0753: "Southern Half"

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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby cparker15 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:09 pm UTC

PeteSchult wrote:Tangentially, I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" when Kirk says of the planet Cheron,
That's in the southern half of the galaxy, isn't it?
(since, obviously, racial prejudice only occurs in the South).

Second paragraph: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_i ... ted_States

sharkmano2 wrote:But the south to which Kennedy was referring was the global economic south, which is a phrase used in economics and political science to refer to the third world.

michael24easilybored wrote:
GetOutOfMyHeadRandall wrote:Oh, and may I add that for somebody who is so pathetically pedantic about JFK's geography skills, you've missed a mistake in your own comic. You said that you're half a century late. Half a century is fifty years. The speech was forty-nine years ago.

Stick to your standards, you fuckwitted hack of a cartoonist.

I fully endorse this.

And as said earlier, he meant what is referred to as 'the south' by economists, ie what used to be the third world. Stop being such pedants.

Zegnar wrote:Thirding that he was obviously referring to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-South_divide

Given that XKCD is so snobbish about intelligence, to run a weak comic based on an ignorant misunderstanding is pretty annoying.

So, wait, lemme get this straight... Neither economists nor political "scientists" own globes?
Last edited by cparker15 on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:33 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby arbivark » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:20 pm UTC

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mercator projection

Postby mattdm » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:27 pm UTC

Step away from your globes for a minute and look at the standard Mercator projection map of the world that is unfortunately still very dominant. It has Germany in the dead center. This pushes the equator way down, and all of the named places do indeed appear to be in the southern part of the world. (If we take "Asia" to have the USSR subtracted from it.)
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:27 pm UTC

Zegnar wrote:Thirding that he was obviously referring to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-South_divide

Given that XKCD is so snobbish about intelligence, to run a weak comic based on an ignorant misunderstanding is pretty annoying.


Come on, admit it, you just made that article.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby K^2 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:36 pm UTC

LucasBrown wrote: "Also, if you read his speech at Rice, all his arguments for going to the moon work equally well as arguments for blowing up the moon, sending cloned dinosaurs into space, or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars."

Well, I'm convinced. When do we start the mission to build penis-shaped obelisk on Mars?
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby exh » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:39 pm UTC

I'll have to dig out the report but you'll find the folks at the University Of East Anglia have already proven the Northward tectonic shift due to global warming.

JFK was right, it's that the World has moved on, or at least North.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby Christo » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

I'm fairly certain that the southern half of the globe is everything that's south of me, just as conservatives are everyone more asshole-ish than I am, and nerds are everyone who know slightly more about Star Trek than I do. Essentially, I'm the center of the world, and JFK knew it. Right?
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby rantingnerd » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:21 pm UTC

This is what bugs the heck out of me about the Peters Projection (http://www.petersmap.com) -- it's not the projection itself, which is kinda neat. It's the stick-stone stupid justifications for using the projection (like http://www.petersmap.com/page2.html), especially the quite-simply-factually-incorrect North-vs-South argument (http://www.petersmap.com/page4.html): "The North is 18.9 million square miles. The South is 38.6 million square miles." But they draw the North/South line around latitude 25 north (i.e. the southern border of the US) in the Western Hemisphere and even farther north in the Eastern Hemisphere. Ridiculous.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby IIAOPSW » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:53 pm UTC

When I first saw the map and started reading, I was expecting a game of Risk taken far far to seriously (kind of the way I play Risk).


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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby lihan161051 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:56 pm UTC

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go and construct a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars. We choose to go and construct a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.


"But why, some say, constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?"

I was really glad I didn't happen to be drinking anything when I got to that last sentence ..
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby Osorago » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

The shocking but true story.

In earlier times, the english word "half" didn't mean 50% !
Let's say that again:

HALF \ne \frac{1}{2}


Now, in an age where every schoolchild learns fractions, it's hard to imagine. But "half" used to mean "1 of 2" rather than "1/2". Two parts, but not necessarily equal parts.

Scary linguistic anomalies of bygone ages.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby lihan161051 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:01 pm UTC

FalseProphet wrote:You sure that hyphen isn't supposed to be a comma?


