0679: "Christmas Plans"

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paulrowe
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby paulrowe » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:59 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:This has been every third conversation I've had all week. Who has ever heard of a holiday that falls on the same day every year? It's so strange!

But the Jewish holidays do fall on the same days every year. Pesach always falls on 14 Nisan, Matza always starts on 15 Nisan, Shavuot is on 3 Sivan, Rosh Hashanah (or Yom Teruah) is on 1 Tishri, Yom Kippur is on 10 Tishri, Sukkot always starts on 15 Tishri, Chanukah starts on 25 Kislev, etc. This year, Christmas falls on 8 Tevet.

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Diadem
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Diadem » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:11 pm UTC

The pun of the comic was a bit weak - after the third panel it was already clear what the joke in the 4th would be.

But the alt-text had me laughing out loud.
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Mo-velocipede » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:34 pm UTC

I didn't understand the end of the comic, because I'm not quite up to physics yet in school, but as a jewish person, I laughed out loud at the first half of the comic. I said that same thing to someone a couple of minutes ago. Of course, I did end up looking it up on my calendar, and now I know that Christmas is December 25th...

Or, better yet,
paulrowe wrote:Christmas falls on 8 Tevet.

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Edrees » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:19 pm UTC

Narius wrote:But who says Christmas follows quantum mechanics?
Why wouldn't it follow classical mechanics?
I'm assuming Christmas is not incredibly small on the scale of an electron. In fact in terms of holidays, I would say its pretty big.
Not to be a killjoy or anything, i do love the comic, as always.
Merry Christmas!


I had to register just for this, but Christmas is all about heart, and the amount of heart something has is immeasurable. Hence it is extremely small and one can deduce it is particle like in nature, and follows quantum mechanics indeed. Good try though!

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby fennecfanatic » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

I think we need a public works project to bring the natural phenomena of day length (rotation of Earth about its axis), year length (revolution of Earth about the Sun), and month length (lunar cycle duration) into alignment. If we could get a 364-day year of exactly thirteen 28-day months going, I'd be quite happy.
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby phlip » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:04 pm UTC

guyy wrote:
phlip wrote:That is a pretty awful/hilarious pun. I approve.


Ok, I guess I'm just an idiot, but I can't see how it's a pun. A joke about quantum uncertainty, yes...but where's the pun?

It's a pun on "observe":
M-W wrote:ob·serve (v) \əb-ˈzərv\

3 : to celebrate or solemnize (as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted way
4 a : to watch carefully especially with attention to details or behavior for the purpose of arriving at a judgment b : to make a scientific observation on or of

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby JediTony » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:36 pm UTC

-.Mateo.- wrote:Also, until I open my present there are both a playstation 3 and a sweater inside...
Last year I got a dead cat!


This made me burst out laughing. Well done. The followup posts were also good. I can see this idea being the genesis of the next xkcd strip.

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby DoctorSubmarine » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:45 pm UTC

The "rimshot comics" are always my favorites. I guess I just like the idea of taking scientific terms and turning them into puns.
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JCM
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby JCM » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:55 pm UTC

What is this "Christmas" you speak of?

Edit: Dang it, that joke was in the comic itself!

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby JediTony » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

fennecfanatic wrote:I think we need a public works project to bring the natural phenomena of day length (rotation of Earth about its axis), year length (revolution of Earth about the Sun), and month length (lunar cycle duration) into alignment. If we could get a 364-day year of exactly thirteen 28-day months going, I'd be quite happy.


Agreed. Shame on God for giving us such unaligned rotational cycles. And don't forget the precession of the Earth over larger scales of time that may be responsible for ice ages (correct me if I'm wrong).

One way to modify the earth's rotational velocity would be to add more mass to the earth. So everyone, please pig out during the holidays and DON'T engage in any new year's resolutions to lose the added weight...

Maybe we just need to build more particle accelerators and keep knocking off the anti-matter particles so we can accumulate new matter on the planet. With enough new matter, the rotation of the earth should slow enough to be a consistent 364 revolutions in one orbit around the Sun.

Btw, I'm not a physicist, so I'm curious if my suggestion has any merit at least in theory.

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Vieto » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:47 am UTC

JediTony wrote:
fennecfanatic wrote:I think we need a public works project to bring the natural phenomena of day length (rotation of Earth about its axis), year length (revolution of Earth about the Sun), and month length (lunar cycle duration) into alignment. If we could get a 364-day year of exactly thirteen 28-day months going, I'd be quite happy.


