0764: "One Two"

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0764: "One Two"

Postby jakerman999 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Image

http://xkcd.com/764/

Alt text:Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time.

some primitive(or advanced) form of ternary maybe?



EDIT: randel put out an an a(nthro)pology since this was posted. it reads as such

"I'm sorry if I hurt anthropology-major feelings with Friday's alt-text.
I meant it as a friendly jibe at a cool field. I ... anthropologize."
Last edited by jakerman999 on Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:40 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby scottgoblue314 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:42 am UTC

One of my CompSci professors always said that the only interesting numbers were zero, one, and infinity. Of course, as the comic on Navajo binary told us, some "primitive" cultures didn't have a word for zero.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby GMWeezel » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:45 am UTC

A fairly obscure reference that I knew off hand, I feel special! Based off of Piraha that was initially described as having words for only "one," "two," and "many." I'll just point to Wikipedia since I'm too lazy to find the article I first read about it.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Jof16's » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:48 am UTC

GMWeezel wrote:A fairly obscure reference that I knew off hand, I feel special! Based off of Piraha that was initially described as having words for only "one," "two," and "many." I'll just point to Wikipedia since I'm too lazy to find the article I first read about it.


Thanks. I didn't understand the comic till I read that wiki article.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Benimus » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:52 am UTC

Reminds me of my favourite YouTube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-Wd-Q3F8KM

Only marginally related but still hilarious
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby reduviid » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:53 am UTC

A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:54 am UTC

And of course, Many One, Many Two, Many Many, Many Many One, Many Many Two, Lots.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:57 am UTC

reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


You philosophers think that you are important, therefore you are? But in reality, I can only think that you think that you are important, and I have no proof. Since science is based on proof, and I have no proof that you think, I can not think that you think you are important, so a contradiction exists, and the only way to solve this contradiction is to ignore philosophy majors altogether. No harm done.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby scarletmanuka » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:59 am UTC

I feel that Randall is deliberately trolling the forums with the title text.

As a Pratchett fan, of course, I was disappointed that it wasn't "One, two, three, many". And I agree with CorruptUser that "Lots" should have made an appearance somewhere. :D
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby eu/NEKE » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:00 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:And of course, Many One, Many Two, Many Many, Many Many One, Many Many Two, Lots.

The Discworld's trolls count One, Two, Three, Many, Many One, ..., Many Many Many Three, Lots. I can't help thinking you're quoting this.

Ah Ah Ah!
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Nicole88 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:04 am UTC

The alt text is COLD. :shock:
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby melthengylf » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:07 am UTC

To deny anthorpology only serves us to understand littler about our and other cultures.
Yes, anthropology is not falsiable (maybe, social sciences, simply aren't sciences), but it does produce knowledge with a careful dialectic with empiria.

If you don't believe me, just read a little from Malinowski. And read about Ethnography, the essence of anthropology.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby GyRo567 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:09 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


You philosophers think that you are important, therefore you are? But in reality, I can only think that you think that you are important, and I have no proof. Since science is based on proof, and I have no proof that you think, I can not think that you think you are important, so a contradiction exists, and the only way to solve this contradiction is to ignore philosophy majors altogether. No harm done.

I like the pot shot against anthropologists (from what I understand, it is the cultural variety that is more deserving of the joke than is the physical variant), but just to stick up for philosophers: their department is the one teaching logic, set theory, & meta-logic/mathematics. The math department rarely gets into foundational stuff with actual coursework.


melthengylf wrote:To deny anthorpology only serves us to understand littler about our and other cultures.

There are plenty of non-sciences that are useful. :]
Last edited by GyRo567 on Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:14 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby webby » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:10 am UTC

GMWeezel wrote:A fairly obscure reference that I knew off hand, I feel special! Based off of Piraha that was initially described as having words for only "one," "two," and "many." I'll just point to Wikipedia since I'm too lazy to find the article I first read about it.


Someone who writes on wikipedia has a sense of humour - from the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piraha_language:

The controversy is compounded by the sheer difficulty of learning the language; the number of linguists with field experience in Pirahã can be counted on one hand, albeit not by the Pirahã themselves.
:P
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby from canada » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:20 am UTC

They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time.


This coming from someone who draws three comics a week for a living?

Edit: (I realized I used the word 'draws' rather loosely, I apologize to people who can actually draw.)
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:33 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


You philosophers think that you are important, therefore you are? But in reality, I can only think that you think that you are important, and I have no proof. Since science is based on proof, and I have no proof that you think, I can not think that you think you are important, so a contradiction exists, and the only way to solve this contradiction is to ignore philosophy majors altogether. No harm done.


What on earth do you think you're saying in this post
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Gobo » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:33 am UTC

One wonders when some physicist is going to cross disciplines and finally solve all of the soft sciences' research questions. Imagine the accolades that person would receive.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:39 am UTC

He's complaining about the fact that both 'One' and "Two" are followed by a set of three 'ah's, right?

