0385: "How It Works"

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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby pinkgothic » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

Suspension of disbelief! *writes it on a paper and flutters it about around your face, invading your personal space in the process* Roar!
Or, if you'd rather, in the spirit of the discussion: why do you discriminate against biology?! OUTRAGE.
:mrgreen:

...anyway, I didn't want to interrupt the slowly boiling remnants of a once gloriously brutal flamewar - just because I can't draw stick figures, to boot. Please, do continue.

*yanks thread back on topic, then promptly flees*
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby zahlman » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:10 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:(And that is not an exaggeration. Recently Feministing, through a vigorous complaint campaign, got David and Goliath to pull their "No means no--well maybe if I'm drunk" shirt. Yay, victory for us! But the URL that previously linked to that shirt now leads to a "Miss Bitch" shirt, with a notice saying that they'll give Feministing people a 10% discount, just enter the passcode nomeansno. You can't make this shit up.)

In any case, I can name PLENTY of offensive sexist t-shirts against women. "Stop rape: say yes." "I like my women like I like my chicken: battered." "I'm too pretty to do math." "I wish Hillary had married OJ." How about that "problem solved" two panel shirt? First panel: male stick figure listens to female stick figure talking annoyingly. Second panel: Male pushes female out of panel, and she plummets out; male grins.


For what it's worth, I've never seen nor heard of any of these. In fact, while I've seen some "boys are stupid; throw rocks at them" merchandise, I haven't seen it on a shirt.

DeadCatX2 wrote:Hence the example with the raptor; to call this comic sexist is to see a tree instead of the forest.


The point stands, though, that Randall could easily have actually done the comic with a raptor, and it would have looked reasonably normal for xkcd, but he didn't. The available evidence suggests that the sexism issue was intended to be highlighted. (OTOH, bringing up the issue does not make the comic, itself, sexist.)

P.S. Happy belated International Women's Day.
Belial wrote:I once had a series of undocumented and nonstandardized subjective experiences that indicated that anecdotal data is biased and unreliable.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Belial » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:16 pm UTC

Yuri2356 wrote:Thought it annoys me on a theoretical level that this depiction of a feminine-looking raptor killing a young man can be viewed as cute and comical, whereas the opposite would likely be met with torches and pitchforks.


Wait...it would?

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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Yuri2356 » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:21 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Yuri2356 wrote:Thought it annoys me on a theoretical level that this depiction of a feminine-looking raptor killing a young man can be viewed as cute and comical, whereas the opposite would likely be met with torches and pitchforks.


Wait...it would?

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Why would you be worried? You're a human!
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby pinkgothic » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:41 pm UTC

I don't know how I managed to miss this:

Quixotess wrote:"Stop rape: say yes."


Hey, that's not sexist! ...and I find it cynically/darkly amusing, though anyone wielding it even with a sliver of seriousness should probably be shot.

From a distance.

:mrgreen:
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Linux0s » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:23 pm UTC

No thread is ever safe from the threat of raptors.
At any time a raptor can rip into a conversation and reduce it to crumbs. :mrgreen:
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby DeadCatX2 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:59 pm UTC

I wonder if the raptor is eating an American. Given the amount of sodium the average American consumes, do you really think they would need salt? And all the preservatives...

I can see it now...a raptor commercial for premium human-food. "Choosey raptors choose Jeff."
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby scarletmanuka » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:45 am UTC

DeadCatX2 wrote:I wonder if the raptor is eating an American. Given the amount of sodium the average American consumes, do you really think they would need salt? And all the preservatives...

I can see it now...a raptor commercial for premium human-food. "Choosey raptors choose Jeff."

So the up-market, diet-conscious raptors would go for the athlete types and the vegans ("grain-fed!"), and the mass-market raptors would go for the mainstream. "Yes, I know these ones have more fat and salt in them than is really good for me, but they're so much easier to find and to kill."
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Dft » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:53 am UTC

Yuri2356 wrote:Aww...
Thought it annoys me on a theoretical level that this depiction of a feminine-looking raptor killing a young man can be viewed as cute and comical, whereas the opposite would likely be met with torches and pitchforks. I hope for a day when we can all be equally expendable in the name of good fun.

On another note, its mouth should be open a bit to accomodate that leg. It doesn't look like it's gripping anything with its mouth.


