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1687: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 4:26 am UTC
by sardia
Image
Alt text: I hate how the media only ever uses the first part of this quote, stripping it of its important context.

What does the alt text mean? I never heard the media misquote this one.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 4:50 am UTC
by Brilliand
The media only uses the first two lines of that... the alt text is complaining that it doesn't include the other six lines.

I been racking my brain for a way for Einstein to be right about this, but... I'm pretty sure he wasn't. World War 3 won't eliminate the technology used to fight it, unless the victors want it to.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 4:51 am UTC
by rhomboidal
If only we fought our world wars with rocks, paper, and scissors.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 5:24 am UTC
by sotanaht
Brilliand wrote:The media only uses the first two lines of that... the alt text is complaining that it doesn't include the other six lines.

I been racking my brain for a way for Einstein to be right about this, but... I'm pretty sure he wasn't. World War 3 won't eliminate the technology used to fight it, unless the victors want it to.


In MAD, there are no victors.

His belief was that the weapons of war would be so devastating as to wipe out civilization entirely. Sticks and stones is an exaggeration, there would be plenty of salvage if the destruction allowed any survivors, but it would greatly set back all technology.

Or he could have meant that WWIII would wipe out humanity as a whole, and the next world war would be fought by whatever eventually evolved in our place and invented its own weapons, starting with sticks and stones.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 5:47 am UTC
by Tova
I love it when http://www.explainxkcd.com is forced to resort to a literal explanation of what happened in the comic because there is no hope of explaining why it might be funny.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 6:20 am UTC
by sardia
Brilliand wrote:The media only uses the first two lines of that... the alt text is complaining that it doesn't include the other six lines.

I been racking my brain for a way for Einstein to be right about this, but... I'm pretty sure he wasn't. World War 3 won't eliminate the technology used to fight it, unless the victors want it to.

...The whole quote is only 2 lines. What a lame alt text.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 7:04 am UTC
by Copper Bezel
Yes? Thus the joke. Alt text is repeating the joke of the comic to an extent, but there are so very many short snippets that get popularly quoted out of context, and so very often people to complain about them, that I like the idea of the alternate universe where this is one.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 8:27 am UTC
by flicky1991
sardia wrote:

You're about 300 strips behind. :P

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 8:51 am UTC
by Wheeljack
Makes me think of Bertolt Brecht's poem that's quoted every so often. People usually only quote the first line.

What if they gave a war and nobody came?
Why, then, the war would come to you!
He who stays home when the fight begins
And lets another fight for his cause
Should take care:
He who does not take part
In the battle will share in the defeat.
Even avoiding battle will not avoid battle.
Since not to fight for your own cause
Really means
Fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause.

Edit: oh great... and I messed up quoting this, too :oops:

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 9:11 am UTC
by Rombobjörn
I've seen the quote where Einstein says that world war four will be fought with sticks and stones. I've also seen a version where he says "the next war after that" instead of "world war four". I think the second version is more accurate, because I think Einstein understood that a world war is impossible without technology. A war fought with sticks and stones can only be a small, local war.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 9:45 am UTC
by Rossegacebes
Wheeljack wrote:Makes me think of Bertholt Brecht's poem that's quoted every so often. People usually only quote the first line.

What if they gave a war and nobody came?
Why, then, the war would come to you!
....


Sorry, wrong quote. He never wrote that.

The origin of the quote is explained here http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2011/1 ... -came.html .

Brecht's long poem is "Koloman Wallisch Kantate" (http://vsstoe-leoben.at/?p=896). The relevant lines, translated, give:

"When the people are disarmed
War will come.
[...]
He who stays home when the fight begins
And lets others fight for his cause
Should take care. He who does not take part
In the battle will share in the defeat.
Even avoiding battle does not avoid
Battle, since not to fight for your cause
Really means
Fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause."

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 9:51 am UTC
by Kalium_Puceon
Rombobjörn wrote:I've seen the quote where Einstein says that world war four will be fought with sticks and stones. I've also seen a version where he says "the next war after that" instead of "world war four". I think the second version is more accurate, because I think Einstein understood that a world war is impossible without technology. A war fought with sticks and stones can only be a small, local war.


I wonder if you could conceivably build a trebuchet with intercontinental range. Then sticks and stones could absolutely take part in a world war.