Also, 1-to-MANY RELATIONSHIPS ARE HORRIBLE AND NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM OUR (IT) SCHOOLS CURRICULUM

Also HI JOEE
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:42 am UTC

Turing Machine wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


You philosophers think that you are important, therefore you are? But in reality, I can only think that you think that you are important, and I have no proof. Since science is based on proof, and I have no proof that you think, I can not think that you think you are important, so a contradiction exists, and the only way to solve this contradiction is to ignore philosophy majors altogether. No harm done.


What on earth do you think you're saying in this post


Sometimes ignorance is useful. Philosophy often gives answers with more questions than the original question.

For example, the argument about proving whether or not a chair exists. Which is more productive; using all your intellect to try and prove whether or not the chair exists, or just sitting down and doing some work?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:45 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Turing Machine wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


You philosophers think that you are important, therefore you are? But in reality, I can only think that you think that you are important, and I have no proof. Since science is based on proof, and I have no proof that you think, I can not think that you think you are important, so a contradiction exists, and the only way to solve this contradiction is to ignore philosophy majors altogether. No harm done.


What on earth do you think you're saying in this post


Sometimes ignorance is useful. Philosophy often gives answers with more questions than the original question.

For example, the argument about proving whether or not a chair exists; you can argue until you are blue in the face about whether or not you can prove anything about that chair, or you can just sit down and do some work.


oh ok

everything is explained now
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby sugarhyped » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:46 am UTC

Yeah he must have had a bad experience with anthropologists. I was insulted for them.

I did like the drawing though.
Not so much alt text and 'primitive cultures develop sesame street'
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby RebeccaRGB » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:58 am UTC

Nobody has pointed this out yet, but that TV has only three channels. (Or two if the first setting on the channel dial is "off.")
Stephen Hawking: Great. The entire universe was destroyed.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:00 am UTC

Anthropology not only uses falsifiable methods, but is also a science. Why has Randall gone so low to insult entire fields without understanding them? That's what dickheads do to make them feel superior to others.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby sugarhyped » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:04 am UTC

RebeccaRGB wrote:Nobody has pointed this out yet, but that TV has only three channels. (Or two if the first setting on the channel dial is "off.")

primitive tv
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby spriteless » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:05 am UTC

Digging up stuff, forensics, and genetics is totally real science. Randal is just jealous because you can't play in the dirt and pottery and bones all day. RAWR!

Or he thinks it is a waste of time to understand people who aren't exactly like himself.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby fakepants » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:11 am UTC

I think it's a joke.
Last edited by fakepants on Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:22 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby spriteless » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:15 am UTC

fakepants wrote:He's not insulting, denying, or implying that anthropology is not useful or a real science.


you're not getting a real science degree

That was fast.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby James in Toronto » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:18 am UTC

George Gamow wrote a pop-science/math book called One, two, three-- infinity: facts and speculations of science back in the forties. It's where I first heard about binary numbers, the googol, and probability theory. The title comes from this.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Black » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:19 am UTC

Alt-text: </set phasers to troll>
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby XbHW_TestEngr » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:21 am UTC

Based on the posts above, there are now many replies from irritated anthropology supporters. Of course, if you look at most universities, each major (math, physics, Chem., EE, ME, CE, English Lit., etc.) is a sub-culture unto itself with behavioral norms and (oft times) unintelligible language.

Also, I've noticed that Math/Physics/EE building(s) are at the opposite end of the campus from the "Arts" (dance, music, theater, ceramics) building(s). I think it is a grand scheme to prevent cross-breeding between the groups.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:26 am UTC

James in Toronto wrote:George Gamow wrote a pop-science/math book called One, two, three-- infinity: facts and speculations of science back in the forties. It's where I first heard about binary numbers, the googol, and probability theory. The title comes from this.


No.

No it does not.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby ConMan » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:40 am UTC

RebeccaRGB wrote:Nobody has pointed this out yet, but that TV has only three channels. (Or two if the first setting on the channel dial is "off.")

I'd argue that the TV has many channels.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby mirni » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:41 am UTC

The part that I really don't get is the vampire. What does a vampire have to do with Primitive Cultures?

-m-
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby phantomb » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:44 am UTC

fakepants wrote:He's not insulting, denying, or implying that anthropology is not useful or a real science.


Randall Munroe wrote:Cue letters from anthropology majors . . . when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time


fakepants wrote:He's just pointing out that the soft sciences are easier than the hard sciences, so a person in a soft science would complete her/his school work in less time, affording her/him more time to write letters.


What? Even if anthropology is "easier" than the hard sciences (I've got one foot on both sides myself and I'll admit that this is generally true), course load is really a separate issue. Trust me, students in the social sciences and even the humanities have heavy course loads just like everyone else. In my experience, the only group that should be boasting about work load is engineers. Holy crap do those guys have it tough.

fakepants wrote:Why are people getting emotional and seeing insults that aren't there?


