1331: "Frequency"

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby BlitzGirl » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:25 pm UTC

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby suso » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:33 pm UTC

Egads, the total size of all the gifs of today's comic is 8.3MB. Figuring that XKCD gets around 100k readers (I have no idea), that's about 800GB of bandwidth today. I hope Randall gets a good deal on his image hosting.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby brenok » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:24 pm UTC

Is it just me that's frightened by how much more frequent births are than deaths?

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:33 pm UTC

Man, the shoe-to-condom ratio in Phoenix is impressive. Phoenicians love their footwear, I guess.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Flumble » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:06 pm UTC

brenok wrote:Is it just me that's frightened by how much more frequent births are than deaths?

Maybe.

It isn't scary if you put it in context: given 250 births per minute and 105 deaths every minute[improved source needed], you only increase the world population by 76 million every year. On a population of over 7 billion it's next to nothing —it would be scary if the death ticker ticked 200 times per second and the birth ticker twice as many, because that would mean everyone alive today dies this year and in the end 14 billion babies are left.*

*statisticians will now track me down and probably kill me.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby ThreeIfByAir » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:48 pm UTC

Egads, the total size of all the gifs of today's comic is 8.3MB. Figuring that XKCD gets around 100k readers (I have no idea), that's about 800GB of bandwidth today. I hope Randall gets a good deal on his image hosting.


That's not as expensive as you might think. My hosting provider would charge me $16 if that 800GB were all overage (2c/GB). And they'll let you set up VPSes for $5/month including a terabyte of transfer.

It's not nothing, but bandwidth prices have come way down.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Fallingwater » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:03 pm UTC

The difference between births and deaths is terrifying to me. I can't see this ending in any positive way. (assuming the blinking is true to reality, which knowing Randall it is)

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:04 pm UTC

TMI.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:21 pm UTC

Fallingwater wrote:The difference between births and deaths is terrifying to me. I can't see this ending in any positive way. (assuming the blinking is true to reality, which knowing Randall it is)

That may be because you're in Italy. Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.

Or, consider this. Throw all of us alive today into Lake Superior, and the water will rise about a half-centimeter. It seems like there's a lot of us, but not in the grand scheme of things.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Ray Kremer » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:09 pm UTC

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby eidako » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:30 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.

Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason. There's also plenty of room in the deserts, ice caps, tops of mountains...

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby MarkW » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:42 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
brenok wrote:Is it just me that's frightened by how much more frequent births are than deaths?
Maybe.

It isn't scary if you put it in context: given 250 births per minute and 105 deaths every minute[improved source needed], you only increase the world population by 76 million every year. On a population of over 7 billion it's next to nothing —it would be scary if the death ticker ticked 200 times per second and the birth ticker twice as many, because that would mean everyone alive today dies this year and in the end 14 billion babies are left.*

*statisticians will now track me down and probably kill me.

DON'T PANiC - statisticians also estimate the derivatives for each of these rates; they're not constants. As people become more urbanized, educated, and lifted from poverty, our population growth rate declines. The world population might stabilize at around 10 billion.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:44 am UTC

eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.

Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason. There's also plenty of room in the deserts, ice caps, tops of mountains...

Well, since the third world is doing all of the growing, the new folks are mostly going to be living in Wyoming/Afghanistan-like places anyway. (A lot of them in Afghanistan itself, as the country with the 8th-highest fertility rate.)

The USA is growing a tiny bit, but Europe is dying off slowly (except France), and Japan is in a death spiral (only 1.39 children per woman; if nobody dies before having kids, you need 2.00 to maintain your population... but we're not immortal, so it's 2.1 in really nice places and 3+ in less-nice ones).

The map here gives the general idea. Green countries are replacing their population, blue ones are dying, and other colors are growing (though green is dying and yellow is holding steady if you're in a less-nice place with higher pre-fertility mortality). More exact numbers here.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby siliconcarbide » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:03 am UTC

I feel need to mess with the frequencies for Phoenix shoe buying by going on Zappos and getting a large number of new shoes.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby da Doctah » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:18 am UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Man, the shoe-to-condom ratio in Phoenix is impressive. Phoenicians love their footwear, I guess.
Not really. We just really hate condoms.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby aphyer » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:10 am UTC

For the "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" entry, I am somehwat skeptical of the given period; it feels far too fast. Does anyone know how to get an approximation for that?