But also, The World Wars weren't completely worldwide. Both of the American continents, the southern half of Africa and a bunch of other places didn't even participate in the first world war unless they were colonies. Second world war, yeah, that had fighting all over and also from many different nations.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 11:46 am UTC
by Soupspoon
Kalium_Puceon wrote:I wonder if you could conceivably build a trebuchet with intercontinental range.
Sounds like What-If fodder... Material strengths of wood and bindings, (in)economies of scale, necessary release velocity of the launched ICBB (Inter-Contintental Ballistic Boulder) and what happens to the area around the launch-site if this is accomplished.

But also, The World Wars weren't completely worldwide. Both of the American continents, the southern half of Africa and a bunch of other places didn't even participate in the first world war unless they were colonies.
I didn't know the United States were still a colony... Did Woodrow Wilson know this? ;)

Second world war, yeah, that had fighting all over and also from many different nations.
Actual fighting might have affected more of the Earth's surface (including seas), but diitto as per WW1 on the other point, basically, with a few substitutions and side-swappings. Neutral splodges were drowned out by participatory territories in both instances, whether early (the Sino-Japanese conflict, that seamlessly seagued into WW2 proper) or late (US official participation, both times, though its citizens had joined up in initially belligerant countries' forces1 prior to this, regardless), and even neutral countries often had participation to some degree or other (citizens of the pre-Republic Ireland, during 'The Emergency', say, both pro-British and pro-German (i.e.anti-British) in aspration).

1 To both sides, actually, whilst it was still a personal decision based perhaps on personal descendence and political conscience, and national policy had not yet actually committed to the fight. Although Central/Axis-powers involvement was remarkably low. Or fortuitously under-reported, in the light of the subsequent events??

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 12:54 pm UTC
by thunk
Sadly, I believe this joke is not original.

I saw a very similar extended version in the Onion Book of Known Knowledge.

Eh...one of Randall's weaker comics.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 2:56 pm UTC
by Rombobjörn
Soupspoon wrote:
Kalium_Puceon wrote:I wonder if you could conceivably build a trebuchet with intercontinental range.
Sounds like What-If fodder... Material strengths of wood and bindings, (in)economies of scale, necessary release velocity of the launched ICBB (Inter-Contintental Ballistic Boulder) and what happens to the area around the launch-site if this is accomplished.

To get a first rough idea of how realistic that is, one can look at the graphs in Steak Drop and try to imagine what would happen if the steak were going upwards instead, with gravity and air resistance cooperating to slow it down. A particularly relevant quote is:
No matter how fast it’s going when it reaches the lower layers of the atmosphere, it quickly slows down to terminal velocity.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 3:01 pm UTC
by Lothario O'Leary
Uncyclopedia used to have articles on every single World War from III to XXI.
Got rid of most of them (as well as most of the rest of its "history" stuff) sometime in the late 2000s, unfortunately.

EDIT:
Rombobjörn wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
Kalium_Puceon wrote:I wonder if you could conceivably build a trebuchet with intercontinental range.
Sounds like What-If fodder... Material strengths of wood and bindings, (in)economies of scale, necessary release velocity of the launched ICBB (Inter-Contintental Ballistic Boulder) and what happens to the area around the launch-site if this is accomplished.

To get a first rough idea of how realistic that is, one can look at the graphs in Steak Drop and try to imagine what would happen if the steak were going upwards instead, with gravity and air resistance cooperating to slow it down. A particularly relevant quote is:
No matter how fast it’s going when it reaches the lower layers of the atmosphere, it quickly slows down to terminal velocity.

A boulder is quite a bit larger (and denser) than a steak, though, so air resistance wouldn't hurt it (as) much.

What we're looking for is a ballista rendition of the Paris Gun. I still don't think it's possible, but it doesn't sound that unlikely.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 4:59 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
My recollection is that ancient ballistas already crowded the limit of how powerful they could be without tearing themselves apart when they fired, so, even with modern materials, a quick gut check says intercontinental ballistas are implausible.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 5:53 pm UTC
by Flumble
rmsgrey wrote:My recollection is that ancient ballistas already crowded the limit of how powerful they could be without tearing themselves apart when they fired, so, even with modern materials, a quick gut check says intercontinental ballistas are implausible.

Just throw it across this ridge. Should work with any ancient artillery.

I don't know where WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will encompass the whole of Iceland!

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 6:45 pm UTC
by Rombobjörn
The Paris Gun used aerodynamic projectiles fired at nearly Mach 5 and had a range of 130 km – very far from intercontinental. A boulder doesn't have the right shape for supersonic flight. It would slam into the sound barrier, burn like a meteor, and quickly slow down to sub-sonic speed.

