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Oh, mr counselor!

Xm…

There were two men trying to decide what to do for a living.  They went to see a counselor, and he decided that they had good problem solving skills.

He tried a test to narrow the area of specialty.  He put each man in a room with a stove, a table, and a pot of water on the table.  He said “Boil the water”.  Both men moved the pot from the table to the stove and turned on the burner to boil the water.  Next, he put them into a room with a stove, a table, and a pot of water on the floor.  Again, he said “Boil the water”.  The first man put the pot on the stove and turned on the burner.  The counselor told him to be an Engineer, because he could solve each problem individually.  The second man moved the pot from the floor to the table, and then moved the pot from the table to the stove and turned on the burner.  The counselor told him to be a mathematician because he reduced the problem to a previously solved problem.

– From The Mathematician, The Physicist and The Engineer (and Others)

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