0764: "One Two"

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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Raijinili » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:38 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:The alt-text to this comic is not a "joke", it's not "humourous"; it's a deliberate, mean-spirit insult

SirMustapha wrote:Well, guess what, Randall? Maybe your distaste for the human side of science is why your job at NASA lasted only six months, not? Maybe your sick obsession with maths and computers and the "real sciences" are what make you an individual that's only notorious because there are a few people willing to buy your T-shirts, not? Think about it: you got kicked from NASA and conformed to sticking to a rigid routine of three-comics-a-week and selling T-shirts (while preaching that people should try new, unexpected things and make their life a funny, sexy "adventure"). YOU ARE NOT A SCIENTIST. You are not an intelligent, considerate individual. You're a disgrace to science: you're contributing to give it the air of arrogance and self-obsession that the common folk think science is full of. You're a display of the worst things about science, and your gratuitous, unfunny insults only show what a pathetic, miserable human being you are

Can you confirm whether or not you have a sense of irony?
Simetrical wrote:No, no, it's really not. It's something anyone can see for himself. Something called a "proof". Such that when you see the proof, you understand for yourself why it must be correct, and there is no other possibility. It's not a fancy anything, and epistemology has nothing to do with it.
Somewhat off-topic but... can you tell me for sure that a factual statement is either true or untrue? Or "A set is a set." How do you argue that that's true?
Simetrical wrote:However, an undergraduate course on logic (we were not talking about doctoral research or anything) targeted at philosophy majors will not require anywhere the same level of rigor as an undergraduate course on logic targeted at math majors. I'm quite sure of this, but if you have evidence to the contrary, I'd be interested to know.
Maybe this says more about my school than about math majors, but it seems like most math GRAD students at my school come in without really knowing how to do a real rigorous proof, and leave without really knowing how to do a real rigorous proof. It's unfortunate, but they seem to memorize the proofs instead, without really understanding how to adapt it to prove something that isn't superficially similar. And they would LOVE having computation problems (computation problems? in MY grad math classes?).
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby jc » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

babelfish wrote:
sje46 wrote:I have heard from numerous sources that hard science majors tend to suck at writing essays.

I can attest to this with anecdotal evidence. Not a single one of my friends in hard or computer sciences could cut it in social sciences or humanities.


Oh, I dunno; nearly all the many CS/math/hard-sci/engineering people I've ever known are also musicians. Many of them are very good musicians. And music is about as "humanities" a subject as one could name, right?

This correlation seems to be a mystery acknowledged but not explained by many people.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Black » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:42 pm UTC

Why are people not allowed to express their offense at something on the Internet? Is the only thing allowed on this forum accolades and praise for the author's comic strips? Are people not allowed to have negative reactions to things, especially when it is very easy to construe them as inflammatory? For full disclosure, I am a math major who dabbles in philosophy and theoretical computer science. I thought the alt-text was snide and unfunny.

But apparently that is an invalid opinion. Everything has to be sunshine and lollipops if Randall posted it, right? He can't possibly have nasty opinions or misstep when trying to deliver a joke. I understand both sides of this discussion. I can see how the alt-text can be interpreted as nasty, that's how I interpreted. And I can see how others interpret it as a joke. A lot of it is the tone you read it in. But neither side can claim to know what the author intended. xkcd is supposed to be a humor web comic, but Randall has posted invective opinions on it before. No one can deny that there is an implicit glorification of hacker culture, 'geek' culture, and science and the occasional denigration of other sub-cultures and other bodies of knowledge.

And the fan base can be sometimes obnoxious about it. The glorification of the hard sciences, computer science, and mathematics often reeks of cargo cult worship. There is an almost peacock level of vanity in the pride of being a computer/science/engineering/hacker geek. The key word is sometimes. Most people on this forum, regardless of their sensibilities, or their social behavior, or their affinity for technical knowledge, are well meaning. But it can't be denied that there at times can be an atmosphere of self aggrandizement and snooty elitism brought on by mob mentality phenomena.

tl;dr; I think it is perfectly reasonable to take offense to the alt-text and I think it is perfectly reasonable to voice that discontent in this thread. After all it is a discussion thread. I think putting people down for expressing their opinion is unwarranted and a negative effect on the social function of this forum.