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby The Chosen One » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:28 am UTC

I'm not sure if it's more or less amusing to imagine each instance of "someone" being the same person each time. That North Dakotan :shock:

Also, I wonder how long I'd have to watch the comic until all of these things happen at once?
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Re: Phoenix?

Postby Arky » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:55 am UTC

brazzy wrote:Wait - people in Phoenix buy shoes more often than they use condoms?


I noticed that one too. I don't know whether it means people in Phoenix are shoe-obsessed, people in Phoenix don't have sex much, or people in Phoenix don't have safe sex (or use other means of contraception).
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby PsiSquared » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:36 am UTC

rm_draws_better_than_me wrote:Is the "Hole in one" gif broken for anyone else?

I downloaded it and it looks like it should flash 1/71 times (seconds?) but I never see it flash in the browser.


Wait longer. The frequency of that blink is much lower than 1 in 71 seconds.

How did you get 71 seconds, anyway?

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:14 am UTC

PsiSquared wrote:
rm_draws_better_than_me wrote:Is the "Hole in one" gif broken for anyone else?

I downloaded it and it looks like it should flash 1/71 times (seconds?) but I never see it flash in the browser.


Wait longer. The frequency of that blink is much lower than 1 in 71 seconds.

How did you get 71 seconds, anyway?


I've seen it blink once.

The gif has 71 frames. While the slower flashing gifs have more frames, it is because they have more time for the flashing animation. The births one only has 3 frames and then it has to flash again, but the longer ones can afford more steps to let the text pale more smoothly until it reaches the palest one and stays on it for however long is necessary.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby tomandlu » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:09 am UTC

BlitzGirl wrote:Pegaseese. Image Image


Just avoid the plural. "Oh look, a pegasus. Oh look, another pegasus. Oh look, another pegasus..."

BTW I came here to check that the bike theft stat looked as wrong to everyone else as it did to me... yep.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby orthogon » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:29 am UTC

Update on the numerology:

1331 (Frequency) is the reciprocal of 1190 (Time) under modulo 6361 arithmetic. The implications are clear: xkcd will repeat after comic #6360, which should be published in about 32 years' time. (Were any further proof needed, note that by then RM will have reached a typical retirement age.)
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Carnildo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:29 am UTC

aphyer wrote:For the "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" entry, I am somehwat skeptical of the given period; it feels far too fast. Does anyone know how to get an approximation for that?

Find an estimate for the total bird kill rate in North America, figure out what proportion of birds in North America are mockingbirds, and multiply.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:03 am UTC

Carnildo wrote:
aphyer wrote:For the "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" entry, I am somehwat skeptical of the given period; it feels far too fast. Does anyone know how to get an approximation for that?

Find an estimate for the total bird kill rate in North America, figure out what proportion of birds in North America are mockingbirds, and multiply.


You should take into consideration that different species of birds are more or less prone to being killed by a cat. Plus I'd wager a lot of birds are killed by stray cats. Seems like this entry is a ballpark.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Ae7flux » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:07 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
16characters wrote:I am glad I visited the forum - I didn't realise that I had to turn on image animation and thought that these were arranged by frequency. It looked strange.

I am puzzled by "someone gets married" - shouldn't it flash twice each cycle?

It flashes twice simultaneously.


And here I was thinking there was a lot of masturbation going on in North Dakota.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Flumble » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:28 am UTC

orthogon wrote:Update on the numerology:

1331 (Frequency) is the reciprocal of 1190 (Time) under modulo 6361 arithmetic. The implications are clear: xkcd will repeat after comic #6360, which should be published in about 32 years' time. (Were any further proof needed, note that by then RM will have reached a typical retirement age.)

I like to believe Randall goes on to comic #1583890 before re-running the series. :oops: (on a sidenote: I broke wolfram alpha)

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby orthogon » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:57 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
orthogon wrote:Update on the numerology:

1331 (Frequency) is the reciprocal of 1190 (Time) under modulo 6361 arithmetic. The implications are clear: xkcd will repeat after comic #6360, which should be published in about 32 years' time. (Were any further proof needed, note that by then RM will have reached a typical retirement age.)


