0689: "First Design"

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neoliminal
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:39 pm UTC

and since no one has done it yet, this is the obligatory,
FIRST post

In other news, awesome comic. I am consistently impressed by Randel's timely and geekly contributions.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
Read My Book. Cost less than coffee. Will probably keep you awake longer.
[hint, scary!]

SirPhobos
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby SirPhobos » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

mooncow wrote:Although XKCD does sometimes have some local-centricity that takes a little understanding in the rest of the world, this is one of the only cartoons I have really not understood until looking things up. FIRST appears to be a US organisation and is virtually unknown outside the US as far as I can tell. A UK and elsewhere approximate equivalent might be Robot Wars --- the advantage of Robot Wars is that even if you haven't heard of that specific activity the name gives the idea away pretty clearly, which is not the case with FIRST.

Rube Goldberg is also a bit of a US-only phenomenon. Rube Goldberg drew weird machines rather like W. Heath Robinson. So to say that something is "Rube Goldberg" in the US is like saying it is Heath-Robinson-ish elsewhere in the world.

What I really love about cartoons like this one, once I understood it :-), is all the people who then come on this forum to say (enable stockbroker voice at this point) "You know, this idea contravenes rule 314(a)(iii) and rule 14(c)(iv) Part B, but otherwise this is very funny" (disable stockbroker voice). Priceless.


While FIRST is not well know outside of the US, it does have competitions in 12 other countries, and if you were ever interested in trying to start one in your area I'd be more then happy to help you. YAY SCIENCE!!


ellbur wrote:Take just the first panel and you have a pretty accurate comic. Or the second to last. (Also a few robots got rained on at Annapolis a few years ago because the roof leaked. It was not sabotage I promise).

alum of FRC 293 SPIKE

@ellbur - Its interesting you mentioned sabotage at Annapolis... since my team has been there, team 1640 (Team: Sab-Bot-Age) ;)

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reegee
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby reegee » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

Hmmmm Jonny Lee Miller.... thanks Randal for bringing that little thought to my Friday afternoon.
So you wanted to see the other robots CRASH AND BURN! huh? Why bother tho when your robot could have simply hacked in to the database and changed their status to deceased? (Lame I know but I couldn't help myself)

BTW...
Me and my wife love it so much we named our son Dade.....even doing searches on the net, there really are only a handful of people with that name, maybe 5 total.


you guys are awesome!
"Well the product works first time 60% of the time"

ellinag
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby ellinag » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:56 pm UTC

Also a FIRST-er of course but I've been a ref for a couple years in the MS Regional out here and it's sad but all the violations and lack of 'gracious professionalism'...not to mention tearing up the field not very different from THE BEAST in 2003 (I suppose I'm still holding a grudge).

Epic idea of course... I only wish this game was just a bit more complicated than a soccer match but they have proven to be the easiest 'props' to keep alive with large aluminum/steel robots.

~Seattle Microsoft Regional Volunteer
Formerly FRC Team 168 - The Flashbacks.

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jc
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby jc » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:06 pm UTC

lihan161051 wrote:
mooncow wrote:Rube Goldberg is also a bit of a US-only phenomenon. Rube Goldberg drew weird machines rather like W. Heath Robinson. So to say that something is "Rube Goldberg" in the US is like saying it is Heath-Robinson-ish elsewhere in the world.

Is "Heath Robinson" used much outside the UK? ;)

The wikipedia article on Rube Goldberg lists artists/cartoonists in several other countries that did similar drawings of overly-complex machinery. I once saw a few such diagrams by a Russian artist, but I don't remember his name. I wonder if anyone knows who did this sort of "design" first. It wouldn't be too surprising to find that the idea dates back at least to the late 1700s, since that's when complex mechanical factories really started to spread around the world.

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Superuser
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Superuser » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

Haha, yes, I've heard a lot about robot soccer through NPR's Tech Podcast. The problem was I didn't recognize the things being pushed as soccer balls. Also why are there two? Don't you play soccer with one?

