themselves in the WC at the other end of the car, repeating their maneuver of the previous trip. The economists get thrown off the train.
Moral: Don't use statistical methods you don't understand.
Source: Sue Kaiser
TEACHING MATH THROUGH THE DECADES
1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of the price. What is his profit?
1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
1970 (New math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100, and each element is worth $1.00. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M. The set C of the costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set p of profits?
1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assignment: underline the number 20.
1990: (Outcome-based education): By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? (Topic for class participation: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?)
2010: By laying off 40% of its loggers, a company improves its stock price from $80 to $100. How much capital gain per share does the CEO make by exercising his stock options at $80? Assume capital gains are no longer taxed, because this encourages investment.
Source: Peter Kaiser
QUESTIONS LITTLE BOYS ASK
A young boy and his grandmother are walking home from the market:
"Grandma, how old are you?"
"That's not a question you ask a lady, young man!"
A little later:
"Grandma, how much do you weigh?"
"That's also not a question you ask a lady!"
As they enter the apartment building:
"Grandma, why did you get divorced from grandpa?"
"You don't usually ask anyone that question!"
"OK, I'm sorry"
When they get into the apartment, Grandma leaves her purse on the couch and goes into the kitchen to put the groceries away.
The irrepressible young man goes thorough her purse and finds her driver's license, which he studies carefully.
"Grandma, grandma, I found the answers to all my questions on your drivers license. You are 65 years old and weigh 133 pounds."
Grandma comes back from the kitchen, curious about the third answer.
"But it doesn't say anything about my divorce from grandpa!"
"Oh yes it does. Its here in the box marked sex. You got an F!"
Source: Julaine Florence
Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
KINDERGARTEN TEACHER: To get to the other side.
PLATO: For the greater good.
ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross roads.
KARL MARX: It was an historical inevitability.
TIMOTHY LEARY: Because that's the only trip the establishment would let it take.
SADDAM HUSSEIN: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.
RONALD REAGAN: I forget.
CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.
HIPPOCRATES: Because of an excess of phlegm in its pancreas.
LOUIS FARRKHAN: The road, you see, represents the black man. The chicken 'crossed' the black man in order to trample him and keep him down.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.
MOSES: And God came down from the Heavens, and He said unto the chicken,"Thou shalt cross the road." And the chicken crossed the road, and there was much rejoicing.
FOX MULDER: You saw it cross the road with your own eyes. How many more chickens have to cross the road before you believe it?
RICHARD M. NIXON: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did NOT cross the road.
MACHIAVELLI: The point is that the chicken crossed the road. Who cares why? The end of crossing the road justifies whatever motive there was.
JERRY SEINFELD: Why does anyone cross a road? I mean, why doesn't anyone ever think to ask, What the heck was this chicken doing walking around all over the place, anyway?"
FREUD: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.
BILL GATES: I have just released the new Chicken Office 2000, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your chequebook.
OLIVER STONE: The question is not, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Rather, it is, "Who was crossing the road at the same time, whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?"
DARWIN: Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically disposed to cross roads.
EINSTEIN: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.
BUDDHA: Asking this question denies your own chicken nature.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON: The chicken did not cross the road .. it transcended it.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. In the rain.
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: It was an instinctive maneuver; the chicken obviously didn't see the road until he had already started to cross.
COLONEL SANDERS: I missed one?
HILARY CLINTON: It was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy against my husband.
BILL CLINTON: The chicken did NOT cross the road. Not a single time. Never. (It was a boulevard.)
ANDERSEN CONSULTING: Deregulation of the chicken's side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. Andersen Consulting, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM), Andersen helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital and experiences to align the chicken's people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. Andersen Consulting convened diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with Anderson consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park-like setting, enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and unified market message and aligned with the chicken's mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. Andersen Consulting helped the chicken change to become more successful.
Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken's dominion maintained.
Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is dead.
Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the road, the road gazes also across you.
Oliver North: National Security was at stake.
B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.
Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.
Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.
Aristotle: To actualize its potential.
Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian bipedwith the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapiens pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurrence.
Salvador Dali: The Fish.
Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.
Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.
Johann Friedrich von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.
Jack Nicholson: 'Cause it (censored) wanted to. That's the (censored) reason.
John Sununu: The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.
The Sphinx: You tell me.
Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately ...and suck all the marrow out of life.
Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.
Catherine MacKinnon: Because, in this patriarchial state, for the last four centuries, men have applied their principles of justice in determining how chickens should be cared for, their language has demeaned the identity of the chicken, their technology and trucks have decided how and where chickens will be distributed, their science has become the basis for what chickens eat, their sense of humor has provided the framework for this joke, their art and film have given us our perception of chicken life, their lust for flesh has has made the chicken the most consumed animal in the US, and their legal system has left the chicken with no other recourse.
Stephen Jay Gould: It is possible that there is a sociobiological explanation for it, but we have been deluged in recent years with sociobiological stories despite the fact that we have little direct evidence about the genetics of behavior, and we do not know how to obtain it for the specific behaviors that figure most prominently in sociobiological speculation.
Joseph Stalin: I don't care. Catch it. I need its eggs to make my omelette.
Malcolm X: It was coming home to roost.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board.
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
All happy families are alike, but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy