0024: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey"

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0024: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey"

Postby lucasreddinger » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:29 am UTC

"Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey":

http://xkcd.com/c24.html

i just finished reading all of the comics. and this one in particular is pretty amazing. thanks.

i've been wanting to do more reading/writing and painting. this is pretty inspiring.

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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:52 pm UTC

Introduction thread please. First post should NEVER have a link.
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Postby hermaj » Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:17 am UTC

I have always liked the last part of this one the best out of the whole thing, I think. But the love-based ones have always been my favourites.

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Postby lucasreddinger » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:33 pm UTC

i just like the drawings in the middle.. it's like disintegration at its best.. it kind of clears your mind

then you have the great ending (the last two strips). really makes me smile.

and, of course, the letter part:

"never be further than a phone call and a goosebumped shiver away

drove all night listening to mix tapes

the past is just practice"

that last line is the one that kills me, especially considering the relationship i'm currently in.

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Postby Pebbles » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:37 am UTC

I love this one too, the ideas it puts out and how wonderfully they are presented with the drawing.. the sequence of drawings all seperate and contrasting, its a very powerful image to me. Also the ideas in the first section are great. Im abit of a history fan, what history is and what it means to us today. Its great.. haha i also just love the rough sketched look.
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Postby Sprocket » Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:56 pm UTC

I like that you don't need to get the meaning of the title in order to get the thing as a whole. He kind of sets it up as if it's going to be more, though. More specifically relevant to the way it starts, which is a wee bit disappointing. Is he really saying "all you need is love" and suddenly youth culture, history, deconstruction and everything that took us through the comic is no longer important? I suppose this is what we loose in the current, more comically based episodes.

Also, I under stand that rules are rules, but seriously, I think putting a link in the first post, in this case, was important. It's an older comic, and having immediate access to it was necessary in bringing any kind of relevance to the thread. I wouldn't have recalled which comic he was referring to without it, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. But I'm a rebel. ::YELL::
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Postby utopian.bookmobile » Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:41 am UTC

I think this is by far my favorite xkcd comic; it's absolutely beautiful. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're half-ignoring a lecture.

The title is a nod toward Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter, which I've been meaning to read, but have unfortunately never found the time.

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Postby warriorness » Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:56 am UTC

utopian.bookmobile wrote:I think this is by far my favorite xkcd comic; it's absolutely beautiful. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're half-ignoring a lecture.


Several months ago, my parents insisted that I come with them to see Good Night and Good Luck. It wasn't engaging enough for me, and my thoughts started to drift. I began thinking about - for some reason - a Tetris program I'd written at least a year before in Java, and I thought how cool it would be to make a 5-block version.

Before I knew it, I had all the modifications to my source code that I'd need lined out in my head, and had started to think of all the different possible combinations of blocks that were necessary. (Back when I wrote the original program I hadn't defined an algorithm to generate the Tetris blocks; I just explicitly defined all seven of them).

So yeah, works of art can indeed come when your attention is half-engaged on something else.
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Postby II » Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:18 am UTC

I'm pretty sure everyone in this forum has read it then; how is godel escher bach? Be honest. Easy read to get through or the type you're forcing it all the way out
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Postby Paulustrious » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:52 pm UTC

II wrote:I'm pretty sure everyone in this forum has read it then; how is godel escher bach? Be honest. Easy read to get through or the type you're forcing it all the way out


A mixture - a book, once read, that will not be forgotten. An incursion into recursion, back-to-bach revelations. It is not an easy read - it takes half a book to explain that 1+1=2 is not an arbitrary rule foist on us by the math police, and to have an unbiased perspective you cannot be involved, at least mathematically. Be prepared to take two weeks to read it, and then to become the congenital bore imploring anyone who has two halves of a brain to rub together that they totally must read it.
Last edited by Paulustrious on Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:29 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Akira » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:57 pm UTC

Paulustrious wrote:Be prepared to take two weeks to read it, and then to become the congenital bore imploring anyone who has two halves of a brain to run together that they totally must read it.


