Sunday, June 27, 2010

Comic 759: Destroy the Radical

five by ten
I used to think Randall was lowering his standards to make high school kids appreciate his comic. Now I realize he's gone all the way down to second grade.

i'm guessing that the overlap between kids who like this comic and kids who like this is pretty huge. [link should be working now, if not, google "proof that girls are evil"]

I might write more about this comic later but quite frankly, i don't think i need to.

- - - -

update: Some relevant links: a PvP parody of this comic that is perhaps the first PvP i've ever enjoyed; and a good comment from Bill about having seen this idea before [I was actually thinking to myself that the one place I know of where the alt-text idea works really is trig identities, because the questions you'd get on a test are not What is the Answer To This Problem but How Can You Make This Thing Look Like That Thing]

211 comments:

  1. I'll be honest, I liked this comic. Even though there is no joke. Then again, I like seeing simple things being done in a stupidly complicated way.

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  2. Not Supposed to Be HereJune 27, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    My mind was slightly blown until I realized that process only works with a number times the square of itself, in that order.

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  3. still kind of a neat trick. recreational maths etc

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  4. I actually thought this was the funniest xkcd in weeks.

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  5. This amused me. The alt-tag kind of restated the "joke," but I stared at it for a few seconds wondering if this would ever actually work for anything but the most convoluted examples.

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  6. I dunno, this comic just screams to me that Randall noticed that a radical symbol and a long division symbol look similar and decided he could make a joke out of it.

    This comic is just hugely lazy. For one, I don't know who his audience is anymore, because his old audience might have appreciated a slightly more complicated math problem for this. (Maybe at least, I dunno, algebra?) He found the simplest possible way to demonstrate his 'exam trick' that doesn't even make sense. What kind of class, where 3x9 is on the exam, asks you to show your work? Who finds that SO TRICKY that they need to fake the procedure to get the answer? A procedure that, go figure, requires you to know more math than is necessary to just KNOW the answer.

    And even if he had done the work to bother with an algebra equation... his exam trick STILL doesn't work. How many math exams have you come across where, while you can't for the life of you remember the procedure to get there, can simply divine the answer to the problem? Even something as simple as simplifying a polynomial will require at least a few intermediate steps for most of us, even if its only in our heads.

    It falls apart even more when you think about the fact that, in any class where you might actually get stuck, they are, more often than not, grading the PROCEDURE more harshly than the answer itself. Maybe it's just me, but leaving a blank page with an answer blank filled in, or even only half the work done, just tells my teacher I'm cheating off of someone else's test.

    So Randall's hint is just as likely to get you academic discipline as it is to get you any points on an exam. It's a lazy as hell comic, there's no JOKE there. It's just BAD.

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  7. If you know the answer but not the procedure, then how did you get the answer in the first place? Obviously the question is too easy.

    But if the question is hard enough to justify using this method, then how are you going to find the answer without the procedure?

    Sorry Randall, but this comic (if you can call it that) just sucks. I'm going to go read some Questionable Content, because drama is easier to handle than bad math jokes.

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  8. Lots of math problems seem intuitive to me that I have trouble stating formally. I knew how to count powers of infinities above and below the / to figure out whether a limit-> infinity was equal to infinity or zero without knowing there was a rigorous rule for it, for example. I could figure out derivatives for polynomials only up to the third power by visualizing it, without knowing the rule was (original power) times (variable being derived) to the (power-1) power rule. In fact, calculus was the first time I stopped having the 'problem' of visualizing answers without memorizing the rule that the teacher wanted to see.

    And Randal loves to make jokes that only math heads can get. Because we are obviously superior. Because we can do math, in our head! QED!

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  9. "How many math exams have you come across where, while you can't for the life of you remember the procedure to get there, can simply divine the answer to the problem?"

    Well, if it's a multiple choice test. Or through cheating.

    Yeah, this comic still sucks.

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  10. First one I've liked in a while and I didn't like it until the alt-text. I guess the alt-text should have been a caption, since it basically explained what the meaning of the comic was. I guess a few years worth of experience hasn't helped Randall's comic instincts yet.

    @Anonymous 10:13
    There were a ton of times in math courses where my TI89 could do the problem but I had to fill in the steps to show I could as well. It's a pretty common problem. Think a bit more before you post.

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  11. omg X^1 * X^2 = (X^4)/X^1
    goomhr

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  12. Okay, as someone who's essentially a math Ph.D. student at this point (I technically have another year of undergrad but all my math classes are gonna be grad-level) I wanna say this is not only bad comedy (not comedy?) but shitty math exposition.

    Which is to say, I have no idea what the fuck is going on here. Anyone mind explaining it? It could just be that it's 3 AM and I fucking need to sleep, but more likely Randy's just made what he's doing hella unclear.

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  13. After a semester of grading college math quizzes and tests where students try to pull this trick ALL THE TIME, it would have been nice if Randall had gone with a math question that is actually believable in this scenario. A question where the fake work does not involve concepts much more difficult than the question, or at least a question with an answer that we didn't all have to simply MEMORIZE when we were EIGHT.

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  14. @Anonymous 11:08
    I've never been allowed even a pocket calculator into a Math course exam, let alone a TI89. Go to a better university before you post.

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  15. Oh wait I think I get it now! In the third part of the string of equations he's not computing 3 \sqrt{81} but instead computing 81/3. Which is totally non-obvious, since that looks exactly like his radical sign.

    Also, holy fucking shit it has been so long since I have done long division. Probably the same for everyone else not in fifth grade.

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  16. how do you "show your work" with 3x9 anyway?

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  17. That link doesn't work.

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  18. i am severely confused by the link

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  19. I don't know where you lot went to school, but where I come from problems of the form "show that X equals Y" are pretty damn common, and when we move into the fields of differentiation and integration there are a lot of cases where you simply memorise what a given term derives to, because the actual process of deriving it is very complex. For a sufficiently high level maths exam you could plausibly be asked to do such a derivation and expected to show the process, a situation where remembering you can work backwards from the answer you know as well as forwards from the problem given could possibly be quite helpful. Although the "joke" is that you would produce a wrong answer and hope the examiner doesn't notice, it's actually not a bad way to search for the right answer if you employ it sensibly.

    I mean, it's still a terrible comic, and the example given is boring, but the idea itself is hardly a "middle-school math test" technique, and there really are many situations out there where you could reasonably know the ultimate answer to a given problem but not all the intermediary steps. To be honest it gets more likely as you go to more and more advanced maths, where you are expected to understand how to derive proofs for theorems and things that at earlier stages you would have been told to simply accept, because proving them would have been too advanced for you back then!

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  20. This comic is total shit. It's lazy and dumb and basically the worst thing ever.

