0957: "Development"

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AvatarIII
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:10 pm UTC

radtea wrote:APA must mean the "American Physics Society".


something feels wrong here.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Faux » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:14 pm UTC

radtea wrote:
mjh2539 wrote:(...) Revamping your ridiculously inefficient socialized health care system to the point where you spend the same amount per capita as Canada does would save even more (...)


Either you have a gross misunderstanding of what "socialized" means or of how the health care process works in the US. Not sure which.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

At one side I'm sort of happy that Randall has made a joke that's way outside his "field" and not offensive or patronising at all (we all remember what happened when the awful antropology joke on the "Sesame Street" strip, don't we?), and is really quite good. Then again, it's certainly the result of Randall using the "Random article" feature on Wikipedia again.

But really, is it so hard to understand the joke just because it's not about computers and maths and physics? Geez, I only had the slightest knowledge of who Piaget was and his area of study, and it was enough to understand what Randall is talking about. It's not a hilarious joke, but this is light-years ahead of Monday's atrocious DRM garbage.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby coffeefrog » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:51 pm UTC

bobbbbbbby1234 wrote:Worst XKCD ever. I thought 'properties' was referring to real estate.


I don't want to break Randall's Rules of the Foraverse Number 6, but a comic isn't bad because you're not versed in psychology or hurricane theory. This is funny on so many levels.

radtea wrote:Philosophers study the contents of their own imaginings. Physicists study objects and their properties. Ergo, APA must mean the "American Physics Society".


However, Psychology is an evidence-based field (these days, Freud has a lot to answer for however), which is looked down on by people who wrongly assume it's synonomous with counselling and the more dodgy psychotherapy variants, or "lesser than" psychiatry and other medical fields. The Amercian Psychological Association is the most famous of the 'APA' options possible, principally because of the APA Style Guide, used across so many scientific publications it becomes very hard to count them easily. The psychological reference is clear from Piaget. All is clear from that context that Randall is referencing the personification of hurricanes - the parallel jokes are also there.

Professor Normal wrote:Psychologists measure cognitive development on the 5 stage Piaget scale. The NHC measures hurricane strength on the 5 stage Saffir-Simpson scale.


I understand you're not a psychology professor. When you try to rebut steampunktripod, try to remember that there is no 5 stage Piaget scale. Piaget's theory of cognitive development has 4 stages, the first stage being the sensorimotor stage, which has 6 sub-stages. I'm not certain that Randall isn't referencing the first stage substages (really 1.5 and 1.1) as well as the "one step past the top of the scale" reference he seems so fond of, as Piaget was seemingly obsessed by the fact that all infants suck stuff (just like hurricanes) and covers this in sub-stage one, and this stage (in 'infants' rather than 'children') deals a lot with circular reactions, novelty and curiousity - all features attributed to hurricanes. Also, if you follow current evolution in Psychology (and aren't totally stuck at DSMIII), you'll see that people are challenging some of Piaget's findings - eg. infants 1-4 months old can have an understanding of object permanence.

I suspect, but am not certain, that Randall didn't make a mistake. He meant only stage 5 of the infant stage in the whole model, which is sometimes (as far as I know, mis-)taught as Piaget's theory of infant cognitive development. This makes the joke funnier, as Piaget references infants banging on things, at this point being goal-directed and having an interest in looking under things (eg. roofs).

As a NB, if anyone knows why my wife applies a theory of object permanence (and ownership) to her daily morning latte when I see her drink it into extinction, please let me know. Even better, if you can create said permanence I'll never again have to work the espresso machine for her when I'd rather be sleeping.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby nealo » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

Must be tired.
I managed to substitute NHC as the National Hadron Collider. WTF is that?
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Frankie » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:33 pm UTC

bobbbbbbby1234 wrote:Worst XKCD ever. I thought 'properties' was referring to real estate.

That's your own fault for not knowing (or at least googling) who Piaget is. xkcd expects people to be well-read. I appreciate that. Every once in a while I don't get a reference (like the craigslist bit about the minotaur) and it almost always turns out to be worth learning.

AvatarIII wrote:i really think xkcd should come with a glossary for strips like this where getting the joke is contingent on knowing certain words, facts or acronyms.

It does: http://explainxkcd.com

The primary joke is a concept-pun on
http://www.google.com/search?q=hurrican ... ent+saffir
vs
http://www.google.com/search?q=infant+d ... ent+piaget

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Airbuilder7 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:35 pm UTC

GalstafSofL wrote:APA is the american psyhological association.

