0836: "Sickness"

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0836: "Sickness"

Postby glasnt » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:00 am UTC

Image
Link: http://xkcd.com/836/
Alt: At least, with p<0.05 confidence.


No image yet, broken for me.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby plin25 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:01 am UTC

xkcd isn't even loading for me o_o
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby glasnt » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:02 am UTC

plin25 wrote:xkcd isn't even loading for me o_o

Getting a 503 on the image, but the rest of it's ok?

"Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later."




edit: now site wont load, even on my mobile O_O

I got the alt cos of the placeholder broken image tag.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby I Know Your Name » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:03 am UTC

the site won't but the pic will...

ha, it's great.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby plin25 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:04 am UTC

How'd you get the image and title text if the site's down?

Also, regarding the comic:
"SCIENCE! It works, Bitches!"
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby black_hat_guy » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:06 am UTC

Is this the first time Randall's done that in the comic? (randomly revisiting an old comic)
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby quadmaster » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:08 am UTC

My guess is that now that it's break, a bunch more people decided to catch it at midnight, and we crashed his server 8)

let's all go back to the main page and click reload until it works :)
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Kain » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:12 am UTC

quadmaster wrote:My guess is that now that it's break, a bunch more people decided to catch it at midnight, and we crashed his server 8)


This sounds reasonable, and also falsifiable.

Anyways, GooMHR! I was just reading a bit of Hitchens, saw that it was midnight, realized it was Monday, and navigated here. Heh.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby LordDragonfang » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:17 am UTC

black_hat_guy wrote:Is this the first time Randall's done that in the comic? (randomly revisiting an old comic)

You mean besides your usernamesake? But yeah, he'll do that on occasion, but usually in the alt-text or not as the main punchline...

Also, is that supposed to be the black hat guy's counterfoil, "white hat guy", or just some generic religious dude?
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:20 am UTC

LordDragonfang wrote:Also, is that supposed to be the black hat guy's counterfoil, "white hat guy", or just some generic religious dude?


Interesting... Have we seen white hat guy before?
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby CobaltMouse » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:24 am UTC

*applause*
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby shashwat986 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:29 am UTC

p<0.05 confidence???

Shouldn't it be p<0.05 courage
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Jenni Nikki » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:35 am UTC

I want to print that out and frame it.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Ninjin » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:35 am UTC

Reminded me of one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes:

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby SerialTroll » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:38 am UTC

Just remember that science also says that you are nothing more than a vat of chemicals and that there is no ultimate purpose to your life. Also remember that science says that there is no such thing as free will that your actions are a combination of your environment and your genetic programming.

While science has been wonderfully beneficial to us as a species, I think a world run by scientists would be as scary as the (Western) world when it was run by the Catholic church.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Age of Fable » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:45 am UTC

IMO this is a textbook example of a comic that's exactly one word too long.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby nykevin » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:56 am UTC

Yay science!
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby ZephyrDark » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:57 am UTC

Age of Fable wrote:IMO this is a textbook example of a comic that's exactly one word too long.


I don't know if you get it, but its a reference to this: http://xkcd.com/54/
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Tobu » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:57 am UTC

Hopefully this is mirroring real-life events and $RELATIVE is becoming better.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby udqbpn » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:59 am UTC

Woahhh, Randall officially opens fire on religion. Everybody find cover, quick!!!

*edit: just fixed some spelling errors.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Airbuilder7 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:02 am UTC

Ninjin wrote:Reminded me of one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes:

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."

Followed by a chorus shouting ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER? :D

I like how this echoes back to the original "science" strip and adds some personal overtones to it.

My favorite part: "...bought us some pretty damn powerful slings and arrows of our own."

As for the alt text, I just got through a semester of sequences and series, so I immediately thought of p-series and noted that that number isn't going to converge... But then I managed to remind myself that it was break. What is the significance of 0.05, though?
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Turing Machine » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:04 am UTC

someone forgot to tell Lemaître I guess
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby oracle989 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:07 am UTC

Oh gods, religion mentioned in the comic. We've all seen how that Atheists thread is immortal! MAN THE BUNKERS!
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Qaanol » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:26 am UTC

oracle989 wrote:Oh gods, religion mentioned in the comic. We've all seen how that Atheists thread is immortal! MAN THE BUNKERS!

