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by orthogon
Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:17 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 47374

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

I read something interesting last night regarding handfuls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_coinage The central denomination to the Ancient Greek monetary system was the drachm. The word drachm(a) means "a handful", literally "a grasp". Drachmae were divided into six ...
by orthogon
Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:28 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 47374

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

kalvdans wrote:So, by his definition, a few = √10 = 3.1623.


but [imath]\sqrt{10}\approx\pi[/imath]
Hence a few [imath]\approx \pi[/imath]. Didn't somebody say that on page 1?
by orthogon
Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:21 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 47374

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

So how many is a "pair" of scissors, then? "Pair" was itself used for comic effect in Withnail & I thus: "Two quadruple whiskies and a pair of pints". Now I think about it, I think it's funny because "pair" can only really be used for things that actually...
by orthogon
Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:40 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 47374

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

DSDM wrote:Then there's also the question of when "here" becomes "there".

See also languages that divide space into three regions, e.g. aquí / ahí / allí in Spanish and koko/soko/asoko in Japanese.
by orthogon
Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:01 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 47374

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

It is important to point out the difference between a few and quite a few. Quite a few clearly denominates any number larger than a few, several, a couple and a handful combined. Good point. In fact I would distinguish three phrases: Few: Not very many A few: Between some and quite a lot Quite a fe...
by orthogon
Thu May 31, 2012 1:12 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1061: "EST"
Replies: 128
Views: 43863

Re: 1061: "EST"

funny how we have a 7 day week, in honor of the bible The 7 day week predates the bible and the material that was cribbed from by quite a chunk. Incidentally the chinese calender has 7 days, the last of which translates quite literally to Sunday. It's Interesting that (according to Google Translate...
by orthogon
Mon May 28, 2012 4:23 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1061: "EST"
Replies: 128
Views: 43863

Re: 1061: "EST"

We should start putting this into all of our space probes so that if a potentially hostile alien race discovers it, they'll see how we track time and decide to stay the hell away from us in case our race's stupidity is contagious. No need. We've been broadcasting our existing calendar into space fo...
by orthogon
Mon May 28, 2012 1:12 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1061: "EST"
Replies: 128
Views: 43863

Re: 1061: "EST"

I'd like to protest on behalf of 1958 and the UK ! Me too. How come the UK gets to be the one with the weird non-SI unit? I'm convinced that NASA could have put a human being on Mars, if not Jupiter, by now if they'd cut out the 200% overhead of converting between horse-power-fortnights and poundal...
by orthogon
Mon May 21, 2012 12:48 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1058: "Old-Timers"
Replies: 74
Views: 20534

Re: 1058: "Old-Timers"

This can't possibly be accurate. A .dna file is about 750 MB, and everyone knows that there's no email server on the planet that lets you send more than a 10 MB attachment. The genome was sent as 75 .arj files. If I understand correctly, our DNA contains lots of repeated stuff, so presumably it wou...
by orthogon
Thu May 17, 2012 8:04 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1056: "Felidae"
Replies: 170
Views: 43689

Re: 1056: Felidae

Wake up sheeple! The whole of xkcd has been an elaborate set-up by Apple to focus-group future OSX names! You are being used! </conspiracytheory>

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