1087: "Cirith Ungol"

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby humanalien » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:34 am UTC

I like to think Charlotte the spider didn't die, but faked her death and traveled back in time to save the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

(She did it not for him, but for all the pigs his religion's dietary laws would save.)
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby wisty » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:01 am UTC

TheoGB wrote:
Ardee wrote:I *really* want to post a great Wikipedia ambiguity, but if I do, it'll get fixed, which would make the world a lesser place. So I'll just sit here and let you imagine what a terrific joke you're missing.


I *still* want to know what Gaiman is referring to here: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/05/o ... ering.html

Haha, citogenesis in action!

I'd guess it's something to do with the geographic center of the contiguous United States. Either the exact method which is it was calculated (carboard cutout + pin + plumb). Or the factoid about a farmer complaining about the monument (so it moved a bit).

Now maybe someone will "fix" the article on wikipedia, and my idle speculation will destroy a perfectly good fact; while the fake fact survives.

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Kick
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Kick » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:22 am UTC

Draco18s wrote:Took me a while to understand the alt text:

Wilbur who is saved from being (slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte).
Wilbur who is saved (from being slaughtered) by an intelligent spider named Charlotte.

Thank you, I had trouble understanding this one. Also it seems Wikipedia may have changed that opening sentence... :(


flicky1991 wrote:
Eutychus wrote:1) Type in the url of some forum and type in a question, waiting for other people to decide for themselves what part of the answer needs to be shared to respond to my question

or

2) Type in http://www.google.com and type in a question, then see what comes up and decide for myself which info I find is relevant and enough to answer my question

... I just cannot relate at all to the mentality that chooses option No. 1.

People are more intelligent than machines. I had no idea what question to put into Google because it can't just "explain the joke", and searching for "Cirith Ungol" didn't help.
To be fair, reading the Wikipedia article on Syntactic ambiguity let me know what the joke was, but I still could not find the ambiguity in the sentence. I'll blame my lack of coffee at this (relatively) early hour.
I'm never sarcastic.

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Max™
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:17 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:
sotanaht wrote:That's not ambiguous at all in text form since we can see the comma or lack thereof.



I've posted hundreds of jokes based on wordplay. "Read aloud" puns are like sarcasm. It always works perfectly on the web.

Rats, I can't find it, but I've got a screenshot I took of a cleverbot convo that killed me.

Me: It's under there.
Cleverbot: Under where?
Me: Ha ha, I just made you say underwear.
Cleverbot: Dang it, say something witty.


The comeback was very amusing.

This is the only one of my fun with cleverbot images I have left:
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Aiwendil » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

Barad is sindarin for tower. Torech means lair, so it related to the system of caves that Shelob inhabited.


Oh my; I have no excuse for such a glaring error. I must go and perform ritual readings of The History of Middle-earth to cleanse myself. Thanks for the correction.

Wutai
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Wutai » Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:01 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:One of my favorite Wiki-wordings is from the article Mast (botany), which contains the sentence, “It has been traditional to turn pigs into forests to fatten on this form of mast.” In this case the ambiguity is semantic rather than syntactic, but nonetheless it gives rise to a strange mental image.


Turning pigs into forests is just another day in the life of Ender (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequeninos).

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Various Varieties
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Various Varieties » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:35 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:I remember back in the days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, if you were to type (I think) "idiot" into Google, the first result was Bush's profile on the White House's Web site. I might have some of the specifics wrong - hell, it might have even been Kerry who was the target, I don't remember. I've tried to find the specifics but none of the searches I can think to try are turning anything up.


The phrase was "miserable failure".

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:52 am UTC

Thank a lot for that. Looks like I had every detail wrong except for the fact that it involved Bush.

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super_aardvark
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby super_aardvark » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:03 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
rylon wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:... I just cannot relate at all to the mentality that chooses option No. 1. And I don't think it is a mentality that is admirable or to be encouraged. Nobody can know everything, of course, and I'm not criticizing anybody for not knowing something just because I do. I'm criticizing being too lazy or ambivalent to put any effort into finding out the answer. Plus, if you choose option No. 2, you might *gasp* even learn something MORE than you sought to find out. But that's totally up to how much time a person wants to invest. I anticipate the response to this criticism being, "maybe the person doesn't have time to wade through the search results," but in this and many instances that is not valid. I type "Cirith Ungol" into Google and a host of LOTR stuff comes up, plus the second search result, right there on the search result page, has this as a summary: "The Tower of Cirith Ungol: A watchtower on the border of Mordor. The Tower of Cirith Ungol was located high in the Mountains of Shadow overlooking the pass ..." Another search result summary mentions a secret entrance into Mordor. Bam, question answered, and it took no more time than it does to come to this forum and pose the question.
There is something that, I think, you haven't considered:

Google search results are ranked, partly, buy people linking things. The more often something is linked, the higher it goes. So, people answering questions on forums by linking to helpful webpages helps google better rank what web pages are most relevant to a specific search. You deride the practice of asking on forums first, but people doing that help the people who reach for Google first.


