Sunday, January 4, 2009

Comic 526: I'm back, bitches!

Hello again my loyal readers. It's been quite a while since I've written a post here, and I'd like to thank Rob and Thomas for filling in while I sat around and sat on my fat ass.

woo hoo, i'm back....
Well I certainly have no shortage of things to write about with this one. Hell, I don't even know what it's supposed to be - since 80% of the entries aren't even trying to be funny, I wonder if maybe Randall is actually trying to be helpful, but then I yell angrily "argh then why the HELL is he putting it in the space normally reserved for some kind of COMIC" and then I kick a wall for a few minutes until I feel better.

Seriously, under "temperature" we have "jokes" like "ha ha what if i measured temperature in terms of the cursing you would employ in that temperature" and "spit making funny noise" (fun fact: at that temperature, -40C, you would actually not need to convert, as -40C is exactly equal to -40F! amazing. If only Randall knew some science)

Under "length" we get a dick joke, which is nice because we haven't had those before. We also get some Firefly references, which is nice because we haven't had those before.

Under "speed" we LOOK RANDALL WE GET IT YOU ARE SCARED OF RAPTORS IT WAS PRETTY FUNNY FOR A WHILE but look of you want it to stay funny instead of suck like it is now you need to do something new with it. Just "I'm scared of raptors ha ha is funny joke because are extinct ha ha" over and over and over and over again is stupid.

Under "volume" we have a HILARIOUS throwback to comic 434 and then we have some more of xkcd not being a political comic by having xkcd make fun of politicians.

And under "mass" we get a your mom joke. GOOD ONE. forefront of comedy, right there. Honestly, and I mean this one seriously, the your mom joke is really just pathetic, and almost makes me sad for Randall. It's just such an old, tired, stupid idea that I can't believe it was the climax of this "comic." Christ.

Anyway, it seems I must be in the minority here, I mean, forumite BRNZ had "at least five times when I put their discussion on hold due to my uproarious laughter" so i guess I am just missing the jokes!

Lastly, is there any good reason why Randall is talking about the metric system now? As far as I know there has not been any major push to switch recently. In any case, for my money, the best metric-conversion jokes were in an old SNL skit, which you need to find a video of somewhere - it's from the April 24th, 1976 episode, and if you really want to there is a transcript but it's not very funny without the video.



ahhhhhh it feels good to be back

56 comments:

  1. you know what i'm curious about?

    how does xkcdsucks update before xkcd update?

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  2. Voodoo magic.

    Awesome, eh?

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  3. The Firefly references are probably because Serenity just came on the Sci-Fi channel.

    Otherwise, fail. With a your mom joke thrown in for good measure.

    my captcha was almost "uncouth."

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  4. I'd rather Randall be semi-useful and amusing than unfunny and useless.

    Then again, this chart will find a home in every science lab on every campus in America, so it's kind of like handing a Pokedex to a kid raised on Pokemon.

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  5. Cuddlefishes I do not understand your conversation.

    Thomas for some reason your comment makes me imagine children eating Pokemon.

    Carl YAY YOU ARE BACK and Randall gave you this nice sucky comic, providing you fertile ground in which to plant your angry seeds of hatred. By the way your links for the first two Firefly references are the same. Also I was a little more disappointed to note that he didn't even draw a velociraptor. AGAIN.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. You forgot about the "cat with captions" joke which is just a reference to a joke Randall made about a meme months after the meme became popular.

    This, along with the fieldmouse and raptor references kid of remind me of the guy at the party who starts off with "remember that time I did that really funny thing? Wasn't that awesome?!"

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  8. Amanda, I must share in the disappointment. Even if Randall decided to rely on velociraptors for a while, the image of dinosaurs attacking stick-people has enough potential variety to work in spite of repetition.

    So, while xkcd has already been weighed against Dinosaur Comics a few times before, I think there's yet another advantage...

    WELL PLACED DINOSAURS

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  9. Hey, lighten up Francis... who took the jelly from your donut?

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  10. Actually, there's an increasing movement to finish the change to metrication. Amongst other things, it made it into the second round of voting on change.org and has been featured on the front page of several news papers lately.

    It really would be nice to see us finally get our fingers out and finish the change to a fully metric measuring system.

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  11. I IS THINK AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD LEARN TOLERATE DIFFERENT WAYS OF APREHENDING THE STUFF

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  12. Well, this is the most nonsensical comment thread we've ever had.

