0835: "Tree"

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redsoxfantom
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby redsoxfantom » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Goddamnit, I just had a final on this stuff too.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby bmonk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

jesselong wrote:The left subtree is horribly unbalanced, as well as the left subtree of the right subtree of root. This makes all operations really slow. Next Christmas, please implement AVL rules. Thanks.

That was my thought too. The whole tree could be better balanced. (Or, maybe, they put the sparsest branch against the wall?) Still, if the cat ever gets into the room, I foresee the whole tree toppling.
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby dstrorm » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:59 pm UTC

pegasos989 wrote:
dstrorm wrote:I am not a computer scientist and had to look up the definition of "heap". I get that each present is smaller than its parent, but is there an actual joke here that I'm not getting? Aside from the pun on the words "tree" and "heap"?


Nope, not really. There is a minor one in the alt text that relates to the handling of the heap -structure when the root element is removed but... That's it. It's just that people who didn't have to look it up have mostly found it quite hilarious. Well, jokes tend to be simple and silly and often don't work if you have to think about them too much.


Cool, thanks. However, I often find these things funny even when I have to look up the reference. "Cryptography" (#153) comes to mind.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby enumerated powers » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:20 pm UTC

I laughed out loud as well. (And registered - good idea the earlier poster had: rate comics by how many people were prompted to register.)

Rilian wrote:That doesn't explain ... or why the parents are pissed off.


Looks to me like the kid is explaining what he built there, being a CS nerd home from college for Christmas, and the parents (also nerds) are reacting to the bad puns.

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Mekmek
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Mekmek » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

gnutrino wrote:I'm sure other people will manage to do better than this but I thought I'd post to say: FRIST.

Spoiler:
Christmass_tree.JPG



Neat!
I wonder if people would still recognize it as a tree if you did a BFS wiring. :P

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KShrike
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby KShrike » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Ha. I would have went for an inception joke. A gift inside of a gift inside of a gift inside of a gift. But the top gift is heavily sedated, so if you kill the ones inside, they'll end up in limbo.
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby soraos21 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:27 am UTC

I see this comic as a generation tree, with the "children" vying for resources. Anybody else see it like that?
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Garnasha » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:44 am UTC

bmonk wrote:
jesselong wrote:The left subtree is horribly unbalanced, as well as the left subtree of the right subtree of root. This makes all operations really slow. Next Christmas, please implement AVL rules. Thanks.

That was my thought too. The whole tree could be better balanced. (Or, maybe, they put the sparsest branch against the wall?) Still, if the cat ever gets into the room, I foresee the whole tree toppling.
Which cat? /bin/cat? As far as I know you shouldn't let cat near anything which isn't text, which includes most representations of trees both balanced and unbalanced. Though that might be paranoia induced by me wondering what /dev/random might be, and catting it.

I got the joke, but slowly, in parts, so while it kept me amused for a while, it didn't actually get me laughing. Great comic though. And a part I still don't get is the parents'(?) reaction. I might be missing other parts too, but in that case I miss them so completely I'm not even aware they're there.

Ps. Looks like a proper heap to me. Probably a bloody useless one, but a heap nonetheless

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby strange1889 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:01 am UTC

nykevin wrote:
strange1889 wrote:The structure in the bottom is not a heap, of any sort. Why?
a) the white & green dotten box has no children, yet the boxes left & right of it do.
b)the green box with red wrapping has 3 children. illegal.

is can be described as a ternary tree.

although i do appreciate where he was going with this and did in fact lol.

The only requirement for a heap is that the children are larger/smaller than the parent (and that it's a tree, but I think we can agree that it is). What you mean to say is that it isn't a binary heap (unless you can find an inversion, that is). A heap is a kind of tree, and trees can have more than 2 children at a node (or no children at all) with no contradiction.


while in definition, the only requirement of a heap be that, given B is a child of A, A>=B, how in practice and thus in reality, would one build or have a result that is equivalent to this heap? I cannot think of one (although I am open to suggestion and interested if someone can devise such an operation), and since it is not possible to achieve this state from any valid heap, this itself must not be a valid heap. I do not disagree with the basic theory and definition of what a heap is, but in practice this 'heap' is impossible, and therefore cannot be a heap.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby DarthMarth » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:14 am UTC

This right after my algorithms and data structures class...