..I didn't realize those eyelashes were eyelashes until I read this comment. I just took it as random non-gendered raptor trying to lull the girlfriend into a false sense of security before chomping down on her too. Which was funny (because of it being too obvious it wouldn't work).
I might be a deviant weirdo, but I would have found the scenario "Girl: 'Wow, raptors suck at math'. Raptor: 'Wow, humans suck at running'" just as funny. No idea how quick raptors were, but humans do suck at running in comparison to several animals.
My reading: Human with odd expectations gives non-constructive criticism (of which the only point is to belittle the raptor), insulting not only the 'offending' raptor, but all raptors, as if that raptor doesn't matter as individual. Raptor throws insult back into the humans face while giving him a close tour of the underdog's teeth and digestive system.
tl;dr: jackass gets his just desserts, gory slapstick style.
It wouldn't have been as funny if a fellow human ("even" a girl) had guro'd the "You suck" guy for being called bad at math, because a bored carnivore deciding to make a meal out of an idiot is a far more natural development of the situation, and the guy really shouldn't have tempted him. It's as clever as shoving your bare hand into a bee hive and vigorously swatting at the bees, while being high and mighty about it all. As if arrogance would render you immune against harm.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby DeadCatX2 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:05 pm UTC

scarletmanuka wrote:
DeadCatX2 wrote:I wonder if the raptor is eating an American. Given the amount of sodium the average American consumes, do you really think they would need salt? And all the preservatives...

I can see it now...a raptor commercial for premium human-food. "Choosey raptors choose Jeff."

So the up-market, diet-conscious raptors would go for the athlete types and the vegans ("grain-fed!"), and the mass-market raptors would go for the mainstream. "Yes, I know these ones have more fat and salt in them than is really good for me, but they're so much easier to find and to kill."

Brings new meaning to the term "eating Wendys"

Grain-fed made me lol, hard
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby GCM » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:46 am UTC

DeadCatX2 wrote:
scarletmanuka wrote:
DeadCatX2 wrote:I wonder if the raptor is eating an American. Given the amount of sodium the average American consumes, do you really think they would need salt? And all the preservatives...

I can see it now...a raptor commercial for premium human-food. "Choosey raptors choose Jeff."

So the up-market, diet-conscious raptors would go for the athlete types and the vegans ("grain-fed!"), and the mass-market raptors would go for the mainstream. "Yes, I know these ones have more fat and salt in them than is really good for me, but they're so much easier to find and to kill."

Brings new meaning to the term "eating Wendys"

Grain-fed made me lol, hard


How about eating McDonalds!!? Though if I were a raptor, I'd stay away from the feet. Not that I'm suggesting that ANY part of Ronald is going to be tasty. Especially not the make up.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Linux0s » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:35 am UTC

DeadCatX2 wrote:Given the amount of sodium the average American consumes, do you really think they would need salt?
Probably one of those people who watches what they eat (but doesn't watch what eats them).

scarletmanuka wrote:"Yes, I know these ones have more fat and salt in them than is really good for me, but they're so much easier to find and to kill."
Hehehe! So actually raptor "fast food" is rather slow food?

DeadCatX2 wrote:I can see it now...a raptor commercial for premium human-food. "Choosey raptors choose Jeff."
LOL You guys are slaying me (not unlike a raptor at a blackboard)!
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby scarletmanuka » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:19 am UTC

Linux0s wrote:
scarletmanuka wrote:"Yes, I know these ones have more fat and salt in them than is really good for me, but they're so much easier to find and to kill."
Hehehe! So actually raptor "fast food" is rather slow food?
Exactly: slow and unintelligent food = less time and risk required to catch and eat it.
So now you know what the "Slow Food" movement is really all about. :x It's a raptor front I tell you!
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby kaleidors » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:39 pm UTC

DeadCatX2 wrote:
kaleidors wrote:When a woman acts in a masculine manner, she is told she is unladylike. But she is also told that she is incapable of doing manly things she’s attempting. That she’s acting uppity. That she should know her place. That she’s a witch*


You know, I really don't see that. All the tomboys I ever met are well-liked. No one's ever told them "know your role" or anything like that. Hell, I know dads who are happy their little girls are out there getting dirty. I've never met a parent who was happy their boy wanted to wear dresses and play with dolls, though. I don't know how prevalent this is, but I do think in general that tomboys are more well-received than your statement implies.