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  13. Another decent idea poorly executed on Randall's part. I don't really have a lot to add.

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  14. To be fair, you have said before that you missed the raptors as they haven't been mentioned in ages, so perhaps Randall is listening to his readers in that respect.
    Unfortunately it's resulted in 521, 522 and this one... so a bunch of self-referential comics that don't do anything new and aren't particularly funny. Ahh well.
    The raptor reference was at least more amusing than the Firefly and grand your mom joke finisher.

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  15. wtf randall? is this another joke: 3L : 2 Liter bottle...

    just no.

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  16. i think the thing with the raptors joke is that he's trying to make it funny again. i can't find the image right now, but basically the more times you tell a joke, the less funny it becomes, until it bottoms out and then becomes immensely funny after that. i think he's still stuck in that valley, though..

    thomas got it right: prepare to see this on walls in every classroom and cubicle on the planet.

    urgh. today's makes me angry.

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  17. when will randall learn that if you have to use that many words to get your joke across, it probably means the joke isnt that funny and you're trying to hard.

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  18. Notes:
    I somewhat liked the Firefly stuff as self-deprecating humor, I mean who is obsessively weird enough to look up that kind of information?

    I hate the cat masses because of the tired joke but moreso because it completely breaks the comic's otherwise uniform trend of small->large.

    The imagined situation of writing a units conversion table leading to the sudden conclusion that you could stuff three people into a fridge made me chuckle.

    CAPTCHA: 'pringali'; once you pop the fun don't subsisto.

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  19. Man, I was kind of looking forward to understanding Firefly references in XKCD now that I've finally watched the series, but this makes me sad that I do. I don't understand why Randall felt the need to (sort of) turn this into a Firefly comic--what, "volume" just happened to make him think of blood, which then made him think, "Hey, there was a quote in Firefly that had to do with amounts of blood"?

    I can imagine the alt text being a mildly funny in-joke if the rest of the comic had been various (better) jokes about volume, with one thrown in about blood in the average human body. Then he could have thrown in an alt-text joke linking that one line to a quote from Firefly and reveled in his nerdy obscurity. But none of the other Firefly stuff is funny in the slightest, so making it sort-of-a-theme-but-not-really just feels like he wants to remind us that he still has nerd cred, dammit.

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  20. Apparently the 'blood in a field mouse' is a Discworld reference. This is... pretty much just a string of references, some obscure, some blatant. Randall, remember when you wrote a comic about how you didn't like those people?

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  21. And as usual, he got the facts wrong. I was born in Moscow, and I can tell that -10°C is not a cold day in Moscow. It is a fairly typical day in the middle of the winter (or at least was, before global warming screwed everything up). Check for yourselves: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Moscow

    To be fair, though, I also checked the climate of Boston, and found out that just as -10 for Moscow, -5 was the average low temperature in January for Boston. But though I moved from Moscow a long time ago, I remember that I have never perceived -10 as something anomalous.

    I think Randall just picked 'Moscow' as the archetypical city with a cold climate, but he could have found better closer to home: in the northern USA and central Canada, winters are extremely cold. In Winnipeg, for example, average low in January is -23°C.

    By the way, it is currently snowing here where I live (in Paris), with several centimeters on the ground - last time it happened was in 2005... Happy New Year everyone!

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  22. I know I shouldn't but... I... can't... resist... commenting. I give in. Here's my two cents, as if anyone except me would care about my opinion.

    The conclusion I draw from today's rant and the comments is that you all seam to be reading this comic the wrong way. Just as that flow chart comic, this one should be read as if it was seriously meant. The firefly references aren't thrown in there simply to satisfy the fans. They are a comment on the obsession Randall/the whole geek community have for Firefly. The thought that knowing that the whole crew of firefly makes a 16 m 4 cm high tower would actually help someone learning the metrics system, is quite amusing. The raptor references should be taken the same way. (The raptor references were more obligatory than fun though).

    Good penis jokes are rare but this one was a clever spin on #194.

    -40 °C, 120 kph and 4.1 kg were slightly amusing.

    There's no point in defending Randalls apolitical stance after #522. :(

    I've never understood Randalls obsession with your mom jokes. They are simply not funny. At least you can't say it's worse now than it was in the "good old days" (#116, 158 and 176). A bad way to end an otherwise quite amusing, though not hilarious comic.