"Practically no one" is relative. But it's safe to say that there are a lot fewer people in pure math (I did make it clear from context I was talking about pure math) working on logic than on the other subjects I mentioned (analysis, algebra, topology, number theory). In absolute terms there are probably a fairly large number of people working on logic, of course.


Logic is an interdisciplinary body of knowledge. It is the common language of philosophy, computer science, and foundational mathematics. A great deal of pure math can be brought to bear on the subject. Something as abstract as category theory sees a great deal of practical concrete use in logic, just as much as it does in homological algebra. Virtually any idea in pure math studied for its own sake can be studied in the context of logic and vice versa.

To distinguish philosophers, computer scientists, and pure mathematicians who are working in logic is artificial. There are no cultural boundaries. Call them logicians, and there are a lot of them, and the work they do spans the gamut from pure to applied, and a lot of their work percolates through the larger communities surrounding them and vice versa. I don't know what point you are trying to make, I don't understand it.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Raijinili » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:58 pm UTC

Black wrote:Logic is an interdisciplinary body of knowledge. It is the common language of rationalist philosophy, theoretical computer science, and foundational mathematics.
From what I know of philosophy as a course of study, there's probably a whole side of philosophy that IS really humanities-based: persuasive essays. In fact, that's probably most philosophy majors. And undergrad philosophy seems (from my limited experience) to be reading the words of dead people and talking about them, maybe arguing interpretations, POSSIBLY talking about whether you agree or disagree, but not really making up your own systems of ideas (and especially not proving them). That's pretty much English, only without the creative writing.

And as for computer theory, that's just regular theoretical math. From my experience, logic doesn't play a special role. I don't consider it logic because it doesn't really get meta.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby jc » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:03 pm UTC

977XdRSZ wrote:
Dark567 wrote:But Principia Mathematica and Godel's theorems are more frequently found in Philosophy courses than in Math.

That's easy to explain. The math students read through them once or twice, understand them, and have no need of further explanation.

In other fields, including apparently philosophy but also most of the social sciences, people usually don't read the actual publications; they read "interpretations" that try to explain them to non-mathematicians. The result is complete misunderstanding of Russel's and Gödel's work. The misunderstanding is usually so egregious that further explanations are needed, but these are equally off the mark. This leads to even more (attempts at) explanation.

Among people with real math training, you often only need mention some relevant phrases, such as "set of all sets" or "true but unprovable" to get understanding looks and appropriate replies. In other fields, such unsubtle hints tend to either be ignored because their relevance isn't understood, or they lead to long, rambling discussion that avoid the points that brought up such comments.

Misuse of Gödel's famous theorem is so common that it's a meme/trope among the more knowledgeable. Such misuse ranks up there with the number of Eskimo words for snow as common examples of how people can get things so utterly wrong.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Black » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

Raijinili wrote:
Black wrote:Logic is an interdisciplinary body of knowledge. It is the common language of rationalist philosophy, theoretical computer science, and foundational mathematics.
From what I know of philosophy as a course of study, there's probably a whole side of philosophy that IS really humanities-based: persuasive essays. In fact, that's probably most philosophy majors. And undergrad philosophy seems (from my limited experience) to be reading the words of dead people and talking about them, maybe arguing interpretations, POSSIBLY talking about whether you agree or disagree, but not really making up your own systems of ideas (and especially not proving them). That's pretty much English, only without the creative writing.

And as for computer theory, that's just regular theoretical math. From my experience, logic doesn't play a special role. I don't consider it logic because it doesn't really get meta.


Mathematics is a huge field, with more ideas than any one person can hope to know in a single lifetime. Philosophy is even bigger because it concerns itself with asking questions about so many concepts and human experiences. Yes, there is a lot of philosophy that doesn't touch logic, just like there is mathematics that doesn't touch logic. But it is not like there are strict boundaries that separate continental and analytic philosophy, or pure and applied mathematics, are theoretical and applied computer science. Ideas move around, and the more freely they move around, the healthier the disciplines. The best researchers in any field are the ones who pay attention to a wide variety of topics related, sometimes only tangentially, to their interests. I am drawing mainly from my experience with professors at my university, but the most renowned ones seem to know a bit of everything. Even though one is a topologist, for example, he probably has a passing interest in every major area of mathematical research, and the lines defining his research are very blurred.