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  21. Is anyone reminded of that XKCD where the guy says

    "there are three words in the english language that end in -gry"

    and then black hat cuts his hand off and saus

    By being deliberatley obtuse such that you are misunderstood is not the same as being clever

    I mean holy fucking shit randall- what the fuck have you done?

    This isn't even a joke, it's just you being a retard

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  22. This reminds me of this stupid trick:

    64/16, cancel out the 6's, so you get 4.

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  23. HAHAHAHA A COMIC WITH NO JOKE IN IT WHAT WILL YOU THINK OF NEXT RANDAL GOOMH

    Fuck me. Ten wasted seconds spent looking at that poxy thing and wondering "is it...is it this? is this what's funny?"

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  24. So what's three times nine? This looks fun...
    Well nine equals root eighty-one...
    And blurring my vision
    I take root for division...
    So that's... twenty seven? I'm done!

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  25. What's annoying is either the comic or the alt-text could be okay on their own, but together they suck.

    I find this comic all right as a little ha-ha simple math joke moment, except for the alt-text. It would be a lot more amusing just standing on its own and leaving you to go "wait a minute, that's not right."

    And I'd probably find the alt-text okay, it's an interesting-sounding concept that could be fun to flesh out, except that it's paired with such a stupidly simple example. Yeah, next time I'm taking an exam that asks me to show my work on the multiplication tables, I'll be sure to remember that, Randall.

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  26. Wow today I lost all hope in the forumites.
    They like this comic! This comic with no joke and basic mathematics that he tried to make look like they were complicated. This is worse than the computer knowledge in CSI!

    Wow I am really begining to not like this guy...

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  27. Right-o:

    1.36am, seconded;

    Edward Lear, see now if that had been the alt-text that would have been awesome;

    In general, it's harmless whimsical fun, ruined for me because in my head I could hear the fandalls going "oh mr munroe you're so clever to have thought of this!"

    Nobody reads Request Comics, but just throwing this out here anyway.

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  28. Oh and Carl you fat useless monster the link doesn't work; it's this.

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  29. See, I like the 16/64=1/4 by cancelling the 6s proof, but I don't like this 3*9 proof. Why? I think it's something to do with the fact it's not in any way a mathematical quirk, but simply a facet of notation. As someone mentioned above, this holds in the general case x*(x^2) and so it's only looking the fact square roots can - if written quite like here - look sort of like long division signs (which, having just finished my maths degree, I haven't used in many, many years). The 16/64 thing is a mathematical quirk - there's no real reason why it should work, but it's just one of those things. Plus it was presented to me originally as just "oh, look at this" rather than a comic.

    As for the alt-text - the basic principle is a very good fallback in many circumstances if you can't do it properly. Regarding knowing the answer, an awful lot of maths problems are posed as "Show that something is true" rather than "Find something", especially in the case of proofs (since you need to know what you're trying to prove). Working backwards from the answer can be a very helpful method of seeing what you're trying to prove. Of course, teachers/lecturers tend to be good at noticing when intermediary steps are nonsense (or they should be) so if you don't know how the two ends join up, better to admit it...

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  30. Wow, this is... just about slightly more advanced than "2 + 2 = 22"!
    I mean, this is not mathematics. This is not even a working maths trick. This is a kind of trick that smart-yet-sneaky third-grader kids use to trick dumb kids into failing their exam!
    .....and if this comic was presented to me by an ordinary person, I'd actually be thinking that. Especially because the alt-text LITERALLY says "It sometimes doesn't matter if you get the question wrong if you think you can fake it!"

    Randall is a guy who pretends to be a mathematician, but in actuality has very little maths education and regularly pretends to make complex mathematics out of simple numerical patterns.
    Randall is the very definition of an anti-mathematician!


    Also, it reminds me a LOT of this SMBC: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1914#comic
    Difference being that that one is actually really clever!

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  31. Oh god, the forum.
    Aside from the usual praise, there's now a LOT of people going all GOOMHR because they, too, once faked the solution to a maths problem! Goddamnit!

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  32. I have to agree with the two posters who commented that the alt text actually makes sense if you happen to be doing university level math where you are expected to show *why* X = Y. The actual comic itself is of course, a nonsensical example.

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  33. This is done so terribly... Watch Abbott and costello's 13x7 =28 for some real simple maths humour

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  34. I don't know what Randall was aiming for here. It's not clever, it makes no sense, and he's not being ironic in the "MATH JOKE = KOMEDY GOLD" sense. It's just an insipid comic.

    Frankly not giving a damn,

    Mole

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  35. @Anonymous 12:12
    Wasn't talking about university asshole, I've been forced to use pencil and paper here. I'm talking about high school and being too lazy to write out all the steps of a long ass calculus trig integral and whatnot.

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  36. I am surprised this comic has as much hate as it got. I mean it was not spectacularly funny but I thought the concept was a bit amusing. Of course, before reading the alt, I thought it was about overthinking or overengineering a problem when there is a simple solution available. I know in the past when doing various proofs in math or science that I have sometimes went around in circles two or three times with the numbers and eventually gotten the correct solution only to learn later that there is a simple solution. That made this slightly amusing.

    There was also something amusing in making the mistake of a long division sign and square root sign though I didn't think it fit with my idea of overthinking the problem really and more said something about "getting it right even after making a mistake".

    This followed with my excitement hoping this worked for every number. I quickly disproved that and was a bit sad.

    Also, am I the only person who still does long division when I have large numbers that I need to divide and don't have a calculator present? Everyone says it is so 3rd grade, but I still do find it useful...

    Most importantly though, here is my take on the comic.
    http://www.tehposse.org/brandon/mkcd/759.jpg
    Alt: I didn't even get partial credit for showing my work.

    Also, it would be cool if anyone could take a look at my other mkcd comics at
    http://www.tehposse.org/brandon/mkcd/

    Edit: Captcha = addatio, another great technique for these sorts of problems.

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  37. Where's the joke?

    No, seriously.

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  38. LeonardQuirm, you said exactly what I wanted to, only not as profane.

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  39. @Anon 6:11

    Joke?

    No joke, radio!

    (Yeah, it fucking sucks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_soap_radio)

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  40. Uhm btw this is no mathematical proof.
    Jic anyone thought it was

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  41. I thought of going full ironic on this one, all pretending to gush about how great it was, what a fabulous concept expressed so elegantly, and oh my goodness I wonder if he will put it on a t-shirt.

    But then I realized there probably are people reading it who really would put it on a t-shirt and wear it unironically. I just can't bring myself to stoop to that level.

    Incidentally, the motivation as outlined in the alt-text demonstrates Randall's irrational phobia of educators once again, by implying that they'll let your crap fly past their radar as long as whatever you do looks complicated. I'm a little surprised he didn't turn it into a crack at English majors again, because they pull that kind of trick all the time, amirite?