The Piaget scale if I wikipedia correctly (iiwc?) measures level of cognitive ego developement. So it's becoming self aware.

edit: ninja'd.

Now I get it.

Rereading the comic with that in mind, I chortled shortly afterward. :D

"Fear turned to confusion..." :lol:

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

Frankie wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:i really think xkcd should come with a glossary for strips like this where getting the joke is contingent on knowing certain words, facts or acronyms.

It does: http://explainxkcd.com


oh cool,

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby clashmo » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:43 pm UTC

NixonsGhost wrote:Why is the logo the EA Origin logo?

I am confuse.


^^ What I was thinking...

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby JavaJim » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

I got the Piaget reference right away, but the classic Piaget set of stages are his four stages of cognitive development. There is no "stage 5." The comic must be referring to the 5th sub-stage of the of the sensorimotor stage (that is, stage 1 of Piaget's theory of cognitive development).

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby notgm » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:22 pm UTC

not funny at all. my parents were killed by an improperly diagnosed self-aware hurricane.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby sje46 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:00 pm UTC

Are people *seriously* debating whether this refers to the American Philosophical Association or the American Psychological Association?

It's psychological. Nothing indicates it's philosophical. If you think otherwise you just may be a bit....daft.

I'm glad to see a comic about a social science that isn't dismissive towards it. There's a wealth of material for jokery in the field of psychology
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:06 pm UTC

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby DougDean » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

No problem unless it gets to level 6 - that's where they start throwing tantrums

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby bmonk » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:51 pm UTC

And the moral of this cartoon is Kohlberg's stage 6. But hurricane Rina got stuck in Erickson's stage 7, and stagnated over New Jersey.
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby JohnTheWysard » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

In a related development, the proposal to merge the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology was withdrawn when it became clear that the House would never approve a new FEMA-NIST government agency.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby jordan » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:00 pm UTC

Solus wrote:Hurricanes are frequently described as developing from one stage to another. Randall just amusingly invoked a different sort of development. I found it funny even without the reference to the NHC. I thought the comic was great, but then I'm a psychology student.


Ditto. :) Studied computer science at university, but did psychology at A-level. I actually came here expecting people to complain that it was too obvious, until I considered that most people have no reason to know about Piaget's stages of cognitive development…

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Thorv » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:13 pm UTC

radtea wrote:Philosophers study the contents of their own imaginings. Physicists study objects and their properties. Ergo, APA must mean the "American Physics Society"


I agree that the study of physical objects and their properties belongs to physics. However, the expression "objects and their properties" is more likely to be found in a philosophical essay in ontology than in a physics paper.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby cphite » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:25 pm UTC

ShuRugal wrote:oh come on people, it's not that hard... There has been talk of cutting funding for the National Hurricane Center to help with the budget. Randall is pointing out how ludicrous this idea is: If the NHC is defunded, who is going to forecast hurricanes? the APA?


To answer your question, if the proposed defunding of the NHC occurs, the NHC will still forecast hurricanes. The proposed cuts were actually for new aircraft that are used to track hurricanes; but they'd still have access to and would still be able to operate the existing aircraft. And there isn't any reason to suspect that the existing fleet isn't adequate for the job. The argument could certainly be made that having more and/or updated planes would be better, but the notion that not having these new planes is going to prevent them from doing their jobs is nonsense, and nothing more than political grandstanding.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby monicaclaire » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:05 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
radtea wrote:APA must mean the "American Physics Society".


something feels wrong here.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby HunterGuy2 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:27 pm UTC

I'm surprised so many people are complaining that it's too hard to understand.

Step 1: Read the title. It means there's something significant about "development".
Step 2: Hey, I don't get what "Piaget" is. Wiki! *read details about each stage of cognitive development*
Step 3: Wow, there are an incredible number of clever parallels to be drawn between Piaget, hurricanes, and children.

The comment about "Sustained interests in objects and their properties" just gives you a running start.

I wonder if "child development" is also play on "El Nino"?

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:29 pm UTC

Those aren't question marks in the comic. They're Rina's deadly but adorable dolly hurricanes she can never go anywhere without.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Vnend » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:30 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Vnend wrote:blowfishhootie, let me guess: you don't live on the Atlantic seaboard, do you?


