Friday, March 20, 2009

Comic 558: Terrible, Times 1000

First off, you may be interested in knowing that this is the 200th post on xkcdsucks.blogspot.com. Hurrah! For my postaversary, randy has been very kind and given me an ungodly bad comic. It is bad in so many different and interesting ways. It has bad art. It has hardly any jokes. It demonstrates both condescension and a total lack of understanding of the subject. And it has him telling a dude he's going to sleep with the dude's daughter. And a crappy alt-text. In other words, on a scale of 1 to awesome, this comic is somewhere between 165 million and 173 billion. Let's take a deep cleansing breath, and begin.


1000 Times i say stop making comics, and yet, he still makes comics

Ok, first off, this is an old old old idea. The idea that with numbers that big, the human mind does not have an instinctive sense of scale for them is called innumeracy, and was described by Douglas Hofstader (we meet again!) a while ago. While it makes sense on that instinctive level, for Randall to say that people can't tell the difference when they are thinking about it - say, when watching or reading the news - is just insulting. What, just because you went to some fancy math college you are the only one who knows how much bigger a certain number is? You think people are really like "durr, well 165 is close to 173, that's only different by like...uh....12 or something...so i guess 165 bamillion is close to 173 mabillion or whatever, sure ok"

Come on man! We know what numbers are! we know how numbers work! we're not idiots and you are not the only one who has unlocked the Giant Mystery of Which Number Is Bigger. This is an important lesson: People are not dumber than you just because you think you are smarter than them. The message of this comic is obnoxious and patronizing.

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Also, it's not true. Media sources are giving context. I have spent a few minutes on google news finding this following:

- From one "Michael Lewis" at Bloomberg, a genuine member of the mainstream media, for example, makes, astoundingly, calls attention to the Big Number Problem: "above a certain number the money becomes purely symbolic. The general public has no ability to feel the relative weight of 173 billion and 165 million. You can generate as much political action and public anger over millions as you can over billions. Maybe more: the larger the number the more abstract it becomes and, therefore, the easier to ignore." This column was rereported in the New York Times, also an important "news organization" (and before you go 'see randy is right people can't tell the difference' they are making different points - Mr. Lewis is saying that we can't fully comprehend such differences of scale; randy is saying that people won't realize there is a difference.)

-Kiran Chetry of CNN -a part of the mainstream media- asked internet famous person Ron "Dr. Ron Paul" Paul about the mess, pointing out: "you know, all of this hemming and hawing back and forth over this stimulus, which, I mean, over these bonuses -- which is a lot of money; I mean, $165 million -- but then, on the same day, the Treasury just floods the market with $1 trillion." he asked him about this on CNN. On TV. note what Kiran did there! compared the amount of money to a bigger amount! it's almost like CONTEXT.

-One "Charles M Blow" wrote a column in the New York Times- noted member of the mainstream media - making the exact point randy says people aren't making, saying yeah, the bonuses pale in comparison to the amount we gave AIG. They even included a graphic explaining just how different the scales are. Mr. Blow says: "I know that there are bigger, more pressing concerns. I know that these bonuses are a mere pittance relative to the bailouts that A.I.G. has received. In fact, if A.I.G.’s bailouts totaled $100, these bonuses would amount to less than a dime. I know all this, yet I don’t care. I want that dime back to restore my faith in fair play."

Randy = fail, again.
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Charles Blow (if that is his real name) is exactly right, and Randall is exactly wrong, for another reason: Here's why people care more about the smaller number: the 173 billion (or, for you dicks out there, 173,000 million) was to stop the company from dying and destroying the whole country and civilization as we know it from collapsing in fire and terrible destruction etc. But that 165 million was literally just handed out to dumbasses. The executives were like "well, now we've got lots of money, let's just hand it out to people" and then they went up to dozens and dozens of their high-level workers and were like "here! take a million dollars! do whatever the fuck you want with it." And that tends to....outrage people.