So even though it seems like, say logic, is relegated to a subdiscipline of a field like mathematics or philosophy does not say anything, because those boundaries are flimsy and leaky. Logic finds its ways to things as far as linguistics!

As for theoretical computer science, logic plays a prominent role in type theory and the design of programming languages. Via the Curry Howard isomorphism, there is a very real and concrete connection between abstract logic and practical implementations of programs. Once again the wall between theory and applied in computer science is illusory. The distinction is unrealistic and only serves as a heuristic classification for informal discussion. The actual nature of the discipline is more fluid and interconnected.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby metaphysicist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:24 pm UTC

The alt-text made this comic, and my day. :D
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby geekmom » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:32 pm UTC

Agree - Love the alt-text.... Math major here, who took some "history of mathematics" courses. Married to EE, mom of geek children. Who were also Sesame Street fans many years ago.
Sent them the link, although they were probably already there.

PS - did LOTS of proofs in undergrad, 30 years ago...
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:46 pm UTC

I like the alt-text, because it reminds me of a friend of mine who was talking anthropology and psychology at the same time. He hated anthropology, because according to him the anthropologists would say things suggesting that they cannot know why people do what they do (or did), while the psychologists would say "this is why people do what they do"
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby brownbat » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:48 pm UTC

Is this a myth? It looks more like a subject of current debate with limited actual research right now, but I'm anxious to see a post by some anthropologist with too much time who has actually studied Pirahã debunking Everett's claims.

(As an aside to the "science/not science" discussion, everything's falsifiable pending the right series of sense data; Karl Popper just lacked imagination. And before you think that just makes me some kind of nostalgic mystic, remember what Quine said: "With this, my empiricism shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.")
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:04 pm UTC

He added "Zing!" to the alt-text.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Moose Hole » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:08 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:He added "Zing!" to the alt-text.
That is truly disturbing. As a person who likes to eat Zingers, I am offended at the deepest level by that comment.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:20 pm UTC

WARNING: I have corrected my post:

Who is taking the Internet seriously? Randall is making money out of his webcomic; surely that involves a bit of "taking it seriously", not?

The alt-text to this comic is not a "joke", it's not "humourous"; it's a deliberate, mean-spirit insult, and this is strengthened by the fact that Randall has done this "my science is better than yours" MANY times in the past, that is: it's not a silly joke, but an actual sentiment. Randall is making money off of writing off entire fields of study and all its students, just because HIS science is "better" and "more important" and "real".

Well, guess what, Randall? Maybe your distaste for the human side of science is why your job at NASA lasted only six months, not? Maybe your sick obsession with maths and computers and the "real sciences" are what make you an individual that's only notorious because there are a few people willing to buy your T-shirts, not? Think about it: you got kicked from NASA and conformed to sticking to a rigid routine of three-comics-a-week and selling T-shirts (while preaching that people should try new, unexpected things and make their life a funny, sexy "adventure"). YOU ARE NOT A SCIENTIST. You are not an intelligent, considerate individual. You're a disgrace to science: you're contributing to give it the air of arrogance and self-obsession that the common folk think science is full of. You're a display of the worst things about science, and your gratuitous, unfunny insults only show what a pathetic, miserable human being you are.

I always avoided having an opinion on you personally; watching your artistic side taking a nosedive into the rock bottom of Internet unfuniness never made me think that you are a bad person, but now? I'm more than convinced: you, Randall, are a legitimate tool. I am disgraced for sharing Computer Science with a person like you. You make me sick. So if you please, take your lazy stick figures and your posters and shove them up your ass. I've had it with xkcd.

Zing!

Hahaha, see? Now you're all WRONG and I was RIGHT ALL ALONG, because I was just making a joke! Hahaha I'm so clearly immune from all criticism in the world ever.

Randall, you're depressing.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby mythago » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:29 pm UTC

MikeDamrat wrote:I find it interesting that you (and others arguing the same point) seem to have some idea that there is an absolute, measurable quantity of funny in a given statement.


This is what mushy liberal-arts type psychology people refer to as "projection".

When you insist that people who disagree with your definition of "funny" need to grow a thicker skin, "can't take" a joke (as you repeatedly say), simply don't get it, and so on, you're saying that your perception of humor is the correct, objective one. Some who says "that's not funny" is not merely having a disagreement or expressing a different sense of humor than you.