Two weeks to read? Is this based on the "standard" reading speed, or is this the speed for those of us who can finish the entire 1008-page-LOTR trilogy in 2 days?

Because I would LOVE a book that lasts me more than a few hours.
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Postby antonfire » Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:40 pm UTC

Reading GEB is nothing like reading LotR. LotR is just a story. GEB is something you have to think about. Hard.

Sure, you can probably breeze through it in a couple of days, but you won't get nearly as much out of it as you will if you take your time. GEB is not something you should speedread.

[Insert the usual disclaimers about this being a personal opinion etc. etc..]

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Postby Akira » Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:49 pm UTC

Lol, I don't speedread in the normal sense. I'm just a very fast reader--and I absorb stuff well.

Actually, the 2-day reading time for LOTR is my fasts reading. Usually, it takes me about 8 days. I do think aobut it when I read it--I usually find or think of something new everyime I read it. It sounds corny, but it's not just a story to me.

I will see if I can find that, though. The public library here is a joke, I may have to see if I can order it online...
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Postby Paulustrious » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:18 pm UTC

LilyoftheShadow wrote:Lol, I don't speedread in the normal sense. I'm just a very fast reader--and I absorb stuff well.



I do not want to denigrate your reading speed, but I think to understand it will take a while. It shares a virtue with LOTR, that it can be revisited. But it has the added beauty that it can be dipped into from time-to-time. An understanding of logic and computer programming will help make it more coherent.

The book has 'themes' running through it, a study of math(s), loops and logic, their realtionships to recursive music and art, and tri/dialogues between strange characters such as a crab and Achilles.

An example of recursion meshed with Xeno: A Djinn grants a wish, but the wish is for more wishes. The Djinn has to ask his boss GOD (who is God of Djinns) who has to ask his boss GOD (who is <God of Djinns> of Djinns) through the infinite hierarchy of GODs. This does not take an infinite time as each level of GOD is more powerful and responds quicker.

It is weird, wonderful and - in its original sense - an awful book.

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Postby Akira » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:47 pm UTC

Oh, I have no illusions about my reading speed--it's not like there's nobody faster. It's just that I'm used to getting through things very quickly.

It sounds VERY interesting, I will DEFINATELY check it out.
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Postby II » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:22 pm UTC

Paulustrious wrote:
LilyoftheShadow wrote:Lol, I don't speedread in the normal sense. I'm just a very fast reader--and I absorb stuff well.



I do not want to denigrate your reading speed, but I think to understand it will take a while. It shares a virtue with LOTR, that it can be revisited. But it has the added beauty that it can be dipped into from time-to-time. An understanding of logic and computer programming will help make it more coherent.

The book has 'themes' running through it, a study of math(s), loops and logic, their realtionships to recursive music and art, and tri/dialogues between strange characters such as a crab and Achilles.

An example of recursion meshed with Xeno: A Djinn grants a wish, but the wish is for more wishes. The Djinn has to ask his boss GOD (who is God of Djinns) who has to ask his boss GOD (who is <God of Djinns> of Djinns) through the infinite hierarchy of GODs. This does not take an infinite time as each level of GOD is more powerful and responds quicker.

It is weird, wonderful and - in its original sense - an awful book.


Sounds terrifying - will be picking it up later tonight.
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Postby bbctol » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:44 pm UTC

Aaagh! I almost missed a GEB discussion! That is clearly one of the most thought-provoking and strange books I've ever read. It's like xkcd without as much humor, or "a softer world" that makes more sense. Awesome, in the extreme.

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Postby cmacis » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:51 pm UTC

My main problem with GEB is that I have to wait another 2 years before I get to that stuff at uni. I'd read bits about Gödel's incompleteness before, but thought that there was some way around it. After GEB I finally accepted the inevitable.
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Postby bbotany » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:53 pm UTC

cmacis wrote:I'd read bits about Gödel's incompleteness before, but thought that there was some way around it. After GEB I finally accepted the inevitable.