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  42. I hate math. I just want to say that right now. I can add and subtract. But I simply have no concept whatsoever as to... whatever the hell that was. It's not a comic. It's pointless and belongs on Wikipedia in one of those whacked-out math articles that make me laugh because people waste their lives writing them.

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  43. 1 X 1 = ?
    = 1*sqr(1)
    1/1 = 1

    It works!

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  44. Think you missed the joke Carl...

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  45. Why are we hating on this again? It's not astoundingly clever, but surely I can't be the only one who was slightly interested in what numbers this 'multiplication' works for. Also (as others have pointed out), the alt-text is something people do all the time (GOOMH, if you will) on my bachelor math courses when they're not really sure how to prove a result - you'll start out with your assumptions, try to deduce something from them, think about what would imply the truth of the conclusion and what would imply that again and try to find something similar enough that the 'link' could conceivably be a theorem in the textbook and you're done. Not implying that Randall is more acquainted with math than any of you or anything, but can't we at least give the man credit for making a moderately funny observation (admittedly choosing a terrible example to illustrate it with) and leave the cuddlefish to GOOMH the only GOOMHworthy comic in recent memory instead of chalking it up to his 'irrational phobia of educators'?

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  46. Wow, so he found out that x * y = y² / x if y = x², which is a complicated way of saying x³ = x³.
    Mind-blowing, as a forumite said.

    The worst thing however is that there's no indication at all that he's doing a division by 3. Rather than showing us a way which looks wrong, but seemingly proves to be correct, he actually just showed that writing the calculation differently and then doing something that isn't implied AT ALL by the signs used in the calculation somehow leads to the correct solution.

    It's just confusing as hell, so that any potentially funny bit of this comic gets drowned in confusion over what he's actually doing. Especially his leaving out the multiplication sign confuses me to no end - why does he do that? It's not as if the formula without it might look more like what he actually did. He doesn't care about the other signs in the calculation, why does he take THAT one out?

    It might have worked if he had written
    3 * sqrt(81) = sqrt(81) 3
    and then slurred the root sign really badly, so that it might've looked like 81/3, giving validity to his approach. Probably wouldn't be funnier, but at least you'd get where he's coming from.

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  47. The joke in this cartoon seems to be "The square root symbol looks a lot like the symbol for long division; wouldn't it be funny if mixed them up but still got the right answer?"

    But part of the reason they look similar is that people used to do a modified sort of long division in order to figure out square roots digit by digit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods_of_computing_square_roots#Decimal_.28base_10.29

    That's how people figured them out before they had calculators. My science teacher in high school showed us this method because it's what she learned when she was a kid.

    Anyway, the cartoon is even more underwhelming when you know this.

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  48. Meh, the little bridging of the two signs is kinda nifty, but it's a poor joke (ooh! sqrt sign looks like old long division format!).

    If this was something that were true for all numbers, now that would be something. Looking at the alt-text though, the joke seems to be "ha ha you guys I bullshitted my way to the answer" rather than "look at this, I found a new way to solve multiplication problems"- the latter of which is more like things he's done before, and therefore what I first read the comic as.

    As far as the alt-text goes: I do that all the time on my exams. It's not that uncommon a tactic to be considered a 'trick', is it?
    (Note: this does NOT count as a GOOMHR moment for me because I thought this was something everybody did, not something only I have come up with.)

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  49. Anon 8:37- Go die in a fire. I mean it.
    It can't be GOOMH if everybody does it.

    That's as stupid as saying "GOOMH RANDALL I DRIVE A CAR TOO!" if he drew a strip where somebody was driving.

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  50. WHO THE FUCK ASKS 3*9 ON A TEST?
    THAT'S FUCKING 2ND GRADE MATH

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  51. Ves: You're wrong. GOOMH doesn't have anything to do with how many people do it, but whether or not you are aware or discuss this with many other people. I drive a car too isn't GOOMH, not because everyone does it, but because everyone KNOWS you do it. It's not a secret you keep to yourself. I'll use Comic 245 as an example (The Floor Tiles one). The reason why that was a GOOMH comic, was that there are many people who do very EXACTLY THAT, but do NOT then talk about it to each other for fear of embarrassment, mocking, etc. In fact, the very REASON it is a GOOMH comic, is BECAUSE many people do it, but not many necessarily share the experience. Then when someone else talks about something you thought was something only you did, you are shocked to discover it is not just something you do, but something other's share with you. it's a get out of my head moment. A moment you thought previously private, but not realize you share with someone else.

    So with regards to this latest comic, if you do what is being shown in the comic, and you truly thought that you were the only one who did this/never chatted about your Math Testing ways with others, and then read this comic... that makes this a genuine GOOMH comic for those people.

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  52. zomg randal so inteligent high maths

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  53. Math problems are not jokes. Having a realization about an interesting property of simple math is not a joke. This comic has no joke.

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  54. The_P, sorry, but you're way off on that one. Of course there's a joke here! The joke is that this this the most popular webcomic ever and its creator makes a decent living off of it and is beloved by nerds the world over.

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  55. @anon 12:03

    stop it, you're making me cry

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  56. Rinnon, good point. But your comment leads straight into: who actually thinks they are the only person that does this? Pretty much everyone I talked to in my calc class in high school did something like this when they didn't know what the answer was, including me.

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  57. I do this, my friends do this, we all know we do this. It's nothing special.

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  58. Rinnon: Yes, that is the distinction. However, Anon 8:37 observed that:
    the alt-text is something people do all the time.
    So he knows it's not just him. Which makes it, as I think we can all agree (being reasonably intelligent people), not a good time to say GOOMH.

    And as adam suggested, this trick is generally a pretty common thing to do. Which makes it come down to personal experience, though tbh if you've considered this to be some sort of trade secret you're probably a bit slow on the uptake.

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  59. GOOMH is just a coping mechanism certain boring people use to delude themselves into thinking that their lives are remarkable. They can't fathom the fact that hundreds of other humans have had the same thought or experience, because that would shatter the fragile delusion that their existence isn't mundane and ordinary. I mean, they love math and science! Obviously they're better than 99% of the herd, so the things they do and think MUST be statistically rare as well.

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  60. she nails most things with her giant throbbing cock

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  61. of course a REAL MAN like Rob hear WOULD assert that any intelligent self-assured woman secretly has a penis. What else could be the explanation?

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  62. Ves: You're right, he doesn't use GOOMH in the right way either. And I agree with most of the above statements, this isn't a very good example of GOOMH. But it's CERTAINLY a better example than a lot of the other comics we've seen people claim GOOMH. This one is at least specific, and it's at least a possibility. I believe that someone out there, somewhere, does this on Math Tests, and didn't know other people did it, and had a GOOMH moment when they read the comic. Most people here I think will agree it's not a huge stretch (maybe they ARE slow on the uptake, but that's neither here nor there). It's infinitely better than people who say "Wow! You just wrote a comic about a situation that I can imagine myself, imagining about! GOOMH!" Those people are the ones who need to be shot out of a cannon.