I'm pretty sure linking today is a much smaller part of Google's formula than you seem to think, because putting too much weight into that stat opens the door to heavy manipulation by users. I remember back in the days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, if you were to type (I think) "idiot" into Google, the first result was Bush's profile on the White House's Web site. I might have some of the specifics wrong - hell, it might have even been Kerry who was the target, I don't remember. I've tried to find the specifics but none of the searches I can think to try are turning anything up. The point is, it was achieved by people spreading links all over the Web using the word idiot and linking to whatever page it was. And so Google's response was to twerk their formula.

And regardless of all that, it still doesn't make it any less lame to not type your question into Google first. There are no doubt some specific searches that would be lacking in informative results, but that is a very small minority. The fact is, in this and damn near any case where the question being asked involves a concrete, minimally interpretative concept, Google's results are already about as solid as they're going to get - and I highly doubt lazy people asking easy-to-lookup questions factor as heavily in the display of search results as you seem to think. There is no reason not to try Google first unless you are new to the Internet and don't know how powerful Google is.


You keep talking about how lazy a person must be to use the forum instead of Google. Yet, you also keep repeating how much easier it is to use Google. You're trying to have your cake and eat it too, and your particular cake seems to be being superior. Now, I agree with you that Google is easier, so let's see if we can think of a reason for asking on the forum that's a bit more logically consistent than laziness. You presented one--being ignorant about the power of Google--but I don't think you believe the person who originally posed the question is that.

There is another explanation you may not have considered. Searching on Google is a solitary act, while asking a question on the forum is a social one. If you don't know what something is, finding the answer on Google isn't going to give you sufficient knowledge or experience to then go discuss it on the forum. For someone who isn't in on the joke, asking such a question is about the only way to participate in the conversation. You may not be interested in that kind of "small talk," but there's no good reason to mock those who are.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby peewee_RotA » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:59 am UTC

Max™ wrote:
peewee_RotA wrote:
sotanaht wrote:That's not ambiguous at all in text form since we can see the comma or lack thereof.



I've posted hundreds of jokes based on wordplay. "Read aloud" puns are like sarcasm. It always works perfectly on the web.

Rats, I can't find it, but I've got a screenshot I took of a cleverbot convo that killed me.

Me: It's under there.
Cleverbot: Under where?
Me: Ha ha, I just made you say underwear.
Cleverbot: Dang it, say something witty.


The comeback was very amusing.



LOL nice.
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Max™
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:30 am UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:
Max™ wrote:
peewee_RotA wrote:
sotanaht wrote:That's not ambiguous at all in text form since we can see the comma or lack thereof.



I've posted hundreds of jokes based on wordplay. "Read aloud" puns are like sarcasm. It always works perfectly on the web.

Rats, I can't find it, but I've got a screenshot I took of a cleverbot convo that killed me.

Me: It's under there.
Cleverbot: Under where?
Me: Ha ha, I just made you say underwear.
Cleverbot: Dang it, say something witty.


The comeback was very amusing.



LOL nice.


Still no luck finding it, checked facebook to see, found this though, autocorrect is the best thing ever.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

super_aardvark wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
rylon wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:... I just cannot relate at all to the mentality that chooses option No. 1. And I don't think it is a mentality that is admirable or to be encouraged. Nobody can know everything, of course, and I'm not criticizing anybody for not knowing something just because I do. I'm criticizing being too lazy or ambivalent to put any effort into finding out the answer. Plus, if you choose option No. 2, you might *gasp* even learn something MORE than you sought to find out. But that's totally up to how much time a person wants to invest. I anticipate the response to this criticism being, "maybe the person doesn't have time to wade through the search results," but in this and many instances that is not valid. I type "Cirith Ungol" into Google and a host of LOTR stuff comes up, plus the second search result, right there on the search result page, has this as a summary: "The Tower of Cirith Ungol: A watchtower on the border of Mordor. The Tower of Cirith Ungol was located high in the Mountains of Shadow overlooking the pass ..." Another search result summary mentions a secret entrance into Mordor. Bam, question answered, and it took no more time than it does to come to this forum and pose the question.
There is something that, I think, you haven't considered:

Google search results are ranked, partly, buy people linking things. The more often something is linked, the higher it goes. So, people answering questions on forums by linking to helpful webpages helps google better rank what web pages are most relevant to a specific search. You deride the practice of asking on forums first, but people doing that help the people who reach for Google first.


I'm pretty sure linking today is a much smaller part of Google's formula than you seem to think, because putting too much weight into that stat opens the door to heavy manipulation by users. I remember back in the days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, if you were to type (I think) "idiot" into Google, the first result was Bush's profile on the White House's Web site. I might have some of the specifics wrong - hell, it might have even been Kerry who was the target, I don't remember. I've tried to find the specifics but none of the searches I can think to try are turning anything up. The point is, it was achieved by people spreading links all over the Web using the word idiot and linking to whatever page it was. And so Google's response was to twerk their formula.

