Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Comic 643: Irresponsibility

Guest posting this week is still Person #1! woo hoo

Alright. Let's do this you guys, let me take you all on a love adventure.

Ohman.

First and foremost, I personally liked this one. It gave me a little chuckle. I know many of you disagree, but I don't care because Person #1 is taking over this blog and there is nothing you can do about it!

That being said, there are flaws in this comic and I will point them out! First of all, as Sam F points out correctly, the sentence is structured slightly awkwardly. "Remember: with great power comes great resistance times current squared" would not only read much better (I stumbled over the current squared at first, and am apparently not the only one), but the "res" in resistance also further alludes to the word "responsibility", as in "with great power comes great responsibility". This is simple enough to fix and just further demonstrates how Randall would benefit from an editor.

so much better!


I also find it appalling that Randall, with a complete lack of any evidence whatsoever would accuse Ohm of plagiarism. In fact, my research has revealed that Ohm never had an uncle, much less one that he witnessed die. Check your facts, Randall. Children read this comic.

But seriously, there is not all that much to say about this comic, it's a small little pun. I liked it, I can understand why you wouldn't. A variation I have seen before is "DragonForce = DragonMass * DragonAcceleration", so I guess this one also has been done before, sort of. Though it's not quite the same.

In good p#1 tradition, let us look at some of the eloquent grokings on the fora;

...well this is odd... people seem not to be taken by storm of the genius that is everything embodying Randall Munroe. Well, there is one post:

My side hertz from the burnt cheese. (note that this is in response to a link somebody posted, not the comic)

I honestly have nothing to add to this one. It's perfect in every imaginable way.
Okay. Let's talk about the alt text now:

"More generally, with great power comes great dEnergy/dt"

Well, that's the same pun with a different execution.

And with that, I leave you. For now.

100 comments:

  1. I think if you're going to rely on a pun like this then it better be a good one. This one wasn't.

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  2. I restate the point I made in the comments for 641: Randall has been making considerably more single-panel strips lately. An attempt to tackle the "too much dialogue after the joke" problem perhaps?

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  3. I see what you're saying about the flow of the sentence and the allusion, but I think you would've criticized him for doing it that way because it could be read as either (r * c)^2 or r * c^2, if he had done it that way. I understand the ideo of going out of your way to find something nice about the comic, but perhaps you shouldn't always go out of your way to find something wrong with the comic if you just happened to like it.

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  4. I think we're all forgetting that Uncle Ben didn't give the "great responsibility" line when he was dying. He gave it when he was still well and alive and then died later.

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  5. 9:24; As how I said - I stumbled over the line, had to reread it at first.

    Chris - hover over the comic thumbnail ;)

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  6. Ohm was not his first name. The caption makes it seem like it is. That bugs me more than it should.

    Anyhow, the word "power" is also the physics concept of "power". What a brilliant fucking deduction, Randall. If you had gone somewhere with it, instead of nothing beyond substitution, you might have managed to produce humor.

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  7. The forum guys generally didn't like it, and we have a good bit of "meh" about it.

    The biggest complaint is that this comic has no structure to it. A single panel pun is really kind of lazy writing, even if the pun isn't too bad. Why not flesh out the scene? Is the under-text really necessary? It could have been done in two or three panels instead.

    To again compare to SMBC, they update every day and XKCD three days a week. There isn't much of a excuse why a pun with stick figures takes up so much time and energy that a full comic can't be fleshed out.

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  8. i didnt think this one was so bad. simple idea, no follow up clutter. the caption continues the joke rather than just explaining it. the alt text is meh, but that's better than it frequently is.

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  9. The joke is fairly okay, at least we're shifting back to the math side, which means Randall isn't neglecting his pillars horribly. Yay. It sounds a bit forced, though, especially because "with X comes Y" does not mean "X is equal Y". Consequence is not the same as equality.

    The art is just horrible. Stick figures do not make good physical interaction, and that's something Randall should know. All those connecting line-arms make it very much confusing. Also, a little bit of background would be good here, even if just a horizon line... I mean: he publishes three times a week, he must have time for at least just a bit of sofistication, damnit!

