I really don't know where to start with this one.
I mean, it's not funny. I can start there.
The thing is, that it goes beyond being just 'not funny'. It leaves to discernible impression. It's very zen - being almost not there at all - approaching oblivion. Although that's giving it far too much credit.
So, what do we have here? We have maths. Randy likes maths. Can I call him Randy? We also have fun and games with maths! Haiku! The inherent hilarity of putting something that's not a Haiku into a Haiku! Haiku! Also we have nerd girls. Perhaps not Nerd Girls, but girls who share Randy's passion for maths. Yaaayyyyy. Then there's a, um, 'punchline'. In the loosest sense of the word.
Not so much a punchline, as a weak justification for making a joke and turning Randy's speculative poetry about prime numbers into a comic.
Alt-text also leaves me uninspired. Maybe if I indulge in some sleep deprivation, this bland comic will metamorphose into something good, like new horribleville comics or marmite.
One theory I might cautiously put forward is that Randy didn't write this; instead, a computer program, possibly written by NASA, analyzed many of the trends that appear throughout XKCD, and came out with this. Which would explain why this comic has no soul.
To conclude; this comic makes me remember the 'least interesting man in the world' comic, and smile fondly. Mostly because those beer adds that the comic were based on were kinda sweet.
Oh yeah; the art in this one is a pile of horse-ass too. I mean, obviously, the art is also bland, but sleep deprivation/hallucinations is one subject particularly suited to be shown through compelling art. You could have the teachers head and expression exaggerated and bulbous, while the sleep deprived student's eyes red raw, and bloodshot, with the visuals getting gradually more ludicrous towards the end of the comic [see, for example, the latest Subnormality - carl]. But, none of that, because Randy draws stick people. Always stick people.
-Hought Carding away!
Carl again: I'm going to break some of my Summer of MADNESS rules and add my own post to this. Because I hated this comic a lot more than usual, and probably a lot more than most of you. And it's been a while since I all out blogged.
This comic is a drowning man, grasping for small molecules of humor to keep him a live another week, another month. Randall loves math and used to love drawing comics about math, because for a while there it was a rare thing on the internet so he kind of cornered that market. So here he tosses out another lame math reference for his math-nerd fans. It's not a complicated one - all the math and science in xkcd has been getting simpler over time to appeal to more people. Perhaps you didn't understand it, you stupid idiot you, but it is a pretty basic proof for those who are into math (I recall a friend explaining it to me in 7th grade).
So he's basically just trying to appeal to lots of nerds for sheer nerdery's sake. Because if you don't already know that proof (and there's more on this later) there is no way you are going to understand this one. That's a function of space, sure. For 17 syllables (well, really just 12 without the "QED") it's a fine attempt, but why the fuck write a haiku of a proof, however simple? to be a fucker. That's why. Just to say you did. fucker. Just so you could use the phrase "QED bitches". you're a bit of a QED bitch yourself, randall.
But that's not enough for him. He doesn't just present his little haiku, he has to think of some other justification for it (since "because I am a douche" might look a little odd there). So he makes it some sleep deprivation joke. But not one that makes sense. "Lectures get interesting after 48 hours of sleep deprivation"? What? What does that mean? After 48 hours, things just get horribly tedious and you just want to sleep. Lectures don't magically turn into haiku form. That doesn't make sense. In any way. Making ideas into haikus takes more work and concentration, not less. You are stupid. Maybe if you said "being on acid makes lectures more interesting" that would work a little better.
Randall: You did a good sleep-dep joke already. A long time ago. I'm not saying not to do it again, I'm just pointing out what a good joke looks like. Being tired means that the tired person gets confused easily and perhaps falls asleep randomly, not that the people around them suddenly speak in haikus and fly. god.
But all that is usual xkcd sucks stuff. Not funny, stupid, etc. That's not, on its own, enough for me to upstage Hought Carding like this. Here's why I have to write my own part. Now it's a little math heavy so you can skip it and just read the bold part down below for the gist.
Let's talk about the proof that primes go on forever. Here it is in short: If there were a finite number of primes, then there would be one prime, Q, that was the largest (see, interestingly enough, yesterday's dinosaur comic on a similar idea). So you arrange all the prime numbers, from 2 to Q. And you multiply them together. 2 * 3 * 5 * 7 * 11 *.....* Q. And that will be a crazy huge number that I will name, oh let's say Z. Now Z is of course clearly not prime, because it is divisible by all those numbers. BUT - Z+1 will not be divisible by any of those numbers. That's just what happens when you multiply a bunch of numbers together and add 1. The result is not a multiple of any of them (this makes intuitive sense; if there's a number that was, say, a multiple of 11, you'd need to add 11 more to it to get a new multiple of 11. Just adding 1 isn't enough. Likewise for any other divisor). So Z+1 is not divisible by any prime, and all composite numbers are (hence "composite," because they are "composed" of primes). SO therefore Z+1 is prime, so your list at the beginning was not the list of all possibly primes, so you are wrong, and stupid, the end.
I go through this boring math stuff A) to prove I know it, B) because the nerd in me really does find it elegant in a way, and C) Because Randall got it fucking wrong. he got it wrong. Randall wrote that the proof is to take the "Top Prime's Divisors' Product + 1", and see what its factors are, the implication being that there are none and so you have a new higher prime.
What he is claiming, using my terms, is that the product of Q's divisors + 1 is prime. But of course, Q doesn't have any divisors other than 1 and Q, because it's a prime (the "top prime" as Randy calls it). So the product of the top prime's divisors is just the top prime, Q, again. And that plus one will have a ton of divisors! Probably. It's one higher than a prime number, which is (except in the case of the number 2) always going to be even, for one thing, so divisible by at least 2, probably more.
Here's an example - 31, could be your pretend "top prime" (obviously it's not, but no prime will be, that's the point). So you take the "top primes's divisors product +1 " = (31*1)+1=32. It's "Factors are..." 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32. So...there's a bunch of them!
Luckily some forumites noticed this problem, and at least one even corrected it in a new, better, haiku.
So let me now, with that clearly explained, be nice and clear about this next part. Let's even use some bold.
Randall. You draw a webcomic three times a week. Its motto is that it is a webcomic of "Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language." "Math" is one of those. You also worked for NASA. Doing math and physics. You hang around with MIT kids, who are mostly good at math. You do not have to spend much time on your comic. You have a good career. SO WHY CAN'T YOU JUST TAKE THE TIME TO NOT FUCK UP? You are an irresponsible hack of a cartoonist.