Also.... I saw a real live Rube Goldberg machine at SFMOMA. It's so much better watching it really happen then watching it on YT!
Last edited by Superuser on Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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reederda
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby reederda » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:01 pm UTC

Last edited by reederda on Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:45 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Lode
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Lode » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

Totally didn't get it before reading this thread (now I get it and find it funny!)

Here's what went through my head while reading the comic:

First panel: "cool, it's one of those xkcd's about scientists designing something again"
Second panel: hey that are more things than shown in the blueprint...
Second and third rows of panels: The experiment of the scientists is in progress. What a weird experiment, with a sprinkler.
Second-last panel: Huh what is that other wheeled thing? Why doesn't it have the umbrella anymore?
Last panel: uh-oh! The thing drove over the scientists and that are their two heads rolling on the ground with terribly painful facial expressions!

And my afterthoughts were: The experiment must have failed. But where is the joke? Is this their first or their second design? Let's check the forum to understand what the cr*p is going on.

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joshz
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby joshz » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:21 pm UTC

essence220 wrote:lol I'm on FIRST Team 365. we just sent a mass email to the whole team about this comic. its hilarious because no doubt, someone, somewhere, thought that exact idea up while brainstorming.
Woah oh ooah! *clap clap clapclapclap clapclapclapclap* GO MOE!!
Last edited by joshz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Ben_ » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:26 pm UTC

Seems like I only comment in FIRST threads.

This is now my favorite design ever, better than my team's 07 and 08.

Team 148 alumni
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stevegpage
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby stevegpage » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:56 pm UTC

Great comic Randall! I've been a fan ever since my kids showed me your strip! As a Math/Physics/Computers/Robots geek, I've thought that this strip is one of the best out there!

Now, as a Mentor of a FIRST team ... Yeah!!!! Love today's comic! Can we have this one on a shirt? I can see thousands of FRC kids running around a regional tournament with this shirt!

Thanks again!

Steve

FRC 836 - The Robobees!

Mo-velocipede
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Mo-velocipede » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

Took me a few moments to get it, since I'm not on my school's FIRST team, but I laughed pretty hard when I understood. How about TARC for the next comic? Throw your rocket geeks a bone. :)

Halrandir
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Halrandir » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:58 pm UTC

Never been to FIRST (though I had several friends who were on our school's team) and I loved this! I'd just like to point out, though the third member of the opposing team (apparently a freshman from the size of him). While the other two teammembers are freaking out because their robot is being fried, he seems to be wondering just why it's raining inside. :D

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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby John Horton » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:00 pm UTC

(Blast, can't remember the username and password to my old account)

I really think that the FIRST program should be just as prevalent as, say, football teams in schools. Few of the public schools around where I grew up have one, only the selective Science and Engineering school and one other public school. I always tried to get one started, but there just wasn't enough interest, or money.

Zyphyr wrote:Waaayy better than my design team's designs. This one is so going to win at Georgia.
- Team 190


I am currently wearing my '03 King CrabGoat shirt, which is getting a tad tight. My '03 CRUD shirt is in the closet. Good times....

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jasonkoller
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby jasonkoller » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:07 pm UTC

psh... FIRST?!?!
BEST is so much better.

Halebit
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Halebit » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:15 pm UTC

Our local competition is at the Family Arena where the ceiling is ~100 feet high, not sure a robot would be able to trip the sprinklers :D

FRC 1298

mooncow
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby mooncow » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:33 pm UTC

lihan161051 wrote:
mooncow wrote:Rube Goldberg is also a bit of a US-only phenomenon. Rube Goldberg drew weird machines rather like W. Heath Robinson. So to say that something is "Rube Goldberg" in the US is like saying it is Heath-Robinson-ish elsewhere in the world.


Is "Heath Robinson" used much outside the UK? ;)


I checked both terms in various dictionaries. US dictionaries (AHD, Websters, RH) tend to include "Rube Goldberg" and not "Heath Robinson". UK dictionaries (OED, Chambers, Collins) tend to include both terms but mark "Rube Goldberg" as "(North American)" or whatever, while including no such limiation on "Heath Robinson". Whether other English-speaking areas than US/UK know about Heath Robinson, Rube Goldberg, both or neither or something else equivalent, it would be interesting to know.