    And the alt-text feels as if Randall is that boring guy who tells a joke and then keeps repeating the punchline, making it less and less funny.

    Overall, it's good. Not fantastic, but good, especially on "modern xkcd" standards. Which probably means Randall will screw up on Friday, much to my dismay...

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  10. I admit that I chuckled. I also like how this is like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, with Ohm playing the part of Link.

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  11. what joke? I see a reference, without a joke

    where is the part that is supposed to be funny?

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  12. I'm pretty sure I saw that exact saying on a T-shirt on cafepress...

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  13. We're #e^(-πi)!

    god damnit what is with this fucking comment box still not letting me use cursor keys

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  14. Oh, whoops, you're right. We're #-e^(iπ)!

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  15. Yay! My comment made it to a post! And that was only, like, my third ever posting on xkcdsucks! And I only made it a few hours ago and Person #1 drew up a whole alternative version!

    Weeee!

    Thanks guys. Thanks. You can stop applauding now. Thanks.

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  16. That was a really good review, and you're right, putting "resistance" first would make it a lot better. It's nice to see a post that isn't "XKCD SUCKS CAUSE IT SUCKS"

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  17. The physics reference in the comic was at just the right level for Randall's new demographic, high school semi-intellectuals.

    There are lots of jokes about basic circuits floating around on the internet, mostly based on puns of 'current', 'power', 'charge', or 'resistance'. These words pop up immediately in the study of electricity, and they have everyday meanings different from their scientific ones, so these puns are easy to make.

    None of them deserve to be in xkcd. This felt like the work of a tired hack.

    What happened to the days of old xkcd strips like this one, when the science jokes actually meant something?

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  18. It takes a tired hack to know one.

    My own experience of just putting up any old comic is how I can tell lazy xkcd strips when I see them.

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  19. Randall was born in 1984.
    How Orwellian.

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  20. Randall accusing Ohm of plagiarism? That's really, really silly.

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  21. okay not to sound like a cuddlefish or anything but Randall isn't accusing Ohm of anything, he's just making a dumb joke.

    For example, read the following:

    All the great physicists of mankind's history are gathered in the
    post-eternity era for a game of tag. Einstein turns and counts, and everyone
    scatters except for Newton, who carefully draws a square one meter on a side on
    the ground. Einstein finishes counting, turns and claps a hand on Newton's
    shoulder.
    "You are it, my friend," he says.
    "Well, technically," says Newton, "I am one newton per square meter, making me
    a Pascal. So Pascal's it."


    If your primary objection to the above joke is that there is no proof that there is an afterlife and that all physicists would end up in the same place, you might just be autistic.

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  22. Hey, it's not fair to compare stupid people to autistic people. =(

    I actually really liked the Kepler strip. It is a bit saddening that xkcd has been reduced to what it is since then.

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  23. fluffy:
    "okay not to sound like a cuddlefish or anything but Randall isn't accusing Ohm of anything, he's just making a dumb joke."

    When Person #1 follows that accusation with "But seriously," that means he is joking.

    "If your primary objection to the above joke is that there is no proof that there is an afterlife and that all physicists would end up in the same place, you might just be autistic."

    Go away. Forever.

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  24. I liked the Kepler strip too, I was just taking a dig at Comic JK since his comic is so terrible but he writes as if he's giving Randall advice on how to make xkcd better.

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  25. @lint of death

    I was responding to Adam, you tool.

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  26. I'm actually saying Person #1's belief that Randall did that is silly, so we both agree. Excellent.

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  27. Ah, well okay, then. I misread your comment. Sorry about that.

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  28. The way I see Joule's first law written is usually:

    P = I^2 * R

    Except, you know, using a real squared sign and multiplication dot. And italicized for no particular reason. Like on the wikipedia page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule's_laws

    It looks like he just wrote that out literally. I can't say that I have a problem with that.

    A couple years ago in my school days -- I'm the same age as Randall, apparently -- I'd have expected xkcd to say that with great power there comes a great integral of the Poynting vector across a closed surface (and whoever figured that out taking the place of Ohm), and I would have laughed my geeky head off at the obscure reference. This? I wonder if there's a high school in North America where no student has made this exact joke.