Little boys playing with dolls do have it harder then girls with trucks, but --
1) Depending on your parents, there are still limits (although more lax). Tomboys still wear panties, not boxers or briefs Tomboys still might have to dress up as a girl character on halloween, etc. My friend who has a tomboy, when they have the ablility to create a character, he makes her create females "so she doesn't forget she's a girl".
2) Tomboy is a childhood phase -- the older you are, the less "tomboy" is the norm: Boyish little girl = tomboy, mannish grown women = butch. Starting at puberty and slowly afterword, you are gently pressured to a more feminine demeanor. It's hard to pick out the 50 yr old tomboy.
3) The are still judged by the same social stigmas. As a child, when her friends are playing shorts she will probably not be picked for team captain. When you stand up for yourself and act aggressively, that's when people say "Who does she think she is?" When similar behavior is more accepted in men. And you're still told that you suck at math and that football is not for you.
Also, it's frustrating that whenever you best a boy at something, his friends will turn to him and say "dude, you totally lost to a girl." But it does feel better when he says "So? You did too." :D

zahlman wrote:I'd like to take this opportunity to explain a few things about myself,

One of the reasons I felt unable to resist the pull of this discussion in the first place is that I spent much of my adolescence in a quite sexually repressed state, feeling constantly threatened by the looming sense that "modern" society was implicitly distrustful of me. That the equipment that entitled me to the title of "man" by definition instead earned the title of "potential rapist" by social decree. ...Words fail me when it comes to describing how it feels, to label yourself as a stalker, because you were too shy to come out and say something. To feel as if you are becoming what you hate the most. To fear every night that you might grow up to be a rapist. ...
And all the time being immersed in a culture of sexuality - peer pressure (not that I felt pressured, mind; just that it served to remind me of what was going on), advertising, hormones. My first kiss was at the tender age of - wait for it - 19 and 10 months. That was actually abnormal enough to bother me, over all the other ways I stood out significantly from the norm and didn't give a damn.


I'm sorry: that sucks. Your story remind me of my friend. He was a sweet, funny, intellegent boy, but his neck beard, greasy looking hair and thick glasses gave him a scruffy appearance. He was a little odd--had a dry, quick wit and a love of musicals, muppets, DnD and indie music. He spoke quietly, so you had to lean in to hear him. And he also liked to give hugs, put his arm around your shoulder, or otherwise be affectionete to girls he thought of as friends. The combination of weirdness, and the personal space issues (too close to hear him, too touchy) caused him a lot of heartache. The incident I think that hurt him the most is that he would go in and to talk with this girl he had a crush on who worked at the coffee shop. Apparently, one day the manager intercepted him and told him he was no longer welcome there, that he was making his staff uncomfortable. He could see the girl peering around the corner, looking downright afraid. The whole incident made him feel like snot.

Also – my husband didn’t kiss anyone till he was almost 20. I was kissed against my will at 14, and it was so horrible I didn’t kiss anyone again till I was 22. I have a host of other friends whose first kiss happened between 17 and 20+, so you’re not that abnormal.

zahlman wrote:.
...It's actually difficult for me to sympathize with rape victims (I reject the term "rape survivor" for most cases; when you imply that something could have killed the target, you should be either serious or totally hyperbolic, and neither tone is appropriate in the case of rape. Would you speak of an "arson survivor", if the property owner were not present at the time of the fire?). Don't get me wrong; it's a horrible thing that's happened to them (and I feel bad even writing the previous sentence, but it's an accurate description of my emotional state), but it serves to remind me that society, at large, couldn't give a damn about my own traumas. Of course, I will probably never actually know what rape "feels like" (and even then, the argument can be made that one of the rare cases of female-on-male rape, or even a homosexual rape, is an entirely different matter), but I imagine that most people (in particular, most women) will never really be able to sympathize with what I've been through, either. So when someone says "how dare you trivialize that", all I can think is "NO U"


I understand what you mean with your metaphor for "rape survivor", but I think your analogy is off and I disagree with it anyway. You are disagreeing with the implied escalation of tragedy when someone is raped vs. murdered or accosted, right? That's not what people are talking about when they're encouraging people to use that term. They're trying to overcome a victim philosophy. They're saying "Yes, I was raped. It happened, but I survived. I'm moving on with my life; I'm not going to be a victim my whole life." In this case it really doesn't matter what you or I think of the survivor term, because it's really for the people who where attacked.