What, Randall, no red-green tree?

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby serrath » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Should've used a min-heap...

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ManaUser
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby ManaUser » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:49 am UTC

strange1889 wrote:while in definition, the only requirement of a heap be that, given B is a child of A, A>=B, how in practice and thus in reality, would one build or have a result that is equivalent to this heap?

Maybe it's a data structure for describing a pile of presents.

scienceguy8
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby scienceguy8 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:00 am UTC

It has only been about 20, maybe 21 hours since this comic went up, and it already has a following.

http://www.instructables.com/id/XKCD-Ornament/
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby BethK » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:35 am UTC

Another long-time reader but first time poster. CS professor teaching Data Structures next term. Mother.

I hadn't seen the comic. My daughter asked me what a heap data structure is. So I describe one and note it can be a maximum one or a minimum one. Then I see the comic. Love it. Ask my son to look at it, and I explain heaps to him. But he asks why do different data structures matter, so I give him a brief introduction to binary trees including AVL balancing. He gets it.

So thank you for sparking one of those "I love the kids I have" moments.

I'd buy a shirt of this even though the tree isn't balanced and the heap is more conceptual than something that would be implemented. Nevertheless, restoring the heap property shouldn't take long. The parents should be happy.

This comic will be part of my first day lecture in January. I have "Bunch of Rocks" (505) on my bulletin board.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby archeleus » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:43 am UTC

Being another CS guy myself, I like this one. Heh, the alt-text is great.
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neoliminal
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby neoliminal » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:49 am UTC

When I was a kid, we never had heaps of presents. No, we were lucky to get a bucket of bits.
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Rilian » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:08 am UTC

Picklesworth wrote:
Rilian wrote:That doesn't explain how all that stuff is floating or why the parents are pissed off.

Clearly, his parents are pissed off because that isn't a valid red-black tree and now they have to fix it.
The tree is red and green.

i.e. what does red-black mean.
And I'm -2.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby pegasos989 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:26 am UTC

KShrike wrote:Ha. I would have went for an inception joke. A gift inside of a gift inside of a gift inside of a gift. But the top gift is heavily sedated, so if you kill the ones inside, they'll end up in limbo.


Isn't the whole inception movie only an allegory to the problems you face when using languages without automatic garbage collection? Limbo is obviously a memory leak, an object to which you've lost the reference. It's next to impossible - but theoretically possible - to regain the reference. The dreams are a textbook example of a stack...

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dr pepper
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby dr pepper » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:03 am UTC

I'm probably not the first to say this, but in many families presents are opened one at a time, with one member handing thhem out. "Oh, here's one for Bobby!" and so on. In such a case, it might be better to arrange the presents in a stack.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby jpk » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:39 pm UTC

Vehemence wrote:This exact same argument could be used for people who haven't seen Firefly, or haven't read Calvin and Hobbes, or don't raptor-proof their homes. Sorry to break it to you, but you're acting smug about reference humor.


Actually, no, I'm just wondering what the point of reading the strip would be if you don't understand the references that he makes. It's always puzzling to me. I seriously don't understand what would be funny about this comic - aside from the occasional relationship strip - to someone who doesn't have the math to get the Little Rock strip a from a few weeks back, or the CS to know what trees and heaps are. Even the relationship strips generally require some grounding - like the graph strip the other day. How is that funny to someone who doesn't understand something about math and math people?
I can only think they're laughing at the funny things these people are saying, without actually grasping the humor.

I'd like to think that they might learn something from the strip, but the fact that they don't even have the curiousity or the initiative required to find out what might be funny here suggests that this is unlikely. So what are they getting out of it?