You sure it's a hyphen and not a dash?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:19 pm UTC

Felona wrote:"The great battlefield for the defense and expansion of freedom today is the whole southern half of the globe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East."

Problem solved. The only thing that makes this statement nonsensical is punctuation, which isn't spoken.


No, you would definitely be able to tell the difference between a comma and a dash in that position. That's why a dash was used by the transcriber. If it had sounded like he meant it to be one of a list, the transcriber would certainly have used a comma.

In addition, had the scriptwriter intended it to be one member of a list, he would have moved it to the end, because it fits at the end of a clause better than "Middle East". But it was evidently written the way it is because "whole southern half of the globe" is meant for one demographic – those with the short attention span – while the second part was for those able to place those regions on a map.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

Osorago wrote:The shocking but true story.

In earlier times, the english word "half" didn't mean 50% !
Let's say that again:

HALF \ne \frac{1}{2}


Now, in an age where every schoolchild learns fractions, it's hard to imagine. But "half" used to mean "1 of 2" rather than "1/2". Two parts, but not necessarily equal parts.

Scary linguistic anomalies of bygone ages.


Actually, it meant "side", and was used originally as a subtraction from a number, so "half third" (þridda healf) meant "two and a half". You can still see this in the way modern Dutch (English's closest relative) talks about times: half drie ("half three") is 14:30, not 15:30.

I suspect the "lf" of half is related to the "lve" and "lev" of 12 and 11 – i.e. Gothic lif, ten.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby ThemePark » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:47 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:
Osorago wrote:The shocking but true story.

In earlier times, the english word "half" didn't mean 50% !
Let's say that again:

HALF \ne \frac{1}{2}


Now, in an age where every schoolchild learns fractions, it's hard to imagine. But "half" used to mean "1 of 2" rather than "1/2". Two parts, but not necessarily equal parts.

Scary linguistic anomalies of bygone ages.


Actually, it meant "side", and was used originally as a subtraction from a number, so "half third" (þridda healf) meant "two and a half". You can still see this in the way modern Dutch (English's closest relative) talks about times: half drie ("half three") is 14:30, not 15:30.

I suspect the "lf" of half is related to the "lve" and "lev" of 12 and 11 – i.e. Gothic lif, ten.


Same in Denmark. Halv tre meaning half three is also used as half past 2 would be in English, i.e. 14:30. But we take it one step further.

Halvtreds means 50 in Danish. It's an abbreviation of halvtredsindstyvende, which is halv tredje sinde tyvende. Sinde means times and tyvende means 20. And halv tre here means half third, i.e. two and a half. So it says two and a half times 20, i.e. 50. We use the same way for 60 (tres, tresindstyvende), 70 (halvfjerds, halvfjerdsindstyvende), 80 (firs, firsindstyvende) and 90 (halvfems, halvfemsindstyvende).
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby punto » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:58 pm UTC

TOO SOON!

ok, not really.. but still, who gives a shit?
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby FragLegs » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

Perhaps by "southern half" he meant "below the Mason-Dixon Line"
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby JohnL » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

As someone said earlier, he could have been referring to population in which case the dividing line would be further north and he would have been close. The diving line back then was probably about the bottom of the US--this would put Vietnam, Laos, parts of the Middle East, most of Africa, and all of Central/South America in the southern half.

If we're being pedantic.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby karlzt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:32 pm UTC

Trooper5445 wrote:Indeed. This one made me laugh. Although the map on XKCD is a little bit inaccurate. The Equator I believe runs a bit north.


you're wrong, the map is right.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby Methusalah » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:34 pm UTC

. . . Yes JFK did have a globe. His reference was consistent with the following geo-politics of the time:

1. Colour Russia as part of europe, not asia.
2. Draw your reference line further North (think northern tropical line, or actually the mexican border)

"North" and "South" can be relative measures to where you stand, not references to the equator. In this case the the dominant discussion was "North vs. South" in terms of the "developed" North (including europe and Russia and Japan), and the "underdeveloped" or "developing" South. China was not in a dialog position at the time and was contiguous to the South if you insisted on including tghem. This terminology is not obvious today since India and many Asian nations had huge economic booms post JFK and are leaders today.