It's odd how our sympathies align. Someone commits a crime; you are accused of that crime by a jury of peers and end up suffering instead of the criminal. You are repeatedly told that you the bad guy, and that there’s no sympathy for you like there is for the victim. You are angry at your peers, which is understandable. It’s also normal that by repeatedly defending yourself from wrongdoing that become angry at the victim and sympathize with the villain. Yet the villain is the one who wronged you. You are taking the punishment for his offense. And it’s not like you can only feel sorry for one person in this scenario. Both you and the victim where wronged; both of you can get sympathy. It’s not a tragedy competition-although it can feel that way.

DeadCatX2 wrote:Actually, if you meant "men suck at cooking", then I do think it would generate roughly the same effect. It's still stereotyping someone else because they're in a different "class", and the stereotypes are probably roughly as popular.


I’d say this is easier to disprove. There are tons of accomplished, famous male chefs. Don’t know as many well known female mathematicians.

Also, I’m equally annoyed with that “myth” as well. It played out in my household with my husband saying “Gee, honey I’m just not as naturally good at this cooking and cleaning stuff as a women. It’s too hard for poor little old male me. I just lack a uterus. Why don’t I go apply my talents to something men are inherently good at, like my MMORPG, and you take care of it, k?” Not that I’m saying all men do this (I hope). Just my little tale of woe not to be taken evidence of one thing or another.

Also: left handed scissors! Why are you so rare? Why are you never at hand when I need to cut something, leaving my scissor work to look like I cut it with my teeth?
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Shai » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:14 am UTC

I'm kind of surprised this conversation is still more or less ongoing. Forgive me for my fatigue, it's been quite a week of illness, but I hope my point remains valid.

I think a lot of the issues regarding 'who has it worse' stems from relativity - it's hard, if not impossible, to see the viewpoint of others. I don't mean imagine, I mean, quite literally, see. No matter how I imagine women view the world, or any particular person, I may or may not be wrong. A person who has never been abused, and then has been smacked in the face, will see the smack much more seriously than somebody who has been abused their whole life.

And therefore, I don't think it's fair to say ANYBODY has it any worse than ANYBODY else, in the respect that there is no ultimate perfection, and that any attempt at perfection has it's downfalls. The rich and famous are depressed, they have no personal lives, they are constantly scrutinized and watched, judged. The beautiful are stalked, the genius are gawked at. I am good at computers, doesn't mean I can fix somebody's idiotic mistakes. I was hit as a kid, but not as bad as I imagine some kids had it. What's my point? It's all relative.

So, I guess my real point is, that no matter what arguments anybody here makes, they can never be seen as fact, because nobody here has the experience to say they have grown up in the exact same world as male, and then (or priorly) as female, or as a different race, or different religion, and can compare the two. Personally, I would like to know what it would be like to live my life in a different perspective, be it different race or gender, so I can know what others have it like. I don't have the benefit of that experience, and nobody else does, so it's not right to make judgment on these terms.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby DeadCatX2 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:36 pm UTC

Shai wrote:And therefore, I don't think it's fair to say ANYBODY has it any worse than ANYBODY else, in the respect that there is no ultimate perfection, and that any attempt at perfection has it's downfalls.

People in [insert your favorite third world country (or, in the case of Africa, third-world-continent) here] have it worse than we do in America.

Seriously, though, I tend to agree, except that I do think some people definitely have it worse than others. But that's on an individual basis, not on a class basis. You may be able to make vague generalizations about how a specific culture or sub-culture treats a specific class, but those are generalizations and do not apply to the entire class or the entire culture.

The arguments begin when people take the generalization too seriously, and think that "all women are abused or looked down on" or that "everyone in society thinks black people are evil", because those are simply not true. I think the people who say those things know that, but their individual experience and bias causes them to be careless in how they phrase their comments.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Philwelch » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:24 am UTC

GCM wrote:
Philwelch wrote:
Belial wrote:
The vast majority of firearms are designed for right-handed shooters, with the operating handle, magazine release, and/or safety mechanisms set up for manipulation by the right hand, and fired cartridge cases ejected to the right. Also, scopes and sights may be mounted in such a way as to require the shooter to place the rifle against his or her right shoulder. A left-handed shooter must either purchase a left-handed firearm (which are manufactured in smaller numbers and are generally more expensive and/or harder to obtain), shoot a right-handed gun left-handed (which presents certain difficulties, such as the controls being improperly located for them or shell cases being ejected towards their body), or learn to shoot right-handed (which may pose additional problems, primarily that of ocular dominance). Fortunately for left-handed people, modern guns feature more ambidextrous or right/left-handed reversible operating parts than their predecessors. Bullpup rifles are particularly problematic for lefties unless they can be reconfigured, since empty shells would be ejected fast and straight into the shooter's face and cheek potentially causing injury.


