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Mathematician turns into a fireman

One day a mathematician decides that he is sick of math and wants to be a
fireman. So, the mathematician walks down to the fire department and
announces that he wants to become a fireman.
The fire chief says, "Well, you look like a good guy. I'd be glad to hire you, but
first I have to give you a little test."
The firechief takes the mathematcian to the alley behind the fire department
which contains a dumpster, a spicket, and a hose. The chief then says, "OK,
you're walking in the alley and you see the dumpster here is on fire. What do
you do?" The mathematician replies, "Well, I hook up the hose to the spicket,
turn the water on, and put out the fire." The chief says, "That's great... perfect.
Now I have to ask you just one more question. What do you do if you're walking
down the alley and you see the dumpster is not on fire?" The mathematician
puzzles over the question for awhile and the finally says, "I light the dumpster
on fire." The chief yells, "What? That's horrible! Why would you light the
dumpster on fire?" The mathematician replies, "Well, that way I reduce the
problem to one I've already solved."
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