And again, you conflate merely being offensive with being offensive and funny. If Lenny Bruce got up and said "You know, Jews all want their sons to be doctors" that's not funny. But his routine about how the Jews killed Jesus because he didn't want to be a doctor? Funny. Insulting people or being 'politically incorrect' does not automagically a) make a joke funny or b) mean that anyone who does not believe the joke is funny is a sissypants who needs to get over themselves. The xkcd standard warning about how the comic may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors? Funny. This rather lame joke about anthropology students? Not funny.

If you find yourself arguing that people disagree with your believe that a joke was funny only because those people are not as evolved or comfortable in their skins as you, somebody is insisting on a Platonic ideal of "funny", and it's you.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby MikeDamrat » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:41 pm UTC

mythago wrote:When you insist that people who disagree with your definition of "funny" need to grow a thicker skin, "can't take" a joke (as you repeatedly say), simply don't get it, and so on, you're saying that your perception of humor is the correct, objective one. Some who says "that's not funny" is not merely having a disagreement or expressing a different sense of humor than you.


mythago wrote:...you conflate merely being offensive with being offensive and funny.


You see, this is what mushy liberal-arts type psychology people refer to as "projection".

mythago wrote:The xkcd standard warning about how the comic may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors? Funny. This rather lame joke about anthropology students? Not funny.

If you find yourself arguing that people disagree with your believe that a joke was funny only because those people are not as evolved or comfortable in their skins as you, somebody is insisting on a Platonic ideal of "funny", and it's you.


Did you read my post? I have not once said that any interpretations other than my own are incorrect. You are well within your rights to declare that the joke is not funny to you, but trying to declare it "not comedy" because it it's Funny Level is below that of the Standard Joke as measured by your personal Funny-o-Meter it's just plain arrogant. I'm sure plenty of people have been offended by plenty of jokes told by plenty of comics over the years, but that doesn't make them less funny, and it doesn't make take away their status as comedians. It actually tends to have the opposite effect, and it's the reason comics like Lisa Lampanelli have fans. Does all humor function this way? Of course not, but no one said that. The only one here trying to argue for some kind of Generalized Theory of Funny seems to be you.

I am merely trying to point out that Randall's tactic in today's title-text was in fact a fairly well-utilized brand of humor, and that simply because you found it distasteful doesn't make it "not humor", and it certainly doesn't make it any less funny to those who enjoyed it.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Simetrical » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:44 pm UTC

Raijinili wrote:Somewhat off-topic but... can you tell me for sure that a factual statement is either true or untrue? Or "A set is a set." How do you argue that that's true?

You take it as self-evident. If you really don't believe that such a clear tautology is true, there's no helping it. The truth of such simple statements needs to be accepted a priori before you can have any communication at all about anything. Trying to justify a sentence like that using language is essentially circular.
Raijinili wrote:Maybe this says more about my school than about math majors, but it seems like most math GRAD students at my school come in without really knowing how to do a real rigorous proof, and leave without really knowing how to do a real rigorous proof. It's unfortunate, but they seem to memorize the proofs instead, without really understanding how to adapt it to prove something that isn't superficially similar. And they would LOVE having computation problems (computation problems? in MY grad math classes?).

Okay, I realized after I posted that that someone would come up with a math program where no one was asked to prove anything. Yes, there's a lot of variety in colleges, and I'm sure there are logic courses in some universities targeted toward philosophy majors that are more rigorous than logic courses in some other universities targeted toward math majors. But the overall point is still true. This is an exercise from the first subsection of the logic textbook I studied as an undergrad:

"Give an example of a homomorphism that is one-one and onto but not an isomorphism. Now give such an example for finite structures. Show that if A is finite, then A is isomorphic to B (i) if A is the homomorphic image of B and B is the homomorphic image of A; or (ii) if A can be imbedded in B and B in A."

Granted that this is unfair because of the algebra (this is actually a model theory textbook), but I still don't see philosophy majors anywhere being asked to prove things like this. Proving stuff rigorously is really hard. The first course I took with real proofs was a year of advanced calculus. Half the class failed the first semester, and of what was left, half failed the second, until there were (IIRC) about six people even taking the final. These were all or almost all math majors, too.
jc wrote:Oh, I dunno; nearly all the many CS/math/hard-sci/engineering people I've ever known are also musicians. Many of them are very good musicians. And music is about as "humanities" a subject as one could name, right?

