One of My Favorite Jokes (?):

Einstein, it is said, was once asked by a layperson to explain how radio works.

"Well," he said, "first I need to explain the telegraph. The telegraph is like a giant cat. The cat's head might be in New York, and the cat's tail in London. You pull on the tail in London, and the cat meows in New York. That's the telegraph.

"The radio is just like that. Only there's no cat."

Thief (mail) (www):
Prof. Volokh:

Some great Soviet-era humor (with a modern twist!) up at Reason's Hit &Run:

Three prisoners in the gulag get to talking about why they are there. "I am here because I always got to work five minutes late, and they charged me with sabotage," says the first. "I am here because I kept getting to work five minutes early, and they charged me with spying," says the second. "I am here because I got to work on time every day," says the third, "and they charged me with owning a western watch."

The rest is here.
5.1.2006 3:28pm
Eh Nonymous (mail) (www):
EV: Probably even more classic than AE's explanation of relativity. "When you talk to a pretty girl, an hour can seem like a second. And when you touch your hand to a hot stove, a second can feel like an hour." (paraphrased)

What's with the uptick in Anti-Soviet sentiment lately? Second Cold War? What's up with that?
5.1.2006 3:34pm
Another Soviet Refugee (mail):
Well, the Russian's vis-a-vis Putin are doing a good job of stirring up the old pot again. Supporting Hamas, Iran, making alliances with China. Not very nice. Though America did give China "favored trading partner" status, so hypocracy abounds all around.
5.1.2006 3:50pm
The cat joke is also credited to Guglielmo Marconi and to Edward Teller.
5.1.2006 4:30pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Here is another Soviet era one: (Rabinovitch is a stock Jewish character in Russian jokes - hates the Soviets).

Seeing a pompous and luxurious burial of a member of the Politburo, Rabinovich shakes his head: "What a waste! With all this money I could have buried the whole Politburo!"

(from Wikipedia - an apt translation of an old favorite).
5.1.2006 4:57pm
The Drill SGT (mail):
Reporter to Professor Einstein: "Professor, what weapons will be used to fight World War III?"

Einstein to Reporter: "Sir, I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know the weapons that will be used in World War IV."

Reporter to Professor Einstein: ????

Einstein to Reporter: "Rocks!"
5.1.2006 5:01pm
sam24 (mail):
James Clerk Maxwell's equations in classical physics predicted the existance of electomagnetic waves in 1873, a little before AE's time.
MD south of flyover country
5.1.2006 5:01pm
Eugene Volokh wrote:

"The radio is just like that. Only there's no cat."

Hence community networking without cats.
5.1.2006 5:27pm
byomtov (mail):
Since it's the day for telling Soviet jokes:

One year it was announced that in honor of the Revolution everyone who came to Red Square on May Day would get a fresh orange.

When the day dawned the crowd was huge, and Stalin looked out, realized there were not enough oranges, and announced that Jews would not get oranges, and should leave.

They left, but the crowd was still too large, so it was announced that only Party members would get oranges, and all others should leave. The crowd shrank.

By now it was late morning, and there were still not enough oranges. By careful calculation it was determined that if the oranges were sectioned there would be enough to give only army veterans one section each. Non-veterans were old to leave.

Finally, in late afternoon, after waiting all day, the few remaining veterans each got an orange section. As one veteran looked at his piece of orange he turned to the man next to him and said,

"Those Jews. They always get the best deal."
5.1.2006 6:09pm
BobH (mail):
Commissar Rudolf Valenkov and his wife were strolling one November evening in Red Square. A drop of moisture settled on the Commissar's epaulet. "Is rain!" he announced. "No, is snow," said his wife. "No, no, rain!" said the Commissar. "SNOW!" replied his wife. Valenkov looked her in the eye and said, "Rudolf, the red, knows rain, dear!"

Now I can rest easy.
5.1.2006 6:39pm
Just an Observer:
Einstein, I am told, was once asked what mankind's greatest invention was.

His reply: "Compound interest."
5.1.2006 8:20pm
BobH: God is gonna getcha for that.
5.1.2006 8:21pm
There's an article on Soviet-era jokes, with a link at (third one down on the right). The opening joke is this:

A man dies and goes to hell. There he discovers that he has a choice: he can go to capitalist hell or to communist hell. Naturally, he wants to compare the two, so he goes over to capitalist hell. There outside the door is the devil, who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan. "What's it like in there?" asks the visitor. "Well," the devil replies, "in capitalist hell, they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."

"That's terrible!" he gasps. "I'm going to check out communist hell!" He goes over to communist hell, where he discovers a huge queue of people waiting to get in. He waits in line. Eventually he gets to the front and there at the door to communist hell is a little old man who looks a bit like Karl Marx. "I'm still in the free world, Karl," he says, "and before I come in, I want to know what it's like in there."

"In communist hell," says Marx impatiently, "they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."

"But… but that's the same as capitalist hell!" protests the visitor, "Why such a long queue?"

"Well," sighs Marx, "Sometimes we're out of oil, sometimes we don't have knives, sometimes no hot water…"
5.1.2006 9:36pm
One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows Einstein in bed with a clearly unhappy woman. Einstein explains, "To YOU, it was fast."
5.1.2006 10:06pm
A journalist goes up to Einstein and asks him: "What's your secret to keeping such a great sense of humor, after so many years and knowing everything you know, about this sad and beautiful universe?"

Einstein answered: "Since everything's relative, I don't take anything seriously."

To which, the bewildered journalist exclaimed: "But, surely Prof. Einstein, that can't be the real explanation!"

Einstein then concluded: "Well of course not, if you say so ..."
5.2.2006 11:47am
I think I saw this one in a science magazine: A scientist looking in a telescope says to his alarmed colleague, "Well, I've never seen an object with BLUE shift before!"
5.2.2006 11:56am