And regardless of all that, it still doesn't make it any less lame to not type your question into Google first. There are no doubt some specific searches that would be lacking in informative results, but that is a very small minority. The fact is, in this and damn near any case where the question being asked involves a concrete, minimally interpretative concept, Google's results are already about as solid as they're going to get - and I highly doubt lazy people asking easy-to-lookup questions factor as heavily in the display of search results as you seem to think. There is no reason not to try Google first unless you are new to the Internet and don't know how powerful Google is.


You keep talking about how lazy a person must be to use the forum instead of Google. Yet, you also keep repeating how much easier it is to use Google.


Nope, I never said this. I said it is easy to use Google - no comparison to the easiness of using the forum was ever mentioned. Of course, it's also easy to use the forum - it is literally typing the exact same phrase that you would into Google, except on the forum. The difference is, here, you get responses much more limited in scope. For this particular comic, the only thing you need to know about Cirith Ungol is that it is referring to the pass where Frodo encountered the spider in the LOTR trilogy. But suppose the person asking needed something more specific - there have been like three separate answers offered here: It's the watchtower; it's the pass where the spider is; it's the secret stair. So now what do they have to do if they want to know which to believe? Go to Google and find a better source. There's no reason whatsoever to pose the question on an Internet message board when Google is more than capable of answering the question. Google requires the same amount of effort, but is more reliable in its answers.

So where is the line drawn? I am trying to figure out the total cost of my car insurance, it's $50 per month for six months. Hey, can someone tell me what 50 X 6 is? I can't be asked to punch it into a calculator myself.

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whateveries
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby whateveries » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:26 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
super_aardvark wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
rylon wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:... I just cannot relate at all to the mentality that chooses option No. 1. And I don't think it is a mentality that is admirable or to be encouraged. Nobody can know everything, of course, and I'm not criticizing anybody for not knowing something just because I do. I'm criticizing being too lazy or ambivalent to put any effort into finding out the answer. Plus, if you choose option No. 2, you might *gasp* even learn something MORE than you sought to find out. But that's totally up to how much time a person wants to invest. I anticipate the response to this criticism being, "maybe the person doesn't have time to wade through the search results," but in this and many instances that is not valid. I type "Cirith Ungol" into Google and a host of LOTR stuff comes up, plus the second search result, right there on the search result page, has this as a summary: "The Tower of Cirith Ungol: A watchtower on the border of Mordor. The Tower of Cirith Ungol was located high in the Mountains of Shadow overlooking the pass ..." Another search result summary mentions a secret entrance into Mordor. Bam, question answered, and it took no more time than it does to come to this forum and pose the question.
There is something that, I think, you haven't considered:

Google search results are ranked, partly, buy people linking things. The more often something is linked, the higher it goes. So, people answering questions on forums by linking to helpful webpages helps google better rank what web pages are most relevant to a specific search. You deride the practice of asking on forums first, but people doing that help the people who reach for Google first.


I'm pretty sure linking today is a much smaller part of Google's formula than you seem to think, because putting too much weight into that stat opens the door to heavy manipulation by users. I remember back in the days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, if you were to type (I think) "idiot" into Google, the first result was Bush's profile on the White House's Web site. I might have some of the specifics wrong - hell, it might have even been Kerry who was the target, I don't remember. I've tried to find the specifics but none of the searches I can think to try are turning anything up. The point is, it was achieved by people spreading links all over the Web using the word idiot and linking to whatever page it was. And so Google's response was to twerk their formula.

And regardless of all that, it still doesn't make it any less lame to not type your question into Google first. There are no doubt some specific searches that would be lacking in informative results, but that is a very small minority. The fact is, in this and damn near any case where the question being asked involves a concrete, minimally interpretative concept, Google's results are already about as solid as they're going to get - and I highly doubt lazy people asking easy-to-lookup questions factor as heavily in the display of search results as you seem to think. There is no reason not to try Google first unless you are new to the Internet and don't know how powerful Google is.


You keep talking about how lazy a person must be to use the forum instead of Google. Yet, you also keep repeating how much easier it is to use Google.


Nope, I never said this. I said it is easy to use Google - no comparison to the easiness of using the forum was ever mentioned. Of course, it's also easy to use the forum - it is literally typing the exact same phrase that you would into Google, except on the forum. The difference is, here, you get responses much more limited in scope. For this particular comic, the only thing you need to know about Cirith Ungol is that it is referring to the pass where Frodo encountered the spider in the LOTR trilogy. But suppose the person asking needed something more specific - there have been like three separate answers offered here: It's the watchtower; it's the pass where the spider is; it's the secret stair. So now what do they have to do if they want to know which to believe? Go to Google and find a better source. There's no reason whatsoever to pose the question on an Internet message board when Google is more than capable of answering the question. Google requires the same amount of effort, but is more reliable in its answers.

