A man in a hot-air balloon realized he was lost. He
reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He
descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you
help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour
ago, but I don't know where I am."
and the manager
The woman below replied, "You're in a hot-air balloon
hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're
between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59
and 60 degrees west longitude."
"You must be a mathematician," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told
me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to
make of your information, and the fact is, I'm still
lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If
anything, you've delayed my trip."
The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."
"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are
or where you're going. You have risen to where you are
due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise
which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people
beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are
in exactly the same position you were in before we met,
but now, somehow, it's my fault."
QUESTION: What was the woman wearing, if we assume
parties to the above conversation were speaking accurately
and truthfully, and that the first paragraph above is accurate?
Answer: A deep-sea diver's suit. Or she was at
least in a bathysphere or some such contraption.
The longitude and latitude given would place this
conversation in a part of the Atlantic where there is
essentially no "ground" above sea level. The balloonist would have
been "hovering" 30 feet above the ocean floor. One wonders how
they could hear each other, but people in different disciplines
often have trouble hearing each other anyway.
(This joke(?) was sent to the entire Mathematics
Department in e-mail by a colleague of
mine. The only person, among the 200 or so who got his e-mail,
who took note of the geographic
oddity, was a Specialized Honours
pure maths student.)