I've lived in Florida my whole life...


Well, I blew that one then.

Andrew accelerated quickly after the Bahamas, and wikipedia reports the evac. warning was issued at 11pm, with the storm hitting just after 4am. I liked this paragraph:

wikipedia wrote:The highest recorded surface gust, within Andrew's northern eyewall, occurred at the home of a resident about a mile from the shoreline in Perrine, Florida. During the peak of the storm, a gust of 212 miles per hour (341 km/h) was observed before both the home and anemometer were destroyed. Subsequent wind-tunnel testing at Clemson University of the same type of anemometer revealed a 16.5% error. The observed value was officially corrected to be 177 mph (285 km/h)


(Which, when you think about it, sounds remarkably like an xkcd cartoon...)

I remember reading a book on global weather simulation back around 1982 or so. The best model running at the time had 10K points with two layers for the entire Earth. As expected, while it was an improvement, it still sucked. By 1992 and Andrew things would have improved, but still had a long way to go (a 1995 paper mentions models dealing with 100km units, for a little more than 500K points). Today is better still (it looks like some models are using a 5km grid in some areas, but also using larger grids in other places. However, a cumulus cloud is a 1km object, so we still have a way to go). A quick look doesn't turn up any details on how many layers per grid segment though.

To see the trend in accuracy, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NHC_A ... Trends.gif based on http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/verification/ve ... html?#FIG1 . Yeah, the 24h forecast still has about a 60NMi average error (2005, down from 140 in 1972), but look at the improvements in longer ranged forecasts. The 72 hour forecast is down from an average error of nearly 700 nautical miles in 1972 to 150 in 2005.

Basically, it is a big, ridiculously complex undertaking. We've been improving. At least, until recently. Remember that whole 'global warming' thing? Guess what happens when you inject more energy into a complex dynamic system? Variation increases! The Discordians are delighted; weathermen, less so. So it goes.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Vnend » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:50 pm UTC

coffeehorse wrote:However, Psychology is an evidence-based field (these days, Freud has a lot to answer for however), which is looked down on by people who wrongly assume it's synonomous with counselling and the more dodgy psychotherapy variants, or "lesser than" psychiatry and other medical fields.


Case in point, a recent article a friend referred me to:

How Psychology Solved A WWII Shipwreck Mystery
http://www.npr.org/2011/09/27/140816037/how-psychology-solved-a-wwii-shipwreck-mystery

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:53 pm UTC

NixonsGhost wrote:Why is the logo the EA Origin logo?

I am confuse.


I think the question you ought to be asking is, "why is the logo for Origin the hurricane symbol?"

As regards the comic: aren't hurricanes measured in categories? As in, a Category 3 hurricane or whatever? (Or am I thinking of tornadoes?) I understand it's essential to the joke, but I've never heard of hurricanes measured in stages.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby gnoitall » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:56 pm UTC

cphite wrote:The proposed cuts were actually for new aircraft that are used to track hurricanes;

Do you have a citation for that? The reports I've seen (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/ ... 9L20110901) report a 42% cut in the overall hurricane hunter mission, with no distinction between acquisition and operation. If you're arguing that the remaining 58% of the budget is the intended operations budget, that'd be rather odd, since acquisition budgets are usually distinguished from O&M budgets, even at this level. (i.e., it would be odd to report both as one big number.)

The same report mentions a possible cut in the DoD budget in the corresponding military equivalent (WC-130J missions of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron). And since I'm pretty sure the Air Force has already taken delivery of all the WC-130Js they're going to for a while, this wouldn't be an acquisition cut, but an O&M one.

Of course, this is all politicians floating crazy plans and politicians talking crazy about crazy plans, so who knows where the budget cuts will come down?

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:15 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:But really, is it so hard to understand the joke just because it's not about computers and maths and physics? Geez, I only had the slightest knowledge of who Piaget was and his area of study, and it was enough to understand what Randall is talking about.

Honestly? Yes. To the average person, it's going to be just as obscure as college-level physics. Don't get me wrong; I think everyone should be required to take an introductory psych class in college, if only to clear up the misconception that the field begins and ends with Freud (or for that matter, that anyone outside of Hollywood gag writers still takes him seriously). But such is not the world we live in. I admit I'm an outlier for even going to a college that required a certain amount of hours in liberal arts courses, much less that I happened to be interested enough in psychology to put three of those hours into it.

