1159: "Countdown"

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Annihilist
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1159: "Countdown"

Postby Annihilist » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:25 am UTC

Image

Alt text: For all we know, the odds are in our favor.

Just wanted to put this up because I couldn't find one here already.

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rhomboidal
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:29 am UTC

An ancient Mayan prophet did a similar thing covering up their doomsday calendar with the flayed skin of a sacrificial victim. So obnoxious.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Angrist » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:31 am UTC

And may the odds be ever in your favor!

(Couldn't resist.)

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Quicksilver
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:35 am UTC

I like those odds!

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Djehutynakht
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:45 am UTC

Let's face it; whether or not the supervolcano explodes or not, BHG's going to be fine either way, this evidenced by the fact that he has a countdown.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby jpk » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:56 am UTC

So Black Hat Guy's name is Rosencrantz?
Or is it Guildenstern?

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Sillron » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:58 am UTC

jpk wrote:So Black Hat Guy's name is Rosencrantz?
Or is it Guildenstern?


What does this comic have to do with Hamlet? I'm honestly confused...

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby SteevyT » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:04 am UTC

Hey, it's like what the US is doing with the debt! "Let's cover it up and it will probably be fine!"

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby DaveMcW » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:15 am UTC

For all we know, the odds are in our favor.


If you estimate the odds using Benford's law, we are still doomed.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby plin25 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:18 am UTC

Sillron wrote:
jpk wrote:So Black Hat Guy's name is Rosencrantz?
Or is it Guildenstern?


What does this comic have to do with Hamlet? I'm honestly confused...


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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby terjung » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:24 am UTC

jpk wrote:So Black Hat Guy's name is Rosencrantz?
Or is it Guildenstern?


...and here all this time I thought his name was Heisenberg

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Wooloomooloo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:49 am UTC

DaveMcW wrote:
For all we know, the odds are in our favor.


If you estimate the odds using Benford's law, we are still doomed.

Look, I freely admit I suck at math in general and statistics in particular, but why would that be? The "problematic" case is the one when all the invisible digits are zeros, which is less probable than the first digit being "2" (the one we see, as opposed to another potential "2" we don't). Which, according to Benford, seems to amount to less than 17.6% - not stellar odds, but still in our favor, no?

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby evilwombat » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:31 am UTC

The display refresh circuit is in need of leading zero suppression.

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BAReFOOt
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:38 am UTC

Spoiler alert: It still shows 000000 behind the picture, but only because the number is so big, it can’t be displayed.

Assuming that…

It is a 13 digit display. I measured the length of the last 7 digits, and found out, that the picture hides roughly (5¾+¼) digits.
Assuming a 64-bit signed (in case the volcano doesn’t erupt after all) integer, we have a maximum of 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. (Displayed digits are highlighted.)

Looking at the timing of the comic, we have to assume it displays seconds.

So we can say, that it will be at least 10,000,000,002,382 s / 31558149.54 s = approx. 31687.536 (sidereal) years, before the volcano erupts. Plenty of time to… AAAH, what’s that? Everything’s shakiCONNECTION INTERRUPTED

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BAReFOOt
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:46 am UTC

jpk wrote:So Black Hat Guy's name is Rosencrantz?
Or is it Guildenstern?


It’s Ezekiel van Gieldenglick. ;)

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby ouin » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:54 am UTC

It's the final countdown!




Don't look at me, someone had to do this!
I don't like signatures.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby saengerbeatle » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:10 am UTC

every time I make fun of a doomsday-prophecy I still am a little worried. He just might knows something we don't know about....
Lucky enough there is a picture that hides the enormous time we have still left

Perilous_3D
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Perilous_3D » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:17 am UTC

I don't think you're supposed to figure out the maximum amount of time that could be displayed...

I think that the picture is important; almost as much as the dialogue...

Removing the picture could almost be a metaphor for any of man's impending dooms. Apophis recently passed by and we know that in this shooting gallery it is only a matter of time but we thumb our noses in the direction of mars. Why? The internet is more pressing, who knows what is on that countdown thingy on the wall, it ticks, so what? Granted that picture is 100,000,000 miles away so it's not getting taken down on our lunch break or anything. Thankfully it's a delightful picture, right?

Plus he invented warp travel last comic so he is obviously also putting more thought than most of us are willing to admit we have into Mars One...

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:37 am UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:Spoiler alert: It still shows 000000 behind the picture, but only because the number is so big, it can’t be displayed.

Assuming that…

It is a 13 digit display. I measured the length of the last 7 digits, and found out, that the picture hides roughly (5¾+¼) digits.
Assuming a 64-bit signed (in case the volcano doesn’t erupt after all) integer, we have a maximum of 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. (Displayed digits are highlighted.)

Looking at the timing of the comic, we have to assume it displays seconds.