The joke in #753 (and it is funny) brings out an interesting cultural blind-spot between the science/math orientation and the socio-political orientiation. Why assume that North and South referred to the equator since they are used subjectively as relative references on a common basis? So part of the joke, for me anyways, si that the "objective" science/math viewpoint is often not, as in this case. Ironically, being aware of the subjective usage is part of a truly objective reference set. :D
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby jdt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:47 pm UTC

Yes, JFK owned a globe. Does Randall Munroe own an International Relations textbook? I'm guessing not.

Seriously, I usually love xkcd but this comic is really annoyingly dumb. It combines ignorance of a very basic geopolitical concept with a math geek's borderline-Asperger's-ish inability to consider that "Southern half of the globe" might mean something other than the geometric Southern Hemisphere.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby New User » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:54 pm UTC

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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:57 pm UTC

cparker15 wrote:So, wait, lemme get this straight... Neither economists nor political "scientists" own globes?


Think about it. That would explain a lot.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:58 pm UTC

A few thoughts:

1.
alt text wrote:(...) or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars.


Image

2.
So the whole point of the comic is "JFK said something possibly dumb about 50 years later". Yeah... and so?

3.
As has been said, "southern half of the globe" may have a completely different connotation from what Randall is thinking, so now only is Randall being pedantic and out of date, he's being incorrectly pedantic and out of date. TV Tropes may add a new trope to the xkcd article:

YOU FAIL GEOPOLITICS FOREVER
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby rhetorical » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:45 pm UTC

pretzil wrote:The reason it was called the 'Cold War' is that alot of it was secretly fought in antarctica. Thats where the moon landings were faked. The craters are actually from the penguin grenades



That doesn't happen do be a reference to the game Runescape, does it?
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Geography Pet Peeves

Postby Enkerli » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:05 pm UTC

It's a pet peeve of mine that, to a large extent, people use the "Global North" and "The West" to designate GDP-wealthy regions of the Globe, regardless of where they're located on said Globe.
And don't get me started on the expression "The Middle East"...

What's most troubling, in this, is that these views are so ingrained by now that they dominate people's worldviews.
There should be a list.
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  • Yes, Egypt and Libya are indeed in Africa.
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  • The so-called "Western World" has shifting boundaries, depending on who's speaking.
  • The expression "Third World" was coined as a reference to "non-aligned" political entities during the so-called "Cold War" (the "First" and "Second" worlds were associated with capitalism and socialism/communism, respectively).
  • The "Centre of the World" could be located anywhere. The fact that the "Prime Meridian" is located in Western Europe is a matter of convention, it's not a fact of nature.
  • When the Globe is represented in 2D, several things are skewed. Familiarizing yourself with the globe should help you understand a thing or two about the World.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby What'sInAName » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:07 pm UTC

rhetorical wrote:
pretzil wrote:The reason it was called the 'Cold War' is that alot of it was secretly fought in antarctica. Thats where the moon landings were faked. The craters are actually from the penguin grenades



That doesn't happen do be a reference to the game Runescape, does it?


I hope not. I interpreted it as amusing randomness when I read it, and I'd hate to think that it was actually just referencing Runescape. Even if it is one of the more whimsical plotlines on RS.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby Jatt2613 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

I'm sure this has been stated before in this thread, but reading comments on the Internet almost always just makes me angry so I'm not going to read through it and find out. JFK was referring to the Global South, an economic distinction, not geographic. The south in those terms is third world countries, and it's geographic to the extent that most first and second world countries are to the north of the third world. Maybe saying "southern half of the globe" confused things a little, but it still makes sense, especially at that time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_South
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:46 pm UTC

Jatt2613 wrote:Maybe saying "southern half of the globe" confused things a little, but it still makes sense, especially at that time.


But it doesn't make sense NOW, therefore it deserves to be MADE FUN OF!

LOL, those folks in the Middle Ages didn't know America existed! lol wut, didn't they own a globe or something?
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

I made this map a long time ago (hacking a certain map service) to mess with some friend's perspective. I know it's been done before, but I thought I'd add it here to spark some more debate.