    Aloria: You're saying that when people discover that something they thought was unique to them, is actually very common, they say "Get out of my head" to Randall, as a coping mechanism? Because they don't want to break the illusion that they are the only person who does it? I don't think that really makes sense. That doesn't seem to me to help them cope with the fact that they've just discovered hundreds of other people do what they thought made them unique. It's like them admidting it and embracing it.

    Here's my theory: GOOMH is the XKCD fanboy/girl way of trying to bring themselves closer to Randall and the Community. In the XKCD community, Randall is the alpha male, and GOOMH is like bringing yourself closer to being in line with the Alpha male. I don't think people are disappointed that other people do what they do... I think they are thrilled that the community that they want acceptance from, is so willing to have them.

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  63. When an XKCD fan exclaims 'GOOMH', they are asserting that they are better than the peons because Randall has (in an indirect manner) spoken to them and validated their own thoughts as worthy.

    An IRL analogue would be seeing a celebrity on TV mention a local cafe you've been to twice and then crowing to the rest of the room that you 'love that place!' and 'go there all the time!'

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  64. her penis isn't exactly secret

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  65. "...advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."

    That's the joke. And it's on all of his idiotic, mindlessly loyal fans.

    For the thousandth time, I hope Randall is pulling a massive, jerktastic, Andy Kaufman. I really doubt it, though.

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  66. And then I went to the forum.

    To paraphrase the movie "Waiting...", Youare the biggest piece of shit in this entire forum, and I hope you burn in Hell.

    Carl, Rob, et al.--do you always check the forum prior to writing a review? How do you stand it?

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  67. Rinnon- GOOMH is the XKCD fanboy/girl way of trying to bring themselves closer to Randall and the Community. In the XKCD community, Randall is the alpha male, and GOOMH is like bringing yourself closer to being in line with the Alpha male. I don't think people are disappointed that other people do what they do... I think they are thrilled that the community that they want acceptance from, is so willing to have them.

    Yeah, that's what I think too. Aloria's summed up the other half of it though. Randall is the King of Nerds, Smartest Man On Earth Blessed Be Him Who Makes Us Feel Smart And Elite. Xkcd's fanbase is those poor souls desperate for any reassurance that they are vewwy vewwy special children. They think that reading xkcd makes them better than 99% of the rest of humanity. Claiming some sort of close connection to Randall elevates them even further in their eyes.

    Basically it's a passive-aggressive free-for-all to find out Who's The Best.


    Gryffilion-
    I'm pretty sure the only people who use the phrase "epic ____" are 15-year-olds who think they've discovered Something Cool On The Internets.
    Which, considering xkcd's audience, and the level of difficulty of today's math problem, probably isn't too far from the truth.

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  68. Ves--

    I still love Jay's aside from his review of 581: "The comic I just read cannot be described by any combination of the following words: epic, awesome, win, or sauce."

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  69. I only check the forums when I think they'll have something to make fun of.

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  70. I am firmly of the opinion that if you use the words "epic" or "sauce" in a sentence, unless it is in the context of pointing out how stupid those word-memes are, somebody should silence you with a swift kick to the crotch.

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  71. What if I'm talking about Beowulf or horseradish?

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  72. @Ves: if by "silence" you mean "silence their ability to express themselves genetically," then yes. Yes indeed. "Epic" and "sauce" aren't even funny ironically. I'm not sure they ever were.

    @Rob: When are they not worth ridiculing?

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  73. sometimes they are boring or otherwise unremarkable.

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  74. xy=(y^2)/x holds true only if y=x^2

    so this works because 9 is the square of x, and can also be used for the following pairs:

    (0,0)
    (1,1)
    (2,4)
    (3,9)
    (4,16)
    etc.

    That said, this comic is dumb.

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  75. Cheers to uncivlengr for attempting to point something out on the XKCD forums: how silly it is for this allegedly brainy crowd to be jumping on the bandwagon to brag about how well they can fool their teachers, as opposed to taking pride in being smart enough to just know their shit and thus never rely on such methods of trickery.

    I see only one person bothered to pay it any attention so far.

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  76. There is actually a joke here...

    A familiar set-up that defies standard form in an unexpected manner and forces you to reassess the apparent resultant absurdity; determining the underlying logic or relation brings you your humorous reward. This is pretty much the basis of a standard joke (as has been pointed out here often when a comic failed such criteria).

    I certainly won't vouch for it's quality or it's execution... but it is there.

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  77. I'm a bit surprised how bitter some of these comments are. This is the first comic in a week or two that I've really enjoyed. It just points out that ridiculous things happen when you have an independent question, answer, and few frenzied seconds to join them. Extra points if it reminds you of a crazy exam you're glad to be done with. I think the fact that the alt text is necessary for the joke has people obsessing to much on the problem and missing the point. It should have been an under text. If you just take the "comic" as a simplified example (which is what I assume it is supposed to be) the joke is fine.

    My take on the common complaints:
    -This is 2nd grade stuff!
    +Of course it is. If the derivation was tricky enough to actually fool anyone it would also fool some comic readers. It could have been replaced with a diagram of "question - bullshit - answer" but that wouldn't convey the ridiculousness of the situation as well.

    -How can you know the answer but not the route?!
    +Plenty of ways. You could be given the answer as in some homework books or multiple choice questions, you can infer the answer from physical understanding of a problem without knowing the math proof, you can solve the question by another route but not the required one, etc.

    -Why are you trying to trick teachers you evil person? Why don't you just learn?!
    +I can think of a few reasons why honest people enjoy this comic. I imagine the biggest being that the seam usually isn't a blatant lie, it's a stretch. You didn't just switch the negative sign because it gave the wrong answer but because you rationalized a reason the dang thing should change. If asked to explain your work you could give a weak, but just maybe correct defense.

    -Way to show that xy=(y^2)/x, how is that funny?
    +It isn't. He didn't draw any proof whatsoever. He just needed a crazy looking way to solve a problem. The fact that the crazy method could work for questions is, I believe, unintentional.

    -People who like xkcd are mindless sheep!
    ex:
    Ves-"Yeah, that's what I think too. Aloria's summed up the other half of it though. Randall is the King of Nerds, Smartest Man On Earth Blessed Be Him Who Makes Us Feel Smart And Elite. Xkcd's fanbase is those poor souls desperate for any reassurance that they are vewwy vewwy special children. They think that reading xkcd makes them better than 99% of the rest of humanity. Claiming some sort of close connection to Randall elevates them even further in their eyes.