Anyway, people who can build even an ordinary ballista or trebuchet will certainly have at least some tools, like knives and axes. They will use their knives and felling axes as weapons if they don't have swords or battle axes. Fighting with sticks and stones implies that even that level of technology has been lost.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 7:37 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
Flumble wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:My recollection is that ancient ballistas already crowded the limit of how powerful they could be without tearing themselves apart when they fired, so, even with modern materials, a quick gut check says intercontinental ballistas are implausible.

Just throw it across this ridge. Should work with any ancient artillery.

Clever, but continental plates are not the same thing as continents, otherwise I near Los Angeles live on a different continent than my state's capitol.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 8:33 pm UTC
by Sir Lunch-a-lot
sotanaht wrote:
Brilliand wrote:The media only uses the first two lines of that... the alt text is complaining that it doesn't include the other six lines.

I been racking my brain for a way for Einstein to be right about this, but... I'm pretty sure he wasn't. World War 3 won't eliminate the technology used to fight it, unless the victors want it to.


In MAD, there are no victors.

His belief was that the weapons of war would be so devastating as to wipe out civilization entirely. Sticks and stones is an exaggeration, there would be plenty of salvage if the destruction allowed any survivors, but it would greatly set back all technology.

Or he could have meant that WWIII would wipe out humanity as a whole, and the next world war would be fought by whatever eventually evolved in our place and invented its own weapons, starting with sticks and stones.


Or, as is suggested in the book series "The Expanse", we will be fighting with stones because we will be dropping rocks on one another from orbit. Not sure how the sticks would factor into it, though.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 11:18 am UTC
by cellocgw
Pfhorrest wrote:
Flumble wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:My recollection is that ancient ballistas already crowded the limit of how powerful they could be without tearing themselves apart when they fired, so, even with modern materials, a quick gut check says intercontinental ballistas are implausible.

Just throw it across this ridge. Should work with any ancient artillery.

Clever, but continental plates are not the same thing as continents, otherwise I near Los Angeles live on a different continent than my state's capitol.


There are those who would say LA is a completely different continent from, well... anywhere.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 11:24 am UTC
by cellocgw
Sir Lunch-a-lot wrote:
Or, as is suggested in the book series "The Expanse", we will be fighting with stones because we will be dropping rocks on one another from orbit. Not sure how the sticks would factor into it, though.


At the risk of giving away spoilers, Mycroft "Mike" Holmes also launched attack rocks.
For another example, the ship-of-many-universes (did it have an actual name?) fired slim, dense projectiles, nicknamed "rods" by those under attack, from orbit.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 11:43 am UTC
by Echo244
cellocgw wrote:For another example, the ship-of-many-universes (did it have an actual name?) fired slim, dense projectiles, nicknamed "rods" by those under attack, from orbit.


...yes, it had a name. I remember that they rebuilt it three times for each planetary visit made prior to Arbre, adding on modules for the new communities they picked up. It had a geometric proof emblazoned on the hull. And yet I can't quite remember the name, a quick google DuckDuckGo doesn't find it in search results, and it'll bug me all day until I go home and look it up on my Kindle.

Arrrgh. Just went searching again. It must be on the web somewhere. Argh.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 2:10 pm UTC
by orthogon
Rombobjörn wrote:The Paris Gun used aerodynamic projectiles fired at nearly Mach 5 and had a range of 130 km – very far from intercontinental.

That's plenty of range to hit Asia from North America across the Bering Strait, or Europe from Africa across the ditto of Gibraltar. (Or vice versa). And as for Europe/Asia, you could flick an intercontinental ballistic bogey between them in some places (if you can agree where the boundary actually is).

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 3:28 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Echo244 wrote:
cellocgw wrote:For another example, the ship-of-many-universes (did it have an actual name?) fired slim, dense projectiles, nicknamed "rods" by those under attack, from orbit.


...yes, it had a name. I remember that they rebuilt it three times for each planetary visit made prior to Arbre, adding on modules for the new communities they picked up. It had a geometric proof emblazoned on the hull. And yet I can't quite remember the name, a quick google DuckDuckGo doesn't find it in search results, and it'll bug me all day until I go home and look it up on my Kindle.

Arrrgh. Just went searching again. It must be on the web somewhere. Argh.


