Category: Math & Science


A Negligible Request

| USA | Coworkers, Math & Science, Technology

(I am a younger, female design engineer working for a helicopter manufacturing company, and it sometimes seems like my assessments aren’t taken seriously. An older senior project engineer storms in, in a tizzy, to get information on one of my projects after he has a meeting with someone higher up the corporate ladder.)

Project Engineer: “I need to know the weight of this part… this plastic mount for the wire ties!”

Me: “It’s negligible, and we are only using one in my kit.”

Project Engineer: “You don’t understand! [Higher-up] wants an EXACT weight, and I need it immediately so I can get this guy off my back!”

Me: “Ok, give me a couple of minutes to find it.”

Project Engineer: “Thanks, I’ll be back in a few.”

(He runs out the door. I finally find the info he wants after 10 minutes of searching.)

Project Engineer: “Did you find it?”

Me: “Yes. The weight is 40.37 grams per 100 of them.”

Project Engineer: “Ok, so how much is that in pounds?” *gets paper and pen to write it down*

Me: *after quick calculation* “Point zero eight nine per hundred. One of them weighs point zero zero zero eight nine pounds… or a little over fourteen one-hundredths of an ounce…”

Project Engineer: *starts writing and repeating to himself under his breath* “Point zero zero zero—” *stops short and looks up* “…hahaha!” *drops pen* “Okay, I’ll just tell him it’s negligible. Thanks!”


Has Only 500 Millibrains

| Laval, QC, Quebec | Employees, Extra Stupid, Math & Science

(I go look for an electric adaptor I need for an item I ordered from abroad. Upon my arrival, the girl working the floor asks me if I need help.)

Me: “Yes, thank you. I need a 5 amps adaptor, please.”

(She kindly shows me place where all the adaptors are and hands me a package.)

Employee: “This is what you need.”

(I look at the packaging, and it reads “500 mA.”)

Me: “Huh, miss, this is not 5 amps; it’s 500 milliamps.”

(Never mind the fact that I am a mechanical engineer and I am well versed in the use of prefixes, but I chose not to rub my education in her face today.)

Employee: “Sure it is; mA is a fraction of an A, and 500 mA is 5 A. It’s like in the kitchen. 500 milliliters is a full liter.”

Me: *after a few seconds speechless* “Sorry; I’ll go somewhere else…”


Knowledge Is Power

| UK | Employees, Extra Stupid, Math & Science, Technology

(The broadband Internet fails. I call the help line, which happens to be in India.)

Helpline: “Has anything moved in the house?”

Me: “Only the electrons in the wires.”

Helpline: “Can you put them back to see if that fixes the problem?”

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