This correlation seems to be a mystery acknowledged but not explained by many people.

A programmer I know says that his company looks favorably on people with music degrees when hiring. I'm guessing it has something to do with precision, dedication, attention to detail, something like that. I mean, we're talking about musicians, not composers. Composition is a very humanities-ish thing, but playing something written by someone else is more of a regular old skill, I'd say.
Black wrote:Why are people not allowed to express their offense at something on the Internet?

They are, but everyone else is allowed to get offended in turn. That's the beauty of it.
Black wrote:Logic is an interdisciplinary body of knowledge. It is the common language of philosophy, computer science, and foundational mathematics. A great deal of pure math can be brought to bear on the subject. Something as abstract as category theory sees a great deal of practical concrete use in logic, just as much as it does in homological algebra. Virtually any idea in pure math studied for its own sake can be studied in the context of logic and vice versa.

To distinguish philosophers, computer scientists, and pure mathematicians who are working in logic is artificial. There are no cultural boundaries.

I largely agree with all of this . . .
Black wrote:Call them logicians, and there are a lot of them, and the work they do spans the gamut from pure to applied, and a lot of their work percolates through the larger communities surrounding them and vice versa.

. . . but it's still true that few mathematicians have any direct use for much advanced logic. (I don't know about computer scientists or philosophers, maybe it's different there.) I'm at Courant right now, and no course in logic is even offered as far as I've seen. I asked about taking a course in logic or set theory, and was told there was no one on the faculty who could even really give me an independent study in it. At the City College of New York, where I was an undergrad, they had a master's-level logic course once every two years, and that was it. I don't think I've ever had a professor whose specialty was logic, after four years as a math undergrad and a year as a Ph.D. student.

Actually, now I recall that I know a logician. She got her bachelor's in philosophy from City College (maybe a double major?), and a Ph.D. in computer science from Courant. So that's one.
Black wrote:I don't know what point you are trying to make, I don't understand it.

Well, this whole subthread was a tangent spawned by someone saying that Godel's work was more likely to be seen in philosophy courses than math courses. I dunno if it has an actual point anymore, it seems to have taken on a life of its own (as such tangents are wont to do).
jc wrote:Misuse of Gödel's famous theorem is so common that it's a meme/trope among the more knowledgeable. Such misuse ranks up there with the number of Eskimo words for snow as common examples of how people can get things so utterly wrong.

Now that is definitely true. I know some philosophers know as much math as mathematicians on certain topics, but some philosophers (like others) also grossly misuse mathematics. I had a friend who was also a math major and took some philosophy courses, and he said the instructor said something about how Euclid's work had been contradicted by non-Euclidean geometry. My friend tried to explain the difference between generalizing something and contradicting it, but probably no one got it . . .
brownbat wrote:(As an aside to the "science/not science" discussion, everything's falsifiable pending the right series of sense data; Karl Popper just lacked imagination. And before you think that just makes me some kind of nostalgic mystic, remember what Quine said: "With this, my empiricism shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.")

Provide some series of sense data that would falsify this statement: "Everyone has a soul, which is not physically detectable by third parties in any way, but which contains a copy of their mind. When they die, the soul continues to live (still undetectably), so the dead person continues to think and to perceive events." By postulate, no third party can detect whether it's true or false. The only way you could falsify it is if you yourself died and observed that you were no longer thinking and perceiving, which is logically impossible. It's a statement that can be verified, but not falsified. This places it outside the realm of science.

(Don't try to weasel out of it by saying that you might die and find out that you have a soul which is physically detectable, or anything like that. You get my point.)
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:48 pm UTC

MikeDamrat wrote:You are well within your rights to declare that the joke is not funny to you, but trying to declare it "not comedy" because it it's Funny Level is below that of the Standard Joke as measured by your personal Funny-o-Meter it's just plain arrogant.


You are well within your rights to declare that one field of study is not interesting to you, but trying to declare it "not real science" because its "Realness Level" is below that of the "Real Science" as measured by your personal Geek-o-Meter is just plain arrogant.

Zing!