Agreed. Shame on God for giving us such unaligned rotational cycles. And don't forget the precession of the Earth over larger scales of time that may be responsible for ice ages (correct me if I'm wrong).

One way to modify the earth's rotational velocity would be to add more mass to the earth. So everyone, please pig out during the holidays and DON'T engage in any new year's resolutions to lose the added weight...

Maybe we just need to build more particle accelerators and keep knocking off the anti-matter particles so we can accumulate new matter on the planet. With enough new matter, the rotation of the earth should slow enough to be a consistent 364 revolutions in one orbit around the Sun.

Btw, I'm not a physicist, so I'm curious if my suggestion has any merit at least in theory.


wouldn't this be both simpler and actually work? Given that by eating, we aren't actually adding mass to the system?

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-.Mateo.-
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby -.Mateo.- » Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:55 am UTC

yeah, but spinning makes you dizzy, and affecting rotation, not the orbit (I know there's something wrong with my english here, but I didn't exactly learn technical astronomy english...), days would take longer, but only while spinning, while a good orbit change would make it permanent...
I think the eating part was a joke...
Maybe we could crash something into a meteor/s in such way that eventually said meteor crashes into us...nothing big of course, maybe a lot of tiny meteors until we get enough matter to have a clean calendar...of course, most meteors would fall on water, rising the water level and we all know that would only help the octopuses on their world domination plans. (more info)
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:07 am UTC

MSTK wrote:
Tigranara wrote:
Tigranara wrote:I don't understand! I thought that for one to "not" observe Christmas, it would then have a definite date... and for one "to" observe it, its date would be uncertain.




Nobody's replied to me yet. Is there something I'm missing? the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states (in laymens terms) that you can't know a particle's velocity and exact position at the same time... i.e. if you observe one, then you can't observe the other. Wouldn't that mean that if you -don't- observe Christmas, you would know exactly when it is? And simultaneously, if you -do- observe Christmas, you couldn't know when it occurred?


Heisenberg states that a particle's velocity can't be known with precision until knowledge of position is sacrificed, yes. But then Einstein and Co. came along and said, "Well, you might not be able to know the position, but at least it still HAS one. Your 'paradoxes' are silly."
Quantum mechanics's response was to say that not only can we not know the position, but that the concept of position is meaningless until we observe it. Meaning, it doesn't even have a definite position. You can only say "It's 37% being here...", etc.

This translates into the comic by saying that, until we observe and measure Christmas, it doesn't have a definite position on the calendar.

Don't forget that quantum mechanics says that there's a probability that Christmas occurs more than ~2009 years ago.

Edit: I meant to say "...any given Christmas day occurs..."

dr_faulk wrote:I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that Christmas is a macroscopic (classical) entity, and that Quantum Mechanics shouldn't apply.


Yeah, maybe it does.

photonics.com wrote:Quantum Entanglement Realized
PASADENA, Calif., Dec. 23, 2009 – A new paradigm that should allow scientists to observe quantum behavior in small mechanical systems has been realized by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Their ideas offer a new means of addressing one of the most fascinating issues in quantum mechanics: the nature of quantum superposition and entanglement in progressively larger and more complex systems.
Last edited by dennisw on Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:57 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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mightnotmatter
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby mightnotmatter » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:21 am UTC

Shouldn't it be "is to not observe it" ?

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby guyy » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:54 am UTC

phlip wrote:It's a pun on "observe"


Ah...right. For some reason I thought it had to be a pun on "Christmas," which...makes very little sense, actually.

...But he already said he doesn't celebrate Christmas, so all the stuff about not knowing when it is doesn't change the joke...oh, whatever.

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Diadem » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:01 am UTC

fennecfanatic wrote:I think we need a public works project to bring the natural phenomena of day length (rotation of Earth about its axis), year length (revolution of Earth about the Sun), and month length (lunar cycle duration) into alignment. If we could get a 364-day year of exactly thirteen 28-day months going, I'd be quite happy.

I'm still in favour of having exactly 13 months of 4 weeks each. One day a year belongs to no month, and is a universal holiday in celebration of finally having a sane calendar :)
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Narius » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:11 am UTC

Edrees wrote:
Narius wrote:But who says Christmas follows quantum mechanics?
Why wouldn't it follow classical mechanics?
I'm assuming Christmas is not incredibly small on the scale of an electron. In fact in terms of holidays, I would say its pretty big.
Not to be a killjoy or anything, i do love the comic, as always.
Merry Christmas!