So where is the line drawn? I am trying to figure out the total cost of my car insurance, it's $50 per month for six months. Hey, can someone tell me what 50 X 6 is? I can't be asked to punch it into a calculator myself.


I would never ask anyone to punch a calculator.
it's fine.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Jorpho » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:03 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:For this particular comic, the only thing you need to know about Cirith Ungol is that it is referring to the pass where Frodo encountered the spider in the LOTR trilogy. But suppose the person asking needed something more specific - there have been like three separate answers offered here: It's the watchtower; it's the pass where the spider is; it's the secret stair.
Yes, but all of these answers have absolutely nothing to do with a heavy metal group, which, if one were to judge by the Google results, is equally likely to be relevant to the comic, if not more so.

And no, it wouldn't be the first time a random heavy metal reference has worked its way into a comic. Stryper has come up in Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content; I have never heard of them otherwise.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby whateveries » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:09 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:For this particular comic, the only thing you need to know about Cirith Ungol is that it is referring to the pass where Frodo encountered the spider in the LOTR trilogy. But suppose the person asking needed something more specific - there have been like three separate answers offered here: It's the watchtower; it's the pass where the spider is; it's the secret stair.
Yes, but all of these answers have absolutely nothing to do with a heavy metal group, which, if one were to judge by the Google results, is equally likely to be relevant to the comic, if not more so.

And no, it wouldn't be the first time a random heavy metal reference has worked its way into a comic. Stryper has come up in Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content; I have never heard of them otherwise.


You have never heard of Dr. McNinja and Questionable content?
it's fine.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby 3Nex » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:05 am UTC

I've heard Randall say in an interview once that he keeps the "title text" as a separate (or additional) joke. Because not everyone knows there is one, people who only read the actual comic should still get the joke.

I think this is an exception.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby peewee_RotA » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:16 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:For this particular comic, the only thing you need to know about Cirith Ungol is that it is referring to the pass where Frodo encountered the spider in the LOTR trilogy. But suppose the person asking needed something more specific - there have been like three separate answers offered here: It's the watchtower; it's the pass where the spider is; it's the secret stair.
Yes, but all of these answers have absolutely nothing to do with a heavy metal group, which, if one were to judge by the Google results, is equally likely to be relevant to the comic, if not more so.

And no, it wouldn't be the first time a random heavy metal reference has worked its way into a comic. Stryper has come up in Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content; I have never heard of them otherwise.


Obviously Heavy Metal has a high density in the search results. They aught to show up periodically.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:23 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:For this particular comic, the only thing you need to know about Cirith Ungol is that it is referring to the pass where Frodo encountered the spider in the LOTR trilogy. But suppose the person asking needed something more specific - there have been like three separate answers offered here: It's the watchtower; it's the pass where the spider is; it's the secret stair.
Yes, but all of these answers have absolutely nothing to do with a heavy metal group, which, if one were to judge by the Google results, is equally likely to be relevant to the comic, if not more so.

And no, it wouldn't be the first time a random heavy metal reference has worked its way into a comic. Stryper has come up in Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content; I have never heard of them otherwise.


Are you serious? Looking at that comic, you can't figure out which is more likely to be the reference, a mountain pass that involves a huge spider and crossed by a guy carrying a magic ring or a heavy metal group?

You obviously did not try Google before posting here, and this is just a lame after-the-fact attempt to justify it. I'm quite sure you would be able to figure it out with minimal effort based on the context.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Jorpho » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:48 pm UTC

whateveries wrote:
Jorpho wrote:And no, it wouldn't be the first time a random heavy metal reference has worked its way into a comic. Stryper has come up in Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content; I have never heard of them otherwise.
You have never heard of Dr. McNinja and Questionable content?
I meant I had never heard of Stryper.

blowfishhootie wrote:Are you serious? Looking at that comic, you can't figure out which is more likely to be the reference, a mountain pass that involves a huge spider and crossed by a guy carrying a magic ring or a heavy metal group?
The magic ring is so subtle as to be practically invisible, let alone be easily identified as a magic ring. In describing the comic it would hardly be a central element.

You obviously did not try Google before posting here, and this is just a lame after-the-fact attempt to justify it. I'm quite sure you would be able to figure it out with minimal effort based on the context.
Oh, real classy. Of course I tried Googling before posting here. Shall I accuse you of resorting to ad-hominem attacks now that the main thrust of your argument has been shown to be without merit? Hey, maybe we can throw in some pointless name-calling, too!

I suppose I might have asked right off the bat, "Does this have something to do with a heavy metal band?" but that is considerably more oblique and likely to cause further confusion than simply asking "What's Cirith Ungol?"