Ogehsim
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Ogehsim » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:35 pm UTC

FIRST!!!!!

I'm a senior in high school and this is my 4th year on my team 578 Blue Lightning. Would like to point out that our robot from 06 named KG3 would not have needed an umbrella - it went through 2 or 3 parades experiencing precipitation in all forms between a sprinkle and a downpour. (We're just waiting for that water game.)

It's sad that FIRST isn't more well known, especially among the techie/geeky/nerdy segment of the population.

There's actually 2 balls in the panel, but 12 in the entire game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbA33dX127E

My only question is: 1)will there be buttons and t-shirts with a reference to this comic that we can buy?

Shortgeek
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Shortgeek » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

Well this should make Dean's homework* a little more interesting...

Oh, and how did it release the umbrella? From the bulge pattern in the initial panels, it seemed to be strapped shut. Does it have some kind of hidden arm that de-strapped the umbrella?

--Allan Sadun, team 418

*For the non-FIRSTers: every year a guy named Dean Kamen gives everybody "homework" -- a task of some kind, to promote FIRST. This year it's getting people who aren't playing (e.g. normal spectators, which are strangely absent in most robotics competitions) to come and watch the games.

Ogehsim
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Ogehsim » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:19 am UTC

Oooh, you're right.

Hey, all of y'all who read this need to attend your local regional. (Find them here: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms ... spx?id=430) Make some kind of name tag that says "I was invited by XKCD". Make friends with the FIRSTers. Win at life.

Also, go wikipedia Dean Kamen and see if you don't think he deserves to be up there with Edison and Ben Franklin.

cptjeff
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby cptjeff » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:36 am UTC

Far too obvious. It would never pass inspection.

On must be much more sneaky. Say, inducer coils embedded in the bumpers that you don't wire up until after approval... Just think of an excuse for the sheilding on your own electronics and you're set.

\1533 Alum.
\\No sir, there's nothing in the bumpers but pool noodles. Don't worry about the magnetic field warning stickers, they're decoration.

essence220
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby essence220 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:19 am UTC

joshz wrote:
essence220 wrote:lol I'm on FIRST Team 365. we just sent a mass email to the whole team about this comic. its hilarious because no doubt, someone, somewhere, thought that exact idea up while brainstorming.
Woah oh ooah! *clap clap clapclapclap clapclapclapclap* GO MOE!!


GO MOE!!!

Born2killx
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Born2killx » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:04 am UTC

1. "Pool on the roof must've sprung a leak."

2. Quote from Hackers.

3. All school scenes in Hackers were filmed in Stuyvesant High School in New York City.

4. Stuyvesant High School is Team 694.

5. Therefore, Randall endorses Team 694.

Go Stuy! :twisted:

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joshz
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby joshz » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:05 am UTC

essence220 wrote:
joshz wrote:
essence220 wrote:lol I'm on FIRST Team 365. we just sent a mass email to the whole team about this comic. its hilarious because no doubt, someone, somewhere, thought that exact idea up while brainstorming.
Woah oh ooah! *clap clap clapclapclap clapclapclapclap* GO MOE!!


GO MOE!!!
fix'd that color for you.
You, sir, name? wrote:If you have over 26 levels of nesting, you've got bigger problems ... than variable naming.
suffer-cait wrote:it might also be interesting to note here that i don't like 5 fingers. they feel too bulky.

Ethliel
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Ethliel » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:06 am UTC

As much as I like the FIRST reference, it probably could have been done a lot better.
I suppose we're assuming that the robot will be able to score enough points to counteract the two penalties it received from detaching a part. Also, I'm don't think it's legal to deploy the umbrella until the finale, because it seems to be extending beyond the robot's perimeter. My team (2508 Armada) competes in a large arena as well, and I'm not sure it even has sprinklers over the playing field. Of course, there's a rule violation with the combustible materials on the robot, not to mention the fact that they appear to be manually operating the robot during the teleop period.

Other than that, it's pretty good.

Born2killx
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Born2killx » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:09 am UTC

Ethliel wrote:Of course, there's a rule violation with the combustible materials on the robot, not to mention the fact that they appear to be manually operating the robot during the teleop period.

You mean during the autonomous period.

