Engineering Humor

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You know your an engineer when you have no life, and can prove it mathematically.


The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is 4 feet 8.5 inches. That is an exceptionally odd number. Why was that gauge used?

Because thatís the way they built them in England, and the U.S. Railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them that way? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built pre-railroad tramways, and thatís the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

So why did the wagons have that particular odd spacing? Well if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because thatís the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? The ruts in the roads, which everyone had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Roam, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The U.S. standard railroad gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horseís ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back end of two warhorses. Thus, we have the answer to the original question.

Now the twist to the storyÖÖ When we see a space shuttle sitting on itís launching pad, there are two booster rockets attached to the side of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBís. The SRBís are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBís might have preferred to make them a little bit fatter, but the SRBís had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two war horseís behinds.

So, the major design feature of what arguably the worldís most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horseís ass!!!

Donít you just love engineering?


The Guillotine

During the French revolution, hundreds of people were guillotined.

One day, three men were led up to die. One was a lawyer, one was a doctor,

and the third was an engineer.

The lawyer was to die first. He was led to the guillotine, the

attending priest blessed him, and he knelt with his head on the guillotine.

The blade was released, but stopped halfway down its path. The priest,

seeing an opportunity, quickly said, "Gentlemen, God has spoken and said

this man is to be spared; we cannot kill him." The executioner agreed, and

the lawyer was set free.

The doctor was next. He was blessed by the priest, then knelt and

placed his head down. The blade was released, and again stopped halfway

down. Again the priest intervened: "Gentlemen, God has again spoken; we

cannot kill this man." The executioner agreed and the doctor was set free.


At last it was the engineer's turn. He was blessed by the priest,

and knelt, but before he placed his head on the guillotine he looked up.

Suddenly, he leapt to his feet and cried, "Oh, I see the problem!"


Dilbert's "Salary Theorem" states that:

"Engineers and Scientists can never earn as much as Business Executives and Sales People."

This theorem can now be supported by a mathematical equation based on the following two postulates:

1. Knowledge is power.

2. Time is money

As every engineer knows: Power = Work/Time


Knowledge = Power

Time = Money

It follows that:

Knowledge = Work/Money

Solving for Money, we get:

Money = Work/Knowledge


Note that, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches Infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion: The less you know, the more you make.


A man is flying a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him a half-hour ago, but I don't know where I am." The man below says, "Yes, you are in a hot air balloon, hovering

approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees N. latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees W. longitude."

"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.

"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost."

The man below says, "You must be a manager."

"I am," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," says the man below, "you don't know where you are, or where you are going. You've made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault."




The only jokes you receive are through email --- OUCH!


At Christmas, it goes without saying that you will be the one to find the

burnt-out bulb in the string of Christmas lights.


Buying flowers for your girlfriend or spending the money to upgrade your

RAM is a moral dilemma.


Everyone else on the Alaskan Cruise is on deck peering at the scenery, and

you are still on a personal tour of the engine room.


In college, you thought Spring Break was metal fatigue failure.


The salespeople at Circuit City can't answer any of your questions.


You are always late to meetings.


You are at an air show and know how fast the skydivers are falling.


You are next in line on death row in a French prison and you find that the

guillotine is not working properly, so you offer to fix it.


You bought your wife a new CD ROM drive for her birthday.


You forget to get a haircut --- for 6 months!


You can quote scenes from any Monty Python movie.


You can type 70 words per minute but can't read your own handwriting.


You can't write unless the paper has both horizontal and vertical lines.


You comment to your wife that her straight hair is nice and parallel.


You go on the rides at Disneyland and sit backwards in the chairs to see

how they do the special effects.


You have Dilbert comics displayed anywhere in your work area.


You have ever saved the power cord from a broken appliance.


You have more friends on the Internet than in real life.


You have never backed up your hard drive.


You have never bought any new underwear or socks for yourself since you

got married.


You have used coat hangars and duct tape for something other than hanging

coats and taping ducts.


You know what http:// stands for.


You look forward to Christmas only to put together the kids' toys.


You own one or more white short-sleeve dress shirts.


You see a good design and still have to change it.


You spent more on your calculator than you did on your wedding ring.


You still own a slide rule and you know how to use it.


You think a pocket protector is a fashion accessory.


You think that when people around you yawn, it's because they didn't get

enough sleep.


You wear black socks with white tennis shoes (or vice versa).


You window shop at Radio Shack.


You're in the backseat of your car, she's looking wistfully at the moon,

and you're trying to locate a geosynchronous satellite.


Your checkbook always balances.


Your laptop computer costs more than your car.


Your wife hasn't the foggiest idea of what you do at work.


Your wrist watch has more computing power than a 300 MHz pentium.


You've already calculated how much you make per second.


You've ever tried to repair a $5 radio.


Your four basic food groups are: 1. Caffeine, 2. Fat, 3. Sugar, 4.



When talking to an engineer, how can you tell an extroverted one from an introverted one?

An extroverted engineer will look at your shoes rather than their own when talking to you!


Engineers have a natural form of birth control. It's called their personality!

A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for

a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed,

"What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15

minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never

seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the

greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him."


"Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're

rather slow, aren't they?" The greenskeeper replied, "Oh, yes,

that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight

saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let

them play for free anytime."


The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, "That's so

sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."


The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my

ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for


The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all

things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30

years, he happily retired. Several years later the company

contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were

having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had

tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but

to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer

who had solved so many of their problems in the past.


The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day

studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a

small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and

proudly stated, "This is where your problem is".


The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.

The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for

his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his

charges. The engineer responded briefly:

One chalk mark $1 Knowing where to put it $49,999

It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

What is the difference between Electrical Engineers and Civil


Electrical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build


The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it



The graduate with an Business degree asks, "How much will it



The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries

with that?"


Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the

possible designers of the human body. One said, "It was a

mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."


Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous

systems many thousands of electrical connections."


The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would

run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether

it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.


The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a

solid foundation for an enduring relationship. The artist said

he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and

mystery he found there. The engineer said, "I like both."

"Both?" Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they

will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and

you can go to the lab and get some work done."

An engineering student was walking across campus when another

engineer rides up on a shiny new motorcycle.


"Where did you get such a great bike, "asked the first. The

second engineer replied "Well, I was walking along yesterday

minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this

bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes

and said 'Take what you want.'"


The second engineer nodded approvingly "Good choice; the clothes

probably wouldn't have fit."

A top movie producer was discussing his new project - an action

docudrama about famous composers with several top stars.

Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Van Damme were present. The

producers really desired the box office 'Oomph' of these three, so

they were prepared to allow them to select what famous composers

they would portray.

"Well," started Stallone, "I've always admired Mozart. I would

love to play him."

"Chopin has always been my favourite," said Van Damme, "I'll play



The producers were pleased. "Sounds splendid. But, who do you want

to be, Arnold?". Arnold says -

.....(Wait for it)......

..... (its a good one!).....

"I'll be Bach."


Got any clean humor about Engineers?

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