But you know what? I'm totally cool with Randall changing it up like this once in a while. Give those math and computer geeks in the audience an idea of what the math and computer strips look like to everyone else. This has always been a comic where he basically writes whatever strikes him as funny that day, and sometimes that doesn't mean jokes about Linux or the Large Hadron Collider.
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby muthman » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:22 pm UTC

Yeah! I am just excited for a psychology related strip today. As a psychologist, I often feel left out among all the math and physics jokes. Maybe I should talk to somebody about that! :D

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby unus vox » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:14 am UTC

JohnTheWysard wrote:In a related development, the proposal to merge the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology was withdrawn when it became clear that the House would never approve a new FEMA-NIST government agency.


I don't always /thread, but when I do, I prefer to /thread this.

Spoiler:
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Spoiler:
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby SirMustapha » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:09 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:Honestly? Yes. To the average person, it's going to be just as obscure as college-level physics.


Yes, definitely, it would be crazy to disagree with that. But what bugs me is that a large part of the xkcd fanbase is always bragging about how xkcd is an "intelligent" webcomic and that it requires a somehow "above average" level of intelligence or culture to understand, but when Randall deviates just a little bit from its niche (computers and maths), then people go crazy and complain that they can't understand it. There's a huge contradiction in there: if the fans were really that smart, they'd at least bother to read Wikipedia before going "BRAIN MALFUNCTION DON'T GET JOKE". It strikes me as if people are actively trying not to get the joke! And see that I'm not even arguing that people should know more psychology and Piaget (that would yield a much deeper discussion), but I'm arguing that yes, it's possible to have an idea of what the joke is about without having any deep knowledge about it. I'm saying that, you know, maybe this "geek" movement shouldn't be so proud for being completely inept in fields not directly related to maths?

But you know what? I'm totally cool with Randall changing it up like this once in a while. Give those math and computer geeks in the audience an idea of what the math and computer strips look like to everyone else.


Yes, I agree completely.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby ijuin » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:56 am UTC

The Moomin wrote:I'm intrigued by these police radar guns that are inaccurate by over 5 days, tell me more.

I'm pretty sure you're deliberately misinterpreting the statement, but I'll explain anyway. I meant that police radar guns frequently give an error of more than 2.0 knots when measuring the speed of objects--e.g. trees being reported as actually being in motion. As such, radar is not necessarily sufficiently accurate to reduce the margin of error for measuring a hurricane's path by a great deal below the current error margins.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Himself » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:16 am UTC

Based on the question marks it seems that Rina (nice job on the name btw as that is the next one up) could in fact be Hurricane Where-the-Hell-is-Bermuda (http://xkcd.com/453/).
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Corporat » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:53 am UTC

I think Piaget had a lot of stages, or perhaps weighted on the early-development side. Either way it seems stage 5 is becoming a toddler.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Kyoru723 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:27 am UTC

Yay! I finally get to say "Get out of my head, Randal!" We were just learning about Piaget in class today

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby scarletmanuka » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:30 am UTC

In a rare turn of events, I find myself obligated to agree with SirMustapha's posts, which I found to be entirely reasonable and accurate.

SirMustapha wrote:But really, is it so hard to understand the joke just because it's not about computers and maths and physics? Geez, I only had the slightest knowledge of who Piaget was and his area of study, and it was enough to understand what Randall is talking about.

All I know of Piaget is what my wife mentioned to me around 12-15 years ago when she was doing an early childhood course at uni. That was easily enough for me to get the joke (which isn't all that obscure: changing the sense in which hurricanes "develop", as should have been clear from the title even without knowing who Piaget was).

SirMustapha wrote:But what bugs me is that a large part of the xkcd fanbase is always bragging about how xkcd is an "intelligent" webcomic and that it requires a somehow "above average" level of intelligence or culture to understand, but when Randall deviates just a little bit from its niche (computers and maths), then people go crazy and complain that they can't understand it.

To be fair, the computer / mathematics ones usually draw a few requests for explanation too; the much larger number for non-computer topics could be just a demographic effect. But I fully agree with your disappointment that so many people apparently couldn't be bothered looking up the minimal amount of information required to understand the joke. It really isn't that hard.