Here's the problem from another point of view: The bailout money, the 173 billion, was for the whole company. The company is, of course, operating at a different scale when it comes to money. AIG has more than 110,000 workers, according to wikipedia, and, whether you think 173B is reasonable or not, it's meant for a totally different purpose. The majority of the 165M was given out to (it looks like) less than 100 people. that's fucking insane. Especially given that these people all sucked at their jobs and destroyed their company it does not make any sense, in any way, to give all of them so much damn money. The problem with the 165M was not that 165M is a huge amount of money compared to 173B, it's that it's a huge amount of money to give out to dumbfucks just because you feel like it.

Let's look at it from a third angle. Suppose there was a fancy new internet cable that went from america to europe, and all the media were reporting on how spiffy this new cable was and how fast it would make the internet. And suppose they said "this awesome cable is 3500 miles long and nearly two feet wide." And then suppose that Our Good Friend made a comic where he said "DEAR STOOPID MEDIA: you are making it look too much like those numbers are similar. if you were smart like me you would say, 'the cable is 18,480,000 feet long and 2 feet wide' and then everyone would be able to compare them! that is what you SHOULD HAVE DONE."

You see, the point is, the numbers are each big in their own way, and each represent totally different purposes. they don't need to be compared like that.

but i am only getting started!
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Alt-text: Ha ha, NOPE. you can refer to other, funnier examples of innumeracy that you found online but it does not count as being funny yourself! good try. PS guys look at this dude Leroy Jenkins fuck shit up for some world of warcraft nerds! LOVE ME FOR THIS LINK

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Assuming that by using the right numbers but not accounting for imagined stupidity is "dishonest" is a pretty crappy thing to do. Really? Those numbers are correct, right? It's dishonest because they don't go "...and one of those numbers is a whole heck of a lot BIGGER than the other! do you see why, viewers?" To say that leaving out some non-relevant information is "dishonest" is bullshit. THEY DIDN'T SPECIFY AMERICAN DOLLARS, NOW DID THEY? that's dishonest! some people might assume canadian dollars! DID THEY SAY WHO GAVE OUT THE MONEY? the government gave out the 173B, the company gave out the 165m! yet you are comparing them?? how very DISHONEST. Hell, you used the word "million" when some people will not know that that means 1,000,000! And you used "173" and "165" when some people will not understand that those symbols stand for numbers, and that "0" represents the concept od nothing, or, in this case, is a placeholder for the ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands place! COME ON, MAINSTREAM MEDIA! STOP BEING SUCH FUCKING LIARS.

why, i do believe that you will always leave something out of the story! t-rex sure found this out the hard way! Anyway, i say that if you assume basic definitions of math in most viewers, that is ok. Not dishonest. not at all.

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The art: oh god, the art. Why is that girl there? Is that a girl? Is that hair covering half her face? Is she at a desk? Sticking out of a coffin? In a bathtub (maybe spending 30 seconds with Randy!) A plank of wood supported by two sticks? Why in the first panel does her stick figure body end so far above the desk-tub-casket? she looks like she is only the top half of a person, and she is lifting herself up by the arms and swinging back and forth. Is she supposed to be on TV? Why is there so much empty space? Don't tv reporters tend to look at the screen? Don't they also tend to have faces?

Reddit user "Daizaru" had an excellent comment on this particular issue...

why did you just take this girl and put there as some random object in your little comic? Your stick-figure art is so devoid of detail, meaning and relevance that you would have been much better off without it. I feel terrible for the girl.

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And saving the best for last, what a creepy fucking comparison to make there at the end. Is this why you say your comic is about "romance"? Getting drunk and spending the night with some girl whose dad you know? Who the hell still talks to fathers about their daughters, are you 16 years old and living in the suburbs of the 1950s? Do realize that if you somehow worked up the courage to actually tell a father this you would immediately get the shit beaten out of you? Why would you do such a thing? Do you realize how sketchy it is? Referring to "my" daughter, or the reader's daughter, just makes people feel gross inside. it's not funny. it's threatening, or would be, if i had kids and you were at all a threatening person.