Ocular dominance is a red herring. Personally, I'm right-handed but left-eyed, and I always shot right-handed, although I've tried both and I wouldn't say shooting with your non-dominant hand was problematic at all. Shooting doesn't require manual dexterity so much as it requires focus, breath control, and the ability to keep your body as still as possible. It's actually quite serene, though those who've never participated in the sport wouldn't understand that.


Hey, if I'm not mistaken, which I might be, don't US soldiers fire left handed? Trained to do so, or so I've heard. Something to do with the right hand being better for making the shot steadier. My source is probably not very reliable, though.
If anyones also played C&C, Generals or Zero Hour, the US Rifleman (sorry, forgot the actual name) carries his weapon left handed in the "build" picture, right?


I wouldn't use C&C as a source on this. Most American troops carry and fire right-handed, if not all. Look at any news footage or photography from Iraq or from previous wars.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Jiggsy » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:23 am UTC

Baalthazaq wrote:...This is also how it works for everything related to generalization...


I only just now realised the irony of this statement...
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby ironiridis » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

Izzhov wrote:
ACEfanatic02 wrote:
Izzhov wrote:
ironiridis wrote:Well, it seems that women have been in a position of being "non-thinkers" for some thousands of years, up until the 17th century or so. Though, that may be my penis-bias talking.

Exactly. And that comes from the evolution of the brains of the different genders.

Actually, to the degree it matters, women are generally better at analytic thought than men. But that distinction is largely irrelevant.

-ACE

See my previous post. Also, cite your sources, please.


I am amused that I cited my source.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby tricky77puzzle » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:43 am UTC

4=5 wrote:good thing he isn't the president of a collage or anything.


Sorry for necro-quoting, but... How is one the presiding party over a mass of cramped-together pictures? (Don't colleges have deans? Or do you mean the student body president?)
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How it Works - 385

Postby smarrs » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:00 am UTC

http://www.xkcd.com/385/

lol, yo.

So the guy and the girl suck at math b/c when they integrate x squared, they forget the integrating factor, which the sub-title tells you (when you move the cursor over the comic)

The sub title says, "its pi plus c, of course" which leads most to think that "pi plus c" is of course the correct answer. Hence the guy and the girl suck at math b/c they didn't write, pi plus c. ....although, this is wrong as well....or maybe this is the true underlying joke that the author sucks at math as well (but I don't think so??) Unless I'm mistaken, but I will explain,

x squared does not integrate to Pi, unless there are bounds on the integral. If its a definite integral (ie bounds exist), the integrating factor can be neglected. In this case, Pi plus c is not the correct answer (since c is neglected).

In the case that no bounds exist (which it looks like they don't) x squared cannot integrate to Pi, so again, Pi plus c is not the correct answer.

the correct answer is (x^3)/3 + c....lol! maybe I've blown this out of proportion HAHAH!

what do you xkcd comic fans think?

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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby popprocks » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:19 am UTC

The cheese must be really hot today.

I'm sorry for your pain.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby gormster » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:37 am UTC

There is already a thread for this comic. Post in that one.

http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18590
Eddie Izzard wrote:And poetry! Poetry is a lot like music, only less notes and more words.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby Thrice Great » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:19 am UTC

maybe he was trying to build a categorical syllogism.
maybe she was being sheepish.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby smarrs » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:07 am UTC

gormster wrote:There is already a thread for this comic. Post in that one.

http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18590



yeah, although that thread is about being sexist. It mentions the correct answer and the fact that the differential is missing. Not that any of this matters, it's just that I don't get why the author made the comic like that. The joke doesn't work b/c the math wasn't done properly by the author or the characters. It's just a comic, so it doesn't have to be perfect, but most, if not all of the other math related material is sound:) Oh well! lol lol

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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby phlip » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:45 am UTC

smarrs wrote:The joke doesn't work b/c the math wasn't done properly by the author or the characters.

What? No, if the math was done properly, the comic wouldn't work. The point is that the character on the right of each panel fails at maths, and the character on the left gives a different explanation for why the character on the right fails at maths, depending on that character's gender.