P.S.: See? Don't forget to ALWAYS append "Zing!" to everything you write, because that makes you objectively immune from any kind of criticism you could possibly receive.
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Self-Referential 1 2 many sentences

Postby rhhardin » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

Self-referential ``this sentence has'' sentences in one, two, many, exhaustive list - there are no others:

1. This sentence has many a's, two c's, two d's, many e's, many h's, two i's, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

2. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, many h's, two i's, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

3. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, many h's, two i's, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

4. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

5. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

6. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

7. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

8. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

9. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, one q, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

10. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, one q, one r, many s's, many t's, many w's, and many y's.

11. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, one q, one r, many s's, many t's, one u, many w's, and many y's.

12. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, one q, one r, many s's, many t's, one u, one v, many w's, and many y's.

13. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, one q, one r, many s's, many t's, one u, one v, many w's, one x, and many y's.

14. This sentence has many a's, one b, two c's, two d's, many e's, one f, one g, many h's, two i's, one j, one k, one l, many m's, many n's, many o's, one p, one q, one r, many s's, many t's, one u, one v, many w's, one x, many y's, and one z.

http://selfreferentialsentences.blogspot.com
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

SirMustapha: You will never amount to anything more in life than a maggot on the dog crap on my shoe.

...

Zing!
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Moose Hole » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:01 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:SirMustapha: You will never amount to anything more in life than a maggot on the dog crap on my shoe.
It's funny because it's true.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby MikeDamrat » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:04 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:You are well within your rights to declare that one field of study is not interesting to you, but trying to declare it "not real science" because its "Realness Level" is below that of the "Real Science" as measured by your personal Geek-o-Meter is just plain arrogant.


It's a good thing I didn't declare anything like that, then, isn't it?


I'm also not entirely sure that Randall truly believes such things, but then again I tend to take facts and opinions spoken through comedic means with a grain of salt. :-p
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby mike-l » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:10 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
MikeDamrat wrote:You are well within your rights to declare that the joke is not funny to you, but trying to declare it "not comedy" because it it's Funny Level is below that of the Standard Joke as measured by your personal Funny-o-Meter it's just plain arrogant.


You are well within your rights to declare that one field of study is not interesting to you, but trying to declare it "not real science" because its "Realness Level" is below that of the "Real Science" as measured by your personal Geek-o-Meter is just plain arrogant.


That or just plain funny :) (Calling it not funny might be funny too, but I don't think you've managed to make it so)
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby somebody already took it » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:16 pm UTC

What do you all think, is it more important to be kind or to be funny?
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:20 pm UTC

somebody already took it wrote:What do you all think, is it more important to be kind or to be funny?

I don't think it's an issue between kind and funny. That all depends on context. Don't crack jokes about your sensitve brother in front of his face. However, it's alright if a comedian jokes about a politician.

In this case, however, the joke simply wasn't funny, or nice.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby 3rdTex » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

With so many strips related to trolling, you'd think people would try not to troll or say things which are highly likely to make trollers appear everywhere. You'd be wrong.
I have an objection to the alt-text. Funny or not funny, justifiable or not, it was obviously going to offend someone, and so did the very most of comment I read on this discussion. It's ok to think the offendants are being silly, but making some sort of effort to prevent hard feelings anyway is just politeness. That's important. It helps. It makes others happy and the internet standable.
I'm sick of topic after topic of lack of respect. That's not having a discussion. It's something that makes having a proper online conversation impossible. People from different areas of knowledge have different points of view and that's interesting. There should be space to discuss them, and even talk and argue about which ones might be more valid without getting anyone hurt. But that's already hard to do offline, so obviously...
But hell, we must try. Otherwise, there's no point in even having the forums. We'd be amazed if we saw just how much potential people have to state their most radical disagreements in a nice way.
So, if you think that I'm a stupid condescending idealist who doesn't know a thing about the english language, math, anthropology, people or the internet, even though I try not to be, that is a valid point of view. I am absolutely sure there is a way to say that that won't get me offended.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby kenzie137 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:35 pm UTC

wow, all of you people must have a lot of time on your hands.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby metaphysicist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:35 pm UTC

I'm almost reluctant to post this, in case somebody with a chip on their shoulder takes offense to it and changes it. :roll:

Wikipedia wrote: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.

