Once upon a time, a culinary scientist was testing a new smartphone app he had created. With it, one could point the smartphone at any food item and that item would give information about itself – in its own words – that would help inexperienced cooks in preparing those items. After much work, the app was ready for testing. The scientist went to the local grocery store to try it out. First, he pointed it at a pepper.
“I am a pepper. I was grown in Mexico. I am moderately hot and can be used in sauces for added flavor.”
The scientist was ecstatic! He tried other items:
“I am a potato. I was grown in Idaho. I contain starches and carbohydrates and if cooked at 400 degrees for one hour I will make an excellent baked potato.”
Another success! Encouraged, the scientist tried more complex foods.
“I am a tiramisu. I was made by a chef in New York from the finest ingredients, including excellent mascarpone cheese. I am the perfect dessert for special occasions and holidays.”
Finally, the scientist decided to test the new app on an apple pie:
“The CIA and the Trilateral Commission are using secret hydrogen bomb technology to undermine the continental shelf in order to cause earthquakes! Oswald didn’t act alone! He was helped by space aliens who used special mind wave technology to get rid of the President because he knew too much about Atlantis!”
Confused, the scientist tried again:
“The Norwegians are trying to corner the silver market in a conspiracy with a secret advanced race of super-intelligent rodent-beings so they can destabilize the internet in order to hide the truth about homeopathy!”
Disappointed, the scientist went home to figure out what went wrong. Despite much tweaking, whenever he tried the app on a pie, he got the same kind of bizarre diatribe. One day, he mentioned his problem to a mathematician friend.
“Oh!” said the mathematician. “I know what the problem is!”
“What?” asked the culinary scientist.
“Your app is working fine! It’s the pie that’s the problem!”
“Really? How so?”
“Well,” replied the mathematician, “as any mathematician can tell you, pie is irrational!”