The joke in the alt-text is, as it almost always is, a completely separate joke... in this case, the ridiculous claim that the answer is "pi + C". This joke is distinct from the joke in the comic itself, which stands on its own. This is the case for pretty much all xkcd comics - the joke(s) in the main comic stand alone, and the alt text gives an extra joke as an afterthought. There's rarely a "true underlying joke" as you put it between the two... it's just a joke, and then another joke on the same topic.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby smarrs » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:23 pm UTC

phlip wrote:
smarrs wrote:The joke doesn't work b/c the math wasn't done properly by the author or the characters.

What? No, if the math was done properly, the comic wouldn't work.


yeah, that's cool, I see where you're coming from. This is how I imagine the joke would make most sense.

1. The guy integrates the integrand to (x^3)/3..."wow, you suck at math"
2. the girl integrates the integrand to (x^3)/3"..."wow, girls suck at math"

alt-text - it's (x^3)/3 plus c, of course.

but yea, its all good. Although you can't say the alt-text is a ridiculous claim b/c most fans will think the alt-text is the correct answer, since it relates to the main comic.

Ok, thanks, peace.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby Dobblesworth » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

Such thinking of normalising the comic and making the strip and alt-text flow together more rationally is probably more for the "ITT We make xkcd worse" discussion, which you are welcome to visit.

To say "wow, you/girls suck at maths" as a result of missing off a +C on the integration would be absurd in any context. Rather the left-hand side protagonist would simply cut to the alt-text about +C, perhaps inverting the joke by "Gadzooks! This girl can integrate as well as the other guy!" But for the person attempting the equation, to evaluate int(x^2) as Pi, is a true sign of sucking at maths, at the tier this strip is aimed at. I say aimed at, meaning a probable majority of readers of xkcd have at least touched secondary school tier calculus and know basic differentiation/integration rules.

At no point does our grand visionary Randall Munroe attempt to educate us on integration in this strip, it is merely commentary on a vague general sexism that is current in mathematics.

The 'joke' as you suggested would not be as such, it would be for the most part, education of integration with the commentary on 'girls suck at maths' alongside. The choice of pi was deliberate; RM knows what int(x^2) is, and assumes a good few readers will as well.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby sje46 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:42 pm UTC

alt-text - it's (x^3)/3 plus c, of course.
but yea, its all good. Although you can't say the alt-text is a ridiculous claim b/c most fans will think the alt-text is the correct answer, since it relates to the main comic.
This is a pretty mathematical-minded comunity. MAny people would get the joke. And even if you are not good at math (like me), you can guess that that answer in the alt-text is not correct. It's cause I understand Randall's sense of humor by now.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby Dromtry » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

smarrs wrote:
gormster wrote:There is already a thread for this comic. Post in that one.

http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18590



yeah, although that thread is about being sexist. It mentions the correct answer and the fact that the differential is missing. Not that any of this matters, it's just that I don't get why the author made the comic like that. The joke doesn't work b/c the math wasn't done properly by the author or the characters. It's just a comic, so it doesn't have to be perfect, but most, if not all of the other math related material is sound:) Oh well! ¡This cheese is burning me! ¡This cheese is burning me!

peace and love

That thread is actually about that particular strip. Each strip generally has its own thread on this here forum.

The joke is funny because it's intentionally wrong. If you took a look at Randall, you'd find out he's pretty damn smart. The man worked for NASA, which is one letter away from the NSA, so he is pretty close to a position where he's heard every conversation you've ever had.
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Re: How it Works - 385

Postby smarrs » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

Dobblesworth wrote:Such thinking of normalising the comic and making the strip and alt-text flow together more rationally is probably more for the "ITT We make xkcd worse" discussion, which you are welcome to visit.

To say "wow, you/girls suck at maths" as a result of missing off a +C on the integration would be absurd in any context. Rather the left-hand side protagonist would simply cut to the alt-text about +C, perhaps inverting the joke by "Gadzooks! This girl can integrate as well as the other guy!" But for the person attempting the equation, to evaluate int(x^2) as Pi, is a true sign of sucking at maths, at the tier this strip is aimed at. I say aimed at, meaning a probable majority of readers of xkcd have at least touched secondary school tier calculus and know basic differentiation/integration rules.

At no point does our grand visionary Randall Munroe attempt to educate us on integration in this strip, it is merely commentary on a vague general sexism that is current in mathematics.