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:04 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Oh, real classy. Of course I tried Googling before posting here. Shall I accuse you of resorting to ad-hominem attacks now that the main thrust of your argument has been shown to be without merit? Hey, maybe we can throw in some pointless name-calling, too!


scottgoblue314 wrote:I was going to give you a hard time about not having the nerd-cred to know a LotR reference

This.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Wlerin » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:06 pm UTC

Well, the last time I searched from Cirith Ungol, I could have sworn all of the top 5 results were LotR related, but this time around the first two are for the band. Still, even visiting the band websites will direct you ultimately to Tolkien's Cirith Ungol, since that's where they got their name from.

Ultimately, telling a person to "Google it" is just as, if not more, lazy as the person who didn't bother to Google it the first place. I say this as someone who does both.

Google requires the same amount of effort, but is more reliable in its answers.

No on both counts. It requires a great deal more effort to sift through Google results to find what you are looking for, and the reliability of the information is entirely dependent on the sites it pulls up (except for built-in functions like the calculator and converters), which may be unknown (to you).

Asking on a forum takes barely any effort at all, and you at least have some idea how reliable the various posters are. Plus, even if you *have* googled, you may be uncertain of your results, and so decide to ask on the forum anyway.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:Are you serious? Looking at that comic, you can't figure out which is more likely to be the reference, a mountain pass that involves a huge spider and crossed by a guy carrying a magic ring or a heavy metal group?
The magic ring is so subtle as to be practically invisible, let alone be easily identified as a magic ring. In describing the comic it would hardly be a central element.


And the spider webs? Are those too subtle as well?

You obviously did not try Google before posting here, and this is just a lame after-the-fact attempt to justify it. I'm quite sure you would be able to figure it out with minimal effort based on the context.
Oh, real classy. Of course I tried Googling before posting here. Shall I accuse you of resorting to ad-hominem attacks now that the main thrust of your argument has been shown to be without merit? Hey, maybe we can throw in some pointless name-calling, too!

I suppose I might have asked right off the bat, "Does this have something to do with a heavy metal band?" but that is considerably more oblique and likely to cause further confusion than simply asking "What's Cirith Ungol?"


Well, only you know for sure, of course, but I personally just cannot possibly believe that a person could be both: a) so helpless that, given the context of this comic and the combination of Google results I'm seeing, they still can't figure out what "Cirith Ungol" is referring to, and b) smart enough to turn on a computer, access this forum, and type in coherent sentences.

Wlerin wrote:Well, the last time I searched from Cirith Ungol, I could have sworn all of the top 5 results were LotR related, but this time around the first two are for the band. Still, even visiting the band websites will direct you ultimately to Tolkien's Cirith Ungol, since that's where they got their name from.

Ultimately, telling a person to "Google it" is just as, if not more, lazy as the person who didn't bother to Google it the first place. I say this as someone who does both.


Totally different. Typing "Cirith Ungol" into Google or posing the question here are trying to achieve the same end: Understanding what Cirith Ungol is a reference to. Saying "Google it" is not trying to achieve the same end as anything else involved in the discussion. If my goal is to get people to think for themselves and use this great tool that is Google, telling them to use Google is really the only way to do it.

Google requires the same amount of effort, but is more reliable in its answers.

No on both counts. It requires a great deal more effort to sift through Google results to find what you are looking for


It depends on the specific search. I wouldn't expect someone to use Google to gain an understanding of some complex mathematically theory referenced in an XKCD comic, because that is much more of a time investment than just asking someone here to explain the relevant part of the theory. But that is not the case with this particular one - it takes no more time to find Cirith Ungol's meaning via Google than it does to pose the question here and wait for a response, because Cirith Ungol is a simple concept to look up. How long are we talking about? I'd say it's reasonable to say, based on these Google results, an absolute high-end guess for the amount of time it might take for someone to deduce enough of the meaning to understand the comic would be two to three minutes, though really I think it would probably be seconds - especially if you just cut out Google and go straight to Wikipedia, which in the first two sentences explains that it is where Frodo encounters a giant spider. It took someone on this forum seven minutes to provide an answer, and then 20 minutes later someone argued that that first answer wasn't technically correct, and so on.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:17 pm UTC

Bartimaeus wrote:Technically it isn't where Shelob lurks(it's the nearby watchtower)

Wrong: Cirith Ungol is indeed the narrow mountain pass: ("cirith" = cleft, "ungol" = dark; cf. "Ungoliant", Shelob's mother). The tower is Minas Morgul, which is the twin of Minas Tirith, and which prior to the former's annexation by Mordor, were named Minas Ithil (whence Ithilien) and Minas Anor: the towers of the moon and sun, respectively; and one candidate pair for "The Two Towers".

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby bmonk » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:18 pm UTC

wisty wrote:...

Now maybe someone will "fix" the article on wikipedia, and my idle speculation will destroy a perfectly good fact; while the fake fact survives.


One wise elder I knew used to say that, no matter how hard you try to correct a wrong fact once it's published, you will never be able to catch everyone who believes it. The error will always survive.

whateveries wrote:...
I would never ask anyone to punch a calculator.