Read that comic again please. Because when I read it, I see no mention of religion. Plenty of mentions of science (four by my count) one of which is in the phrase “looking for answers beyond science”, but there is no mention of religion. Allusion, perhaps, but not outright mention.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:43 am UTC

Indeed. If anything, it's a variation on the flood victim joke. (Just the details version)
Spoiler:
Religious person hears that a huge storm with flooding predicted is coming, and orders to evacuate. Religious person does not, confident that God will save them. During the course of the joke, Religious Person turns down offers of help from a neighbor driving away, another neighbor in a boat when flooding happens, and helicopter when flooding has put the Religious Person on the roof, with other variations of help thrown in as per the joke teller's whim. Religious Person drowns, goes to Heaven. Religious Person asks God why God didn't save them. God replies "I tried. I sent storm warnings, your two neighbors and a fricken Helicopter!"
- aka $Deity$ provides Humans with the ability to solve their own damn problems with SCIENCE.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby gormster » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:51 am UTC

Ninjin wrote:Reminded me of one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes:

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."


Beat me to it.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby cjcurrie » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:52 am UTC

Ninjin wrote:
Reminded me of one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes:

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."

Followed by a chorus shouting ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER?

I like how this echoes back to the original "science" strip and adds some personal overtones to it.

My favorite part: "...bought us some pretty damn powerful slings and arrows of our own."

As for the alt text, I just got through a semester of sequences and series, so I immediately thought of p-series and noted that that number isn't going to converge... But then I managed to remind myself that it was break. What is the significance of 0.05, though?


It's a referral to the statistical test of significance. If something is greater than .05% likely to happen through random chance, it's not considered a significant correlation.

Also, I love the Hamlet reference going on here.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby BlueNight » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:00 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:
oracle989 wrote:Oh gods, religion mentioned in the comic. We've all seen how that Atheists thread is immortal! MAN THE BUNKERS!

Read that comic again please. Because when I read it, I see no mention of religion. Plenty of mentions of science (four by my count) one of which is in the phrase “looking for answers beyond science”, but there is no mention of religion. Allusion, perhaps, but not outright mention.


Science simply means the gathering of data through observation of phenomena and experiments. Whatever the rules of this universe are, I want to know them... even if the science leads to a multiverse of branes, an ideal being, passions that can affect spacetime, or nothing except a pale blue dot infested for one short gigayear, then silence forever.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby DreamTheEndless » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:02 am UTC

FYI - I have a serious hetero man-crush on you Randall...
(PS - everyone loves my "Science, it works bitches" shirt.)

(PPS - Apropos of nothing; I'd love to see Phil Plait and James Randi guest star in a strip. I think they'd fit in well.)

That's all. Thanks.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:05 am UTC

Not to mention "I begrudge nobody their sources of solace". Even if we take the allusion as a direct reference and the "beyond science" in question to be explicitly religion, he's saying: "there's nothing wrong with being comforted by your religion if that's your thing, but I'm not going to just pray for better health, I'm going to look for practical, scientific solutions to my problem, because those are the kind of solutions that work... bitches". The closest to "bashing" is saying that prayer or whatever is ineffectual except as a psychological comfort, but that there's nothing wrong with using it as such, so long as it's not used as a substitute for science... which works, bitches.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby from canada » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:06 am UTC

the title is surprisingly appropriate as reading this comic made me want to vomit all over my computer
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:09 am UTC

SerialTroll wrote:While science has been wonderfully beneficial to us as a species, I think a world run by scientists would be as scary as the (Western) world when it was run by the Catholic church.


How many scientists have you met in person? While the world should never be run solely by one group of people, scientists are far preferable to Medieval theocracy.

SecondTalon wrote:Indeed. If anything, it's a variation on the flood victim joke.


I thought it was more talking about faith healing and alternative medicine, especially since this is something Randall has brought up before and is more closely related to the medical issue and the role of science in society (IMO).

cjcurrie wrote:If something is greater than .05% likely to happen through random chance, it's not considered a significant correlation.