    Nitpicking: 15 kg CRT could have been under the cats to keep the structure. If I'm not mistaken your nasal passage isn't filled with mucus when blocked. It's just swollen.

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  23. Ilia: I would imagine that "cold" and "the middle of winter" are closely related in most cities. Then again, perhaps I do not comprehend the Russian psyche. I hear they are famously pessimistic.

    And as long as I'm here, the fridge joke seems to be the most spontaneous and clever of the lot.

    Although I do see a certain amount of comic value in subtly encouraging every male reader to compare himself against the nearest CD (no, I did not).

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  24. Anon one: Yes, the answer is voodoo magic. Either that or you have to hit "refresh." OR MAYBE I AM RANDALL MUNROE HIMSELF no wait that's not it.

    Thomas, I would agree. Heck it probably would be in high school classes too if it weren't for those "fuckfuckfuck" parts. In any case, I bet we see a (possibly expanded) poster version pretty soon...

    Choof, your analogy is damn good.

    Clare did I really say that? I don't remember thinking it but I sometimes forget stuff.

    Greg: I've never quite understood that phenomenon, and I would just dismiss it as stupid except that I remember the time Sideshow Bob stepped on all those rakes and it was in fact pretty funny. So I guess I'll keep an open mind and see if it gets funny, but it's hard to imagine.

    Lint of Death: Your comment made me imagine a different comic, where he starts off as he did here, but when he gets to that fridge part he suddenly cuts off and says something like "wait right here...I had an idea..." and then it goes to a traditional comic form and he is trying to stuff them in a fridge, or perhaps is getting in trouble for having tried that. I think the sudden change in format might be fun.

    Kristen your last sentence is exactly correct.

    M7S: I don't think this is "seriously meant" because it's a comic. By nature, everything on it is meant to be funny (or under some circumstances, advance a story). The "serious" comics, that ones that make people go "guys it's not supposed to be funny it's just what he thinks" make me very angry.

    This dick joke was not a clever play on 194. 194 was a clever play on shitty dick jokes like the one seen here, which is why I liked 194.

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  25. Dunno if this has been mentioned on here yet, but I just noticed there's this 2008 weblog awards thing, and they've got one for Best Comic Strip. The two nominees to pull away from the pack are xkcd and Garfield Minus Garfield. The good news is G-G is presently winning by almost 500 votes!
    http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-comic-strip/

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  26. Dammit, now I've wasted half an hour when I should be working trawling back through the blog, finding the reference I remembered to prove I wasn't going mad or confusing you with some random forum/digg/LJ-feed poster which would just be embarrassing...
    Conclusion: You've only mentioned raptors in replies to posts here and here so... I guess I remember really random stuff and Randall is listening to his readers, they just aren't you? *Shuffles back to lurking*

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  27. Carl: I didn't express myself well enough, I guess. I didn't mean that the comic was seriously meant. I meant that it's funny when you approach it AS IF it was seriously meant. I guess you can call this a kind of character driven humor. What kind of reference points would the "I" person/the narrator in xkcd (who is a caricature of Randall, rather than the real Randall) choose, that makes sense to him?

    194 is about shitty dick jokes, yes. More specifically it's about "Your dick is small" and "My dick is big" kind of jokes. It surely doesn't apply to today's dick joke, though. This comic simply states that penises are of a certain lenght, without any fuzz, just as 194. The inclusion of penis length as a reference pooint to how long 14 cm is, strikes me as quite funny, because in spite of the wish in 194, we as a culture has not yet accepted that penises are of certain size and moved on. There's to much uncertainty regarding the avarage penis size to make it a useful reference point, unless you do it as an agreement to the words of 194. (Now I'm expressing myself badly again, I guess. I hope you get my point anyway.)

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  28. No, it's still a dumb dick joke. Observe.

    Randy: HAHA, y'know what'd be totally awesome, dude? If I, like, made this chart, about the metric system -- BUT! wait for it, wait for it, wait for it -- one of the measurements is, wait for it -- SOMEONE'S DICK! BAHAHAHAHA guys isn't that so funny? Guys? ...guys?

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  29. A joke about SOMEONE's dick length instead of the average dick lenght would indeed be a dumb dick joke.

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  30. Lint - thank you for the warning. I went and voted for G-G but its lead is down to like 100 right now. Why is Dilbert in that category with the rest of them? I know you can read it online but it is really a print comic.

