0660: "Sympathy"

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0660: "Sympathy"

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:00 am UTC

Image
Title Text:Excellent recovery: ... which we could try to use to somehow save your original brother!

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Nintendon't » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:02 am UTC

I'd baw at this comic if it didn't make me laugh so hard.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:03 am UTC

I sense a Donnie Darko reference.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Zenexer » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:03 am UTC

Umm... yeah... that's not that funny. It's actually quite a bit slower than the speed of light.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:04 am UTC

Person on left: Or, if we travel even further back in time, we could do something about you!
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:05 am UTC

Heh.
My cheese is barely warm though. And I still can't properly log in with firefox.
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby joee » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:06 am UTC

I just spent half an hour crying. Then a comic called "Sympathy"? *starts crying again*

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby rwald » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:07 am UTC

This reminds me of a great quote from Terry Pratchett's Mort:
The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:07 am UTC

Zenexer wrote:Umm... yeah... that's not that funny. It's actually quite a bit slower than the speed of light.


...um...zero time and finite distance means infinite velocity...and the speed of light is finite. So...it's more than the speed of light.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Omegaton » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:09 am UTC

If this were SMBC, there'd be one frame with an asterisk in it and the text at the bottom.

Of course, it's not SMBC.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Siguy » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:17 am UTC

This strongly reminds me of another xkcd comic. Can't think of which one.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Comic JK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:23 am UTC

That is awesome, though somewhat sad. It reminded me of a line from Diane Duane's "High Wizardry:"
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby modularblues » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:27 am UTC

Sounds like what the physicists in Big Bang Theory might blurt out under the influence.

@rwald:

Man, that's a great quote. Kingon and queon rofl... guess I should try reading Terry Pratchett again. And Douglas Adams. I think when I first read their books I was unable to comprehend their essence and gave up after a few pages.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby The Origamist » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:35 am UTC

Supposing the two characters are accelerating near light speed, did the brother die of old age?
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Beaniedude » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:35 am UTC

Ah man....
One of the first XKCD comics that made me laugh in a while.
Brilliant, of course it may have helped that I just had my physic's exam where a large portion was dedicated to Special Relativity but.... meh
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby fabiocbinbutter » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:42 am UTC

There once was a physicist, Nate,
who found it quite hard to relate
to the death of a brother
or anything other
than relativity changing our fate.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby thinboy00 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:57 am UTC

Comic JK wrote:That is awesome, though somewhat sad. It reminded me of a line from Diane Duane's "High Wizardry:"
The Milky Way is so truly vast, it can take a thought up to six seconds to cross it.


And I always thought I was the only person (well... geek) who read that series. *mutters to self*

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby serrath » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:05 am UTC

I think the excellent recovery would be an "even more wrong".

Randall, these are physicists. They will not know better than to try that.
(Well, okay, so the physicists will, but not the engineers!)

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby dtilque » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:12 am UTC

rwald wrote:This reminds me of a great quote from Terry Pratchett's Mort:
The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

Dammit, rwald, I came over here to post about that same quote. Except that I thought it was from Pyramids, not Mort. Or maybe it was a different, but similar joke in Pyramids.
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Max2009 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:18 am UTC

Nice comic, but didn't make me laugh.
The thing is, I know some mathematicians who are in dire need of tips like this...

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby LuNatic » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:20 am UTC

dtilque wrote:
rwald wrote:This reminds me of a great quote from Terry Pratchett's Mort:
The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

Dammit, rwald, I came over here to post about that same quote. Except that I thought it was from Pyramids, not Mort. Or maybe it was a different, but similar joke in Pyramids.


Snap. Beat me to it :P
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:23 am UTC

Apparently I can't post replies.

Anyway, do they have to be related, or just emotionally bonded? If by relations, then we have the world's most sadistic paternity test.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby lifeismusic434 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:17 am UTC

Grammar fail :mrgreen:

It should be "If it were instant...".

Oh well, still quite funny.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby SW15243 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:40 am UTC

lifeismusic434 wrote:Grammar fail :mrgreen:

It should be "If it were instant...".

Oh well, still quite funny.

I don't think so. If it were referring to a general, hypothetical, then yes, it would be 'were'. But because the verb is relating to a specific incident, I think 'was' is okay.
But then, I'm only in my first year of University (and I don't mean that to sound sarcastic) so I could be wrong.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby lifeismusic434 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:47 am UTC

SW15243 wrote:
lifeismusic434 wrote:Grammar fail :mrgreen:

It should be "If it were instant...".

Oh well, still quite funny.

I don't think so. If it were referring to a general, hypothetical, then yes, it would be 'were'. But because the verb is relating to a specific incident, I think 'was' is okay.
But then, I'm only in my first year of University (and I don't mean that to sound sarcastic) so I could be wrong.


Hmm, you may be right. I've always had it drummed into my head that "were" always follows the "if". He is referring to a specific incident, but it's still a hypothetical. *shrug* I dunno.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby lemmings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:48 am UTC

This could provide a rather vital method of communication if we where to ever develop a galactic civilization that spans star systems. If one of the planets where attacked, we would be unaware of the attack for many years, and there is a possibility that the invaders have ships which can travel at near C. If the civilization though just sacrifices 13 individuals (the number of 1 bits in "SOS" written using ASCII) at least one other planet would be made aware of the attack.

You wouldn't want to use this method to download new movies though. A 700MB avi file contains 5,872,025,600 bits, you could easily sacrifice half the population just uploading the latest release and with a sample size that large there are bound to be some natural deaths that result in data corruption.

I guess you could reduce that by killing everyone who needs to be killed within milliseconds of each other. This means that the entire movie could be downloaded at a rate exceeding 1GB/s. That might actually be something to kill for.