    Yes indeed, I'm being a math-pun snob.

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  29. Adam:
    But Person #1 doesn't believe that. He's joking.

    fluffy:
    I'll be more clear: I would like it if this excellent blog's comments section weren't polluted with the sort of garbage that uses "autistic" as an insult. Please cut that shit out or go away.

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  30. So "autistic" is an insult?

    Whatever, I've been pretty sick of this blog for a while anyway. Ta.

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  31. Also, just as a thought experiment, would you use the word "retarded" as an insult?

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  32. fuffy:
    "If your primary objection to the above joke is that there is no proof that there is an afterlife and that all physicists would end up in the same place, you might just be autistic."

    Oh, so that was a scientific diagnosis? Nevermind that autism can affect a person in so many different ways. And, no, I would never use "retarded" as an insult. So take your thought experiment and stuff it.

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  33. I just suddenly got the weird feeling that I couldn't name a single Sean I've met if I were asked.

    There was/is one on this blog, though, isn't there? I seem to recall seeing that name in orange around here. Why do you ask?

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  34. he was a dude who didn't like people using offensive words, but was a cunt about it. you're more reasonable, it seems.

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  35. I'm autistic, and I can tell the difference between factual accounts and fiction. (Well, like anyone, I can mistake false facts for true facts if I don't put the effort into verifying them: I mean, more abstractly, that I understand the separate functions that factual and fictional accounts serve, and that fictional accounts take liberties such as Ohm having an uncle, people who never lived contemporaneously interacting, etc. for the purpose of making their point.) In fact, I don't see how being unable to tell the difference is in any way indicative of autism.

    Anyway, it's not an important point. Just thought I'd elaborate on my comment, in case I worded it wrong and it was misunderstood.

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  36. Asher:
    There is an important distinction between "offensive words" and "using words offensively". "autistic", as applied by fluffy previously, for example, I saw as a highly offensive use.

    You simply spamming phrases including but not limited to "niggerfaggot" in irc with the intent to anger me is honestly more confusing than anything. More importantly, at least in irc I know how to use the ignore feature.

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  37. fwiw i think that second round was related to some other joke? i don't remember what, but it wasnt directed at you. i think it was about bruce? i can't remember. whatever, i thought you were a sockpuppet for someone else.

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  38. @Lint of Death:

    If there's anything I've learned, it's that people don't need to be sheltered by politically-correct bullshit. Either it's okay to make fun of everyone, or it's not okay to make fun of anyone. By sheltering any group of people from being ridiculed, you inevitably create yet another distinction separating them from the rest of society, driving them apart rather than integrating them.

    You also have to factor in intent. I can call one of my friends "gay" as a playfully derogatory term and not mean "people of a different sexual orientation are lesser than me", but instead mean that they are being an idiot, and they will completely understand what I mean, because, in the common lexicon, words can have different meanings depending on context (the word "gay", for instance, also means "happy"). Knowing what is appropriate in what context, as well as being able to interpret the meaning behind other people's words and not just taking them at face value (or, in some cases, assigning them ridiculously contrived and speculatory meanings), is a part of the art of conversation.

    Also, swearing and being offensive is fucking fun as shit. It's cathartic and beautiful and wonderful and if more people would chill the fuck out and just yell obscenities from time to time, they'd feel a lot better and maybe stop being such stupid faggot autistic retard motherfuckers.

    People are going to swear and say offensive things - fucking deal with it. Otherwise, you are being a whiny, politically-correct douchetard.

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  39. For some reason, the word "douchefaggot" seems like a particularly elegant insult. I suppose "douchetard" also works, but ____tard is such a trite insult these days.

    Also be careful when combining random swears. Sometimes, as with "bitch fucker", you might get what actually looks more like a compliment than an insult.

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  40. Poore:

    Look, in all the time I've followed this blog I've agreed with pretty much everything I've seen you write, but I really don't know who you think you're talking to.

    When I said it is important to make a distinction between "offensive words" and "using words offensively", I meant it. I have no problems with swearing - heck, I swore at fluffy - and I find political correctness to be ridiculous.