So we can say, that it will be at least 10,000,000,002,382 s / 31558149.54 s = approx. 31687.536 (sidereal) years, before the volcano erupts. Plenty of time to… AAAH, what’s that? Everything’s shakiCONNECTION INTERRUPTED


I don't see why the countdown had to start at 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 just because that's the value of a 64 bit signed integer. NASA doesn't start countdowns at 8 or 32. And even if it did, the existence of secret hidden digits doesn't preclude the fact that they've already ticked over to zero.

Also - check your measurements again. I used a ruler on panel 1 and I'm pretty certain that it's a 14 digit display. Measure the last seven unobscured digits, and then put a ruler over the first half, it perfectly covers the partially/fully obscured digits!

Given what we can see, and assuming that's all that counts: the maximum possible value of the number displayed (by the end of the comic) is:

89,999,900,002,382 seconds
= 1,499,998,333,373 minutes
= 24,999,972,223 hours
= 1,041,665,509 days
= 2,851,925 years

Assuming we're not going to melt in the next 40 minutes, the smallest number possible is:

100,002,382 seconds
= 1,666,706 minutes
= 27,778 hours
= 1,157 days
= 3 years and 62 days

Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?
Last edited by mojacardave on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:38 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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peewee_RotA
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby peewee_RotA » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:34 am UTC

Anybody else think their conversation took a little too long? It took 9 seconds to say "To what?", a surprised response to the answer. Although I do imagine that staring at the picture for about 14 seconds is reasonable. Maybe he should have stared a little longer.


**Edit

After reviewing frames 2 and 3 are in perfect cadence. Especially when putting emphasis on black hat guy thinking for a moment between his two sentences. In the first frame they'd be done speaking in the first 2 seconds, maybe 3. So it's like they stare at each other for 6 seconds thinking about what to say next.
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peewee_RotA
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby peewee_RotA » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:42 am UTC

mojacardave wrote:
BAReFOOt wrote:Spoiler alert: It still shows 000000 behind the picture, but only because the number is so big, it can’t be displayed.

Assuming that…

It is a 13 digit display. I measured the length of the last 7 digits, and found out, that the picture hides roughly (5¾+¼) digits.
Assuming a 64-bit signed (in case the volcano doesn’t erupt after all) integer, we have a maximum of 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. (Displayed digits are highlighted.)

Looking at the timing of the comic, we have to assume it displays seconds.

So we can say, that it will be at least 10,000,000,002,382 s / 31558149.54 s = approx. 31687.536 (sidereal) years, before the volcano erupts. Plenty of time to… AAAH, what’s that? Everything’s shakiCONNECTION INTERRUPTED


I don't see why the countdown had to start at 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 just because that's the value of a 64 bit signed integer. NASA doesn't start countdowns at 8 or 32. And even if it did, the existence of secret hidden digits doesn't preclude the fact that they've already ticked over to zero.

Also - check your measurements again. I used a ruler on panel 1 and I'm pretty certain that it's a 14 digit display. Measure the last seven unobscured digits, and then put a ruler over the first half, it perfectly covers the partially/fully obscured digits!

Given what we can see, and assuming that's all that counts: the maximum possible value of the number displayed (by the end of the comic) is:

89,999,900,002,382 seconds
= 1,499,998,333,373 minutes
= 24,999,972,223 hours
= 1,041,665,509 days
= 2,851,925 years

Assuming we're not going to melt in the next 40 minutes, the smallest number possible is:

100,002,382 seconds
= 1,666,706 minutes
= 27,778 hours
= 1,157 days
= 3 years and 62 days

Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?


There's nothing to indicate that these are numbers of seconds.(besides the fact that it rolls over from a hundred digit and shows more than 60 seconds) Displaying the modulo time displays on a simple digital display would look something like that

Here's 14 digits to represent today's date/time
20120111064206


(Besides, we all know this is just a way to hid a geohashing location anyway)
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mojacardave
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:51 am UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:
There's nothing to indicate that these are numbers of seconds.(besides the fact that it rolls over from a hundred digit and shows more than 60 seconds)


And the fact that black hat guy describes it as a countdown, and the conversation seems to indicate an approximate rate. I wouldn't put it past Randall to use something more obscure than seconds as his units, but unless you can suggest a suitable alternative and explain why it would have been chosen, I'm invoking Occam's razor.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby slimeone » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:02 pm UTC

If BHG has a count down, then I bet it counts down so something that he will make happen.

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mojacardave
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:03 pm UTC

Actually, we've all been looking at this countdown from a purely mathematical point of view: the chances are pretty high that we've got plenty of time left because the probability of 6 zeros is tiny. But there's a psychological aspect: somebody put up that picture for a reason. It's a pretty stupid place to put it accidentally. I can only think of two reasons to cover up those digits:

1) Denial - there isn't much time left and the picture hanger doesn't want to think about it. That seems to suggest that at least the first four digits are zeros.