    Basically it's a passive-aggressive free-for-all to find out Who's The Best."
    +I find it amusing that you could make about the same comment about people posting here. That they feel the need to be special and show they are better than the 99% of humanity by snubbing xkcd. They like to imagine they are just one of the few free thinkers who can see what a sham the comic truly is amidst crowds of mindless fans.

    However, isn't that all a bit much to be inferring? Could it perhaps be that some people just find a comic funny while others don't?

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  78. I posted three sentences about why the comic wasn't funny and didn't have a joke. You posted a verbose, pseudo-intellectual rebuttal to a bunch of people on the Internet, ending it with a smugly superior rhetorical question.

    The difference between us and you is simple - a lot of us are just having fun and killing time, you are a self-important faggot who craves validation. Basically, you are everything that is wrong with xkcd fans.

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  79. I dunno if anyone reads pvp, but this was rather amusing: http://www.pvponline.com/2010/06/28/

    Especially the comic name.

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  80. Dumb as fuck

    This student can do long division and squaring, but not multiplication. Umm... GOOMHR? No, I think just WTF.

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  81. The P: "The difference between us and you is simple - a lot of us are just having fun and killing time, you are a self-important faggot who craves validation. Basically, you are everything that is wrong with xkcd fans."

    I assume that you are referring to Anon 10:50, to which I respond with this. The hell he is. First off, what part of his post made you figure he was a faggot who craves validation? Nothing he said implied that he wanted our approval, nor that he was interested in men in a sexual way. He is attempting to make an explanation on why he thinks the comic is funny. I don't agree with what he says, but if it entertains him to make a case for what he feels, why is that wrong, and your posting what you think of the comic is right? Just because it took him more time? Clearly, he's just killing MORE time while having fun. More power to him. The very fact that he is PUTTING THOUGHT into his opinion of the comic means he's going to be better than most XKCD fans as well. And what does it have to do with him posting it to people on the internet? Where were you posting exactly?

    As far as his statement about the fact that alot of people on this board could be described in the same way I described the XKCD forumites (He's quoting Ves: who was responding to me) why is that more smug than when I said it? It's not. He's being just about as smug as I was, and he's about as right as I was too. There are commenters on here who jumped on the Hating XKCD bandwagon for no real good reason, other than that they wanted something to hate on with a bunch of other people. I'd stake money on that.

    Lastly, I wouldn't call his final question rhetorical, I'd say it has an answer. The answer is no. You like it for the same reason I like McDonalds, even though I know it's crap, I enjoy it anyways for some odd reason. Probably because I'm too lazy to make or find something better for that meal.

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  82. @anon11:11PM

    Haha.
    You win this round, scott kuntz.

    ReplyDelete
  83. *looks through comments*

    *pages and pages of intallectual discourse and bullshit about how a maths exercise gone wrong is funny*

    Dear internet:

    Please never change

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  84. Here are the facts. I'm going to let others judge them, but here they are:

    - Most of the mathematicians I know do not care for xkcd, and when they do, they don't care for the mathematical parts of it.
    - Most of the engineers I know seem to stop caring for xkcd after they pass a transitional level of understanding of their field. The exception to this seems to be computer scientists, who are more passionate about it, but well-read and experienced computer scientists do seem to like it less. (I'd wager that D.H. Hansson likes xkcd more than Alan Kay, for instance.)
    - Most of the linguists I know smile at xkcd, but find its claims to being a "webcomic ... of language" laughable.
    - The segment of people that make up the biggest fans are people whose knowledge of mathematics, computer science, linguistics, &c, are passing at best. There are a surprising amount of liberal arts majors who like xkcd, and yet have no experience in mathematics, computer science, engineering, linguistics, or any other field xkcd supposedly focuses on.

    I was once at a party where a person, in lieu of conversation, quoted xkcd at me for five to ten minutes. I pretended not to recognize the source, so he didn't actually attribute them to anyone else; he just kept throwing out what I hesitate to call punchlines. He also went to a junior college studying a non-technical major.

    Hmm.

    P.S. I am a category theory nerd. That means that, from my perspective, saying xkcd contains 'advanced mathematics' is laughable. It's as though a comic were to claim to contain 'advanced literature' because it mentions Shakespeare. Not that that's a bad thing - Brown Sharpie does contain advanced mathematics, and it's all the worse for it. But claiming xkcd does is not an accurate statement.

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  85. @Anon 10:50
    "I find it amusing that you could make about the same comment about people posting here. That they feel the need to be special and show they are better than the 99% of humanity by snubbing xkcd. They like to imagine they are just one of the few free thinkers who can see what a sham the comic truly is amidst crowds of mindless fans."

    Except we don't villify and ostracize people just because they have dissenting opinions - only those who idiotically stick to irrational dogma even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (e.g. xkcd forumites). Hell, several people liked this comic, but none of them were attacked for that.

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  86. Yay woo maths. Or sorry, should I say "math". If you don't like rubbish math(s) jokes, don't read XKCD. That should be its slogan.

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  87. @Anon three-posts-up:
    You're bang-on. Basically, Randall acts like Dan Brown: he tries to make it seem like he knows a LOT, and that everything he's saying is entirely true... yet most of it is complete rubbish that he either just read on the internet or got from some sort of stereotype. But he's so persuasive in it (like Dan Brown) that you wouldn't really know until a professional actually pointed it out to you (or if your profession is in the subject in the first place).
    The exception, of course, s for most computer-related matters, since that's his strongest subject. But even then he's not immune from just making up commplete bullshit on some computer stuff (like, remember 654? The one where he said that using a microwave completely shuts down WiFi signals? Entirely made up; microwave radiation interferes with WiFi, but only by about a 25% decrease)


    That's a lot of brackets.

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  88. Anon 1:19 - Those linguists didn't realize that "language" doesn't mean linguistics, but swearing?
    I hate it when people try to make fun of that part of xkcd's caption. It's pretty clear that his characters swear a lot.

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  89. I'm afraid I disagree, David, characters in xkcd don't swear that much. In fact, I think they hardly swear. In fact, looking back at the past 10 xkcds, there's no swearing at all. Maybe you confused being sexually centered with swearing.

    And Rinnon, this:

    "And what does it have to do with him posting it to people on the internet? Where were you posting exactly?"

    P never said anything about posting it to people on the internet. I can accept the rest of your post, but you're grasping at straws(of a strawman) here.

    About that anonymous post in particular, I still see no reason why Randall couldn't use some example that DID involve advanced math. I'm not going to waste my time coming up with an example now, but I know he could do better. More importantly, he could make the whole bullshit, claim it as so and people would verify and say "yep, that's right, it is bullshit" and his nerd cred could only go up. Instead, he looks like a moron.

    That was a lot of replies, huh?