    M7S - Hm. I guess that's a little better. But all xkcd comics are like that, hell, all creative work is like that. You can see what you can learn about the creator based on his or her creation, and sometimes the creator sort of gets into another character when working. I dunno, it's getting kind of philosophical and I still don't find it funny.

    I disagree with your assessment of 194. I think it is about all dick jokes, not just length-based ones. The girl is saying "look: This is all there is to it. Nothing else funny." I didn't read it as only being about length. And including it on his chart today as a way to that "we as a culture have not yet accepted that" is a lame excuse, you can't say like "arghhh it's so annoying when people do X" and then do X and say "oh well it was just to show how ANNOYING it is"

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  31. So penis humor only loses its humor when it gains specificity? Really?

    Look, it's just not funny. And the references are really nothing more than fan-service, even if you squint at it funny. Stop acting as if you are capable of objectively deriving humor from it. Especially since you apparently suck at it. "If you read it like it's meant to be taken seriously, it is actually funny, because, OH MY GOD HOW RIDICULOUS IS STACKING UP ALL OF THE FIREFLY CAST AS A FRAME OF REFERENCE?????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

    Some indications the references are nothing more than fan service:

    3mL: obscure Discworld reference, not terribly funny but likely to please PTerry fans.
    4.1kG: XKCD reference; not funny if you do not read XKCD and worship Randall

    Some other observations:

    120kph: It's not funny to point out that people speed on the freeway. It's pretty much standard procedure. I don't think I've ever met someone who doesn't usually go at least 5mph over the speed limit.
    -5C: This is not cold for Boston. It's a typical winter day for Boston. Hell, this is hardly even cold for Seattle, where it is always 40 degrees and rainy in the winter, except when it is having a snowpocalypse.
    35C: Eh, it's pretty much constantly this hot in my old hometown in Washington.

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  32. Rob: "Stop acting as if you are capable of objectively deriving humor from it."

    What do you mean with objectively deriving? Am I doing something you or Carl isn't doing? I honestly have no clue of what you are accusing me of.

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  33. Yes, you are arguing with us.

    You are acting as if you have found objective truth in whether or not this comic is funny, and as if all others are wrong. We're just making fun of it because it has a vast number of qualities that bother us.

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  34. [storytime]...And , the commenters of xkcdsucks, after many long hours of discussion, really did find an objective derivation in humor, and a bijective mapping of tragedy, and then cornered the market in humor-derivatives and comedy-backed bonds. But then the market crashed, and they decided it was all a bad idea, so they invented post-modernism, but nobody can watch a full season of Robot Chicken all at once and that's pretty much what happened, so they went to bed and everybody woke up with terrible hangovers...[/storytime]

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  35. "Ilia: I would imagine that 'cold' and 'the middle of winter' are closely related in most cities."

    Of course they are, but when I read "a cold day", I think "a day colder than normal". When there are a couple of months during which all the days are, on the average, as cold as this (which means that about half of them are even colder), it is sort of funny to call it "a cold day" - for me, it is just a winter's day. People do not usually compare weather in different seasons - I mean, a temperature such as 10°C (50°F) is perceived in a completely different way in the winter or in the summer.

    Ilia, who has just spent a night coding (it is 5:40 in Paris...)

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  36. No, Rob. That has never been my intention. I'm only pointing out why the comic is funny to me and what I believe is the authors intention with the comic. I would be satisfied if I could make you understand my point even if you disagree with it. From your responses I conclude that we're nowhere near that situation.

    I will take one final shot on #194 and penis jokes before I give up. I'm not disagreeing with you, Carl. #194 is about more than just length. I simplified things a bit to better show my point. It didn't work very well, apparently. #194 is, as you say, about the fact that there's nothing specially funny with penises. But that also means that you should be able to mention penises, even in jokes, without it turning into a "penis joke". Your reaction is just as much a sign of how we (or should I say you, this is AFAIK a bigger problem in America than here) as culture has not yet demystified the penis, as it is when xkcd forumites goes "HA HA, he mentioned a penis".

    A penis would in fact be a good reference point, if the penis was demystified and we would have accepted that they are "about this big". Now it isn't and the joke is on the culture who hasn't accepted that.

    I'm still not really happy with that explanation. It doesn't really describe why I found this funny. Why something is funny IS a philosophical question, I guess.

