Mathematical Conflagrations



	    A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are at a hotel one
	night sleeping after the first day of a conference.

	    A disgruntled hotel employee decides to get even with the 
	management.  He goes to a floor where there is nobody in the hallway. 
	He drops a lit match into a trashcan in the hallway.

	    The engineer wakes up and smells smoke. He goes out into the 
	hallway and sees a fire, so he fills his trash can from his room with 
	water and douses the fire. He goes back to bed.

	    The disgruntled hotel employee found another trash can in the 
	hallway and drops a lit match into it. Later, the physicist wakes up 
	and smells smoke. He opens his door and sees a fire in the hallway. 
	He walks down the hall to a fire-hose and after calculating the flame 
	distance, water pressure, trajectory, etc. extinguishes the fire with 
	the minimum amount of water and energy needed. He goes back to bed.

 	    This hotel employee then drops some trash paper and a lit match 
	into the same trash can in the hallway. Then the mathematician wakes 
	up and smells smoke. He goes to the hallway, sees a fire and then the 
	fire-hose.  He thinks for a moment and then exclaims, "Ah, a solution 
	exists!!" and then goes back to bed.








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