If writing fiction doesn't work out...

If writing fiction doesn't work out, I could always get a job as a gag writer. After all, I've already won a T-shirt from F1000 Prime with this little gem:

That's  enough success to quit the day job on, right? Are you listening, Ira Flatow?

There are more science jokes over at "Naturally Selected", the F1000 Prime blog. They made me laugh, but I'm that sort of bloke.

UPDATE: It's been pointed out to me that this joke is NOT FUNNY to 96% of the world's population. Only the 4% who know what a log phase is will even smile at it, and only the 0.2% who make the connection to the "a horse walks into a bar" joke will catch the meta-humor overlay and actually laugh. It got me a T-shirt, so I'm not terribly bothered by these numbers, but in the interests of enhancing understanding, allow me to define "log phase":
The log phase (sometimes called the logarithmic phase or the exponential phase) is a period characterized by cell doubling.[3] The number of new bacteria appearing per unit time is proportional to the present population. If growth is not limited, doubling will continue at a constant rate so both the number of cells and the rate of population increase doubles with each consecutive time period. For this type of exponential growth, plotting the natural logarithm of cell number against time produces a straight line. The slope of this line is the specific growth rate of the organism, which is a measure of the number of divisions per cell per unit time.[3] The actual rate of this growth (i.e. the slope of the line in the figure) depends upon the growth conditions, which affect the frequency of cell division events and the probability of both daughter cells surviving. Under controlled conditions, cyanobacteria can double their population four times a day.[4] Exponential growth cannot continue indefinitely, however, because the medium is soon depleted of nutrients and enriched with wastes.
So there you go. Feel a little smarter, do you? Or at least more knowledgeable?

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Help keep the words flowing.


  1. Shows you what I know. If someone asked about logs, I'd assume they were either talking to a character from "Twin Peaks" or to a mathematician.

  2. If you sound it out, it's funny even without knowing 'log phase. ' :)

  3. If you sound it out, it's funny even without knowing 'log phase. ' :)

  4. I'm with Ganymeder. I got the pun and got as far as "it's a scientific term", which is enough to make it funny. It also makes you even smarter IMHO.

    XKCD should do a cartoon of it.


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