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There are times when I will admit that xkcd is so bad, I kind of enjoy it. I don't think I've hated one this badly since that "how i spent 11th grade" comic. Channeling so much rage into one massive blog post is in some twisted way a lot of fun. So thank you, Randall Munroe. It takes a lot to get so damn much wrong in a single comic, and not even a long one. It is a rare talent indeed.

so, in this moment, as i finish this, my ungodly long 200th post on this Website of Love - and as I near my one year anniversary! - i say to you, Randall:

thank you. for all that you do.

hears make it allllll better

95 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary, Carl! Never stop doing what brings you joy. <3

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  2. You know, despite all otherwise indications, this really is a Website of Love. Somebody's gotta do it.

    Yay anniversary. One of the best posts in a while.

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  3. While I could go on and on about how Obama and Congress knew full well that the bonus money would be spent if they bailed out AIG, and are pretending to be outrage regardless, or about how AIG is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to pay these bonuses... and therefore all the whiners need to go back to bumping up conspiracy theories on Digg.. It STILL wouldn't change the fact that Randall Munroe wants to LIQUOR UP AND RAPE YOUR DAUGHTER.

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  4. Is Randall some kind of Libertarian? I thought that whole Ron Paul saga was "satire".

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  5. you are a gentleman and a scholar

    in the same way randall munroe is an artist and a comic

    keep it up though

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  6. Happy 200! We are all proud of you. Hugs all around!

    That first panel, in video form at like 44 seconds.

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  7. Wow Carl you basically have no idea what you're talking about. Come back when you do some psychology and economics.

    Anyone who isn't entirely fucking stupid will realize that:

    AIG gave the bonuses to over 400 people. (about 463 or so)
    The 'bonuses' are only bonuses in name... It's actually their normal salary paid in full in one lump payment.
    Despite this, a lot of them are offering to give the money back so that people don't go through with their DEATH THREATS.
    Psychology tells us that the representation of numbers can influence the way we perceive issues etc.

    "Randy is saying we won't realize the difference"? What!? When did he say that. That is fucking stupid, don't make bullshit claims.

    This comic really fucking sucked but this post was even worse, you failed the understand the situation and ranted on about BULLSHIT rather than concentration on what actually made the comic crap (the art, lack of a real joke, etc.).

    You got sucked into the fucking controversy of AIG that was presented in the comic rather than commenting on the actual fucking comic which is what EVERY SINGLE FUCKING IDIOT IN THE GOD DAMN XKCD COMIC THREAD DID. WAY TO GO CARL GOOD JOB.


    You'll lose your edge with bullshit like this.

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  8. holy lord, amanda, I did not expect there to be a video of actual humans looking like that first panel. but damn, that is exactly what it made me think of.

    Ha ha, you suck, anonymous! Yes, the bonus went to about 400 people but the ones that were over a million dollars - the really egregious ones, to most people - went to about 60 people. The problem with the death threats (or as you so eloquently put them, DEATH THREATS) was not about whether they should return the money or not, it was about whether AIG would publish their names. They are offering to give back the money because 1) it makes them look less like massive assholes, 2) they think maybe if we give back some of it now the government maybe won't force them to give it all back later.

    Randy is very strongly implying that people can't tell the difference between a billion and a million. Do you really not see that? It's right there, right in the comic. He wants large numbers to be given comparison. I don't think it's so he can go "ohhhhh more big numbers, coooooool" it's because he thinks people won't appreciate the number 165M without knowing the size of the total bailout for AIG. Why do you think he wrote out 173B as 173,000M? to compare it, because he assumes people can't do that on their own!

    fucktard

    "Psychology tells us that the representation of numbers can influence the way we perceive issues etc." ok, that's very nice, but not what we're talking about. We're talking about whether people can tell the difference between two large numbers of different orders of magnitude.

    I think I had several paragraphs about the lack of a real joke and crappy art but you were probably too busy frantically reading the wikipedia about the bailout/bonus scandal to notice. It's still there, I assure you, if you wish to look again.

