Search found 3035 matches

by orthogon
Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:48 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0032: "Hubble"
Replies: 35
Views: 12671

Re: What-If 0032: Hubble

I wonder what use both a hammer and a set of dice have to the ordinary desk user, and if any research went into determining the items on a typical desk. Smart kids always use dice to generate their RSA keypairs. It's the only way to be sure they haven't fixed the random number generation. The desk ...
by orthogon
Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:24 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1133: "Up Goer Five"
Replies: 228
Views: 92189

Re: 1133: "Up Goer Five"

Hello everyone who likes to write about the pictures of funny stick people and other ideas. These are my first words to this part of world talking space so I hope it is okay to write to you. A friend wrote a phone thing for phones of the green guy. You can use it to send simple words to talking spa...
by orthogon
Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:26 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1171:"Perl Problems"
Replies: 43
Views: 20420

Re: 1171:"Perl Problems"

This is not a shocking result. For me, perl is the *only* language that I cannot *read* another programmer's program!! Perl does have the reputation of being a "write-only" language. Brilliant. :lol: As sbkp implies, you have to be a pretty skilled perl programmer to be able to read your ...
by orthogon
Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:53 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1170: "Bridge"
Replies: 135
Views: 29093

Re: 1170: "Bridge"

... the middle of a bridge is not the first place you should choose to park and have a tailgate party... You can park on London's Waterloo Bridge . That single yellow line next to the cycle lane means parking is allowed outside working hours (after 6.30pm I think). This bridge has, for my money, on...
by orthogon
Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:27 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1170: "Bridge"
Replies: 135
Views: 29093

Re: 1170: "Bridge"

Haylo wrote:The bridge is on fire?

I'm a bridge engineer and frankly they're not the most flammable of structures... *nods*

They are if you have a truck load of FOOF. (See the Interplanetary Cessna thread for details).
by orthogon
Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:24 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0031: "FedEx Bandwidth"
Replies: 57
Views: 17631

Re: What-If 0031: FedEx Bandwidth

speising wrote:In this vein: since switching to digital data transmissions, our em pollution becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate from random noise for any listening aliens.

Excellent point. Is that why SETI never found anything?
by orthogon
Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1170: "Bridge"
Replies: 135
Views: 29093

Re: 1170: "Bridge"

Maybe we could do a vegetarian version of "Steak Drop" where we try to steam some broccoli by dropping it into water from a great height? I'm pretty sure that if you get broccoli up to hypersonic speed it will simply turn into green mist. And that's why they don't build fighter jets out o...
by orthogon
Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:12 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1170: "Bridge"
Replies: 135
Views: 29093

Re: 1170: "Bridge"

I wonder if a large mass of steel hitting the water will stop instantly or will decelerate more gradually than that. I know water is normally incompressible but ... an entire bridge? Maybe some physics buffs could figure out just how fast the bridge would decelerate to zero. In think the force will...
by orthogon
Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1170: "Bridge"
Replies: 135
Views: 29093

Re: 1170: "Bridge"

People jumped off the roof of the Twin Towers too, and while 9/11 didn't have many survivors, I can guarantee that those people weren't among them. Not from the roof, no, but there was Pasquale Buzzelli , who it appears is generally accepted (i.e. even by snopes.com) to have survived falling from t...
by orthogon
Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:01 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0031: "FedEx Bandwidth"
Replies: 57
Views: 17631

Re: What-If 0031: FedEx Bandwidth

I'd be interested in the comparative energy efficiencies, i.e. Joules per bit-metre. For a 44-tonne truck loaded with micro-SD cards, I make it 3.3x10 -16 J/bit/m Assumptions: 44-tonne truck gets 8mpg fully loaded (1 UK gallon = 8x0.568l, 1 mile = 1609m) [Yahoo answers] Tare weight of 44-tonne truck...
by orthogon
Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:53 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 44487

Re: 1168: Tar

This thread proves the sheer lack of humor sense present in some *nix users. Why read xkcd at all? The way I approach the forums is this: The comic portrays a ludicrously implausible and contrived situation, for humorous effect. In this context, the very act of making a post which purports to inter...
by orthogon
Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:00 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1166: "Argument"
Replies: 177
Views: 36288

Re: 1166: "Argument"

Today's batteries are generally much more cheaply constructed than the ones used in the Oxford Electric Bell. They really don't make them like they used to. Then again, there might have been a Cambridge Electric Bell, as well as London, Plymouth, Hull, Manchester, Scarborough, Leamington Spa, Swind...
by orthogon
Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:46 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 44487

Re: 1168: Tar

I don't think we can assume it's a shell, even though it seems to have a prompt. It would be easier to write a script, which calls tar with the arguments you supply. Or it's a special shell that does the same. Such a thing would have to be called the "bomb shell". Well, if it takes everyt...
by orthogon
Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:43 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 44487