I worry about myself now.
Last edited by lemmings on Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:51 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby shrimpwd » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:49 am UTC

Wait, wouldn't that create a time paradox?

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:52 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Apparently I can't post replies.

Anyway, do they have to be related, or just emotionally bonded? If by relations, then we have the world's most sadistic paternity test.


*sigh*

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Al-pocalypse » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:09 am UTC

awesome!
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby osten » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:10 am UTC

The very wrong answer seems to be something only physicists would say
Last edited by osten on Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:11 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Vgtox Asura » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:11 am UTC

lifeismusic434 wrote:
SW15243 wrote:
lifeismusic434 wrote:Grammar fail :mrgreen:

It should be "If it were instant...".

Oh well, still quite funny.

I don't think so. If it were referring to a general, hypothetical, then yes, it would be 'were'. But because the verb is relating to a specific incident, I think 'was' is okay.
But then, I'm only in my first year of University (and I don't mean that to sound sarcastic) so I could be wrong.


Hmm, you may be right. I've always had it drummed into my head that "were" always follows the "if". He is referring to a specific incident, but it's still a hypothetical. *shrug* I dunno.


"were" is already singular (or plural), if it comes up in if-clauses. "were" isn't the past tense of "to be" there, it's its subjunctive form. "To be" is the only English verb where its past tense isn't always equal to its subjunctive form. "was" isn't a subjunctive form at all, so it is never grammatically correct in hypothetical if-clauses. But it's so popular to use "was" in that clauses, that it will eventually (very soon I guess) be considered as accurate.
It works like this "I am" -> "If I were", "You are" -> "If you were", "It is" -> "If it were". There is no "was" if you want to be grammatically correct.
Note, that English isn't my first language though, so I might have misused some terminology.
Last edited by Vgtox Asura on Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:46 am UTC, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby cvi » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:13 am UTC

lemmings wrote:This could provide a rather vital method of communication if we where to ever develop a galactic civilization that spans star systems. If one of the planets where attacked, we would be unaware of the attack for many years, and there is a possibility that the invaders have ships which can travel at near C. If the civilization though just sacrifices 13 individuals (the number of 1 bits in "SOS" written using ASCII) at least one other planet would be made aware of the attack.


Wouldn't it be more efficient to just use a single bit to transmit "we're under attack"? You could add some redundancy (like a group of 5 people that must be sacrificed within a certain time span to trigger the signal). You could even add a second group for a "don't bother, we're screwed" signal - e.g. if your planet gets destroyed, that signal will be triggered automatically.


lemmings wrote:I worry about myself now.

Yeah...

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby pretzil » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:39 am UTC

I'm posting here to see what time the timestamps on forum comments uses, was this one an hour late today or is it DLS somewhere?

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Oorang » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:48 am UTC

This reminds me of the time someone told me that they had recently lost their Grand-daughter and my first instinct was to ask them if they checked they last place the remembered having her. Thank God the filter worked for once. I can't even imagine what would have happen if that thought had gotten loose. I felt terrible later, but when you think of something like that and you can't say it, it makes you want to laugh, and you know that would be the wrong thing to do too. So you have to look appropriately sympathetic and not show that your are suppressing gails of laughter... As I said, I felt terrible later.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby wackojacko1138 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:52 am UTC

To explain the grammar: "were" here would be the subjunctive mood. When used in the protasis (the "if-clause") of a condition, it indicates that something is not true, i.e. "If my grandfather were alive, he would appreciate this comic." My grandfather is not alive, therefore he cannot appreciate this comic. On the other hand, "was" is called the indicative mood (at least in Latin, but the same rules apply), it indicates that something may or may not be true, and we don't know which. That's the situation that most fits this comic. Since the physicist doesn't know whether it was instantaneous, he simply uses "was" to indicate that.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:01 am UTC

Never ask for sympathy from someone who doesn't draw faces on their comics.
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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby rattusprat » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:08 am UTC

lemmings wrote:This could provide a rather vital method of communication if we where to ever develop a galactic civilization that spans star systems. If one of the planets where attacked, we would be unaware of the attack for many years, and there is a possibility that the invaders have ships which can travel at near C. If the civilization though just sacrifices 13 individuals (the number of 1 bits in "SOS" written using ASCII) at least one other planet would be made aware of the attack.

This would only work for civilizations up to about 40 lightyears apart. Assuming twins for simplicity (and most likelyhood of instant communication) born from the same mother on the same planet, twin A would stay put and twin B would take approx 40 years to travel to the other civilization (assuming near c travel). Assuming we would then want twin B to reach at least 20 years old before they could successfully interpret the "communication", and that we would not want to punt on twin A living longer than 60 years old (conservative requirement) for a successful "communication", the max distance is about 40 lightyears. If the civilizations are not capable of arbitrarily close to c travel, the maximum separation will of course be greatly reduced.

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby Greyplayer » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:20 am UTC

You can't save the original brother without creating a time paradox (at least in the common acception of time travel, which is, as all time travelers know, quite unaccurate).

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby aquilo » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:56 am UTC

lemmings wrote:This could provide a rather vital method of communication if we where to ever develop a galactic civilization that spans star systems. If one of the planets where attacked, we would be unaware of the attack for many years, and there is a possibility that the invaders have ships which can travel at near C. If the civilization though just sacrifices 13 individuals (the number of 1 bits in "SOS" written using ASCII) at least one other planet would be made aware of the attack.


Couldn't we save a lot of lives by just having the incumbent monarchs marry Catholics?

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Re: "Sympathy" Discussion

Postby noneuklid » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:17 am UTC

You know a physicist wrote it when the caption is called an "excellent" recovery.


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