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  9. No I saw them, but compared to your entirely bullshit rant they looked like single lines of size 8 font. I did say I wanted you to "concentrate" on those things... but I guess you didn't read that part.

    The whole point of representing it has 170,000 vs 165 is to exemplify the differences in reaction.

    People react differently when they hear a news piece where they say 170b and 165m to when they say 170,000m and 165m. There are subtleties that effect gut and instinct reactions.

    Sure when people think about it they knows it's a tiny % of the entire thing. But not everyone thinks about it! Do you think these faggots threatening AIG employees for getting paid will actually think about what they're seeing?

    It's dishonest because it gives a much more sensationalist instinctual reaction when it shouldn't. Haven't you ever read up on how questions and numbers are tailored to pressure for a specific reaction?

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  10. Ok, but you also wrote "You got sucked into the fucking controversy of AIG that was presented in the comic rather than commenting on the actual fucking comic" when i clearly did both. So...let's maybe call that one a draw?

    Yes. The point he was trying to make is that there are differences in reaction; however, the numbers are the same either way. Most people know what a billion is and know what a million is, and do not need to have that information spoon-fed to them. Why should the news say 173,000 Million? Why not 173,000,000,000? Why not 1.73x10^11? They all mean the same thing, but "173 billion" is by far the most common way to express than number for most laypeople. To express it any other way would be much like trying to manipulate people than going for the default expression.

    I don't know why you are focusing on the threats so much (at least you found out about the caps lock key this time) you and I know full well that people will say things online that are a bit more heated than they might actually believe...Also they were all presented to us by the AIG CEO, not exactly the most trustworthy source (and before you tell me that he was only hired 6 months ago and has been doing a decent job, i know this already, so don't bother, you aren't being clever)

    Look, I think there are a lot of people who are ok with 173B going to save a company of 100,000 people, but who do not want 165M - even if it's only 1/1000 of the total - going to high level bonuses. You may disagree, but it seems reasonable at least. Anyway, you have no idea what they are thinking, I mean, congressmen have also been vaguely threatening, and they certainly understand the issues. An awfully big stretch to assume they are ignorant (and faggots, but that's another matter)

    Presenting the facts as they are in a reasonable way is not dishonest. I mean, the media isn't saying "the 173B AIG bailout, which is only a fraction of the whole US Govt bailout for the financial industry" would you call that dishonest?

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  11. No I saw them, but compared to your entirely bullshit rant they looked like single lines of size 8 font. I did say I wanted you to "concentrate" on those things... but I guess you didn't read that part.

    Actually, here's what you said. I'll helpfully quote it for you!

    You got sucked into the fucking controversy of AIG that was presented in the comic rather than commenting on the actual fucking comic which is what EVERY SINGLE FUCKING IDIOT IN THE GOD DAMN XKCD COMIC THREAD DID. WAY TO GO CARL GOOD JOB.

    (Emphasis mine, natch!)

    Now who's being dishonest? Let's at least be honest with ourselves, mmkay?

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  12. Oh, Adam. <3

    Cuddlefishies are so angry lately!

    I would say that writing 170 billion instead of 170,000 million is comparable to Randy calling one "dishonest" and the other "honest." People react differently, etc.

    CAPTCHA is monke: MONKEYYYYYY!

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  13. Wow Rob, so much to add.

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  14. Wow.

    HAY GUISE LETS COMPARE XKCD WITH XKCDSUCKS

    NOT THAT DIFFERENT

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  15. This is easily the worst blog post you've done so far. I guess it's fitting for the worst xkcd comic so far.

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  16. Oh man I have a new fan! I was getting tired of Realist being my fan because I just didn't feel like his heart was in it. (It was fun, Realist, but I got the feeling like you weren't trying sometimes. Don't be mad. I still love you.) Hi Namesy! How are you today?

    Sometimes (usually) I post so I can subscribe to the comment thread and then respond to anything interesting that comes up.

    But since you insist!!!

    I'm not really sure what Randy is going for here, ideologically! Is he just saying that people shouldn't be outraged about their money being used to pay the retention bonuses of the most monstrous people in AIG? Because I think that is justifiable, much like Carl said.