The 'joke' as you suggested would not be as such, it would be for the most part, education of integration with the commentary on 'girls suck at maths' alongside. The choice of pi was deliberate; RM knows what int(x^2) is, and assumes a good few readers will as well.


lol, thanks for the reply. You really don't need to reply so formally though. I just found humour in "making this xkcd worse" as you might put it. Maybe an xkcd comic on overly-formal replies would be funny? lol, jk, thanks again, peace out.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:15 pm UTC

Thanks for the message, bro! :roll:
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby FiendishThingie » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

Izzhov wrote: I really don't want to sound like a sexist here, 'cause I'm not. It's just that... when I look at how the vast majority of societies have women raising the children, and men providing from the family, including many isolated ones which developed independently, I think that there must be something hard-wired into our brains which causes this.


Why hard-wired in our brains? Why not our bodies?

Is it unreasonable to argue that, given male physical strength has always and may always exceed that of females, men have been handed societal dominance on a platter? Traditional society valued strength for evolutionary reasons, and therefore society evolved to value other male traits and devalue those of women.

Quite besides which, this goes absolutely no way to explaining why gender is useful. If childcare is hard-wired into my personal brain, then it's not going to matter whether I was born a woman or a man. Our individual hard-wiring may usually have something to do with gender, but in plenty of cases it doesn't, so why on earth do we go about the messy business of assigning gender from birth anyway? I don't see what's wrong with just letting people make life decisions free of society's notions of gender - and if those among us with lady-parts all end up baking cookies for 2.5 children, then that's a-okay.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Angelbaka » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:53 am UTC

First off, I'd like to remind everyone here that stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason: here in CA, the loudest group of black people are high school dropouts who shoot people, steal shit and constantly call each other nigger. The loudest group of asian people are really f**king smart, and the loudest group of surfers are constantly high.
On that note, all of the smart kids in my advanced math and physics classes with the exception of me (and I'm in a few) have been female and very, very good at it (being female and the subject at hand). This makes me, for you not paying attention, a male minority in advanced math classes.
As an interesting side observation, however, the kids that go into the class a year or so ahead of everyone tend to be male. There are females who do this, but many, many more of those who do are male. So, while the females are more prolific, it is possible that males are in fact naturally better at it.

Aside: don't kill me, I said "Loudest", not "overwhelming majority" or "all" or anything similarly stupid and deserving of death. Just because a lot of Mexicans here are stupid, illegal, and/or gangsters, doesn't mean ALL of them are. The hottest, most intelligent girl I have ever met (and who has ever kicked my ass) was hispanic, and I STILL miss her.

Unrelated: why did the spell check on Firefox think that hispanic should be capitalized? It can be used as an adjective...
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby luketheduke » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:00 am UTC

Angelbaka wrote:Unrelated: why did the spell check on Firefox think that hispanic should be capitalized? It can be used as an adjective...


Because of the English language.

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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby WaterEntity » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

∫x^2 dx = x^3/3+C is what should be written and putting gender roles to math is just stupid because then a bunch of smart girls will want to come hurt you. The only comic out of the lot of them that I felt was completely out of line. And one of the simplest integrals at that. I mean if it was like ∫sin e^(x+2)/(x^2+5)^2 dx then alright. u substitution won't help you there.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Strillz » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:23 am UTC

I think this guy gets the whole issue perfectly. Among other things, he gives some pretty convincing statistical, theoretical, and pragmatic explanations for why women would tend to be seen as discriminated against whether they are or not.

For example, he proposes that the reason men dominate politics, business, etc... is, among other things, because men tend to take more risks than women. Therefore, the ones that are successful end up being at the top while the ones that aren't are dead or homeless or injured. He says that the flaw in feminism is that people notice the men at the top and ignore all the men at the bottom.

He also applies this idea of risk taking to male physiology. For example, men are more likely than women to be geniuses, but they're also more likely to be retards. By that idea, the majority of geniuses will necessarily be men, but males and females will both have the same average intelligence.

The thing I like most about his explanations is that all of them are based on pragmatic advantages and necessities rather than some fundamentally subjective assumption, such as that men are all in on a giant conspiracy to put down women.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby william » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

That article?

It's been linked to like 20 times in this thread already.
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Fantastic Idea » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:34 pm UTC

See, William, I would have appended that sentence with, "You asshole."
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Re: "How It Works" Discussion

Postby Belial » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:57 pm UTC

And then said something unkind about his genitalia.
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