I like to believe Randall goes on to comic #1583890 before re-running the series. :oops: (on a sidenote: I broke wolfram alpha)

I felt like the modulo base should be a prime. There's also the issue of the non-existence of comic #0, which is inconsistent with the existence of book 0.

I have a love-hate relationship with Wolfram stuff. Both Wolfram Alpha and Mathematica are amazing products, which people seem able to do incredible things with. But every time I try to use them, even to do the simplest things, it always brings a world of pain and frustration. Alpha either hangs or says "Wolfram Alpha doesn't understand what you mean by xxx". Mathematica says either "Tag Plus is protected" or "xxx is not a machine-sized real number". (If you configure appropriately, you can probably change the two possible outputs to "There's a horse in aisle five" and "My house is full of traps" and adjust the proportions in which they are generated.)
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby eidako » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:42 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.
Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason. There's also plenty of room in the deserts, ice caps, tops of mountains...
Well, since the third world is doing all of the growing, the new folks are mostly going to be living in Wyoming/Afghanistan-like places anyway.

That's pretty much the point I was making. "There's plenty of room for billions of people to live in abject poverty" isn't a comforting view of the future.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby veit » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:05 pm UTC

MikeP wrote:Does the "Someone gets married" count each person in the couple as a someone, or is the combined couple the tick for the someone?

I guess it is as it is with the shoes, you count the pairs. This would make sense because you talk about the events, not the tokens.

aphyer wrote:For the "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" entry, I am somehwat skeptical of the given period; it feels far too fast. Does anyone know how to get an approximation for that?

Perhaps you could start with the data given here and guess which percentage of the birds are mockingbirds?

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:34 pm UTC

eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:
eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.
Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason. There's also plenty of room in the deserts, ice caps, tops of mountains...
Well, since the third world is doing all of the growing, the new folks are mostly going to be living in Wyoming/Afghanistan-like places anyway.

That's pretty much the point I was making. "There's plenty of room for billions of people to live in abject poverty" isn't a comforting view of the future.

Then your point doesn't quite work. Environment is neither politics nor culture. Americans and Europeans living in uncomfortable places (like Wyoming) have a far greater standard of living than people in dictatorial/lawless/warlord-led/etc regimes in nicer climates.

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Re: Phoenix?

Postby O-Deka-K » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:26 pm UTC

Arky wrote:I noticed that one too. I don't know whether it means people in Phoenix are shoe-obsessed, people in Phoenix don't have sex much, or people in Phoenix don't have safe sex (or use other means of contraception).

Compare the North Dakota one to the Phoenix one.

Population of Phoenix, Arizona: 1.489 million (2012)
Population on North Dakota: 699,628 (2012)

Note that Phoenix is a city while North Dakota is a state.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby alessandro95 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:42 pm UTC

I thought bycicles theft were much more frequent (or at least more frequent than saggitarius named amelia)!
awesome comic anyway, one of the best in my opinion!
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Moose Anus » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:44 pm UTC

It's cool that you can use these à la carte if you just need a few of them.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Cathy » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:08 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:Next to "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" should be the much slower-rate "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird that didn't have it coming".

Oh, wait, you said decades-long loops didn't work.

This made me cackle until my husband asked what the heck I was reading. There is a mockingbird in my apartment complex that has been chasing the bluejays and cardinals off my bird feeder, so I wouldn't be heartbroken if a cat ate it.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Schema » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:22 pm UTC

Dontget wrote:It would be really cool to assign appropriate sound samples to each of these and create a sort of minimalist piece of music out of the chance coincidences of these events.

I've seen something like this, though it was pure tones representing the various frequencies relatively (births, deaths, Planck time, Life cycle of a star etc.)

http://naisa.ca/symposia/trans-x/transx ... edings/#03

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby Whizbang » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:21 pm UTC

How hard would it to connect up some sort of statistic database that has a frequency per {time segment} column and then allow users to select their own blinking gifs? There's got to be an existing table somewhere with a list of events per time segment that could be used.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:29 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.

Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason. There's also plenty of room in the deserts, ice caps, tops of mountains...