    But if he's saying that people should be outraged more at the bailout money in general--maybe I happen to like the bailout package, but think part of it is being mismanaged! And maybe I think that if part of it is mismanaged, the rest of it might be questionable as well!

    I mean, I'm not particularly outraged, actually, except as part of my general concern for socioeconomic justice--the people who are pretty much directly responsible for ruining the economy get paid bonus money, from the taxpayers, who are hoping to see their money go to something more useful. It's a matter of principle. I'm not going to start waving around Nobama signs or anything.

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  17. Rob you forgot about Demetrius/Demetrisux. How can you forget your fans so easily, you must be a terrible person, the most terrible that ever lived.

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  18. I require my fans to go above and beyond the call of duty! They have to hunt me down and make it a point to tell me how much they love me. Otherwise they are no better than anyone else's fans.

    I do not merely want fans, Amanda. I want SUPERFANS.

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  19. For some reason now I am thinking of fans like ceiling fans and when you say "superfans" I picture these amazingly high-powered fans that can blow your clothes off.

    Okay basically I add nothing to the discussion. Apologies all around.

    Back to the issue of fans, isn't Demetrius not a Blogger user? That means he must go and hunt down the comments he makes (or save links to them, whatever) to find whatever you say to him, no? I would call that some hard work, Rob, and I will not let that go unnoticed. Unless of course he is a Blogger user and gets updates like me, in which case I take it all back.

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  20. in truth I forgot about Demetrisux. I felt bad after he thought I was being serious when I called him Demetrisux. such people deserve our mercy, Amanda. our mercy. HAVE YOU NO SHAME

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  21. Man I also realized I have misspelled his name (TWICE now), it is really Demetrious.

    And Rob... NO MERCY

    Mercy is a weakling that such evil things like Vikings will use to their advantage.

    And mercy is a separate issue from shame, but to answer your question I have none of that either, not on this here Internet.

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  22. I actually think I started calling him Demetrisux because I didn't want to spell the last part of his name because it bothers me for some reason.

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  23. Carl, at a less fucktardish level, I will say that there are legitimate psychological factors in the perception of numbers based on how they are presented. You are right that the media is reporting on this, and that Randall seems to be implying that they are not is kinda dumb. But the problem is that even if you took away the comparison in billions, $165 million is a hell of a lot of money to anyone. People sort of see that as all going to one corrupt person, as opposed to the ~$400,000/person distribution that is basically the yearly salary they agreed to in writing prior to the bailout.

    Of course, even on those terms, $400,000 is still more than like 99.5% of the country makes doing real work for the real economy, not for incompetent work on the fake economy that screws over the people who do real work. And while I agree with that Randall is mirepresenting the issue with the scope of the number, his larger point about this non-issue inciting childlike populist rage is still dead-on. Just wish he could have responded to the 5-year-old sentiment with some more intelligent than the 10-year-old sentiment.

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  24. Having only read this first few paragraphs thus far, one sentence piqued my interesting- "durr, well 165 is close to 173, that's only different by like...uh....12 or something" Did you mean 8 or is this intentional?

    Benefit of the doubt and the emphasis of the point says humour, the length of your post and the clear rage (speed as well?) with which you no doubt typed, screams oversight.

    (Was this already said? Couldn't see it)

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  25. Submitted to reddit, please upvote!

    http://www.reddit.com/r/comics/comments/86k94/carl_wheeler_absolutely_roasts_randall_munroe_for/

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  26. No, Carl is mocking Randall's disgust with the people this comic is aimed at. If people are too stupid (in Randall's mind) to know the difference between billion and million, then CERTAINLY they can't do basic arithmetic.

    It's one of the most basic ideas in humor: take the truth, then exaggerate it.

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  27. In addition to insulting the media and all viewers of media, he insults his own audience.

    The two panels and the "honest"/"dishonest" captions fully illustrate his stupid point. But Randall has to spell in out in a long, creepy blurb beneath. Because his readers are dumb.