Good for you. That might count as math abuse. Or is it an instrument of math destruction?
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby flicky1991 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

What the people arguing about this seem to be missing is that finding out what Cirith Ungol means doesn't actually tell you what the point of the strip is... a person can do that much better than search results can, especially if you're not sure what you're looking for.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
Google requires the same amount of effort, but is more reliable in its answers.

No on both counts. It requires a great deal more effort to sift through Google results to find what you are looking for


It depends on the specific search. I wouldn't expect someone to use Google to gain an understanding of some complex mathematically theory referenced in an XKCD comic, because that is much more of a time investment than just asking someone here to explain the relevant part of the theory. But that is not the case with this particular one - it takes no more time to find Cirith Ungol's meaning via Google than it does to pose the question here and wait for a response, because Cirith Ungol is a simple concept to look up. How long are we talking about? I'd say it's reasonable to say, based on these Google results, an absolute high-end guess for the amount of time it might take for someone to deduce enough of the meaning to understand the comic would be two to three minutes, though really I think it would probably be seconds - especially if you just cut out Google and go straight to Wikipedia, which in the first two sentences explains that it is where Frodo encounters a giant spider. It took someone on this forum seven minutes to provide an answer, and then 20 minutes later someone argued that that first answer wasn't technically correct, and so on.



And days later it is still being argued.

So one way Google is better is that if you consult Google, other Google pages that did not answer your question won't keep contacting you to tell you you were wrong to consult Google.

"You're so lazy! Google isn't here to answer your questions! If you aren't willing to put in the work to find things out for yourself, why should Google tell you the answers?"
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:What the people arguing about this seem to be missing is that finding out what Cirith Ungol means doesn't actually tell you what the point of the strip is... a person can do that much better than search results can, especially if you're not sure what you're looking for.


This is the second time you've said this same thing in this thread. I responded to the first one. Basically: Yes, asking for the joke to be explained is different from asking what Cirith Ungol means. The question that started this wasn't what the joke was, it was what Cirith Ungol means.

J Thomas wrote:"You're so lazy! Google isn't here to answer your questions! If you aren't willing to put in the work to find things out for yourself, why should Google tell you the answers?"


Honestly, I'm surprised and encouraged by the fact that it took somebody this long to make this laughably stupid argument.

If you want to make this argument, then nothing can ever be learned except by conducting first-hand scientific research. Nothing I've argued suggests that second-hand info is always bad. But this isn't second-hand info, it is third-hand, fourth-hand, and so on. It is relying on somebody to review the first- or second-hand material for you and tell you about it. And I know this will open the door to laughable attempts to discredit it, but yes, Wikipedia and other sites like it are much more reliable then your typical Internet drivel. Just because a person uses Google to find info doesn't mean they suddenly lack the ability to judge a site's credibility (or even a particular page on a site; or a particular comment on a page on a site). And unless it is something really obscure, only credible sites will typically make it to the top of Google search results anyway.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby peewee_RotA » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:25 pm UTC

This entire argument is not complete without one of these:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=let+me+google+that+for+you
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:This entire argument is not complete without one of these:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=let+me+google+that+for+you


Personally, I prefer this one, because it is much more direct and abusive in driving the point home. :)

http://www.justfuckinggoogleit.com/

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby flicky1991 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:What the people arguing about this seem to be missing is that finding out what Cirith Ungol means doesn't actually tell you what the point of the strip is... a person can do that much better than search results can, especially if you're not sure what you're looking for.


This is the second time you've said this same thing in this thread. I responded to the first one. Basically: Yes, asking for the joke to be explained is different from asking what Cirith Ungol means. The question that started this wasn't what the joke was, it was what Cirith Ungol means.

OK, I understand that I repeated myself, but, despite the way it was worded, the original question pretty much did want the joke explained - sure, he said no-one had explained what Cirith Ungol was, but he also said the joke was flying way over his head.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

Yeah, but if you don't know what Cirith Ungol is, I would totally expect the joke to fly over your head. Looking up what Cirith Ungol is should have been the first step, then if the joke still wasn't clear the person could have asked for an explanation.

Of course, people arguing that I and others annoyed by this can just ignore the questions and those who want to answer them can do so are totally right. The person who asked what Cirith Ungol is is certainly "allowed" to ask that question, and I don't mean to claim otherwise. I'm only arguing that it is incredibly silly to do so. It is almost exactly like walking up to a librarian, with a "G" encyclopedia in your hand and open, and asking the librarian what Great Britain is. Allowed? Sure. A waste of time for all involved? Definitely.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:02 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:A waste of time for all involved? Definitely.


Certainly less wasteful than the time spent discussing here how stupid one has to be not to choose Google first.

Admittedly more wasteful than the time I spent typing this.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:08 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:A waste of time for all involved? Definitely.


Certainly less wasteful than the time spent discussing here how stupid one has to be not to choose Google first.


If there is a more efficient way to let people know that Google and Wikipedia exist for a reason, please let me know.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:14 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Radical_Initiator wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:A waste of time for all involved? Definitely.