    Mole

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  90. @Anon 10:50:

    We're not arguing about whether some people find it funny. On the contrary, I think our assumption is that most of the forumites laugh reflexively at whatever Randall puts in front of them. We're positing that it's not good, i.e., that there are clear, measurable standards for the quality of any type of work, whether it's a piece of music or a painting or a webcomic. Randall fails to meet those benchmarks. That makes his comic bad.

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  91. @Gryffilion

    The trouble is that you'll have a hell of a hard time getting people to agree on what these measurable standards are, how important they are, which are more important than the others. This is why we have CRITICS, after all!

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  92. @1:19 Anon - to throw a bit more data on your pile, I used to like xkcd a lot less sporadically than I do now, and I'm an art major.

    The comments about his appealing to high schoolers often hit home for me since I was a lot closer to the nerd ideal in high school, when I was going to a rather good school taking AP classes and doing well at math and science and stuff... but that was in high school. As I said, I'm an art major.

    My background means I still have a huge healthy respect for the kind of intellectual topics Randall likes to shoot for, but when it comes to truly understanding anything specialized, I'm really not justified in acting like I'm all better than the "normals" or anything. So to project a bit, I'd wager that xkcd's not so much for the in-high-school-right-now audience, but the fondly-looking-BACK-at-high-school audience.

    Which sounds a bit weird since nerds are traditionally supposed to hate high school because of all the ostracizing and bullying and shit, but really, in hindsight, once that's over and passed, high school can still be a wonderful idealized time to look back to as a nerd. It's the time when you could still feel sure you were indisputably a martyr and smarter than your peers, when you could seem to be good at everything they threw at you because no one had to get super specialized yet, no one had to make any real decisions or take real responsibility yet, you were still full of magic Harry-Potter-living-under-the-stairs potential to become the most super special wizard ever, show them all, and take on the world.

    So what do you have left when you've been invested in being a smart nerd, but now everyone's grown up and everyone's smarter than you at all these different fields? You take refuge in that high-school level. You're still just generally smarter than average! You still have that appreciation for smart things!

    I do think that can be true on some level. Like having "science appreciation", the way one can have music appreciation without knowing how to play themselves. So I like xkcd when it seems to be more honestly about this, just celebrating knowledge and analysis and weird nerdy observations. But it gets harder and harder to take that in good faith sometimes... even when I agree with the "sieze the day and have an adventure!" stuff in principle, SAYING that shit is a lot easier than doing it and I can't help but cynically suspect that Randall and many of his readers are in the same boat, just talking shit.

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  93. I think "But this is 2nd grade math that would never require a derivation" is a perfectly valid complaint for a comic which lists math as one of its four topics.

    Honestly, it still could have been EASY math. I bet everyone who reads XKCD took precalculus, and that class is filled with derivations, and terrified students who are frantically throwing everything together in the faint hope that it will magically be correct.

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  94. @Ambivalicious

    "even when I agree with the "sieze the day and have an adventure!" stuff in principle, SAYING that shit is a lot easier than doing it and I can't help but cynically suspect that Randall and many of his readers are in the same boat, just talking shit."

    Well, yeah. Except Randall at least seized *something* - he gave up his day job to produce a shitty webcomic. And that must have taken real courage: after all, would *you* bet your career on a comic that shitty? I never could.

    The XKCD "supporters", OTOH, dont really seem to get it. Their guru (thats Randall, BTW) says $THING and they all mindlessly agree "Yes Sir, $THING! You are so clever, Sir! *We* are so clever!"

    And what they dont realize is that Randall is mocking them the whole time. Its been getting more and more blatant as time goes on, and this comic is the final proof, isnt it? I mean, short of actually posting a comic of a stick figure drawing a shitty comic and the caption: "My hobby: taking the piss out of my stupid audience".

    So on the whole, I think were just going to have to agree to agree on this one.

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  95. @Rinnon:

    You like McDonald's because it at least vaguely qualifies as food. This xkcd does not even vaguely qualify as funny.

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  96. @Anon 1:19

    Same with physics. Most of the physicists I know think the comic's science is laughable. The three biggest fans I knew all dropped out of physics within two quarters. Two are them are now humanities majors and one's in compsci.

    Comic could have been funny if Randall took it to absurd levels. "3 x 9 = 3 sqrt(81) = sqrt(81) \int_0^pi/2 3 cos(x) = (\sum_0^4 n!) - 7 Re(\int_0^pi/2 e^ix)" etc etc etc

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  97. Comic could have been funny if Randall took it to absurd levels. "3 x 9 = 3 sqrt(81) = sqrt(81) \int_0^pi/2 3 cos(x) = (\sum_0^4 n!) - 7 Re(\int_0^pi/2 e^ix)" etc etc etc

    That would've just made it more obviously a ripoff of Foxtrot. I can't find my anthology atm to prove it, though.

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  98. Anon 1050
    @Gryffilion

    Criticism is fine. The comic certainly would have been improved if Randall had taken some pointers from the reasonable commenters here. But even after you have analyzed, argued, and scientifically proven that the comic is bad, we are left with the fact that many people read the comic and laughed. This leaves many commenters here speculating on various insulting ulterior motives for why people laugh at this certified bad comic. That second step annoys me. Maybe your actually right for some people, it's a big enough audience, but any freudian explanation is not going to cover anywhere near the majority of the people you are insulting.
    Apologies to those here who are just offering the honest criticism.
    -Anon 10:50

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  99. I find it amusing that you could make about the same comment about people posting here. That they feel the need to be special and show they are better than the 99% of humanity by snubbing xkcd. They like to imagine they are just one of the few free thinkers who can see what a sham the comic truly is amidst crowds of mindless fans.


    Absolutely. I can only speak for myself when I say that I don't hold the belief you've just outlined. And I'm wagering that the number of people here who do is much lower than the same amount at xkcd. The two major aspects of xkcd that this blog criticizes are:
    1. The comic itself. And honestly, it is a fairly poor comic. The artwork is often insufficient, the dialogue contrived, the punchlines forced far too frequently. It's just not well-done.
    2. The fandom it inspires.
    The bone you're picking is with #2. Thing is though, I don't think anybody here is suggesting that the sort of fandom we loathe so much is unique to xkcd, or even inspired by it. Instead, xkcd by its nature makes the problem of 'high-school nerd' syndrome (even though it applies to more than just people who were 'nerds' in high school) particularly bad.

    The xkcd forumites are the people we refer to when taking shots at xkcd fans, not because they're representative of all of the comic's fans, but because they're the worst of them, and they're the ones who are the problem.
    The root of the problem for xkcd in particular is the people who Anon 5:55 accurately described: the people who are desperate for anything to reassure them that they really are special. This is also why so many of the forumites are those insufferable douchebags who self-diagnose themselves with asperger's- they crave validation to be the smartest (and therefore, in their mind, the best). This happens everywhere in some proportion- everybody wants to feel special. But xkcd, by billing itself as the webcomic of 'smart people', just so happens to touch exactly the right nerve in these people who never moved past their time in high school, consciously or no.