:lol:
<a href="http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_nt2.php">
<img src="http://www.nerdtests.com/images/badge/nt2/c0bb546d1852be0b.png" alt="NerdTests.com">
</a>
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Scaraban » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

I'll go out on a limb here and say the alt-text is aimed at provoking responses
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

Moose Hole wrote:
sje46 wrote:SirMustapha: You will never amount to anything more in life than a maggot on the dog crap on my shoe.
It's funny because it's true.


Hmm, what's that smell? Is that the smell of BUTTHURT? Yeah, it seems so. Zing!
somebody already took it wrote:What do you all think, is it more important to be kind or to be funny?


The matter here is not being "unkind", but being completely hypocritical.

See here: it's very easy and very comfortable to defend Randall by going "oh but he's only JOKING!!", but remember that comic in which he proclaims "SCIENCE: It works, bitches"? He's not just joking there: he's honestly, sincerely advocating on the side of science, so much that he sells T-shirts with that message and other similar ones. In that case, comedy is just a device he uses to spread his message: that science RULES and scientists are RIGHT.

Why should it work otherwise when Randall bitterly condemns fields of study that he doesn't understand? Why, suddenly, in THAT case, it's "just a joke"?

It is one thing when a "joke" is not meant to be taken at face value, and it humours the humourist just as much as the butt of the joke; but another thing when the joke is just an affirmation of what the humourist thinks and is meant to deliberately offend people. Randall has RARELY been the butt of his own joke, and it's been a long, long while since that last happened (I think that died only when he stopped the raptor thing). Yes, it is possible to use humour to offend, and people do that often. Randall's digs at other fields were never quite as explicit and frank as this, but they happened often, and there was never any indication that he wasn't being sincere; once again, this is especially because Randall clearly aggrandizes "real science" and is constantly singing its virtues and values, and again -- this WITHOUT BEING A SCIENTIST. So, while he sings merits that are not his, he insults people who actually have jobs and do useful things just to pander to a small community. THAT, my friends, is pathetic.

Zing!
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

Raijinili wrote:From what I know of philosophy as a course of study, there's probably a whole side of philosophy that IS really humanities-based: persuasive essays. In fact, that's probably most philosophy majors. And undergrad philosophy seems (from my limited experience) to be reading the words of dead people and talking about them, maybe arguing interpretations, POSSIBLY talking about whether you agree or disagree, but not really making up your own systems of ideas (and especially not proving them). That's pretty much English, only without the creative writing.

In the world of modern academic Analytic philosophy (as opposed to the philosophy taught in Continental Europe, which has made its way into Anglophone humanities courses), the persuasive essays which constitute the staple of coursework are very much logic-based. They are not (usually) written in symbolic logic, but you will be graded very much on the logical validity of your arguments. You do read a lot of old works, and the essays are usually about the issues discussed in those works, but rarely about interpretation of the works themselves ("did Plato mean this or that...") but rather about the validity of the arguments presented therein and the cogency of the premises of those arguments. The old arguments you read about are there both to help bring you up to speed on the discourse about the subject matter at hand, and to provide fodder for you to hone your own reasoning skills against. The professors already know that there are many arguments disproving or at least qualifying most of the positions you're reading arguments for; after all, things have moved on over the years. But the newer arguments are increasingly subtle and more difficult to understand, so for undergrads, the old stuff makes better fodder to sharpen your mental teeth on.

The essays can be proofs of disproofs of the validity of the arguments under discussion, in which case often times some symbolic logic is invokes to more explicitly show the form of the argument and thus why it is valid or invalid. (For example: I once wrote a paper arguing that the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God fails because it confuses [letting x=some thing, t=some time, and E(x,t)="x exists at t"] ∃x∀t(E(x,t)), which it claims to prove, with ∀t∃x(E(x,t)), which is all it actually proves — basically the kind of problem that predicate logic was created to fix in the first place). Other times the essays will be their own, new arguments for or against the premises used in the old arguments under discussion. Usually there will be some of both in any given essay. In neither case are you graded based on the conclusion of your arguments or your interpretation of the author(s) of the older arguments under discussion, but on the logical validity of the arguments in your essay: are your conclusions logically necessary given the premises you have chosen (whatever they may be), and did you get there using all the right steps.