Re: 1168: Tar

I don't think we can assume it's a shell, even though it seems to have a prompt.
It would be easier to write a script, which calls tar with the arguments you supply. Or it's a special shell that does the same. Such a thing would have to be called the "bomb shell".
by orthogon
Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:53 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0030: "Interplanetary Cessna"
Replies: 108
Views: 35089

Re: What-If 0030: Interplanetary Cessna

Then there's of course xkcd 540 . This just adds weight to my XKCD Memetic Completeness Conjecture . (Note the capitalisation). Also, sometimes I think I should read the rules of cricket, just so I know what all the fuss is about. Then I remember how I once spent a half hour watching rugby and coul...
by orthogon
Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:10 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0030: "Interplanetary Cessna"
Replies: 108
Views: 35089

Re: What-If 0030: Interplanetary Cessna

On a somewhat related note, I'm currently writing a little SF piece set on a planet with about half of Earth's gravity. In one scene, there's a wild chase across the roof-tops, and I was asking myself whether it was safe to assume, as an approximation, that you could jump about twice as far and sur...
by orthogon
Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:52 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"
Replies: 156
Views: 57869

Re: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"

Curiously, I have a similar problem with e.g. Plaza Colon in Madrid. I believe that a mere tilde separates the great explorer from the aforementioned digestive organ. No wonder he set sail away from Spain at the first opportunity. School must have been hell.
by orthogon
Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:08 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1163: "Debugger"
Replies: 175
Views: 28731

Re: 1163: "Debugger"

Some one, some where, some other when wrote a bug free program. Looks like a good foundation stone for a Religion. Some one, some where, some when is perfect. That's the Western Way. The, "I doubt it." That's funny. Doubting Thomas's do not make the world go around. Doubting Thomas's go a...
by orthogon
Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:15 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"
Replies: 156
Views: 57869

Re: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"

rmsgrey wrote:[...] Electoral Precedent has not been updated to reflect subsequent events, so we should not break precedent here.

You're citing "Electoral Precedent" as a precedent? Now that is ironic. I think.

[EDIT: s/quot/cit]
by orthogon
Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:52 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"
Replies: 156
Views: 57869

Re: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"

TimXCampbell wrote:
amulshah7 wrote:It looks like magnificent is spelled incorrectly in the second panel. It should be 'magnificent,' but it looks like 'magnificient' to me.

Good eye! I'd completely missed that!

"magnificient" is probably a portmanteau (magnificent+inefficient?), if not a full-blown malamanteau.
by orthogon
Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:02 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"
Replies: 156
Views: 57869

Re: 1167: "Star Trek into Darkness"

Tova wrote:
San Fran Sam wrote:and it's sequel


Just to prove that there are more important things to take care of than title caps versus initial caps. :P

There's a place for you to have that one out too: the talk page for "its"on Wiktionary. That debate that has been running since the late 16th Century.
by orthogon
Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:22 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1145: "Sky Color"
Replies: 211
Views: 68629

Re: 1145: "Sky Color"

Now we're talking about something else: why people tend to misinterpret front-back flips as horizontal flips rather than misinterpreting them as vertical flips. Do they really misinterpret it in their actions ? Or do they do it only in their explanations of the subject, with their actions that invo...
by orthogon
Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:48 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0030: "Interplanetary Cessna"
Replies: 108
Views: 35089

Re: What-If 0030: Interplanetary Cessna

you need to approach Mach 1 just to get off the ground

Does this take into account that Mach 1 on Mars is significantly slower than Mach 1 on Earth?
by orthogon
Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:30 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1166: "Argument"
Replies: 177
Views: 36288

Re: 1166: "Argument"

mishka wrote:We actually live in a perpetual motion machine.

Does anybody else hear this to the tune of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine?
by orthogon
Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:35 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1166: "Argument"
Replies: 177
Views: 36288

Re: 1166: "Argument"

richP wrote:
itaibn wrote:Sadly, it's impossible to generate useful work out of perpetual motion crackpottery.

Sure it's possible, just open an online store selling supplies for homebuilt perpetual motion machines.

Just remember to push back hard when Marketing start wanting to offer complete, pre-built working models.
by orthogon
Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:11 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1166: "Argument"
Replies: 177
Views: 36288

Re: 1166: "Argument"

asdfzxc wrote:... is akin to literally ...

I like the way you found a formulation that lets you use the word "literally" in a figurative sense with impunity.
by orthogon
Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:03 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1166: "Argument"
Replies: 177
Views: 36288

Re: 1166: "Argument"

MeisBarry wrote:I would just like to say that I enjoyed the choice of avatar image for the second poster.