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby pegasos989 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

jpk: Try going through the last 50 strips. See how many require anything more complicated than elementary mathematics, yet alone CS knowledge. I seriously doubt that you can find even five.

(I doubt that because I just did so and couldn't. Not even close. Four, counting the latest one, is stretching it)

You obviously don't need to know much CS to enjoy 95% of Randall's strips. You just need to be a geek/geek symphatizer.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:33 am UTC

Ooh, shading.

I tried to open my gift, but I couldn't find its IP address.
*crickets*
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Jamesa7171 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:39 am UTC

jpk wrote:Actually, no, I'm just wondering what the point of reading the strip would be if you don't understand the references that he makes.

I agree, except that doesn't apply here at all. Not understanding one computer science joke != not understanding all math/science/XKCD-humour...you're ridiculously assuming that everybody who doesn't understand this strip is completely ignorant of all math, all science, and all generally useful information whatsoever. Also, kudos for the elitist and condescending attitude at the end there. :)

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:55 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:I'm majoring in Computer Science too!!!!!!!!!!!

... and I groaned.

Damn you, Randall. Why do you have to make me embarrassed for choosing this course?

Not to be rude, but didn't you say in an older thread that you were majoring in a liberal arts course? Or were you just angry about the ribbing that philosophy majors were supposedly getting in one strip, or something like that? I can't remember.

jpk wrote:I'm just wondering what the point of reading the strip would be if you don't understand the references that he makes. It's always puzzling to me. I seriously don't understand what would be funny about this comic - aside from the occasional relationship strip...

...I can only think they're laughing at the funny things these people are saying, without actually grasping the humor.

I'd like to think that they might learn something from the strip, but the fact that they don't even have the curiousity or the initiative required to find out what might be funny here suggests that this is unlikely. So what are they getting out of it?

Wait, so people who don't know the references in referential humor also won't understand that humor?
NO WAY!
But in all seriousness, the references aren't an all-or-none deal; a reader can get some of the references without getting all of them. I only get about half of them, yet xkcd is one of my favorite comics. Also, sometimes people will miss a reference, but later learn something or experience something such that they later return and get the reference. I have had this experience with xkcd strips about Firefly, trignometric graphs, memory pointers, and Creative Commons.
Do you know how many readers SMBC gained because of Randall once referencing it in an alt text? And how many people who already read SMBC discovered the votey as a result as well?
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby KShrike » Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:36 am UTC

pegasos989 wrote:
KShrike wrote:Ha. I would have went for an inception joke. A gift inside of a gift inside of a gift inside of a gift. But the top gift is heavily sedated, so if you kill the ones inside, they'll end up in limbo.


Isn't the whole inception movie only an allegory to the problems you face when using languages without automatic garbage collection? Limbo is obviously a memory leak, an object to which you've lost the reference. It's next to impossible - but theoretically possible - to regain the reference. The dreams are a textbook example of a stack...

I could see that being the case. I didn't think of it that way before. Then again, I did only see the movie once.
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby zAlbee » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:36 am UTC

Rilian wrote:The tree is red and green.

i.e. what does red-black mean.


It's a type of binary search tree that enforces balance in the tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-black_tree

I like the max-heap of presents. You always remove the largest present each time. :D

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby raigne » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:37 pm UTC

Jamesa7171 wrote:
jpk wrote:Actually, no, I'm just wondering what the point of reading the strip would be if you don't understand the references that he makes.

I agree, except that doesn't apply here at all. Not understanding one computer science joke != not understanding all math/science/XKCD-humour...you're ridiculously assuming that everybody who doesn't understand this strip is completely ignorant of all math, all science, and all generally useful information whatsoever. Also, kudos for the elitist and condescending attitude at the end there. :)


This.

I'm an IT, a graphic designer, and now going back to school for English. Never taken a math class where I would learn the specific terminology for data structures, but know enough math to know that this comic was a terrible pun. It is not funny to me the way it is funny to the CS geeks here, but the strip Papyrus (590) made me snort soda out of my nose, because of my graphic design background. I imagine the CS people thought that particular strip was very meh.

