What is Humor: Definition and 41 Discussions

Humour (Commonwealth English) or humor (American English) is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours (Latin: humor, "body fluid"), controlled human health and emotion.
People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. Most people are able to experience humour—be amused, smile or laugh at something funny (such as a pun or joke)—and thus are considered to have a sense of humour. The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour inducing it to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational. Though ultimately decided by personal taste, the extent to which a person finds something humorous depends on a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level of education, intelligence and context. For example, young children may favour slapstick such as Punch and Judy puppet shows or the Tom and Jerry cartoons, whose physical nature makes it accessible to them. By contrast, more sophisticated forms of humour such as satire require an understanding of its social meaning and context, and thus tend to appeal to a more mature audience.

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  1. Klystron

    Who Are the Regulars at Infinity Bar?

    All those joke bars to walk into. Ever consider the people already inside? Let's hang out at Infinity Bar. Yes, located between the Adiabatic AC Repair shop and Moe's Many Manifolds ("Put an edge to your Universe!"). Slide into Infinity Bar and join the fun: ----------------> linguist: "...
  2. bhobba

    A Bit Of Humor - Heaviest Element Yet Known

    A friend knowing I have an interest in science sent me this amusing story - hope you find it as funny as me Scientists at CERN in Geneva have announced the discovery of the HEAVIEST element yet known to science. It was discovered in Australia, which is now the leading producer, but other...
  3. collinsmark

    B QM Humor: "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

    I was going to post this in the general discussion sub-forum (like the science jokes thread), but I think it's actually technical enough to be more appropriate here. Today's SMBC (source: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-talk-4)...
  4. collinsmark

    Math Humor Tuesday: Cyanide & Happiness

    Today's Cyanide & Happiness [Source: http://explosm.net/comics/4435/]
  5. Planobilly

    A little humor "when electronics guys stay up too late"

    When I don't have anything to work on I call up my "friends" to come over and play music...lol Cheers, Billy
  6. Ygggdrasil

    On the Importance of Positive Controls

    Found this abstract while browsing through some papers, and thought it was quite humorous: Endy, Galanie & Smolke. 2015 Complete absence of thebaine biosynthesis under home-brew fermentation conditions. bioRxiv doi:10.1101/024299 Full text freely available at...
  7. kolleamm

    How can we use AI to create a sense of humor?

    I've been developing an artificially intelligent software for a few years now. Its main goal is to have human like conversations with others. I've realized that humor is a very important part of conversation. After doing some research I may have found a definition for it - "something that is...
  8. jim mcnamara

    Given the LIGO results lets use some humor

    http://xkcd.com/1642/ I've made a suggestion like this before. The LIGO results are wonderful, but the questions from "out there" sometimes display a level of understanding best dealt with the xkcd.com comic linked above. My opinion only. I've made this suggestion before. With regard to...
  9. L

    What are the origins of humor and laughter?

    The more I think about this, the more mystified I become: What are the origins of humor and laughter? Why do we find anything funny at all? Who or what was the first thing to laugh on Earth and what did they find funny? Can evolution actually explain this strange behavioral...
  10. Jameson

    MHB Explore XKCD: Math & Science Humor & What If?

    XKCD is a really funny site with comics intended for math and science people. Some of them are mildly humorous and others are spit-my-drink-onto-my-keyboard hilarious (for me). Below is a recent TED talk that the comic writer gave. It is an ok talk in my opinion - it's more interesting just to...
  11. H

    Passive Aggressive humor in Shankar

    Even though the text is largely quite serious, I sense a funny kind of humor in the way Shankar phrases a lot of things. Anyone else feel the same?
  12. B

    Parallel boat to dock jump. Sense of Humor required

    Homework Statement The deck of the boat is parallel to the dock as you jump from the boat and the direction of your velocity as you jump is 30° above the horizontal. If the boat was stationary when you jumped and 1.5 m away from the dock, what is the horizontal speed of the boat (in m/s) after...
  13. B

    Humor - Physics/Mathematics related

    Hi all, what sort of physics/mathematics related humor do you enjoy? Be it comics, TV shows, humorous books, music... I personally like the ''usual'' stuff, Tom Lehrer, The Big Bang Theory (though a bit hit-and-miss), XKCD, SMBC. But I'd love to hear any recommendations!
  14. R

    Scottish Humor: A Collection of Jokes

    You probably have to be Scottish to get this one:
  15. D

    Humor Books: Intro to Theory, Psychology, Philosophical Perspectives

    Is anyone aware of a book that tackles humor as a subject? The best one I could find is humor's role in forming persuasive arguments (http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/academic/product/0,3110,0321434900,00.html). I'm just looking for one that might tackle it on a philosophical...
  16. G

    Explain Humor in "Haddocks Eyes" for Alice in Wonderland Fans

    Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fans)? Hello , I was recently reminded of a section of 'Through The Looking Glass' - the one about Haddock's Eyes because of a post here at PF :- I will post the relevant material :- Well , I understood the humor...
  17. P

    Levi-Civita Symbol Exchange: LT or Leprous Tyrannosaurus?

