0944: "Hurricane Names"

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hrasdt
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0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby hrasdt » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:59 am UTC

Image
Alt text: "After exhausting the OED, we started numbering them. When overlapping hurricanes formed at all points on the Earth's surface, and our scheme was foiled by Cantor diagonalization, we just decided to name them all "Steve". Your local forecast tomorrow is "Steve". Good luck."

They only used English words? Why not just use a Chinese character per hurricane, plenty of them.

apomb
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby apomb » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:00 am UTC

Thanks for posting this, I thought i was the only one to see it...

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby karanj » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:07 am UTC

They only used English words? Why not just use a Chinese character per hurricane, plenty of them.

Well, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_characters#Number_of_Chinese_characters Wikipedia suggests there's maybe 200,000, max - while http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_English_Dictionary has approximately 600,000. So maybe it adds on, but not a different order of magnitude.

Meanwhile, what *would* overlapping hurricanes even mean? The whole thing is a bunch of eyes surrounded by thin walls of 75mph+ winds?

hrasdt
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby hrasdt » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:09 am UTC

It didn't refresh for me when I first checked, but minutes later...
On checking the wikipedia, it seems there are around 100,000 Chinese characters, I had thought there were tons more. Still, there are more languages than just English, and it seems sort of stupid to restrict yourself to just one language/system of writing/articulated series of grunts.

It does call into question how bad the world must be for them to have run out of numbers; Hilbert's Hotel and space-filling curves.

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glasnt
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby glasnt » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:10 am UTC

Steve is a good name. I like Steve.


Spoiler:
Over the Hedge reference



Spoiler:
may be (sic)

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StClair
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby StClair » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:18 am UTC

In John Barnes' Mother of Storms, they started numbering Hurricane Clem's offspring rather than giving them names of their own. Eventually they gave up on that too.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:20 am UTC

If hurricanes are becoming THAT common, maybe they should just be assigned serial numbers unless they do enough damage/become big enough to become noteworthy.
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby jpk » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:24 am UTC

Could we not assign them GUIDs?

(sorry, I thought I was on thedailywtf for a minute)

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby nekolux » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:31 am UTC

Wouldn't cantor's diagonals actually provide an infinite numerical system for naming with?

rpgamer
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby rpgamer » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:32 am UTC

Hurricane comics are fun.

I just hope it doesn't devolve into, "Irene wasn't that bad" from everyone that wasn't horribly affected by it.
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby elucipher » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:52 am UTC

nekolux wrote:Wouldn't cantor's diagonals actually provide an infinite numerical system for naming with?

Actually, Cantor's diagonalization was just a technique used to prove that certain sets are uncountable. It can't provide names. Although, if we really wanted to, we could just use real numbers with infinitely many decimal places.

MatteoTom
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby MatteoTom » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:56 am UTC

Why not just name them based on their geographical position:
"Hurricane 28.516969,-75.585937, update, now hurricane 28.516969,-75.585938, sorry, hurricane 28.516970,-75.585938...screw it, hurricane Steve is barreling toward the east coast, may hit New York."

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Cranica » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:12 am UTC

Still can't give them finite names if they form a continuum over the earth's surface.

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Uzh
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Uzh » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:18 am UTC

rpgamer wrote:Hurricane comics are fun.

I just hope it doesn't devolve into, "Irene wasn't that bad" from everyone that wasn't horribly affected by it.


It reminds me of a tweet of Der Spiegel (one of Germany's most renown news magazine): "#irene in Manhattan: disappointing so far" http://bit.ly/nTEsu5

Georg
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Azkyroth » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:21 am UTC

But of course, there's NO EVIDENCE for climate change. It's only a THEORY. [/ostrich]

I'm glad New York, at least, prepared well enough that this storm resulted in little loss of life. (Haven't followed the rest of the coast).

lesmith11
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby lesmith11 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:01 am UTC

rpgamer wrote:I just hope it doesn't devolve into, "Irene wasn't that bad" from everyone that wasn't horribly affected by it.


I know people in NYC and apparently it wasn't that bad!

Brilliand
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Brilliand » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:19 am UTC

Nerdbait: How many hurricanes can theoretically cover the Earth's surface without instantly destroying one another?

In any case, the number is finite, so Cantor's diagonals don't apply. I'm sure it's more than 21+sizeof(Greek alphabet), though.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Deenreka » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:22 am UTC

I was sad that it wasn't Stanley, and thus a
Spoiler:
Hitchhiker's Guide reference.

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AvatarIII
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:41 am UTC

i never noticed until this strip, but the atlantic around the area in the strip looks remarkably like a cartoon camel, and now i've seen it i can't stop seeing it!

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Naleh » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:26 am UTC

They exhausted the whole OED? Wow. The hurricanes named after words for weather must've been fun.