Quit trying to make yourself feel more important than the geeks whose area of expertise is less technical than yours.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby davidhbrown » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Poster, please... :D Will be a nice "I'm outta here" gift to our algorithms professor.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby abehrens » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:15 pm UTC

Listen, they're playing Christmas music on the radio. "He's making a list and linking it twice; gonna find out who's naughty and nice...."

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby jpk » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:21 pm UTC

raigne wrote:Quit trying to make yourself feel more important than the geeks whose area of expertise is less technical than yours.


No, you're still not getting it. I'm not an expert in computer science by any means. I write programs, but so do a lot of people. But I do know what a heap and a tree are, and it's always seemed to me that this comic is aimed at people whose curiousity leads them to know those things. It's not a matter of expertise at all, it's the opposite: it's a matter of a broad base of knowledge, not a deep and detailed understanding of one particular field.
The point is, it's not that it's particularly hard to get, say, 95% of the references in this strip without research. All it takes is being a curious person and following up that curiousity. Oh, and you have to be curious about a certain set of things. What I'm having trouble understanding is, what is it that people who aren't of that sort are finding funny about this strip?
I'm not interested in people denouncing my supposed elitism - sure, whatever, have fun, but then maybe try to answer the question. What is the appeal of this strip for the person without the sort of curiousity that makes it funny for its target audience?

Possibly the strip is changing its focus, that's fair enough. Someone pointed out, correctly, that recent strips have been more generically funny and not so much geek humor, so maybe that explains it, but I'm really curious about who these readers are, if they're not interested in the things that, to my mind, make up the core of the humor in this strip. Are they really just here for the boy-girl jokes? And how do they deal with "I can't be with someone who doesn't label her axes"? Is that funny, if that particular sort of rigor isn't somehow part of your experience, or is it just the sit-com humor aspect that remains when you remove that part of the joke?

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:15 pm UTC

I imagine it's a lot like the popular appeal of a show like Big Bang Theory. That show's nerdy references aren't usually very deep (admittedly, from the little I've seen of it; I don't watch much TV at all), but they do form sort of the core of the humor. It's a show about nerds and the nerdy things they care about. However, it's popular amongst a much broader population than just nerds, most of whom I imagine don't even get most of the not-too-deep references in the show, much less the kind of (popularly) obscure references XKCD makes. But to those people, I imagine the humor is more about laughing at the nerds for caring about nerdy things and not what non-nerds consider important: actually understanding the nerdy things is not important, because for them it just boils down to "oh you nerds, you so silly!".

Now, not all XKCD humor could have any value from that mechanism (charts and diagrams come to mind), but almost anything involving a nerdy character and a less-nerdy foil, or any number of nerdy characters acting in some unusual way a non-nerd might not, could. "Convincing", for instance, doesn't depend entirely on knowing why it's important to label your axes, or even knowing that axes are parts of graphs and not just things you chop down trees or murder people with... the core that really makes the joke is "He's breaking up with her over some stupid thing that has to do with math? Oh nerds, you so silly!"

Granted, the humor is much shallower when that's all you can take away from it, but then non-nerds tend to have a shallower appreciation of a lot of things in life. Oh mundanes, you so silly!
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby mdyrud » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:04 am UTC

jpk, you've entirely changed your stance. At first, you were berating those who didn't know what the joke was about. Now you've switched to saying that you are berating people who don't have some sort of curiosity. I don't have much of a response, except to call you out on the switch.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Markavian » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:21 am UTC

Data Structures & Algorithm's was my favourite subject at uni.