    Unintended?? humor? An exchange from SR forum (couldn't respond without getting in trouble): ---------------------- Re: Levi-Civita symbol Originally Posted by clem View Post A pseudotensor has the determinant of the LT included in its transformation. This gives a minus sign...
  18. rhody

    Animal Crackers if you need a laugh, dry humor

    Reminds me of Monty Python, see if you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ssXJtzFOjA"... from the BBC... that explains it... Rhody... :biggrin: P.S. Fuzzy, Turbo, you will like this... the moon walking bird just kills me...
  19. DrChinese

    Physicists DO have a sense of humor

    This appeared this week: Backward Causation in Complex Action Model --- Superdeterminism and Transactional Interpretations, Holger B. Nielsen, Masao Ninomiya (Submitted on 3 Aug 2010) "It is shown that the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics being referred back to...
  20. rhody

    What Makes Dark Humor So Captivating?

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xk6mr_kramer-gets-a-kidney-stone" With the theme "Dark Humor" the spirit of this thread, the challenge is to get all of us PF'rs to laugh even harder. Post up... I you ever have had kidney stones, you will "get it" for sure... Rhody...:devil: :biggrin:
  21. W

    Dawkins confesses after waterboarding (humor)

    I thought everyone here would enjoy this: http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/7536
  22. Ivan Seeking

    ObamaCondoms: Practical Protection with a Sense of Humor

    Use with good judgement. :smile: http://www.obamacondoms.com/
  23. N

    Is There Evidence for Artificial Humor in Science Discussions?

    The top line from the "Search Tag Cloud" black holes bleeding carl sagan Ok, so I'm easily amused :biggrin:
  24. D

    Cat Toast Device : Antigravity Humor

    (can't post full links yet) uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Cat-Toast_Device
  25. R

    Humor me; can our bodies be smaller but the same?

    Working on some sci-fi and exploring the theory that there is redundancy in the human body, i.e., we could function with fewer cells, then fewer amounts of elements, and therefore less matter. Could we be “fine-tuned” and exist as a smaller version of ourself?
  26. Math Is Hard

    Kid Science: Humorous Quotes from 5th and 6th Graders

    I don't know of these are all genuinely from kids, but they were funny. A few look like some of my old test answers. hmmm.. from: http://www.ariel.com.au/jokes/Kid_Science.html And those fifth graders think they are so smart!:-p:smile:
  27. W

    Funny & Stupid Articles: Good Humor from The Onion

    Really funny and stupid articles, good humor though: http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/im_prepared_to_do_anything_to" http://www.theonion.com/content/node/53191"
  28. jim mcnamara

    What happens when math and humor collide?

    Usually comic strips avoid anything that requires math or science. http://www.gocomics.com/foxtrot/ This url will work only today, November 8, 2006 until midnight EST. Otherwise you'll have to use the "previous" selection and find Nov 8.
  29. T

    A Bit of Byte Humor: I/O, I/O, It's off to Disk I Go!

    Hear I go *clears throat* "I/O, I/O, It's off to disk I go, to read or write a bit or byte. I/O, I/O, I/O" Came across that one today :smile:
  30. wolram

    British-American Humor: "Effingpot" House of Uniting Cultures

    With great british bulldog spirt i have surfed the web without rest to find this site, now there will be no excuse for misunderstanding. http://www.effingpot.com/house.shtml Now maybe one of you of the US of A will reciprocate and perchance we britts will no what in the blue blazes you are...
  31. zoobyshoe

    Penguin Pauses for Laughter: Humor in Physics Forums

    ...when a young penguin type fellow could start a thread like this: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=103616 and almost all of the people here would instantly understand it was humorous. In fact, they would pitch in and add to the humor, extending it and developing it, all...
  32. S

    Understanding the Origins of Humor

    What does it mean? Where did it come from? What is to be humorous?
  33. Chronos

    Astrophysicists' Sense of Humor: Constraining the Dark Energy

    Who says astrophysicists don't have a sense of humor? This probably freed up a few tenured positions: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0505330 For exploring the physics behind the accelerating universe a crucial question is how much we can learn about the dynamics through next generation...
  34. zoobyshoe

    Seagulls: Unappreciated Source of Humor

    I think the bird that has been most neglected as subject matter for jokes is the seagull. I've watched them alot, and they're just asking for it. However, no comedians have stepped up to the plate. What other thing or subject do you feel has been mysteriously missed by humorists?
  35. G

    How to stop worrying (cute humor)

    I have just discovered how to stop worrying! Here it goes (Unicode): Definition. Let H be the set of all humans, A the set of all actions, and W ⊂A be the set of all worries. A person p ∈ H is said to be worrying if and only if p's set of choices C = {f(p)} (where f(p) ∈ A) either has...
  36. Y

    Bringing Some Humor to Laser Diodes: Fun Jokes

    Does anyone know any laser jokes? I'm doing a short presentation on laser diodes and thought it might be fun to include a refreshing page of jokes near the end. I found a few on Google, but none were very funny.
  37. G

    Physics Jokes and Humor - Share Yours Here!

    Everyone list your physics jokes here. I have a few ones. In the early 1900's, name foreigners came to america, and they had bad english skills, espeicaly with tense and past tense. So, one day, a german who just entered the country lost track of the time, as he needed to catch a train ...
  38. Q

    News Humor: scrutinizing the candidates

    This is very appropriate for PF: link to Tom Tomorrow: THIS MODERN WORLD ---> http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=17231 Quart
  39. brum

    News Some BUSH humor (State of the Union address) MUST SEE

  40. Ivan Seeking

    Science Humor: A Wide Selection

    A wide selection of science humor. http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/