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  28. I can't decide whether to stick to LiveJournal OpenID or this blogger account I just noticed I have.

    I remember watching the senate absolutely slamming on the CEO of AIG during the hearing last week, and then watching everyone on CNN respond in turn, and thinking 'holy shit the entire country is furious at these people'. I couldn't fathom a single person alive who would be willing to defend them receiving those bonuses.

    And then Friday rolled around!!

    Taking those bonuses might be defended by a legal contract, but it's also probably the most morally bankrupt and selfish thing possible. Don't mind if I help myself to some extra taxpayer money for making the financial system fall apart so I could get even more money, thank you very much.

    That they initially threatened to destabilize AIG from the outside shows just how fucking selfish these people are-- it far exceeds contractual obligation, these people are fucking douchebags who were willing to ruin the economy even more until they realized people wanted to hang them with piano wire.

    In terms of the xkcd itself, I'm really not sure what Randall is trying to say here. Is he pushing forward the idea it's a relatively small amount of money? Apparently he's oblivious to the context of the money. Is he honestly furious about the million/billion thing? Is he that condescending towards his fellow news watcher? Is he oblivious to news reporting guidelines and standards? Or maybe he just wants to uphold the great and holy world of MATH, whose abuse is actually what caused this recession.


    The more I think about this xkcd, the stupider it becomes to me. I'm honestly relieved that the LJ feed comments are for the most part NOT blind endorsements of this one.

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  29. Worth noting: The 'me' was added later. The original comic had Randy getting drunk and spending the night with his OWN daughter. Just for that added dose of REALLY FUCKING CREEPY.

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  30. I foresee an intervention in Randall's future, given how many times he refers to drunken sex like it's this cool, acceptable vice to have. People who make mistakes? Idiots. People who have drunken sex because their brilliance makes them weary of the mediocre world? Just another Monday.

    Garfield:Lasagna :: Randall:drunken sex

    Carl, this would make a good topic for its own "trends" post.

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  31. ~it's something unpredictable but in the end it's right~

    ~I hope you had the time of your life~

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  32. ramsey! I thought that might have happened, because I remember thinking "wait a second, this wording seems to say you are having sex with your own daughter" and then later saw that it said "me spending a night with her"

    ok - does anyone have the image that was originally up? I would love to make this post even longer with a note on that.

    Thomas: this is totally something we can look out for. You have the power to start this page, right? i think you do.

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  33. Rob! You don't need proof! This is the Internet.

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  34. Carl! You don't need proof! This is the Internet.

    (ignore the man behind the curtain)

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  35. But he's offering me candy!

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  36. Jesus Christ, Randy. You had a comic that didn't suck and then you ruined it. Damn it. You know, from "damn" and "it." Dammit is a gross perversion. Like comic 558.

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  37. Comment that got lost from a little before:

    Anon - the incorrect math was intentional (i switched the ones places of the two numbers and then took the difference)

    Amanda: For some reason now I am thinking of fans like ceiling fans and when you say "superfans" I picture these amazingly high-powered fans that can blow your clothes off. way to go and make everything sexy

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  38. Okay I kinda liked the latest one. But I spell it "dammit" and don't somehow feel superior for it. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE RANDY YOU SMELL WORSE WHEN YOU ARE UP THERE

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  39. jgrafton you are a good man.

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  40. Hahahahah fuuuuck Timofei I just burst out laughing in the middle of the night and I think that puts me on the top of everyone's hit list.

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  41. This was one of the lamest for a while.

    Hell, why bother even drawing it. At best this is a twitter comment.

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  42. I actually liked today's...But maybe that's because I am getting used to a constant slew of bad ones.

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  43. The "My Hobby" comics of the past were generally pretty decent, so it's no surprise that the newest one is one of the better xkcd's in a while.

    That being said, the older comics were funnier because they only required one panel, and didn't bludgeon you over the head with the consequences of the punchline. I think the latest comic's second panel is unnecessary, but maybe that's just me.