Beat you to it :mrgreen: It's the Daban_Urnud

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 3:53 pm UTC
by pixeldigger
I was more thinking Heinlen's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"

also note the wikipedia entry forKinetic Bombardment in science fiction

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue May 31, 2016 3:58 pm UTC
by svenman
orthogon wrote:That's plenty of range to hit Asia from North America across the Bering Strait, or Europe from Africa across the ditto of Gibraltar. (Or vice versa). And as for Europe/Asia, you could flick an intercontinental ballistic bogey between them in some places (if you can agree where the boundary actually is).

Like here, for example?
Spoiler:
The letters on the two sides of the monument say "Evropa" and "Aziya", respectively.
The part of the European-Asian boundary between the Black and Caspian Seas is much more subject to debate, though.

Asia/Africa and North America/South America seem pretty easy, too, if you pick the right places.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:02 am UTC
by Mikeski
svenman wrote:
orthogon wrote:That's plenty of range to hit Asia from North America across the Bering Strait, or Europe from Africa across the ditto of Gibraltar. (Or vice versa). And as for Europe/Asia, you could flick an intercontinental ballistic bogey between them in some places (if you can agree where the boundary actually is).

Like [...] the European-Asian boundary

"Intercontinental ballistic [projectile]" doesn't just mean "between any two continents at their closest points", otherwise almost all humans could take an intercontinental ballistic whiz across that Euro/Asia boundary.

Hit Moscow from North Dakota with a trebuchet, or vice-versa? Nope.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:59 am UTC
by ps.02
Mikeski wrote:"Intercontinental ballistic [projectile]" doesn't just mean "between any two continents at their closest points", otherwise almost all humans could take an intercontinental ballistic whiz across that Euro/Asia boundary.

In fact, what does ballistic even mean in this context? I always thought that word meant that a trajectory was entirely in free fall. Which seems ... unlikely for an ICBM.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:46 am UTC
by orthogon
ps.02 wrote:
Mikeski wrote:"Intercontinental ballistic [projectile]" doesn't just mean "between any two continents at their closest points", otherwise almost all humans could take an intercontinental ballistic whiz across that Euro/Asia boundary.

In fact, what does ballistic even mean in this context? I always thought that word meant that a trajectory was entirely in free fall. Which seems ... unlikely for an ICBM.

As I understand it, that basically is what it means, it's just not as absolute as that: it's more that the missile is in a ballistic (unpowered and unguided) trajectory during most or perhaps just a significant proportion of its flight. This is in contrast to a cruise missile, which is powered and guided during most of its flight.

A ballistic missile is basically a rocket, giving it efficiency, range and speed. I'm not a Kerbalista, but my understanding (probably from a previous thread) is that it's generally best to deliver the thrust/delta-v as quickly as possible at the start of the flight, otherwise you're just wasting energy lifting the unburnt fuel: hence the significant ballistic (freefall) portion. By contrast a cruise missile is fairly inefficient and has a shorter range, but has better accuracy and can maintain lower altitude hence avoiding detection.

@Mikeski, yeah, OK, I was being facetious; perhaps the term "bogey" (see sense 10) isn't well known outside the UK, but basically I was making a similar point to you but with a different bodily excretum.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:36 am UTC
by Murderbot
sardia wrote:Image
Alt text: I hate how the media only ever uses the first part of this quote, stripping it of its important context.

Why didn't he say anything about WW XIII?
rhomboidal wrote:If only we fought our world wars with rocks, paper, and scissors.

World War II was. Churchill played scissors, Hitler paper and Stalin rock.
Brilliand wrote:The media only uses the first two lines of that... the alt text is complaining that it doesn't include the other six lines.

I been racking my brain for a way for Einstein to be right about this, but... I'm pretty sure he wasn't. World War 3 won't eliminate the technology used to fight it, unless the victors want it to.

Assuming WWIII will have victors.
Sir Lunch-a-lot wrote:Or, as is suggested in the book series "The Expanse", we will be fighting with stones because we will be dropping rocks on one another from orbit. Not sure how the sticks would factor into it, though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_b ... oject_Thor

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:39 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
Murderbot wrote:Why didn't he say anything about WW XIII?
WWXIII will be fought with l'Cie.

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:16 pm UTC
by PM 2Ring
@sardia

"World War III+" is actually comic #1687; comic #1387 is "Clumsy Foreshadowing".

Whatever happened to the opening post linking the thread to the comic?

Re: 1387: "World War III+"

Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:54 am UTC
by scarletmanuka
Murderbot wrote:Why didn't he say anything about WW XIII?

Due to superstition, world war numbering skipped from XII directly to XIV.

Personally, I've always felt that if you're having a world war, numbering it 13 probably couldn't make things much worse, but that's people for you.