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  37. Oh, piffle bollocks arse codswallop, M, you know I mostly just derive obscene pleasure from tormenting commenters that think XKCD is funny. APPARENTLY IT WORKS.

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  38. M: "A penis would in fact be a good reference point, if the penis was demystified and we would have accepted that they are "about this big"."

    Jay: So how big are the cookies you baked, Rob?
    Rob: I'd have to say their diameter is about equal to the length of one erect penis.

    No. No no no. That will never happen.

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  39. I don't know, I can see myself saying "Oh, about penis-sized in diameter."

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  40. Fine, I bite.

    Jay: So how big are the cookies you baked, Rob?
    Rob: 5,5 inch in diameter.
    Some guy from Europe: How long is that?
    Rob: As an erect penis.

    IMO that could happen if the penis indeed were demystified.

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  41. Making a reference to Discworld is "fanservice"??... ... ... ... ... ...

    ...

    ...

    ...

    ...

    ...

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  42. Right, listen. It is not actually a funny reference. It is obscure, and doesn't really accomplish anything except servicing the fans who read Discworld. That is called fanservice.

    It doesn't matter how awesome the thing being referenced is--it's still just a reference. And, while obscure, not terribly clever.

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  43. Should we all have an office-environment blurbfest about "Keynote?" I hope Carl's not preparing the thinnest and lightest rant about it...

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  44. why not write your own comic?

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  45. Well, first, criticism takes up a lot of my comic-writing time. Second, I have no artistic talent and want a comic that is visually appealing as well as benefiting from the awesome power of my words. Third, what time isn't taken up with criticism is taken up with my project for this year, which is writing a blog post every day, and if possible, more than one. My blog is filled with short short stories with depth and character. Fourth, because I know I could make better than XKCD, and I like something which is a challenge. Fifth, you suck and I hate you.

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  46. ugh, xkcd is winning the best comic strip of 2008. :(

    when will the drones learn.

    i put my vote for jesus and mo, but i can't pass up a great blasphemous blog.

    http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-comic-strip/

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  47. Holy crap there are a lot of comments.

    Carl I was going to suggest that you add Floris' question to your FAQ but you sort of have already. Now I shall suggest that Floris go read the FAQ.

    M7S: I understand what you're trying to say. I still don't think the comic is funny overall, but I do find the fact that you used the word "penis" so much. I guess the joke is on me as well. =)

    Jay: LOL and that is all.

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  48. I was about to give you all a friendly cuddlefish warning, but Jason covered it. Please do something about that, it's ridiculous.

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  49. Holy crap, how is the difference now like 2000??

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  50. I think the answer is pretty simple: most of those comics are pretty small (how many of them had you heard of, let alone read regularly?) so it's like a presidential poll of Alan Keyes, Rod Blagojavich, James Buchanan and Mitt Romney: Only one of those people is even a little popular, but given the other options, I am sure Mitt would win in a landslide.

    The other is that when you have a comic that is designed for internet nerds, your audience is probably more likely to find this kind of thing, spread the word about this kind of thing, and vote multiple times by deleting cookies for this thing.

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  51. > and then we have some more of xkcd not being a political comic by hacing xkcd make fun of politicians.

    I think you hace a typo there.

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  52. I hope your life is not as sad as it seems.

    To use your time making a blog criticizing another person's ideas seems rather miserable to me.

    PS. We share the same name, but that's it.

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  53. My life is a thousand times sadder than you are imagining.

    But hey, that's what happens, eh?

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  54. To be honest, I liked this comic as a good idea for converting to the metric system. I mean, you can tell someone to double the temperature and add 30, but it is much more useful to give a list of common increments. As far as ideas go, I think this was a good one.

    That said, this is a comic, not an idea-a-thon, and the few jokes are pretty strained. I guess that doesn't bother me though, because xkcd always seemed to be more of an illustrated thought-blog than a comic, and my problem with it now is that Mr Munroe basically doesn't have new thoughts anymore. It is a boring illustrated thought-blog of which people should be bored by now.

    But yeah, I liked this comic for it's unique approach to the metric switch. That said, I don't know that it's unique, and maybe someone's already done this. Has anyone? I mean I know this could be done better.

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  55. So I know I'm super late, but no one's mentioned the fact that for such an expert on the metric system, Randall really sucks at converting m/s to kph.

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