That would be 5%, not 0.05% (a ridiculous standard).
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:13 am UTC

That was truly awe inspiring.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby squareroot » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:14 am UTC

nash1429 wrote:
LordDragonfang wrote:Also, is that supposed to be the black hat guy's counterfoil, "white hat guy", or just some generic religious dude?


Interesting... Have we seen white hat guy before?


He appeared in http://xkcd.com/796/

Cite_note-1: Google for "xkcd white hat guy".
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:15 am UTC

nash1429 wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Indeed. If anything, it's a variation on the flood victim joke.
I thought it was more talking about faith healing and alternative medicine, especially since this is something Randall has brought up before and is more closely related to the medical issue and the role of science in society (IMO)
.Hm. Maybe it's just me that interprets comments of the "looking for answers beyond Science" nature to be coming from a standpoint of Science|Faith and the two being in opposition. (nevermind that saying Science and Faith are in fights is like saying Chocolate Ice Cream and a 45mph speed limit are in opposition... aka What The Hell Does One Have To Do With The Other?)
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby refugee » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:16 am UTC

Oh, this is going up on blogs, lab bulletin boards, office doors, and sick room bedstands all over the world, darn betcha.

One of the great classics, and not just of xkcd strips.

I refuse to see this as an attack on faith; it is purely an affirmation of tools, and a certain way of thought.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Hypoon » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:19 am UTC

I know I've been beaten to this already, but I'll post it anyway just in case somebody wants it over-explained a bit differently...

The alt text is a reference to statistics: see the Wikipedia page on "Statistical Significance". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I remember the p-value being the probability that you would observe your results if your null hypothesis is true (the null hypothesis is usually when there is nothing special going on, such as a coin being fair or a study finding no correlation between gender and skill). For example, say you were trying to determine if a coin is fairly weighted. You flip the coin, and it lands tails fifty times in a row. You say that the coin is not equally weighted, and your p-value would be \left(\frac{1}{2}\right)^{50}, or on the order of 0.000000000000001. Because your p-value is so small, you're sure that the coin is not fairly weighted. In fact, since the p-value is less than 0.05 (5%), you could say that you are "confident" that the coin is not fair. There is nothing special about the 5%, it's just a commonly used reference. In my high school class, I remember also having to use 10% and 1% at times.

As a side note, I also immediately noticed the presence of the white-hat-guy. OK, so maybe I noticed the tree first, but I noticed him before I started reading the text anyway.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Max2009 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:25 am UTC

I'm just glad that Randall's relative is doing better.
Also, "answers beyond science" could mean magic. It doesn't have to be religion.
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby DakkonA » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:09 am UTC

SerialTroll wrote:Just remember that science also says that you are nothing more than a vat of chemicals and that there is no ultimate purpose to your life. Also remember that science says that there is no such thing as free will that your actions are a combination of your environment and your genetic programming.

While science has been wonderfully beneficial to us as a species, I think a world run by scientists would be as scary as the (Western) world when it was run by the Catholic church.


What's wrong with being a unique vat of chemicals?

I never quite understood what "ultimate purpose" was given by any of the various ascientific systems of thought that was so appealing and would somehow disappear if they weren't around.

As for free will, all science says is that a will that is somehow separable from the universe doesn't exist. But is that a great loss? How many times would you ever do something that wasn't informed by your past experiences in some way? And if you did do something out of character, there was probably something that caused you to make that decision. We have "free will" in the sense that we can't be forced to do something we don't want to do by another person's mind alone, and that the decision making process is so complex in any given person that a random person couldn't fully predict what you would decide before you decide it.

I'm not sure what's so scary about a world run by scientists, especially compared to a world run by politicians?
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Re: 0836: "Sickness"

Postby Analogy » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Randall, I love the comics and I don't know what is happening in your personal life, but the notes I've read over the last few months suggest someone you love is sick. If they can get better, I hope they do. If they can't, I hope you get to spend as much time as you can with them as you can.

And if the comics are fewer and further between, then I don't mind. I love the perspective you give into the human mind. It is clever, irreverent and funny.

Good luck and best wishes!

Sincerely,

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