    TL;DR: xkcd didn't create the problem, xkcd just happens to be a symptom (and enabler) of it.

    Also apologies for the rambling-ness of this post; I had to rush it and didn't have time for anything more coherent than stream-of-consciousness.

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  100. @Femalethoth

    Oh yeah, I remember that one. So it's not just a ripoff, it's a bad ripoff.

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  101. @Anon 11:11pm. I couldn't tell if he was making fun of xkcd or not. I like to think he was commenting on its pseudo-intellectual bullshit.

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  102. I miss FoxTrot...
    Ever since Amend switched to doing only Sundays my local paper dropped it from the comics section.

    Is there any place he posts them online?

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  103. @Ves:

    http://www.foxtrot.com/

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  104. *smacks forehead* durrr

    Thanks! :)

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  105. @Pro Mole: P said this "You posted a verbose, pseudo-intellectual rebuttal to a bunch of people on the Internet," which is where I got my straws to grasp at. =)

    @The P: I can't really argue with that. Amusing maybe. Funny, no.

    @Ves: Well put, couldn't agree more. Pretty much all my friends are XKCD fans. It is my opinion that they don't read XKCD for validation of any kind, but because they find it funny. I think they find it funny, for 2 reasons. 1: XKCD used to be funny, and they are still in an overarching mindset of thinking that XKCD is funny, so when they go, they laugh or chucked because they are conditioned to. 2: They are not interested in looking at a critique of the humour, they are content to enjoy it regardless of it's underlying quality.

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  106. @Anon 5:26,

    There is, indeed, a lot of debate about those measurable standards, which is as it should be. It is frustrating, however, when people attempt to write off any comments that are not flattery thinly disguised as weak-tea critiquing, or outright praise, with varying degrees of "I found it funny, so that makes it entertaining."

    There is a very big difference between finding something funny, or entertaining, and its actually being funny or entertaining. We have only to look at the nature of most television shows to understand that fact in a very simple and clear way.

    It is implicit in the nature of criticism is that it's criticism is not normative. It is descriptive. If someone really loves Lady Gaga, or Family Guy, or electrocuting their genitals, someone commenting on the situation would be hard-pressed to say "You don't love any of these things." The only thing that is really possible, in those situations, is describing why any of them are bad ideas. Sadly, most of Randall's ideas of late have been bad ones. I imagine that as long as they continue being bad, people will continue to call him on it. And so it goes.

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  107. @Rinnon:

    2: They are not interested in looking at a critique of the humour, they are content to enjoy it regardless of it's underlying quality.

    That explains QC's success perfectly!

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  108. Argh. 2:40 post should read "It is implicit in the nature of criticism that it is not normative." Whoops.

    And I'm going to stop the multiple-posts-in-a-row thing now I promise

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  109. @Anon 3:19
    I'm not talking about the lower caption - that does say strong language, which is pretty obvious. Look at the one up at the top - "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language." I don't think that "language" in there refers to swearing. When I talk about a comedian that swears a lot, I don't refer to him as a "comedian of language."

    Though on reflection, maybe I should.

    There's actually a greater issue here — something I feel very strongly about, in relation to my chosen fields of study, and something I'm planning on addressing in an essay I may or may not send to Carl, because it's really a long-winded topic not appropriate for a comment box — but the crux of it is that "geekiness" now refers to a sort of pop-culture phenomenon which is "about" computers as much as being goth is "about" the color* black. So the math here isn't here because it's funny**. The joke could be made with one of dozens of other subjects, and be arguably more entertaining. But that's not the point. The math is here because it's math, and that's what geeks do.

    And that honestly shouldn't bother me, but it does.

    * Or lack thereof.
    ** Or supposed to be.

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  110. Am I the only one who thought that the reason for this comic is the SMBC Polish hand magic comic?

    Of course, the difference between the two is that the Polish hand magic thing is new to most people reading it and actually cool, in an "I wish I'd known this back when multiplication was actually a problem for me" way. XKCD, on the other hand, comes across as an attempt to jump on SMBC's bandwagon (AGAIN) but without anything interesting or new to say on the subject. The PVP parody was spot on.

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  111. @Rinnon,

    Oh, right. I only looked at the quote you... quoted. Disregard my overlooking, if you don't mind. =/

    Nah, that's all I gotta say for now,

    Mole.

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  112. kurtz is a kind of pretentious douche

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  113. Except Randall at least seized *something* - he gave up his day job to produce a shitty webcomic. And that must have taken real courage: after all, would *you* bet your career on a comic that shitty? I never could.

    Heh, true that. Thus my handle - sometimes I can buy it and I like Randall's stuff, sometimes I really can't, it's just a big pile of conflicting feelings.

    Only one thing's for sure: this site is way more fun for talking about the comic, since the forum fanboys are annoying.

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  114. Wait!

    Nobody seems to have noticed that the alt text is COMPLETELY PLAGIARIZED!!!

    Look at Paul R. Halmos' book "I Want to Be a Mathematician" (Springer-Verlag, 1985). Turn to page 24. (Does Google Books have this?) Start at the bottom line. I quote:

    "Much later, when I started teaching trigonometric identities, an ingenious student told me of his foolproof way of getting a perfect grade almost every time.

    "If you're told to prove that some expression A is equal to a different-looking B, you put A at the top left corner of the page, B at the bottom right, and, using correct but trivial substitutions, keep changing them, working from both ends to the middle.

    "When they meet, stop. If the identity you were given is a true one (it always is), everything on the page is true.

    "To be sure, somewhere near the middle of the page there is a gigantic step, probably as big as the original problem, but very few paper graders will ever find it, or, if they find it, dare to mark you down for it--it is, after all, true!"

    Does Randall imagine that nobody else will have read that book and recall that memorable anecdote? At least cite the source!!

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  115. Its not exactly an original idea. For anyone.

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  116. Why did NASA employ this idiot? He lacks the wit to be a scientist yet is too much of a pompous bore to be a licensed fool.

    I understand that it doesn't take beauty to lead in the kingdom of the blind, but this guy supposedly made some progress in the real world. /How?/

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  117. Randall worked at NASA as a janitor.

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  118. Now NASA janitors need an understanding of space management in two senses, and I've read enough of these junior school doodles to observe that Munroe has neither. There is not a paucity of willing scientists whose abilities exceed this dullard's, so I remain baffled.

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  119. And yet, I don't see any of you guys making ultra-popular webcomics.

    Just sayin...

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  120. I don't need to be Gordon fucking Ramsay to tell that shit on a plate is shit on a plate.

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  121. Both your links link to Bill's comment you stupid peasant.