Of course there's a self-selection effect there too. The people who did bother to look up Piaget wouldn't have been posting "I don't get it", so they're underrepresented in the thread. So I'd just like to say "thank you" to everyone who did that. :)

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby invalidsyntax » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:04 pm UTC

Honestly, I thought this comic was a pun on a couple different forms of development. Piaget has a theory of cognitive development. When you're in an object-oriented development stage in software engineering, you focus on objects and its properties when planning out your code.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby gnoitall » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:15 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:
The Moomin wrote:I'm intrigued by these police radar guns that are inaccurate by over 5 days, tell me more.

I'm pretty sure you're deliberately misinterpreting the statement, but I'll explain anyway. I meant that police radar guns frequently give an error of more than 2.0 knots when measuring the speed of objects--e.g. trees being reported as actually being in motion. As such, radar is not necessarily sufficiently accurate to reduce the margin of error for measuring a hurricane's path by a great deal below the current error margins.

To pick a mediocre analogy, that's arguing that snipers can't possibly hit targets at 1000 meters and beyond because a .38 Special snub-nose pistol isn't meaningfully accurate beyond 20 meters.

The capabilities of a police radar don't meaningfully reflect at all on the capabilities of a dedicated weather-surveillance doppler radar. According to the WSR-88d System Specification document (http://www.qsl.net/n9zia/pdf/2810000C.pdf), page 3-60, velocity accuracy "will be less than or equal to 1.0 ms-1"... i.e., less than 1 meter/second.

Pretty accurate. With all post-processing and quantization effects, I expect final velocity measurement accuracy to be +/- 10 m/s, though that's just a guess. But a very conservative guess.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Charley » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:24 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:Is forecasting hurricanes such a specific science that it needs a team of meteorologists dedicated specifically to that task around the clock?
Yes.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:Honestly? Yes. To the average person, it's going to be just as obscure as college-level physics.


Yes, definitely, it would be crazy to disagree with that. But what bugs me is that a large part of the xkcd fanbase is always bragging about how xkcd is an "intelligent" webcomic and that it requires a somehow "above average" level of intelligence or culture to understand, but when Randall deviates just a little bit from its niche (computers and maths), then people go crazy and complain that they can't understand it. There's a huge contradiction in there: if the fans were really that smart, they'd at least bother to read Wikipedia before going "BRAIN MALFUNCTION DON'T GET JOKE". It strikes me as if people are actively trying not to get the joke! And see that I'm not even arguing that people should know more psychology and Piaget (that would yield a much deeper discussion), but I'm arguing that yes, it's possible to have an idea of what the joke is about without having any deep knowledge about it. I'm saying that, you know, maybe this "geek" movement shouldn't be so proud for being completely inept in fields not directly related to maths?

But you know what? I'm totally cool with Randall changing it up like this once in a while. Give those math and computer geeks in the audience an idea of what the math and computer strips look like to everyone else.


Yes, I agree completely.

I have never studied psychology in any way, shape, or form, and while I did not get the relevance behind Piaget himself until reading the forum, the joke itself was pretty obvious.

The peak of my study of hurricanes is basically the Magic School Bus book on them. Soo...yeah, if this one is difficult for you, maybe you just need to learn to sit a few seconds and think before immediately running to the forum.

Also: "objects and their properties" being "mainly a philosophical" thing? What? I mean, maybe if you didn't know anything about babies or sentience you wouldn't think it was psychology, but...that's elementary school science class right there. Why would you think it would be philosophy instead of physics?
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

tgape
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:18 pm UTC

Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby tgape » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:59 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:Yes, definitely, it would be crazy to disagree with that. But what bugs me is that a large part of the xkcd fanbase is always bragging about how xkcd is an "intelligent" webcomic and that it requires a somehow "above average" level of intelligence or culture to understand, but when Randall deviates just a little bit from its niche (computers and maths), then people go crazy and complain that they can't understand it.


That's because a large part of the xkcd fanbase enjoys it because it makes them feel smart when they understand it. When they *don't* understand it, it's an unpleasant reminder to them that they are not as smart as they think they are.

On the other scale, you have people like, I would presume, yourself, who prefer the xkcd comics they don't initially understand, because it gives them exposure to something that they don't know, thus making them smarter.

For what it's worth, I'm a lazy bum. When I don't get an XKCD comic, rather than googling it right away, I wait until that evening or the next day, and check the forums. (Usually, the answer's already in the forums when I look at XKCD initially, but since I do that right before work, I don't really have time then.)


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