The USA is growing a tiny bit, but Europe is dying off slowly (except France), and Japan is in a death spiral (only 1.39 children per woman; if nobody dies before having kids, you need 2.00 to maintain your population... but we're not immortal, so it's 2.1 in really nice places and 3+ in less-nice ones).

Wait, number of kids per woman ≠ fertility rate and would be 2 for a more or less stable population with old usage of technology (some instability due to the issue that half the males could die at some point reducing the population temporarily, population is only stable if birthrate=deathrate, which is an entire different issue; old usage of technology assumes exactly one woman is needed per child and is used to avoid the debate arising from oocyte donation and surrogacy and to avoid the debate about a possible future situation with two female genetic parents or in vitro growing of children).
eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:
eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.
Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason. There's also plenty of room in the deserts, ice caps, tops of mountains...
Well, since the third world is doing all of the growing, the new folks are mostly going to be living in Wyoming/Afghanistan-like places anyway.

That's pretty much the point I was making. "There's plenty of room for billions of people to live in abject poverty" isn't a comforting view of the future.

Besides, the remaining empty space is better used for nature reserves, agriculture or moving people from dense population centres like the Beijing, Jakarta or Delhi metropolitan areas.

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:20 pm UTC

abkfenris wrote:
RogueCynic wrote:Has anyone seen the "someone in North Dakota has sex" square blink?
Yes, and it's kinda terrifying me that it blinks about a third as often as "One Birth".
North Dakota has about 1/10,000th of the world's population living in it, so should have about 1/10,000th of its births and 1/10,000th of its sex (by a rough estimate). By my count, the frequency ratio is actually about 5:1, which means means that birth happens once per 2000 sex acts. If a heterosexual couple that has unprotected sex 50 times in a year has a 15% chance of not conceiving, that means a 3.7% pregnancy rate for unprotected sex, of which we can predict about half would result in births (miscarriage and abortions together accounting for the other half). However, even typical (i.e. flawed) use of a male condom increases the annual no-pregnancy rate to 85%, for a 0.32% chance of pregnancy per sex act, or one birth per 616 sex acts, and proper use would bring it to only once per 5000.

So the comic's implied once per 2000-ish seems pretty reasonable, depending on information I don't have or want about the actual sex lives of North Dakotans.

eidako wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Go look at Wyoming sometime. Plenty of room to stack more people.
Wyoming has plenty of space, but it's also a frozen wasteland with a striking resemblance to Afghanistan. It's the least densely populated state for a reason.
That reason being, you forgot Alaska.

Carnildo wrote:
aphyer wrote:For the "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" entry, I am somehwat skeptical of the given period; it feels far too fast. Does anyone know how to get an approximation for that?
Find an estimate for the total bird kill rate in North America, figure out what proportion of birds in North America are mockingbirds, and multiply.
According to The Oatmeal, cats in the US kill about 3 billion animals a year, for about 100/second on average. (And it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Randall borrowed that stat from there.) It doesn't seem unreasonable that one in 200 kills happens to be a mockingbird, which gives the approximate rate in the comic of about once per two seconds, and that's just in this country.
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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby da Doctah » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:46 pm UTC

Cathy wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Next to "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird" should be the much slower-rate "someone's pet cat kills a mockingbird that didn't have it coming".

Oh, wait, you said decades-long loops didn't work.

This made me cackle until my husband asked what the heck I was reading. There is a mockingbird in my apartment complex that has been chasing the bluejays and cardinals off my bird feeder, so I wouldn't be heartbroken if a cat ate it.


You'll have to wait a long time for that. Long before then, the indicator for "a mockingbird kills someone's cat just for the hell of it" will have flashed a few hundred times. Mockingbirds are jerks.

(On the Phoenix shoe-vs-condom thing, I will mention that it's possible we really are that shoe obsessed. I once went with a friend to check out a brand new shopping mall that had just opened up, and something like one store out of three sold shoes of some kind; some fashion, some sports. And this was back when stores like Borders Books, Sam Goody and Circuit City still existed in malls. I hate to think what the ratio would be like now.)

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Re: 1331: "Frequency"

Postby speising » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:43 pm UTC

a dog bites someone in the us

i tried to imagine which body part he could mean by "us" for a while.


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