Certainly less wasteful than the time spent discussing here how stupid one has to be not to choose Google first.


If there is a more efficient way to let people know that Google and Wikipedia exist for a reason, please let me know.

Just throw them the lmgtfy link at them, or the other one you provided, smile a self-congratulatory smile while patting yourself on the back with both hands, and write down that you've met your recommended daily allowance of "being a prick" for the day. Then, if they still don't understand how stupid they are, they're too stupid to bother with, amirite?
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
Radical_Initiator wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:A waste of time for all involved? Definitely.


Certainly less wasteful than the time spent discussing here how stupid one has to be not to choose Google first.


If there is a more efficient way to let people know that Google and Wikipedia exist for a reason, please let me know.

Just throw them the lmgtfy link at them, or the other one you provided, smile a self-congratulatory smile while patting yourself on the back with both hands, and write down that you've met your recommended daily allowance of "being a prick" for the day.


Don't pretend you know what my allowance is.

Oh man, I'm going to bust out a great cliche. Are you ready? "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a life time." See, I'm actually doing people a FAVOR, and trying to teach them to be self-sufficient, and it is those who feed their foolishness by answering the questions they have the answers to right in front of them who are the pricks!

Not buying it? I didn't think so. But regardless, I don't know what to tell you. I enjoy the debate, I have enjoyed this discussion, and that's all I can offer. I see a fundamental difference between a prolonged debate and the simple "what is 1+1?" "It's 2" exchange that I am denouncing. One is an exchange of ideas - it is a conversation. "What is Cirith Ungol?" is not a conversation. What you're saying can be used to basically eliminate all discussion ever. What is the point of any conversation then, if an exchange of ideas isn't good enough? What I'm saying, I don't think, can be interpreted the same way. It lets us skip the foolishness and get right into that exchange of ideas.

EDIT: At this point, it seems worth restating my disclaimer that this criticism only applies to situations when the person has a means to answer their own question available, in a way that requires basically the same amount of effort as asking someone else to answer it for them. If I'm sitting around with a group of friends at my apartment and someone asks what Cirith Ungol is, of course I'm going to tell him, rather than direct him to Google. Because that is just way more convenient. It is not more convenient to ask it on an online message board than it is to type it into Google.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:48 pm UTC

Build a man a fire, he's warm for a night.

Set a man on fire, he's warm for the rest of his life.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:Oh man, I'm going to bust out a great cliche. Are you ready? "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a life time." See, I'm actually doing people a FAVOR, and trying to teach them to be self-sufficient, and it is those who feed their foolishness by answering the questions they have the answers to right in front of them who are the pricks!

blowfishhootie wrote:You should mock Jorpho not for not knowing what Cirith Ungol is, but for taking the time to type the question here but not putting it into Google where (s)he could have answered the question pretty easily.

Situations like this are why the Web site Let Me Google That For You exist.


blowfishhootie wrote:No, see, if we are sitting in your living room and someone asks what Cirith Ungol is, that is different. Or, if you would prefer, walking down the street and posing a question, like what happens in that comic, is different. Sitting at a computer discussing it in an online forum means the person asking the question literally has at their fingertips a huge database for answering their question that would require exactly the same amount of effort from them to find the answer. Actually, less. Typing "Cirith Ungol" into Google brings up plenty of resources just on the first page of results to answer the question conclusively. Not knowing something because you don't have the means at a precise moment in time to look it up is forgivable. Not knowing something because you can't be bothered to look it up even when you DO have the means is not. If this person can't be bothered to take five seconds to type two words into Google, what are the odds they are going to take the x-number of hours it will take to read the LOTR trilogy at the other person's recommendation?


That's not teaching a man to fish. That's walking up to the man, telling him "What kind of moron asshole doesn't know how to fish?", yanking the rod and reel out of his hands, casting the line with an exasperated "Ugh!", then reeling in a fish and handing the man back the fish and the rod with a cross-eyed look while yelling "DERP!"
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:Oh man, I'm going to bust out a great cliche. Are you ready? "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a life time." See, I'm actually doing people a FAVOR, and trying to teach them to be self-sufficient, and it is those who feed their foolishness by answering the questions they have the answers to right in front of them who are the pricks!

blowfishhootie wrote:You should mock Jorpho not for not knowing what Cirith Ungol is, but for taking the time to type the question here but not putting it into Google where (s)he could have answered the question pretty easily.

Situations like this are why the Web site Let Me Google That For You exist.


blowfishhootie wrote:No, see, if we are sitting in your living room and someone asks what Cirith Ungol is, that is different. Or, if you would prefer, walking down the street and posing a question, like what happens in that comic, is different. Sitting at a computer discussing it in an online forum means the person asking the question literally has at their fingertips a huge database for answering their question that would require exactly the same amount of effort from them to find the answer. Actually, less. Typing "Cirith Ungol" into Google brings up plenty of resources just on the first page of results to answer the question conclusively. Not knowing something because you don't have the means at a precise moment in time to look it up is forgivable. Not knowing something because you can't be bothered to look it up even when you DO have the means is not. If this person can't be bothered to take five seconds to type two words into Google, what are the odds they are going to take the x-number of hours it will take to read the LOTR trilogy at the other person's recommendation?