I had to register just for this, but Christmas is all about heart, and the amount of heart something has is immeasurable. Hence it is extremely small and one can deduce it is particle like in nature, and follows quantum mechanics indeed. Good try though!


But immeasurable could also imply extremely huge, just like the universe. So still, we cannot assume Christmas obeys quantum mechanics.
Cute thought though :P

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby arcelios » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

I compiled a list of all four xkcd holiday specials, by taking the comic number of the most recent holiday special (679), and subtracting the theoretical number of comics per year (3*52, or 156). Of course, there are sometimes more/less, and the comic isn't always posted on the same date every year, so I had to search around a little bit, but they were all pretty close to the number I expected them to be:

http://xkcd.com/201
http://xkcd.com/361
http://xkcd.com/521
http://xkcd.com/679


Enjoy.

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby ShariH » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:15 pm UTC

I know you probably knew what I was referring to, but to be clear, you know about Jewish holidays and that they "shift" dates, right?


Tsk, tsk, tsk. The Jewish holidays don't "shift" -- Rosh Hashana is always the first of Tishrei, Yom Kippur is always 10 Tishrei, Passover always starts on 15 Nisan.... U.S. Independence Day, however, jumps all over the place.

Wait, I guess everything is relative.

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby RoadieRich » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:30 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:We know that Christmas has a mass (usually on or around midnight on Christmas eve),

Midnight, Christmas Day, actually. There might be a service Christmas Eve, but it's not the so-called "Midnight Mass".

Midnight is 12AM, not 12PM. Hence 00:00, not 24:00.

</gripe>


dennisw wrote:Don't forget that quantum mechanics says that there's a probability that Christmas occurs more than ~2009 years ago.

Edit: I meant to say "...any given Christmas day occurs..."


The birth of Jesus has probably only been celebrated since 354AD.1

There also was no Christmas until the 11th century1

+EDIT: AD, not BC... It's kinda hard to commemorate the birth of someone who doesn't exist yet...

Reference:
1: http://www.localhistories.org/christmas.html
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Red Hal » Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

RoadieRich wrote:(A quite proper correction of my layman's terms)
</gripe>
Well said, and duly noted.
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:06 am UTC

RoadieRich wrote:
dennisw wrote:Don't forget that quantum mechanics says that there's a probability that Christmas occurs more than ~2009 years ago.

Edit: I meant to say "...any given Christmas day occurs..."


The birth of Jesus has probably only been celebrated since 354AD.1

There also was no Christmas until the 11th century1

+EDIT: AD, not BC... It's kinda hard to commemorate the birth of someone who doesn't exist yet...

Reference:
1: http://www.localhistories.org/christmas.html


Sure, that's when the probability peaks for those events.
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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Tigranara » Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:21 am UTC

MSTK wrote:
Tigranara wrote:
Tigranara wrote:I don't understand! I thought that for one to "not" observe Christmas, it would then have a definite date... and for one "to" observe it, its date would be uncertain.




Nobody's replied to me yet. Is there something I'm missing? the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states (in laymens terms) that you can't know a particle's velocity and exact position at the same time... i.e. if you observe one, then you can't observe the other. Wouldn't that mean that if you -don't- observe Christmas, you would know exactly when it is? And simultaneously, if you -do- observe Christmas, you couldn't know when it occurred?


Heisenberg states that a particle's velocity can't be known with precision until knowledge of position is sacrificed, yes. But then Einstein and Co. came along and said, "Well, you might not be able to know the position, but at least it still HAS one. Your 'paradoxes' are silly."
Quantum mechanics's response was to say that not only can we not know the position, but that the concept of position is meaningless until we observe it. Meaning, it doesn't even have a definite position. You can only say "It's 37% being here...", etc.

This translates into the comic by saying that, until we observe and measure Christmas, it doesn't have a definite position on the calendar.


Great explanation! Thanks a ton :)

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Re: "Christmas Plans" Discussion

Postby Okicat » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:31 pm UTC

I was sorta expecting a title-text referencing Shcrodinger's Cat/Observer Effect after I read the comic. Not a bad comic.

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Re: 0679: "Christmas Plans"

Postby Gravy » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:18 am UTC

One of my professors showed this to class yesterday. I was the only one in the class who knew what xkcd was and I felt like a real jackass (/genius?) for chuckling.


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