"Hurricane 'Overcast' ripped apart DC today, while Hurricane 'Hurricane' blew in from the Pacific..."

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:31 am UTC

glasnt wrote:Steve is a good name. I like Steve.


Spoiler:
Over the Hedge reference



Spoiler:
may be (sic)


Damn you. You beat me to it.

Actual quote:

Hammy wrote:Let's call it Steve!

Verne wrote:Steve?

Hammy wrote:Steve's a pretty name!


Funny thing about that line, Steve Carrell did the voice of Hammy.
PRG

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jonadab
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby jonadab » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:52 am UTC

I just hope it doesn't devolve into, "Irene wasn't that bad" from everyone that wasn't horribly affected by it.


Actually, Irene has had significantly more impact on me than the average hurricane. The last one I remember that caused as ridiculously many comments on the internet was Katrina.

(What? Don't look at me like that. I don't watch television, so I'm largely unaffected by the appearance of hurricane news coverage in that medium. Comments people make on the internet are thus the most significant impact hurricanes have on my life.)

feyayeruka
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby feyayeruka » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:18 am UTC

[quote="jonadab](What? Don't look at me like that. I don't watch television, so I'm largely unaffected by the appearance of hurricane news coverage in that medium. Comments people make on the internet are thus the most significant impact hurricanes have on my life.)[/quote]
me too for this.
Some people on another forum were talking about Irene (the OP's name was Irene) and I had to google to get a clue what the hell they were all talking about.
Not having a TV/ radio/ newspapers in my life really limits my current affairs input. Unless someone on a forum mentions something, I likely never hear of it.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby madjo » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:42 am UTC

feyayeruka wrote:
jonadab wrote:(What? Don't look at me like that. I don't watch television, so I'm largely unaffected by the appearance of hurricane news coverage in that medium. Comments people make on the internet are thus the most significant impact hurricanes have on my life.)

me too for this.
Some people on another forum were talking about Irene (the OP's name was Irene) and I had to google to get a clue what the hell they were all talking about.
Not having a TV/ radio/ newspapers in my life really limits my current affairs input. Unless someone on a forum mentions something, I likely never hear of it.


I'm sure that the big news corporations would be glad to hear that they still have a leg up over the Internet. :)

More on topic, perhaps they should call hurricanes 'Rincewind'.
:)

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Ptharien's Flame » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:56 am UTC

Brilliand wrote:Nerdbait: How many hurricanes can theoretically cover the Earth's surface without instantly destroying one another?

In any case, the number is finite, so Cantor's diagonals don't apply. I'm sure it's more than 21+sizeof(Greek alphabet), though.

I don't know if it's even possible to solve this without observation. My best guess would be that all but a few would be wiped out by chance, and the ones that stayed would then partially regenerate the original system. I don't think they would all simultaneously destroy each other (that would require an actual decrease in entropy, or at least not as much of an increase as some surviving). Then again, I'm a programmer, not a meteorologist. Go ask one of them (there must be some hanging around). :lol:

alun009
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby alun009 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:59 am UTC

Hurricane 'Hurricane'


If it came in from the Pacific, wouldn't it be Typhoon 'Hurricane'*?

*Not to be confused with Hurricane 'Typhoon' which is due to make landfall in northern Florida in the next few hours, as soon as Hurricane 'Pacific' gets out of the way...

alun009
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby alun009 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:03 pm UTC

Fortunately, Hurricane 'Landfall' is due to loop back away into the Atlantic without impinging on coastal areas. And Hurricane 'Tropical Storm' has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby MCab » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:31 pm UTC

I always thought that hurricanes should be named after villains. That way, the Katrinas, Ritas, and Betsys of the world can be spared.

Hurricane Vader
Hurricane Harkonnen
Hurricane VonDoom
Hurricane Galacticus

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby TaylorP » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:45 pm UTC

I think it's becoming very clear what the issue is here. We need to switch to IPv6 for hurricanes. C'mon, you KNOW it'll fix the issue.

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DennyMo
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby DennyMo » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:52 pm UTC

Cantor diagonalization

I first thought this was a mis-spelled reference to Jim Cantore, of The Weather Channel "It's hard to stand upright in this storm" fame, had to Google to find out who Georg Cantor was. Still haven't figured out the math means, though...

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby project2051 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:53 pm UTC

Not Bruce?

No, Steve.

That's going to cause a little confusion.

Mind if we call them "Bruce" to keep it clear?

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby jc » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:01 pm UTC

rpgamer wrote:Hurricane comics are fun.

I just hope it doesn't devolve into, "Irene wasn't that bad" from everyone that wasn't horribly affected by it.


Well, I live in eastern Massachusetts, and around here it definitely wasn't all that bad. :wink: Of course, by the time Irene got here, she'd been downgraded to "merely" a tropical storm. We've had lots of thunderstorms that were worse. The main difference was that this one was a lot larger, and lasted all day.