Sometimes, but not often, you will be requested to argue your own views on the topic at hand as well, often in the context of "argue the strengths and weaknesses of each side of this debate and then argue your own position on it". I usually did so whether or not it was requested, usually along the lines of synthesizing the two sides together or looking for a third option circumventing some error common to both of them, and most of the time I received positive comments from the professor for doing so, so there certainly is a positive attitude toward coming up with your own original ideas (which must, of course, be well-argued), even if it is not explicitly required of you at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, of course, original research is what you are there to do.

(On the subject of the easiness of classes: I found philosophy courses to be ridiculously easy, but that's just because anything that I'm intensely interested in feels to me; it doesn't count as hard if you're having fun doing it! Most of my peers who were not philosophy majors, and even a fair number who were, thought that the tons and tons of essays we had to write and the kind of rigor required of them sounded like [or was, for the phil majors] a major pain in the ass.)
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:25 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Damien Stryker » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

Hey everyone,

Though I've been reading xkcd for a couple of years now, I only just registered to these forums after pondering this latest comic, particularly its alt-text, all day at work. Reading through a few of the responses in this thread, I'm of two minds: on one hand, Randall seems to be making a little joke without any real sincerity or intent to offend, based largely on the presence of that "Zing!"; on the other hand, it is perpetuating a myth about the social sciences that is exactly that--a myth.

Now, I'm not an anthropology major, nor have I taken a course save for a semester intro to anthropology, psychology and aociology in my eleventh grade of high school. However, with half my double-major being devoted to psychology (the other half being English; laugh all you want but it's fascinating), you could say the alt-text remark was aimed at a cousin once removed. I'll echo another poster's sentiment by saying I felt a little bit offended for anthropologists, because by definition it is a real science, utilizing falsifiability, the scientific method, and the like. To put it simply, the alt-text--if Randall was being serious, mind you--was a cheap shot, false at that, and spreading a stigmatic falsehood: the triple threat that should be avoided.

To put things into perspective, I chuckled quite a bit at his dig at deconstructionists a while back. Speaking as an English major, he hit the nail right on the head with that one. My problem with this joke is that it's just wrong.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby il biggo » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:19 pm UTC

Fun fact: the pompous kids vomiting their bile in this thread are what is commonly referred as "the Future of the World". Go figure :roll:
Two heads are better than none.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby aristos_achaion » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:01 pm UTC

scottgoblue314 wrote: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.

Remember--until the Renaissance, European languages didn't have a word for "zero" (or a concept of zero, for that matter).
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby spriteless » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:13 pm UTC

Man, it is amazing how adding "Zing!" lightens the tone of anything.
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby phantomb » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:16 pm UTC

Cue the writer of xkcd editing his comic without mention because his first attempt made him look like an unfunny ass. He has to do this a lot because he's not a real cartoonist. Zing!
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby bmonk » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:18 pm UTC

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.

On the other hand, Economics apparently has no falsifiable methods, since anything can be explained, and any theory can be used to explain it. I often wonder how they choose the theory of the year...
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby ubikuberalles » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

spriteless wrote:Man, it is amazing how adding "Zing!" lightens the tone of anything.


Personally I prefer the term "Bazinga!"
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Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby spriteless » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:25 pm UTC

Really, I enjoyed the silly the premise of the comic, having all cultures develop TV and Sesame street as universals, but a particularly discrete number theory isn't. I mean, it is not as though Sesame Street is a universal constant the way John Cusack is. I guess making the premise be that math is less universal than Sesame Street is ribbing mathematicians, too. But noooo, raaage.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:01 pm UTC

Minthulf wrote: Dude think a bit before you open your mouth, there is a reason why we say cultures are equal, and that is because we cannot measure or even observe how they would rank.


I agree that we can't rank cultures or civilizations. And because we can't rank them it is absurd to say that they are necessarily equal. It is like saying that we have two numbers we can't measure, so let's assume they are equal.
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Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby phantomb » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:I agree that we can't rank cultures or civilizations. And because we can't rank them it is absurd to say that they are necessarily equal. It is like saying that we have two numbers we can't measure, so let's assume they are equal.


Not really. In the case with the numbers, if we could measure them and find their value, we would then absolutely be able to rank them because in numbers, we have terms like "equal to", "greater than", and "less than" that have strict definitions. In the case of two cultures, even if we knew absolutely every fact about both cultures, we still wouldn't be able to rank them because there is simply no objective way to do so.
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