That's not teaching a man to fish. That's walking up to the man, telling him "What kind of moron asshole doesn't know how to fish?", yanking the rod and reel out of his hands, casting the line with an exasperated "Ugh!", then reeling in a fish and handing the man back the fish and the rod with a cross-eyed look while yelling "DERP!"


If you say so. Honestly, I think the two quotes you pulled of mine are not exactly cruel in tone. Perhaps they could have been more ... nice, or something, but then I also think this is a recurring problem on the Internet - plain text without tone of voice, body language, etc., just doesn't convey the same meaning that speech does.

If those quotes mean I'm being an asshole, I'm far from the only person in this thread who is being one. Including, for example, you in your past two posts. No need to apologize, though, because except in REALLY egregious examples (of which this is not one), I think crying "asshole!" on the Internet is just dumb.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:13 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
J Thomas wrote:"You're so lazy! Google isn't here to answer your questions! If you aren't willing to put in the work to find things out for yourself, why should Google tell you the answers?"


Honestly, I'm surprised and encouraged by the fact that it took somebody this long to make this laughably stupid argument.

If you want to make this argument, then nothing can ever be learned except by conducting first-hand scientific research. Nothing I've argued suggests that second-hand info is always bad. But this isn't second-hand info, it is third-hand, fourth-hand, and so on. It is relying on somebody to review the first- or second-hand material for you and tell you about it. And I know this will open the door to laughable attempts to discredit it, but yes, Wikipedia and other sites like it are much more reliable then your typical Internet drivel. Just because a person uses Google to find info doesn't mean they suddenly lack the ability to judge a site's credibility (or even a particular page on a site; or a particular comment on a page on a site). And unless it is something really obscure, only credible sites will typically make it to the top of Google search results anyway.


Oh my. I utterly failed to make my point. I said it so badly that you completely misunderstood what I was saying. I believe it's seldom I miscommunicate so badly. But maybe that happens more often than I think and sometimes I never find out how completely people have missed it.

I found myself imagining what it would be like if Google was like XKCD forums. You provide your search terms, but before you can click on a link various answers start opening on your screen like so many porn sites. They try to tell you the answer, and then they start arguing with each other and ignore you. And some of the sites don't even discuss the question but start berating you for asking it, like telling you that Google has better things to do than answer your questions.

I thought it was funny and I tried to share it with you. But I told the joke wrong, and now hear I am explaining it. Oh well.

Google is some ways better than XKCD for getting questions answered. For one thing, you can look at websites and get whatever you get from them. You don't get people looking over your shoulder giving their own interpretations including things you never thought of. So with Google you'll probably get less confused, and have less to think about. And for another thing, Google and its websites won't tell you that you're a bad person for asking Google. Google won't argue with you at great length whether you ought to ask it questions. Very different from here.

Of course, people arguing that I and others annoyed by this can just ignore the questions and those who want to answer them can do so are totally right. The person who asked what Cirith Ungol is is certainly "allowed" to ask that question, and I don't mean to claim otherwise. I'm only arguing that it is incredibly silly to do so. It is almost exactly like walking up to a librarian, with a "G" encyclopedia in your hand and open, and asking the librarian what Great Britain is. Allowed? Sure. A waste of time for all involved? Definitely.


But regardless, I don't know what to tell you. I enjoy the debate, I have enjoyed this discussion, and that's all I can offer.


So, some people enjoy asking questions in XKCD forums and other people enjoy answering them. You enjoy criticizing them for doing it. Sounds like we're all squared away.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:If you say so. Honestly, I think the two quotes you pulled of mine are not exactly cruel in tone. Perhaps they could have been more ... nice, or something, but then I also think this is a recurring problem on the Internet - plain text without tone of voice, body language, etc., just doesn't convey the same meaning that speech does.

If those quotes mean I'm being an asshole, I'm far from the only person in this thread who is being one. Including, for example, you in your past two posts. No need to apologize, though, because except in REALLY egregious examples (of which this is not one), I think crying "asshole!" on the Internet is just dumb.


One of the main points I was trying to get across, though, is this: If you want to be a jerk to people, ridiculing them for asking questions is a good way to do it. If your goal is to help, though, ridiculing people for asking questions (yes, even the ones you think are "dumb" questions) doesn't make them more likely to ask better questions or ask questions in a better way, it makes them more likely to ask no questions. And that's counterproductive.

So, what is there to do when people ask "stupid" questions? Imagine you're the one asking what someone else thinks is a "stupid" question, and then if you still feel the need to be a jerk, please hit yourself in the head with a hammer. :)
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