# Engineers, Mathematicians and Making Tea

#### djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,805
Not sure whether this is a joke or commentary on engineers and mathematicians.

Let's try an exercise. I wish to make a cup of tea and need to boil a kettle of water. There is a kettle of water on the counter and the stove is on. What do I do next?

Why, place the kettle on the stove!

Now, let's change the problem a little. The kettle is empty. What do I do?

Most people say fill the kettle with water and place it on the stove.

I disagree (being a mathematician).

I would fill the kettle with water and place it on the counter, because I already know how to solve that problem!

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Going directly from the sink to the stove is like reinventing the wheel because you already know how to go from the counter to the stove.

However, you do not know how to go from the sink to the counter yet. So, from a 20,000 foot view, setting the kettle on the counter seems trivial to you since you seemed to want prefer to go from counter to stove without thinking about going from sink to counter.

Again, however, you seem overwhelmed by the idea of either (A) not using your existing knowledge of moving from counter to stove, or (B) developing a new technology (or skill) of going directly from sink to stove.

Surprisingly, your logic is common in manufacturing and old steps are often incorporated into processes that outsiders would say, "why the hell are you doing that?" Sometimes the answer is, I never thought of that, sometimes it is, we like to use existing technology, and, sadly, sometimes it is so it looks like the existing equipment is still utilized and the KPIs don't show idle equipment.

Now, I'm off to do something with my day off.

#### ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,055
I do not understand why in the first scenario one can provide an a priori solution plucked fresh ex cathedra from your belly button yet find yourself dependent on a previous solution in the second case.

Besides, such actions are typically found only in a species known as a “computer programmer” under a general category of “code reuse.”

#### Kermit2

Joined Feb 5, 2010
4,162
putting the water in the kettle could be tricky. Do you stop filling when the kettle is still half empty, or do you add water until it is half full?
and which hand should hold it? remember that the other hand must operate the faucet controls.

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
putting the water in the kettle could be tricky. Do you stop filling when the kettle is still half empty, or do you add water until it is half full?
and which hand should hold it? remember that the other hand must operate the faucet controls.
This is getting complicated. We should apply for some research funding.

#### gerty

Joined Aug 30, 2007
1,291
Do you fill the kettle with cold water or hot from the tap, inquiring minds want to know...

#### atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,093
Never seen people involved in anything like R&D, but a team has one always in charge. Who's here? The engineer?

#### JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,360
If the kettle is empty, the first thing I would do is WALK OVER TO IT ... then PICK IT UP ... then walk to the water source ... turn on the water spigot ... then fill the kettle .... turn off the water spigot .... egress to the stove .... turn the burner on (and light it if it's gas) ... set the kettle on the burner ... await for the water to boil. Then progress to the requisite steps to make the tea ending up with parking my a and drinking the tea. Then progress to the requisite tasks of cleaning up and egressing from the area.

But what do I know?

My favorite example of programming begins with ... You just detected you need to defecate. Write all the steps from detection to returning to the position you were at when you first detected the feeling.

It usually was a group project to have a little humor at the expense of those "little" errors that arise during the discussion. A humorous five minute exercise during an instructional period that drives home salient points of an algorithm.

#### shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,940
No engineer or mathematicians needed to make tea, I just ask my wife.

#### tom_s

Joined Jun 27, 2014
288
my partner just doesn't understand how it takes me about 90 seconds to make a coffee.

i cut out the JoeJester, fill a cup with the required amount of h20, into the microwave for 70 seconds (defaults to high) 1 spoon sugar, 1 spoon coffee, stir, add milk and done in under 2 minutes.

its just that... i hate watching paint dry, grass grow or wait for kettles to boil

#### JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,360
How did you make that cup appear?

#### takao21203

Joined Apr 28, 2012
3,695
my partner just doesn't understand how it takes me about 90 seconds to make a coffee.

i cut out the JoeJester, fill a cup with the required amount of h20, into the microwave for 70 seconds (defaults to high) 1 spoon sugar, 1 spoon coffee, stir, add milk and done in under 2 minutes.

its just that... i hate watching paint dry, grass grow or wait for kettles to boil
plastic kettles are faster than microwave for one cup. They have 2kW while microwaves only have 600 or 800, and not all of that goes into the water of a small cup. It takes at least a minute in the microwave, longer for tea.

As a programmer, you fill the kettle, put ingredients in the cup or pot- an hour later you wonder you are still thirsty. There is no constructor initializing the newly spawned object (something to drink).

Its not self operating i.E. you actually have to drink it.

#### studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
4,998
Being a physicist, naturally I know that if I reduce the pressure enough the water will boil anyway at room temperature so all I have to do is evacuate the room, once I have the water in the teapot.
No kettle is necessary.

This has the additional benefit of killing the arachnid and roach population.

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#### djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,805
This has the additional benefit of killing the arachnid and roach population.
I think we should check with an entomologist...

#### studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
4,998
Entomologists make lousy tea.
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#### atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,093
Do they allow insects into the mix?

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,227
This has the additional benefit of killing the arachnid and roach population.
I want to see the data. That may be true for gentlemen roaches in GB, but not in America. In the graduate labs in Baltimore late at night, we tortured roaches and firefly's. Neither DMSO nor vacuum seemed to affect the roaches. BTW: The DMSO made the firefly turn on constantly.

John