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  44. The thing that bugged me most about the second panel is the "three hours later" bit. Ten minutes would have worked, because ten minutes to puzzle out an obscure joke is a decently long amount of time. Three hours, though, screams "I'm so important people are trying to understand my quips HOURS after I make them! Hahaha!"

    I agree the joke would have been better completely without. Not enough to make me like it, but enough to make me appreciate the comic timing.

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  45. I don't think it would have worked without the second panel. Sure, you say that after you read it, but it gets the point across that it's supposed to drive them insane. Without it, it would be kind of lame and not funny.

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  46. with it, it is lame and not funny.

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  47. http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/66/fixed2.jpg

    there.

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  48. Re todays comic
    Hey guys were you aware that saying dammit is now trolling? I wasn't, but now I am, thanks to Randall Munroe, comic writer and intarbuttz teacher extraordinaire!

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  49. I don't think I've ever seen someone type damit or damnit. So who exactly is Randall even claiming superiority over?

    Or is he suggesting that 'damn it', as two words, is somehow wrong?

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  50. "it's no surprise that the newest one is one of the better xkcd's in a while."

    Pardon, but it IS a surprise, Poore, at least to me, who thinks it's one of (if not THE) worst wordplay comic xkcd's ever done.

    Draw thy bow so we may take aim at each other!

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  51. I RAGED SO HARD
    IT IS NOT DAMMIT
    IT IS DAMNIT.
    GOD-FUCKING DAMNIT.

    Caaaaarll...if you haven't got a guest writer for this one, PICK ME! PICK ME!

    (captcha: "crile". Like vile, with crap in. Like this new xkcd)

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  52. "I don't think it would have worked without the second panel. Sure, you say that after you read it, but it gets the point across that it's supposed to drive them insane. Without it, it would be kind of lame and not funny."

    "with it, it is lame and not funny."


    You're both right, it is shit either way :)

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  53. OK GUYS look what i did, i made a spin off blog for making our own xkcds! hurrah.

    head on over to xkcd:could be better! and start makin' new comics.

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  54. Carl, you need to do a front page post on that.

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  55. i will soon, but i want to keep this post up as long as i possibly can - meaning, until tomorrow night when i post about No Pun Intended.

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  56. The comic sucked. The blog sucked more. Human intelligence sucks even more than either.

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  57. I can't argue with that.

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  58. A spin-off blog? I think it's time to rally the cuddlefish armies and accuse you of jumping the shark.

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  59. As someone I know overheard someone else say: "It's official. The phrase 'jumped the shark' has jumped the shark.'"

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  60. this blog jumped the shark like 9 months ago

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  61. I now realize the flaw in my plan is that the cuddlefish armies would never admit to the blog ever being good despite reading every single update not long after it's posted.

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  62. Yeah, it's so hilarious!

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  63. Wow, this comic was just pathetic. I usually at least get a SMALL chuckle out of his comics (though they still suck so horribly), but this one failed to do any justice. Way to go, Randall, you have officially lost any trace of comedic respect I ever had for you.

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  64. I think you expect too much from a two panel comic strip with stick figures.

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  65. You think having the two panels be different, and having the joke not be a self-righteous piece of shit, is too much?

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  66. @Rob:

    I find it VERY ironic that you're calling the comic a self-righteous piece of shit, you self-righteous piece of shit.

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  67. To be fair, Rob isn't a bizarrely respected self-righteous piece of shit the way xkcd is.

    Also, rob isn't a piece of shit. Or self-righteous. But whatever.

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  68. Anyway that's not irony. That would be hypocrisy! Unfortunately I'm not self-righteous, just snarky. And not a piece of shit, just the scum of the earth. God, get it right.

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  69. rob, you snarky scum of the earth just SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY

    oh man rob i almost typed "cum of the earth" that would have been so embarrassing. good god.

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  70. CARL Z WHEELER I AM STAGING A COUP

    i don't know how to stage a coup can you possibly help

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  71. um I think i can give you admin privileges, then you could do it

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  72. I hope you guys realize that when I read your comments I get the stupidest laugh and everyone around me just thinks I'm crazy and stupid.