2) Sociopathy - BHG is definitely the sort to hang a picture over those digits to make people anxious.

Let's hope for case 2.

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mojacardave
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:06 pm UTC

slimeone wrote:If BHG has a count down, then I bet it counts down so something that he will make happen.


Alternative caption: "Now will you leave me alone? I only have 39 minutes to get my satellites into position."

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:14 pm UTC

ouin wrote:It's the final countdown!




Don't look at me, someone had to do this!


Now I have this song stuck to my head. :x

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby cellocgw » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:42 pm UTC

mojacardave wrote:Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?


Crap. Can't you push it back 10 days or so? Then I could at least have my birthday party before the giant volcanic ash cloud buries North America in 2 meters of dust.
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Coyoty » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

No matter what the number is, someone's going to put a sunny picture on it.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby jay35 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:41 pm UTC

evilwombat wrote:The display refresh circuit is in need of leading zero suppression.

Unless that first digit is an "8".

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Whizbang » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:52 pm UTC

mojacardave wrote:Assuming we're not going to melt in the next 40 minutes, the smallest number possible is:

100,002,382 seconds
= 1,666,706 minutes
= 27,778 hours
= 1,157 days
= 3 years and 62 days

Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?


The first digit must be either an 8, 6 or 0. An 1 would not have the left-hand lights turned on, only the right. The 1 would be completely hidden by the picture. So, we're either toast in 40 minutes or have at least a million years.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Klear » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:04 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:
mojacardave wrote:Assuming we're not going to melt in the next 40 minutes, the smallest number possible is:

100,002,382 seconds
= 1,666,706 minutes
= 27,778 hours
= 1,157 days
= 3 years and 62 days

Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?


The first digit must be either an 8, 6 or 0. An 1 would not have the left-hand lights turned on, only the right. The 1 would be completely hidden by the picture. So, we're either toast in 40 minutes or have at least a million years.


What's wrong with 00000100002382?

cellocgw wrote:
mojacardave wrote:Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?


Crap. Can't you push it back 10 days or so? Then I could at least have my birthday party before the giant volcanic ash cloud buries North America in 2 meters of dust.


Yeah, 5 days would be enough for me.

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mojacardave
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:22 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
cellocgw wrote:
mojacardave wrote:Who's up for starting a 'Randall doomsday prophecy' rumour for Wednesday 13th March 2016?


Crap. Can't you push it back 10 days or so? Then I could at least have my birthday party before the giant volcanic ash cloud buries North America in 2 meters of dust.


Yeah, 5 days would be enough for me.


Afraid not, if you wanted to put it back, it'd have to be by another 3 years and 62 days, to match the third smallest possible display.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby KingErroneous » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:22 pm UTC

I would worry if the digits suddenly became a sequence of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Socks
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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Socks » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:51 pm UTC

Haha, that's the hardest I've laughed at an XKCD comic in a while... And it's so simple.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Whizbang » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:01 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
Whizbang wrote:Words
What's wrong with 00000100002382?


D'oh!

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby rcox1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:13 pm UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:
DaveMcW wrote:
For all we know, the odds are in our favor.


If you estimate the odds using Benford's law, we are still doomed.

Look, I freely admit I suck at math in general and statistics in particular, but why would that be? The "problematic" case is the one when all the invisible digits are zeros, which is less probable than the first digit being "2" (the one we see, as opposed to another potential "2" we don't). Which, according to Benford, seems to amount to less than 17.6% - not stellar odds, but still in our favor, no?


If there are six zeros, then there is essentially 1 in a million chance that doom is imminent. If everything is zero except for the least significant bit, then there again is essentially a 10 in 1 million chance that death is not imminent but not so much.

Chances are there are at 10^9seconds lefts. As the sub has probably not much more than 10^14 seconds left, this clock may very well be competing with the end of the solar system.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Schema » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:46 pm UTC

ouin wrote:It's the final countdown!

Do dooo do, do do do do doooo. Doo do doooo do, do do do doo do doo.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby Whizbang » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:44 pm UTC

At the risk making a fool of myself a second time... a thought:

The timer was made sometime in the past 100 years. If the estimated time of eruption were at all imminant (within a few hundred years) it would be big news for everyone. Also, there would be no need to make it out to 14 digits. So, it is more than likely that the first digit is an 8 or a 6. For the first digit to be a zero, either the maker would have had to needlessly added in digits or the digit started out as a 1 and ticked over to zero sometime in past xx years since the timer was made, leaving us plenty of time to pretend everything is ok.

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby senor_cardgage » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:11 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:Here's 14 digits to represent today's date/time
20120111064206


We went through a time warp and wound up in last year?

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Re: #1159: Countdown

Postby alreadytaken4536 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:14 pm UTC

I don't get why they would need to remove the picture. It's counting DOWN right? Is this like... a clock rollover joke?


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