    I just always thought that this blog had a surprisingly high number of involved community members who, as much as they might sling shit at each other and some of the cuddlefish (hey, that can be fun), could actually argue with reason and maturity (like you; I even enjoyed your 'signature' move of always alluding that Randall was a homosexual on completely unsound bases because of the way you did it).

    So, for that and other reasons, it makes me angry to see that view of the community threatened when I see such appalling ignorance in the form of such offensive generalizations. Yeah I do have to accept that some people in this world are going to encourage such demeaning generalizations of people with mental disabilities, homosexuals, and jews to name a few; they will, in turn, just have to accept that I want them to fuck off.

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  41. Waaaa stupid iPod typos

    <3 you*!!

    Tip: don't get a touchscreen device if your fingers are fat sausages

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  42. If my fingers were fat sausages, I would've eaten them. =/

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  43. Poore's claims that Randall is gay always seem pretty sound and logical to ME.

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  44. me too so i ate a banana

    i have an affinity for phallic foods

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  45. Incidentally my own solution to my newfound hunger is a cheese stick. What the Hell with all the phallicness.

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  46. lint:

    i actually agree with you that using words like gay/fag/retard unironically is a not good thing to do. it is a bad habit of mine.

    you also came in at a bad time re: the sean incident.

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  47. Phallicity sounds so much more elegant than phallicness.

    I'm not hungry, just bored, so I'll entertain myself by playing with my new laser pointer. Which, incidentally, is 6" long.

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  48. and by ironically i mean like how bruce does it over the top, thereby mocking those who use said words unironically.

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  49. Gah! Too many incidents. The last ones I caught notice of were bruce and The_Autodidact. I almost miss back when all the comments sections only went, like, 20-30 messages. Following all this shit ain't easy! :p

    Cuddlefish 10:54
    Hahaha, I actually thought about that before posting, since I knew I was BSing a word anyway, and I agree with you.

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  50. Phallicity sounds like a really entertaining place to live.

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  51. And that's 20-30 messages on a good day! And to read 'em I had to walk 12 miles in six feet of snow. Uphill both ways!

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  52. I've actually picked up the habit of insulting people using 'straight' and 'heterosexual' as insults.
    It confuses the fuck outta them heteros and makes them homos lulz.
    That is until you say to a homo, "fuck off you normal straight heterosexual!" THEN they get pissed at you. Some shit about being heteronormative.

    Oh, dear sweet irony. A queer being accused of heteronormativity!

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  53. And on the topic of phallicicityness, here:
    http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3310

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  54. Wait, so punning on Kepler's second law is deep deep science and one of everyone's favorite strips, but punning on the power-current-resistance equation is lame? The one isn't significantly more obscure than the other.

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  55. I never liked the Kepler one. Yeah, kepler did extremely monotone work. Ha ha?

    Also, why do the comment threads always derail when I gues post

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  56. OI! p#1: There's a good reason he said "current squared times resistance". I mean you don't say P=RI², do you? It directly pulls from P=I²R.

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  57. Person, I was basing my comment off of the comments of Comic JK, fluffy, and Anonymous 10:54, all of whom said they liked the Kepler comic and were saddened by the decline since then. Comic JK and fluffy specifically referenced the supposed decline from actually obscure physics references to "high school semi-intellectuals." At least Ens presented a hypothetical that was significantly more nerdy...but this blog being the way it is, and especially if Carl were posting, I get the feeling that the reaction would have been "Man, why is Randall trying to make himself sound smart when he clearly just looked that up on Wikipedia?" Lose-lose.

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  58. "I just always thought that this blog had a surprisingly high number of involved community members who, as much as they might sling shit at each other and some of the cuddlefish (hey, that can be fun), could actually argue with reason and maturity"

    Well, you're wrong, and you have SERIOUS SEXUAL ISSUES. I'm talking from personal experience, it seems.

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  59. I think there's a solution to these perceived sexual issues that we can work out.

    Together.

    With a video camera for evidence.

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  60. @Lint of Death:

    I agree. It seems I misunderstood your response to fluffy and for that I apologize.

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  61. ...so insults aside...