Image
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Re: mercator projection

Postby Mr. Burke » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:50 pm UTC

mattdm wrote:Step away from your globes for a minute and look at the standard Mercator projection map of the world that is unfortunately still very dominant. It has Germany in the dead center. This pushes the equator way down, and all of the named places do indeed appear to be in the southern part of the world. (If we take "Asia" to have the USSR subtracted from it.)
You must be referring to a different Mercator projection than the rest of the world, for that one usually goes from 90°N to 90°S and often from 180°W to 180°E.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby hooya27 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:24 pm UTC

That there's Harvard for ya!
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby TheChewanater » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

Washington, DC is the center of the universe.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby project2051 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:33 pm UTC

K^2 wrote:
LucasBrown wrote: "Also, if you read his speech at Rice, all his arguments for going to the moon work equally well as arguments for blowing up the moon, sending cloned dinosaurs into space, or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars."

Well, I'm convinced. When do we start the mission to build penis-shaped obelisk on Mars?


Ok, we start by blowing up the moon. The we send the dinosaurs out to build the obelisk on Mars out of Lunar debris.

Here we see a artist's conception of phase 3 of the plan.

Image
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby demadaha » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:42 pm UTC

The thing that bugs me is that everyone is so fixated on the obelisk, I'd much rather send the cloned dinosaurs into space! Space dinosaurs! We could have a T-rex, some raptors, a triceratops and whatever else we wanted. When they got back from space we could put them on an island and then charge people for tours. It wouldn't be like that other time, these would be space dinosaurs, so nothing would go wrong as long as they don't develop super-powers and/or hover-boards.
Warning: Post may contain lame, overused reference.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby project2051 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

demadaha wrote: It wouldn't be like that other time, these would be space dinosaurs, so nothing would go wrong as long as they don't develop super-powers and/or hover-boards.


Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby Pipeman » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:56 pm UTC

project2051 wrote:
K^2 wrote:
LucasBrown wrote: "Also, if you read his speech at Rice, all his arguments for going to the moon work equally well as arguments for blowing up the moon, sending cloned dinosaurs into space, or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars."

Well, I'm convinced. When do we start the mission to build penis-shaped obelisk on Mars?


Ok, we start by blowing up the moon. The we send the dinosaurs out to build the obelisk on Mars out of Lunar debris.

Here we see a artist's conception of phase 3 of the plan.

Image


I happen to notice there´s too little Penis for a penis-shaped obelisc.
otherwise i would agree with your plan.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby RMo » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

What'sInAName wrote:You got yours up first because I waited for the alt text to appear before posting... :P

Call me picky, but I hope you all know it is really the "title" text you're talking about. :D (The fact that "alt" ever appeared as a tooltip was not only wrong according to the standards but also an encouragement for Web coders to abuse its intent.)

Don't worry, I'll go back to my cave to blog about the semantic Web now.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby lesmith11 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:07 pm UTC

s0merand0mdude wrote:Another thing that bugs me; the Middle East appears to have become its own continent. There needs to be an East Asia and a West Asia, because then everybody would know that the Middle East actually is in Asia.

CorruptUser wrote:Also been bugging me; Latin America means the countries in the Americas with a Latin-based language, so doesn't that include French? So isn't Quebec and Lousianna also part of Latin America?


Well, if you want to make that argument, English has a lot of roots in Latin as well...


The majority of English words are Germanic. English is a Germanic language with only some borrowed Latin vocabulary.
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Re: "Southern Half" discussion (#753)

Postby signal11 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:25 pm UTC

I registered to comment on this comic.

I love XKCD Randall, but this comic is amazingly ignorant.

As has been pointed out by many, anyone who's even remotely familiar with academic political economics, sociology and/or related disciplines, this is a clearly a reference to North-South divide.

Enderverse, the use of the term "the South" in a global sense ("global" to mean in the general sense) to mean the poor has been in use for centuries, in more than one language. At least, more than one language I'm familiar with.

"Global" doesn't always have to refer to a physical globe. Sometimes, it can refer to the planet in a metaphorical sense or things in a general sense. I'd think a bunch of people might have at one point or another declared a global variable would be familiar with this concept.

As for "half," again, figure of speech.

Seriously, this comic is just dumb, right on the level of a "Research? What are you looking for again?" joke.
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