Yes, but (s)he's got the wrong First Law. The First Law of Thermodynamics is you don't talk about thermodynamics.
(Somebody had to say it).
by orthogon
Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1163: "Debugger"
Replies: 175
Views: 28731

Re: 1163: "Debugger"

This is the reason why Newtonian mechanics is so intuitive to us, even though relativity and quantum effects seem bizarre. I must politely disagree that Newtonian mechanics is as intuitive as all that. Newton's First Law came as quite a surprise to me. Moving things generally slow down and stationa...
by orthogon
Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:56 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1164: "Home Alone"
Replies: 34
Views: 9641

Re: 1164: "Home Alone"

That staircase should have a banister. If they survive, the kids can probably sue him on Health & Safety grounds. Is it like that in the original movie?
by orthogon
Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1160: "Drop Those Pounds"
Replies: 67
Views: 14459

Re: 1160: "Drop Those Pounds"

According to Merriam-Webster.com, it's pronounced with a hard T (treh - byou - SHET); although since the word is of Anglo-French origin I don't think anybody's going to pin you to a wall if you spell/pronounce it in the French manner — trébuchet (treh - byou - SHAY). If it's Anglo-French, then it w...
by orthogon
Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:06 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0936: "Password Strength"
Replies: 893
Views: 314329

Re: 0936: "Password Strength"

I bank with smile.co.uk who use this kind of setup: They ask for two specified digits from the (4-digit) PIN. These are selected via a dropdown menu in the web page, so most people probably don't type them in using the keyboard. I don't know whether or not that makes it more secure - presumably you ...
by orthogon
Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1160: "Drop Those Pounds"
Replies: 67
Views: 14459

Re: 1160: "Drop Those Pounds"

I heard "poundal" used for a pound force, too. Since the pound is a unit of force, "poundal" would be entirely redundant. Whoops, a poundal isn't a pound force. It's a derived unit equivalent to the lb.ft.s -2 , in a coherent system where the pound is a unit of mass. A pound for...
by orthogon
Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:34 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1161: "Hand Sanitizer"
Replies: 89
Views: 22639

Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

I always assumed (← there might be the mistake) that the 99.99% refers to types of bacteria, while the sneeze droplet's millions of germs would mainly be of the same type? I believe you are correct. So this is either an oversight by Randall. Or the stick man character (I have a hard time telling th...
by orthogon
Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:02 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1155: "Kolmogorov Directions"
Replies: 144
Views: 24974

Re: 1155: "Kolmogorov Directions"

Try telling someone a non Kolmogorov alternative description of a phone number, e.g. 3 2 7 3 2's and a 7 instead of 3 2 7 2 2 2 7 . People always wrote down 3 2 7 3 2 7 and then looked at me waiting for the seventh digit. When I got my mobile (cell) number which was of the form (code) + aabccd I th...
by orthogon
Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:08 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1160: "Drop Those Pounds"
Replies: 67
Views: 14459

Re: 1160: "Drop Those Pounds"

Trebuchets use the dropping of a counterweight which usually weighs hundreds of pounds.  Dropping 30 pounds doesn't seem like it would do much of anything at all; unless you're talking about maybe a working model suitable for destroying model railroads and built on a scale of around 1/48 or so. You...
by orthogon
Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:27 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1159: "Countdown"
Replies: 77
Views: 20937

Re: #1159: Countdown

Reminds me of the time I had a ceiling-projected clock as the only light source in my bedroom, and after lying down and closing my eyes, I awoke to find the room much darker than when I lay down. I had just happened to open my eyes at 1:11am. Being the OCD person I am, I was unable to get back to s...
by orthogon
Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:50 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"
Replies: 50
Views: 13034

Re: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"

Also proportional to the ball weight, for small displacements. I only ask because it looks to me like the force is quadratic in the (small) displacement for the 1D case of pushing on the middle of a rubber band tied on at both ends, if I assume the rubber band starts off unstretched, i.e. the dista...
by orthogon
Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:16 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"
Replies: 50
Views: 13034

Re: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"

BTW, if it is a huge round sheet, with two dimensional symmetry, the displacement is proportional to the logarithm of the sheet diameter S divided by the ball diameter D. log(S/D). If the sheet diameter S is infinite, the logarithm is infinite. That is, put a force on it and it will just keep displ...
by orthogon
Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"
Replies: 50
Views: 13034

Re: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"

Why is he asking her to imagine a ball on a rubber sheet, when he is at that very moment standing on such a ball on such a sheet? Or are we seeing the image in her mind's eye, and she has inserted beret guy into her mental picture? And then he says "imagining is fun" - is that then his ima...
by orthogon
Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:33 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"
Replies: 50
Views: 13034

Re: 1158: "Rubber Sheet"

Since our problem is cylindrically symmetical, the sheet can be modelled as a simple spring ( F = -kx ). Why? It's not correct. It's stretching the center of the sheet, so it's different. If you stretch in the middle of a spring in a direction perpendicular to the spring, it's not Hook's law. And t...

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