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  73. Fuck you Carl!
    Just as much an asshole as ever, huh?

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  74. at least i'm not posting comments on a blog pretending to be someone i'm not!

    and yes, i remain an asshole. duh.

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  75. I'm sure that what I'm about to say has been mentioned, but I've not the patience to read the entire comment thread, so I'll just say it again. When I read this post and related comic, I eventually thought of this comic and started hating Munroe a bit more.

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  76. 173 b divided by 110000 workers= 1.57 mil/worker
    165 m divided by 100 people = 1.65 mil/person

    *Both* is way out of proportion. I cannot see why one of those numbers is more so than the other

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  77. Because it's not the workers directly getting the money just for their own spending, it's the corporation as a single entity getting the money so it doesn't collapse and screw all of its clients.

    If the 173b were simply given to each of the workers as a bonus, that would be problematic, but it wasn't so it isn't. Surprisingly, you can give money to a company without just mailing a check to each of its employees.

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  78. dude, this is not intended to be funny. just calm the fuck down, alright? just take a deep breath and chill. this is kinda like a psa you know? just so people shut the fuck up about the fucking aig bonuses and shit I'm tired of hearing about this shit you know. obama's pretty cool guy and don't fuck with him, alright?

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  79. then why does it end with a joke? Or at least, an analogy intended to be funny?

    anyway most of my post is not about how the comic isn't funny, it's about how it isn't accurate.

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  80. Jacques "The Ox" TiramisuNovember 15, 2009 at 4:06 AM

    You know, I’m not really fond of your blog generally, but JESUS CHRIST THIS COMIC IS HORRIBLE. Seriously, how can you make jokes about the Pauli exclusion principle and then chew out the Mainstream Media™ because they give their audience credit for knowing the definition of the word “billion”? Is this really the same comic that has at various points made 2 references to Fourier transformations? How can anybody responsible for XKCD possibly call out ANYTHING EVER over giving its audience too much credit? How THE FUCK is the number “173 billion” misleading when “billion” is the TERM CONGRESS USED WHILE ALLOCATING FUNDS? Congress didn’t commit 173,000 million dollars to the bailout, Randall. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN STUPID.

    I tend to think that you have an unfortunate tendency to willfully concentrate on the negative and ignore alternate interpretations almost to the point of ridiculousness, but you definitely hit the nail right on the head with this one. Major kudos on giving this patronizing bull the thorough pounding it deserves.

    The thing is, I like XKCD. It’s just that this comic is really bad. It’s irrelevant and condescending and patronizing and hypocritical and GODDAMNIT, IF YOU’RE GOING TO PUT DUMB POLITICS IN YOUR COMIC WHY NOT ACTUALLY SPEND TIME ON CRAP THAT’S IMPORTANT, LIKE, I DUNNO, GENOCIDE, INSTEAD OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MILLION AND A BILLION? GODDAMNIT! ARRRGH!

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  81. ahahaha ur all fucktards who cant do anything but make fun of a webcomic
    ahahaha get a fucking girlfriend and a life dude.

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  82. ahahaha ur all fucktards who cant do anything but make fun of a blog
    ahahaha get a fucking girlfriend and a life dude.

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  83. Hah, I love watching people argue on the Internet. bullshit, fucktard, one point with substance for each then a bunch of name calling.

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  84. ....what? I thought the point was that given two numbers of the same visual size on-screen, the eye will conflate the two into the same scale, regardless of the given units. I'm not mathematically illiterate, but I did brush over the first panel and assume that those numbers were the same size the first time I looked at them. Giving pairs of related numbers at the same scale would, in fact, seem to be more transparent.

    It seems like there's a lot of grasping for the hate going on around here. Is this what sustains you guys? Get some fresh air, get girlfriends (or boyfriends), chill out a bit. Maybe try a project with the potential to do some good, instead of wasting a bunch of time to annoy a guy who draws comics on the internet

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  85. i have three girlfriends and eight boyfriends

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