We do have lots of tree fragments littering the streets, but it's mostly twigs and leaves that can be cleaned up with a rake or broom. I drove around in the evening, and saw one small tree that had been blown down.

Actually, tropical storms and hurricanes are defined primarily by wind speed, and that wasn't the main cause of damage from Irene. The real problems were in low-lying areas that are now flooded. Our back yard had 6 inches (15 cm) of rain over the 7 or 8 hours it took to pass over us. The storm drains were totally overwhelmed. We're in a high area, so this mostly meant that the local streets looked like rivers for a while, but it did no damage here. The areas where the water went are where the problems are.

Now if there were some effective way to redirect all that rain to the Southwest, where they could really use the water.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Me321 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:10 pm UTC

jc wrote:Now if there were some effective way to redirect all that rain to the Southwest, where they could really use the water.


Please do, I think by now we would drive over and pick it up in buckets, or if u wanted to send it postage due? I dont care we just need the water, we were actualy hoping for a hurricane to drive up and in to the Oklahoma area and get us some rain.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby javahead » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

TaylorP wrote:I think it's becoming very clear what the issue is here. We need to switch to IPv6 for hurricanes. C'mon, you KNOW it'll fix the issue.

But then we'll have to work out a system for dual-stack hurricane/typhoons and people that try to refuse to update their BIOS

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Harry Voyager » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

jonadab wrote:
I just hope it doesn't devolve into, "Irene wasn't that bad" from everyone that wasn't horribly affected by it.


Actually, Irene has had significantly more impact on me than the average hurricane. The last one I remember that caused as ridiculously many comments on the internet was Katrina.

(What? Don't look at me like that. I don't watch television, so I'm largely unaffected by the appearance of hurricane news coverage in that medium. Comments people make on the internet are thus the most significant impact hurricanes have on my life.)


The irony of Katrina is that it may have actually saved lives. It turned out that the levees had been so poorly maintained that it wouldn't have taken much more than a heavy rain in lake Pontchartrain for the city to have woken up under water one morning.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Red Hal » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:31 pm UTC

alun009 wrote:
Hurricane 'Hurricane'


If it came in from the Pacific, wouldn't it be Typhoon 'Hurricane'*?

*Not to be confused with Hurricane 'Typhoon' which is due to make landfall in northern Florida in the next few hours, as soon as Hurricane 'Pacific' gets out of the way...


And just to confuse us Brits; Hurricane "Spitfire".
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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Coyne » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:07 pm UTC

See, I don't agree with the conclusion in the tool tip. Cantor diagonalization ensured that they would always have a new number for the next hurricane. Just reorder (one iteration of bogosort should do) the currently assigned numbers and diagonalize again.

Of course I can see how it could be confusing, to figure out whether I'm getting hit by storm 487691436259816405916394031 today. (Or was it 487691437259816405916394031?)
In all fairness...

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Alexander The 1st » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

MCab wrote:I always thought that hurricanes should be named after villains. That way, the Katrinas, Ritas, and Betsys of the world can be spared.

Hurricane Vader
Hurricane Harkonnen
Hurricane VonDoom
Hurricane Galacticus


Haha, yes.

Hurricane Kane for the win.

But even better, we could do hero protagonist factions as well once we run out:

Hurricane Rebel
Hurricane Atreides
Hurricane Strange
Hurricane Fantastic

EDIT: Or some of the anti-heroes.

Hurricane Solo
Hurricane Ordos
...YOU DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING...

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby liebe1050 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

hrasdt wrote:It didn't refresh for me when I first checked, but minutes later...
On checking the wikipedia, it seems there are around 100,000 Chinese characters, I had thought there were tons more. Still, there are more languages than just English, and it seems sort of stupid to restrict yourself to just one language/system of writing/articulated series of grunts.

It does call into question how bad the world must be for them to have run out of numbers; Hilbert's Hotel and space-filling curves.


Chinese "characters" are like English alphabets, you combine them to form words. So a more fair comparison would be 100,000 Chinese characters to 26 English alphabets. Most Chinese words consist of 1-4 characters, mostly just 2 characters, so in the end the number of Chinese words are about the same order of magnitude as English words.

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Re: 0944: "Hurricane Names"

Postby Cosmologicon » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:48 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:See, I don't agree with the conclusion in the tool tip. Cantor diagonalization ensured that they would always have a new number for the next hurricane. Just reorder (one iteration of bogosort should do) the currently assigned numbers and diagonalize again.

Implicit in your statement is the assumption that there *is* a "next" hurricane. Suppose an uncountable number of hurricanes appear at the same time. Which one is the next one? And more to the point, how can you get through all of them by repeatedly taking the "next" one?

As people have pointed out, Cantor's argument doesn't prove that you can't give them all numbers. It just proves that you can't give them all sequential (or finite-length) numbers.


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