GreigKM
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby GreigKM » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:33 am UTC

This violates so many rules it's insane. Sorry I'm the co-lead designer for my team. :roll:

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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby TheChewanater » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am UTC

Today I told everyone that it was a test to find out how many rules this comic breaks to see who did their homework and read the rules.
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby wdfarmer » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:49 am UTC

Details of this year's FIRST Robotics Competition, called "Breakaway", which as noted above, is the subject of this comic. There's also currently a nod to xkcd in the article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakaway_(FIRST)

null1024
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby null1024 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:54 am UTC

I didn't expect this comic at all. I read the title, and thought "A FIRST reference? Nah, can't be. Is it?".

TheChewanater wrote:Today I told everyone that it was a test to find out how many rules this comic breaks to see who did their homework and read the rules.

This sounds like something you'd have to do with my team, no one read the rules when they told us to...
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IW4
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby IW4 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:26 am UTC

The Plague is that team's mentor. The victim team was caught hackin' the Gibson.

Poor Joey.

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Ferahgo
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Ferahgo » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:11 pm UTC

I love how many FIRSTers came here just to post about this comic. XKCD really brings people out of the woodwork. :)

pimanrules
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby pimanrules » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

I need to convince my FIRST team to use that design.

Hold on... that design can't even get over the humps! It's useless!

Oh, and the people seem to be controlling the robots during the autonomous mode....

But I do like the idea of using it to test the team.

Hmmmingbird
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby Hmmmingbird » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:14 pm UTC

doive wrote:Wahey - i miss FIRST!

i was in the first british team to enter, still have a union jack wasitcoat from it kicking around somewhere :D

go systemetric 759


Team Systemetric 759! That's us ^^ What years were you at hrsfc?

blastb
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby blastb » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:15 pm UTC

Born2killx wrote:1. "Pool on the roof must've sprung a leak."

2. Quote from Hackers.

3. All school scenes in Hackers were filmed in Stuyvesant High School in New York City.

4. Stuyvesant High School is Team 694.

5. Therefore, Randall endorses Team 694.

Go Stuy! :twisted:


Go Stuy! :twisted:

westrim
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby westrim » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:and since no one has done it yet, this is the obligatory,
FIRST post

In other news, awesome comic. I am consistently impressed by Randel's timely and geeky contributions.


This is now two strips in a row where a first post that said "first!" would not have been automatically annoying.

JamesGecko
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby JamesGecko » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:07 am UTC

Yay FIRST! I lived close to Atlanta during high school and I don't even know how many of those competitions my family went to. I was home schooled, as were many of my friends. We tried to get a team together at some point, but we couldn't get a sponsor. Kits are expensive. :-(

So we settled for volunteering. I think we volunteered at like three or four of them. It was a lot of fun. As an epic thank you, the guy who did a lot of event administration in our area got us a spot in the FIRST Vex Challenge unveiling/demonstration at the FRC finals in Atlanta and some free beta Vex kits. We were in the semi-finals, too. Alas, some wiring came loose and cost us a shot at ultimate victory.

But yeah. The finals in Atlanta are huge. It takes several minutes just to walk across the pits, and there's like six fields all going at once, with room to spare. While volunteering I once came within glomping range of Steve Jobs. I figured security wouldn't like that, though. Not that Georgia Dome security doesn't hate everyone (up to and including Dean Kamen, who once glared down a guard who was trying to prevent someone from retrieving an award at an awards ceremony).

But yeah. FIRST is an epic event, in every sense of the word.

reederda
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby reederda » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:44 am UTC

etotheix wrote:I suspect all of those on XKCD who are FIRSTers or FIRST alumni will quickly fill this thread. :D

Awesome comic!

-Ian Curtis
FRC1276

I think you're right. I'm a FIRSTer myself.

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silly raptor
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby silly raptor » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:36 am UTC

so, the water fried the other robots internals, is that right?

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TheChewanater
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Re: "First Design" Discussion

Postby TheChewanater » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:50 am UTC

silly raptor wrote:so, the water fried the other robots internals, is that right?

Indeed it is. You can tell by the frustrated controllers on the other alliance.
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