One day Jesus was teaching the crowds, and at one point he says, "y = 3x^{2} - 4x + 1". His disciples, of course, have no idea what he's talking about. They think maybe John will know something, so they ask him. John says, "Don't worry. It's just another one of his parabolas."

Could someone explain this joke to me so I can laugh at it?

Jesus often spoke in stories called parables.

Um, yes, I got that part, I just don't get the math part. What's a "parabola" as opposed to a "parable"?

A parabola is the shape made by the graph of a quadratic function (i.e. something with an x

^{2} term in it (and possibly linear and constant terms)). Arguably the joke would have been more accurate if Jesus had said, "The graph of y=3x

^{2}-4x+1", rather than just saying the function by itself.

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Another old joke I just remembered:

A lot of people don't know how Canada got its name. It turns out, when it was first founded, its founders couldn't decide on a name. After lots of heated discussions and some long brainstorming sessions, they finally decided that the best thing to do would be to just leave it up to chance. So they mixed up all the letters and put them in a hat, and brought up a Canadian guy to pull them out. He pulled the first letter and it was a C, so he said "C, eh?" He pulled the next letter and it was an N, so he said, "N, eh?" Finally he pulled the last letter and it was a D, so he said, "D, eh?" And that's how Canada got its name!