    Is this trend towards the dumbing-down of xkcd jokes simply because of the much wider audience? (I'm assuming there is a much wider audience).

    I mean, if Randall had gone with Ens suggestion and said that "with great power comes something about a Poontang vector across a something something surface" (or whatever the hell Ens said), wouldn't Carl and 90% of the people on the xkcd comments thread have whined "Reference too obscure! I don't get it! Wah!"*

    I mean, either xkcd is a comic for 300-odd super-nerds around the country who get the most nerdy ones, or it's a comic for 10,000 oh-yeah-I-kinda-remember-science-class people. It can't be both.

    Naturally, since Randall likes fame and sees commercial possibilities (who can blame him), he has to go for the second. And that means dumbing down the science jokes so that anyone who took high school science can follow along.

    *NB: I'm not actually putting Randall in with the super-nerds crowd who would actually get that Poontang vector thingie. I remember his attempt at a haiku proof of infinite prime numbers...

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  62. man Fernie you get trolled HARD

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  63. Did he get the inspiration for this from C+H the day before d'ya think?

    http://www.explosm.net/comics/1810/

    His looks like a "done in 5 minutes" one anyway, so 24 hours isn't exactly pushing it. Though that applies to most XKCDs I guess.

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  64. Right...you seriously think that RM is accusing Ohm of having an unlce who died in his arms and told him his research...yes...right

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  65. Math_Mage,

    The difference is that the Kepler joke was clever. It has nothing to do with how "deep" or "obscure" the science is. It has to do with how seamlessly a reference to the law being punned is integrated into what looks like ordinary speech.

    The Kepler strip could very well have been an actual conversation; the humor comes from the fact that the audience is able to make an association that needn't necessarily exist in the stick figures' minds.

    The Ohm strip is just a verbal translation of a physical law. Its attempt at humor rests on the fact that one of the words has a different colloquial meaning. There's nothing clever about it. Our high school classmates already made such observances.

    You seriously don't see that both are puns and both make reference to physics and nothing else?

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  66. Just for whoever mentioned...

    I actually learned it as RI^2, yes. Order of the factors don't matter, remember? =D

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  67. "man Fernie you get trolled HARD"

    Yeah, since that's your biggest worry. The Internet is a public space, you know. Some relatives of mine keep track of my profile, and I can never guess what they'll make of it. Shame that I'm learning that the hard way. My family is all over me, and I'm having to take care of every single step. There's always that tension in the air, and who knows if they're gonna send me to evaluation at any time. I always thought my life was well resolved and I was free of conflicts, but now? I don't even know anymore.

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  68. worry? I just think it is funny how much bawwwwwwwww you can put into a single half-assed insult.

    not sure what the rest of your post is about, but more power to you, brah

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  69. Poore:

    Yay we can all be friends again :D
    The End

    NEXT WEEK on xkcdsucks: Rob?????????

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  70. THIS CALLS FOR A DRINK

    (I am already drinking, actually)

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  71. so, xkcd fanboys don't even know what the meaning of a "pun" is anymore? that's so sad

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  72. Remind me to post a rant about political correctness sometime when I'm awake.

    (I suspect that most people who dislike political correctness have no idea what political correctness actually is. I've actually seen people dismiss political correctness and then go on to advocate it in the same breath.)

    TRiG.

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  73. Remind me not to give a shit when you do.

    (I suspect most people who rant about what a term means when the idea being implied by that term, especially in relation to it's interpretation by the general public, is quite clear, are pseudo-intellectual asshats.)

    P.S. - that's what you sound like. If you hate me for it, you only hate yourself. You can talk all you want about it's usage by the Right Wing against the liberals, or it's technical meaning, but most people interpret 'political correctness' to mean the restriction of offensive speech, which I consider an affront to the idea of free speech (i.e. the right to be "wrong" is fundamental to liberty).

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  74. "I just think it is funny how much bawwwwwwwww you can put into a single half-assed insult."

    Of course: you don't seem to grasp the concept that even a "half-assed insult" can be very destructive if it comes in a particularly awful situation. I thought it was simply common sense to understand that there are ACTUAL PEOPLE behind these names and these comments, but apparently, it takes quite a lot of brains to realise that, even through the Internet, you may truly damage people, even when it becomes painfully obvious. Is it REALLY that much easier to hurt someone if you can't see or hear him? I don't know, I *think* you'd understand, unless the worst thing you have ever experienced is boredom.