It has assumptions that can be violated. I use an informal language. All things *are* possible in language, given a sufficiently lax language.

Bwahahahahhahahaha..... Take THAT Gödel!
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Postby cmacis » Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:02 pm UTC

Hence it only applies to systems that are "omega complete" or something. It's not a reference to language, but to logical systems, particularly ones describing the integers.
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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby Kiro » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:24 pm UTC

Not to drag open a thread long-since dead, but I believe the beginning of the comic (everything before the guy and the woman at the end) is a nice representation of the guy's first line, "There's too much, and so little feels important." Look at how infinitesimal the single poem is in the great scope of pointless blocks and conversations.

Just throwing in my two cents. It's my favorite xkcd.

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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby Alan » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

It has assumptions that can be violated. I use an informal language. All things *are* possible in language, given a sufficiently lax language.


Godel's incompleteness theorem does not say that there are things that are not possible. It says that in a sufficiently complex mathematical system, there are statements that are true that cannot be proven within the system. The first 300 pages of GEB explain why.

Actually, only the last 10 pages of the first 300 pages explain why. The preceeding 290 pages give you the background to understand those 10 pages.

I'm about 400 pages through the book right now. It is taking me longer than 2 weeks to finish it.

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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby bert5412 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:17 pm UTC

I was looking at this comic, which was probably made years ago, and I noticed something peculiar.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e155/ ... alin-1.jpg
Randall Can see into the future!! He knew all along. He is the chosen one.
Or,
The NASA people who were giving the lecture were adding in some subliminal political messages between power point slides causing him to subconsciously write down the name of the vice president they wanted him to vote for.
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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby Ezbez » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:29 pm UTC

Clearly he was referring to Michael Palin of Monty Python fame.

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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby Fat Tony » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:01 am UTC

I love happy endings =D
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Re:

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:48 am UTC

bbctol wrote:Aaagh! I almost missed a GEB discussion! That is clearly one of the most thought-provoking and strange books I've ever read. It's like xkcd without as much humor, or "a softer world" that makes more sense. Awesome, in the extreme.

I read it quite a while ago, but I went through it too quickly and didn't have the background to really get it. Now I want to revisit it, but I don't have it with me :(
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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby Dobblesworth » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:31 pm UTC

bert5412 wrote:I was looking at this comic, which was probably made years ago, and I noticed something peculiar.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e155/ ... alin-1.jpg
Randall Can see into the future!! He knew all along. He is the chosen one.
Or,
The NASA people who were giving the lecture were adding in some subliminal political messages between power point slides causing him to subconsciously write down the name of the vice president they wanted him to vote for.

Alternatively, the cropped piece of text featured just so happened to contain the term palindrome, and was bisected in a manner to make you think he was referring to a certain State Governor from I'll-ask-her.

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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby kingofdreams » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:03 pm UTC

sorry to ressurect (or however you want to spell it) a dead thread, but its just that this was the first comic I read, and I still think its the best, it had a profound impact in how I developed over the next few years, thats all.
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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby shadowfoxsx5 » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

since it has been bumped and I went back to read it again, I would also like to say this is probably my favorite xkcd. the "there's too much. and so little feels important" resonates indescribably strongly with me. I'm a ChemE student that daydreams of one day affecting the world around me. I still have not read GEB, but I think I am finally going to go see if the local BAM! has it after work.

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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby nano3.14 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:30 pm UTC

Well, it seems a lot of the newer comics resonate with cries of 'Get out of my head. Randall!', but that it the coincidences that occur due to the humble 'random' button are just as common.
i just recently finished GEB, and it too proved to mesh strangely with my problems at the time, haha. this is a wonderful comic.

in another vein, it occurs to me that such an effect would be awesome if it were dynamic- (ie- it would be a good visual effect in a movie)

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Re: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey" discussion

Postby Lithium33 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

I want this book now. It sounds pretty profound.
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Re: 0024: "Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey"

Postby kofshinobi » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:11 am UTC

If this comic was rewritten to make the text a bit clearer, I'd buy it as a poster.


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