Because taking abuse from a man about how one's field of study is impure or not a "real" degree is annoying, especially when that individual isn't even employed in the fields that he constantly promotes?
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby glados » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:48 am UTC

the same is true for mathematicians. {c1, c2, ..., cn}
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:48 am UTC

fakepants wrote:
melthengylf wrote:To deny anthorpology only serves us to understand littler about our and other cultures.

sje46 wrote:Anthropology not only uses falsifiable methods, but is also a science. Why has Randall gone so low to insult entire fields without understanding them? That's what dickheads do to make them feel superior to others.

spriteless wrote:Digging up stuff, forensics, and genetics is totally real science. Randal is just jealous because you can't play in the dirt and pottery and bones all day. RAWR!

Or he thinks it is a waste of time to understand people who aren't exactly like himself.


He's not insulting, denying, or implying that anthropology is not useful or a real science. He's just pointing out that the soft sciences are easier than the hard sciences, so a person in a soft science would complete her/his school work in less time, affording her/him more time to write letters.

Why are people getting emotional and seeing insults that aren't there?

No, he said that anthropology isn't a real science, and that they have nothing to do with their time because they're not doing real science. That is an insult saturated in pure ignorance and elitism. How can you not see that? That's like saying all there is to being a cop is eating donuts, or all there is to being a philosopher is to ask meaningless questions, or all there is to be a poet is to pick random words from a dictionary.

Also, saying that the soft sciences are easier than the hard sciences seems to me to be a meaningless statement. It depends what your field is; you can't judge based off how difficult you found Intro to Chemistry compared to Intro to Psychology. First, they use different kinds of intelligences. I have heard from numerous sources that hard science majors tend to suck at writing essays. Also, to actually be a scientist in any field involves a lot of hard work. You won't get published in a journal or get a grant if all you do in your studies is think of random questions vaguely related to self esteem, send them to random people, and compare males to females. You actually have to try to expand the collective knowledge of humanity, which involves thinking of novel questions, figuring out how to design experiments that is reflective of the population and controls unrelated variables (this is especially difficult with psychology, as even the facial expressions of the researcher can throw off the entire study), good ways to select people, keep the info anonymous and confidential, and ways to analyze the data. It is difficult to be published in any field, and it's nothing to disregard. Maybe some fields are genuinely harder than other fields for most people, but that doesn't mean that the "easier fields" are a walk in the park, or aren't a real or valuable science.

I'm not insulted. He's just perpetuating the meme that certain fields simply aren't genuine, are scams, without doing the proper research. Selective anti-intellectualism.

mirni wrote:The part that I really don't get is the vampire. What does a vampire have to do with Primitive Cultures?

-m-
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby mythago » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:53 am UTC

Wow, that takes me back. I haven't heard the "you liberal arts people have it so eaaaaaasy" whine since college, which was many-many-lots years ago. (Note that Randall's not mocking anthropologists, but "anthropology majors".)

It's a bit of a let-down, frankly. Sometimes the science-rules-English-majors-drool jokes in xkcd are pretty funny. This one isn't, and not because it's inflammatory. It's just dumb.

ETA: re "I have heard from numerous sources that hard science majors tend to suck at writing essays" - I had the very interesting experience of taking a Creative Writing course that was made up almost entirely of engineers. See, there was a wide spectrum of creative writing that one could take, ranging from screenwriting to poetry to short stories to a mixed bag. The one I took was listed as no-poetry-required, so all the engineers desperate for their humanities credit fought tooth and nail to get into that one. There was one fellow who actually wasn't bad, but most of them....well, let's say that there are some people who go into engineering because they can't cope with anything where the answer can't be found in the back of the book.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby chrisk » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:59 am UTC

GyRo567 wrote:but just to stick up for philosophers: their department is the one teaching logic, set theory, & meta-logic/mathematics. The math department rarely gets into foundational stuff with actual coursework.


That probably varies by school.

When I was taking my comp sci degree at York University, mathematics courses covering exactly those topics were on my prerequisites list. Well - maybe they were a little light on the meta-logic material

On the other hand - well, I don't have any direct experience with logic as taught in philosophy classes in this area, but when I discussed with my brother what he'd learned in them, it seemed to be a variety of 'logic' that was somewhat lacking in mathematical rigour. Of course, that might have been on account of how my brother absorbed them and not the true syllabus.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby 1055 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:09 am UTC

mirni wrote:The part that I really don't get is the vampire. What does a vampire have to do with Primitive Cultures?

-m-


He probably just used the Count from Sesame Street as a recognizable character. But I do think it would have been cooler to use a primitive culture's version of a vampire, in puppet form. (Lots of cultures, primitive included, have mythological creatures that resemble vampires.)
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby faunablues » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:11 am UTC

I noticed that my liberal-arts-major friends always seemed to have more free time than the science/math ones. I didn't really mind the "extra" work though, because I'd rather read pages and pages of biology than write essays for a degree. It might not take as much time to write an essay (even a good one) than to pass a science exam, but it's oooh so painful. I usually score better in English-type things, but I'd rather do calculus that write more crap on the "meaning" of the mandatory reading.
I admit, though, I was a bit jealous of their apparent care-free college career come graduation, when everyone seemed relieved that all that "work" (partying until the day before the term paper was due) was over. What they said - it's not about anthropologists, but anthropology majors. Some people choose the reputed "easy track" and that's exactly what they get, only to deny it later.
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