    Believe me, I *would* be just chilling out and enjoying myself if I didn't know that, at any time, someone might bring out my personal issues and beat them to the ground. And I don't want to leave this place, since there *are* a lot of reasonable people hanging around.

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  75. oh wait you were serious?

    haha that is even funnier

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  76. Two posts above I wasn't serious, but everywhere else? Yes, I was. I think you're trying TOO hard to prove that *I* am a troll, or something, because yeah, there is NO WAY I could have possible changed my mind about the comic and about this blog. Fred said I needed to form an identity of my own in the previous thread. Well, how could one possibly do that when we're dealing both with people who're intent on trolling and counter-trolling and counter-counter-trolling as if their lives DEPENDED on it, AND with people who will see "troll" in EVERYTHING that doesn't sound 100% normal to them? For all you care I could have been a troll right from the start, and by now anyone can truly believe that and refuse to change his mind. What will I do? Sue him?

    I don't care if you think I'm honest or not, since there's nothing I can do. But I'm getting worried that it *is* becoming increasingly hard to participate in this forum -- not for ME, but for other people. I could just stop posting and the blog would merely lose a participant, no big deal, another one will join in. But what if this blog is turning into a place for people to sling shit at EACH OTHER? Then no amount of alcohol will fix that (in fact, it will probably only make things worse).

    I will do my part to try to stop the freaking out. Honest. I have no reason to go climbing up the walls over an xkcd strip unless it SERIOUSLY offends me, and I did so because I was wrong, not because I have the "duty" of hating xkcd.

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  77. i never have any idea why you say the things you are saying. you are just made of bawwww and it's kind of ridiculous. if you're having trouble figuring this out, just think of the words 'train wreck.' it works pretty nicely.

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  78. Rob, I *also* have absolutely no idea why you keep trying to insult me, and why you started insulting me in the very first place. I also find it ridiculous that you'd waste so much time on me, and I also find it ridiculous that you could be getting any enjoyment out of it. And what difference does that make? Absolutely NONE.

    I *can* get a clue and realise that I not only overreacted but was completely wrong, but whether YOU are personally satisfied or not, I honestly don't care anymore. I'll now go work out my sexual issues with Lint of Death, in private, and stop worrying. I'll send you a video if you wish.

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  79. rob you either stop this right now or lose some weight

    as it stands, it just isn't a fair fight

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  80. Train wrecks are so Orwellian, dude.

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  81. This why I tend to dislike people making entire blogs off of another webcomic. It depends entirely on that comic and nothing else. It just makes people overthink it. All the above comments are a great example.

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  82. You have all raised some very good points, but I still believe pokemon should be allowed to run free in this world.

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  83. They won't be free for long.

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  84. That was a Spiderman reference..

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  85. Speaking as an electrical engineer I actually have issue with this comic: http://xkcd.com/643/

    First of all, the premise is stupid. Second of all, I^2*R (current squared times resistance) only gives you power loss due to the heat that is lost from the line through conduction into the atmospher due to a current traveling through some resistance. Because of this it's retarded. Actual power is voltage times current times the cosine of the power factor of the line (the angle that exists between the voltage and the current on a line, this parts a bit technical if you don't know about capacitors or inductors).

    With the knowledge that Randall has just defined power loss he's made a parody of Spider-man retarded. And that's terrible.

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  86. See, Imaginary Randall Who Reads This Blog, when your references are deemed wrong by people who actually know what they're doing, then YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, damnit!

    Also, what a pleasure that flamewar season is over, yay.

    Mole out.

    CAPTCHA: witudge. A fudge made out of wit. Yummy.

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  87. Of course "wai".

    a-WHORE-ia.

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  88. I can't believe people actually spend their free time talking about how a comic on the internet is bad. Why not just not visit the comic's site?

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  89. I can't believe people actually spend their free time talking about how a blog on the internet is bad. Why not just not visit the blog?

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