This thread made me laugh because;
- his parents disowned him for being clever
- the number of people wouldn't understand this joke brings me back to the days when I enjoyed XKCD
- I like being elitist in this situation

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rare
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby rare » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:24 am UTC

So, I see the comic, go to store, get supplies, build tree, build heap, take picture, register account, get ready to post ... only to find that new user aren't allowed to upload pictures or put links in their posts. I guess that's what I get for being a lurker for so long. URLs are below.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Picture of tree and heap:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_gu8IChVWgNs/TQ8xqnjMDZI/AAAAAAAAAPU/rK6oahZ4yXY/s1600/xkcd%2Btree%2Band%2Bheap.jpg

My blog post. Basically, it said the tree and heap cost $35, excluding presents.
http://lietwice.blogspot.com/2010/12/merry-christmas-xkcd.html

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby jpk » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:56 pm UTC

mdyrud wrote:jpk, you've entirely changed your stance. At first, you were berating those who didn't know what the joke was about. Now you've switched to saying that you are berating people who don't have some sort of curiosity. I don't have much of a response, except to call you out on the switch.


"I'll never understand how people who don't get this joke find their way to xkcd"

Still don't.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

jpk wrote:"I'll never understand how people who don't get this joke find their way to xkcd"

Still don't.
As has been explained to you about a dozen times now: they find their way here because they enjoy the other 95% - 99% of comics that they *do* get.

Now, granted, I agree that it's often rather stupid to ask in the thread what the joke means when clearly the part you don't get is the technical definition of a word like "heap", since that's something you can just look up. But there are other comics where the reference isn't just something you can look up easily, so it's best to have someone explain it to you. And sometimes even after needing an explanation it's quite a funny comic. ("The enemy's gate is down", for example, is one I didn't get at first but then once I was reminded of the reference I thought it was hilarious.)
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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby raigne » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

In addition to understanding the other 95-99% of the comics, I am sure some people like the fact that they occasionally learn something new from the comic. Most people will not seek an answer they have a question to, even if they have a reason. But there are some who will once they have a context. One of my friends, who is also a fan of the comic, is like this. I guarantee she didn't get the joke and looked it up on her own, when, outside of this context she wouldn't have cared about the concept at all.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby 454Casull » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

I wonder if the tree was mounted/fixed by the ornaments, or if it was suspended from the top node and all the other connections are rigid bars or pipes. If it is the former, then he's not showing any catenary sag on the wires.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby sporkbomb » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:33 am UTC

typo wrote:I hope Billy is planning to GC all the dereferenced wrappers later....


Ha ha ha ha! :-D

Problem is that some wrappers don't implement IDisposable, so they hang around for weeks (or even months) afterwards.

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Re: 0835: "Tree"

Postby Manabu » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

jpk wrote:Possibly the strip is changing its focus, that's fair enough. Someone pointed out, correctly, that recent strips have been more generically funny and not so much geek humor, so maybe that explains it, but I'm really curious about who these readers are, if they're not interested in the things that, to my mind, make up the core of the humor in this strip. Are they really just here for the boy-girl jokes? And how do they deal with "I can't be with someone who doesn't label her axes"? Is that funny, if that particular sort of rigor isn't somehow part of your experience, or is it just the sit-com humor aspect that remains when you remove that part of the joke?

You are assuming that people that don't know certain CS data-structures don't know math and related things, and can only understand "boy-gir jokes". CS is only but one of the things that use math. Do you know a lot about using instrumental variables in multi-stage panel data analisys? I bet not, because you probably don't use that. But an economist or social cientist may use that.

I haven't really programmed anything minimaly substantial in my life, so I don't know exactly what a heap is, only heard about it, and thus I could not absorve the entirety of this specific comic. Yet, I probably know some things about programming that you don't, and thus could understand some jokes about it that you will not, because I have some curiosity on that things. If in the future you dont understand a obscure joke on CS, and I do, does it means thay you will stop reading XKCD? I bet not, because you will still undestand and find funny 90+% of the comics.

I, for example, LOLed hard on the unlabeled axis (recurrent in popular economics and social sciences...) and in the last comic, with the "at least with p < 0.05 confidence", that I always find so amusing in statistics (if you accept aways with p=0.05, it means that you are wrong one time in 20, on average).


tl;dr - not everyone here is a clone of you, even thought we share many interests, common knowledge and traits.


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