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  122. Oh my god I also make jokes! GOOMH Randall!!!

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  123. Whumpus, that's not a GOOMHR moment because where you might make jokes, Randall doesn't.

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  124. In my head, I'm going to imagine that Randall made an incredibly shitty connection between dwarves digging too deep and BP drilling too deep. Why? Because LICD-level topicality is actually more current than whatever the fuck Randall just put out.

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  125. I'm going to assume the joke was a reference to the roguelike Moria because I know nothing about LotR.

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  126. Didn't that hack, Jackson, ruin LotR enough?



    Why must the ruination continue?

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  127. @Fem: I read your comment before I went and saw the latest XKCD, so I didn't exactly get what you meant. So I was reading XKCD, expecting a bad oil joke... which would have been amusing, and I got nothing.

    Seriously, "They couldn't get out"? That's it? That's the punchline? I was REALLY ready to laugh at a bad BP joke, but I couldn't even laugh at how bad this one was. It just made me sad.

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  128. Carl you fat piece of shit those are both the same link

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  129. Well, the dwarves' record book did say "We cannot get out."

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  130. Hey gus, the dwarves dug so deep, they couldn't get out! Hilarious, right? That's why XKCD is one of the most popular web comics in existance.

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  131. The Goatkcd is funnier today. At least there's the innuendo of "dug too greedily and too deep".

    Whereas if there's a joke in the XKCD version, I'd like to hear what it is.

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  132. Even the forumites are complaining about the art on this one.

    @Anon5:27,
    Take a wild guess why he stopped working at NASA after half a year.
    (tip: it's not because he wanted to stop)

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  133. I dug the newer one until I hit alt-text.

    Never explain a joke. Even if the humour and execution were rock-solid, it would get eroded in the process.

    Lame punning aside, I thought the newer one was, well, ok. A little idea, that has surely been done before but still, about people going about a project. Then forgetting something essential. Hilarity ensues.

    And then, you know, just in case you didn't get it. The dwarves are stuck in a hole because they didn't put a staircase, ladder, or other way out. Now laugh, it's the height of comedy.

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  134. Both links are to Bill's comment.

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  135. Where to start with 760?

    First of all, as others have noted, the punchline is terrible. It isn't even a punchline. The dwarves themselves wrote down in their record book, "We cannot get out."

    Secondly, the art. The art is lazy. No, it's worse than lazy. The art would be lazy if he had gone online and gotten still images from the movie--one of Dwarrowdelf, two of Gandalf in Moria, one of Gandalf and the hobbits. Stick-figuring the whole thing drives home how little he draws.

    Thirdly, the art again. Randall is inconsistent. Gandalf is wearing a robe, and a hat. Meanwhile, for all that we can tell, the hobbits are naked. This would be funny in a "Very Secret Diaries" sort of situation, but here it's just creepy.

    The only charitable thing that can be said about this comic is that it's not at the level of bad as #709. Then again, few things are.

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  136. @Plasma
    >Take a wild guess why he stopped working at NASA after half a year.
    >(tip: it's not because he wanted to stop)

    Source? I was under the impression that once his contract was up he decided to not continue working because he could support himself just fine with a webcomic that takes maybe 5-10 minutes to draw 3 days a week.

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  137. The details are here, but I don't want to read it, so I dunno what the story is: http://xkcd.livejournal.com/.

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  138. Here ya go:

    I've been having to work extremely full-time to get t-shirt orders out. Conveniently, NASA didn't renew my contract for another term; I wouldn't have been able to keep doing both anyway. So I'll be spending most of my days for the immediate future just shipping t-shirts and drawing comics. Life certainly is getting interesting!

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  139. Hey, I read LoTR!!! GOOMH Randall!!!

    It's really too bad that those movies came out, since LoTR fandom isn't solely the province of smart people like me anymore. I hear there are even jocks and cheerleaders that like it now. I'd just like to toot my own horn and point out that I read LoTR WAY WAY before the movies came out.

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  140. Man, I really thought 760 was going to lead to a sex joke (deep, hurr, hurr). But instead, it lead to....a different kind of joke? I don't see where the punchlin was. Oh well, Randall needed to keep up his tradition of making fun of movies 10 years after they come out.

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  141. First of all: Carl, you lazy hack, not only you didn't even bother expanding on this lame placeholder of a post, the link to XKCatD is the same link to Bill's comment!


    And for something completely different... if Randall had any ounce of self-deprecation in his body, the dwarves would probably have found his dignity at rock-bottom.

    Also, another of those little art nitpicks: Randall, would you please at least complete that pillar on the first panel? Is it that hard? Also, you were doing a nice job with the background, why did you get rid of it on the last panel? Doing comics in a hurry again?

    I'm definitely uninspired,

    Mole.

    CAPTCHA: ation. Cool, I got a suffix!

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  142. Ha, it's funny, you guys spend a LOT more time talking about XKCD then people who actually like it! Maybe you should, uh, get a life?

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  143. The PvP link and the link linking to Bill's comment are the same.

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  144. I actually chuckled at how completely anti-climactic, dull and criminally unfunny the joke was -- perhaps that is the intention?... I doubt Randall is that smart.

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  145. I don't know what's worse, the fact that so many people (rghtfully) visit this sight to tell you that it sucks that you've made a FAQ specifically for them, or that you've made up so many alt accounts to make it look like people actually agree with you...

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  146. the xkcd forums are actually not too keen on this one.

    They all want a fucking oil punchline though.

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  147. "Ha, it's funny, you guys spend a LOT more time talking about XKCD then people who actually like it! Maybe you should, uh, get a life?"

    Most xkcd comics fall apart when you think about them. And yet, its readers believe it to be the smartest comic on the web, for geniuses. Why are its fans so adverse to criticism?

    Also I don't see why this is never directed at Randall, who can't go five comics without dissing someone or something.
    Michael Bay, Liberal arts majors, the media, psyche students etc.

    Maybe you should stop caring so much that some people don't think your favourite comic is very good?

    "I don't know what's worse, the fact that so many people (rghtfully) visit this sight to tell you that it sucks that you've made a FAQ specifically for them, or that you've made up so many alt accounts to make it look like people actually agree with you..."

    The last defense of the fanboy. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

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  148. 760's punchline was very weak. Smelled kind of like a picto-blag to me- "hey you guys, the dwarves never made a ladder to get themselves out again! Wouldn't they have died from that anyway and not the orcs and whatnot?"
    Just not enough for a comic.

    So anyway I didn't get a laugh from xkcd so I moused over here and read anon 8:43 and 8:48 as coming from the same person, trying repeatedly (and desperately) to troll, and then I laughed.

    There seems to be, on average, one to two xkcd diehards who come to this site and try to pose the same weak arguments knocked down in Rob'z Rantz, while only rarely is there a more intelligent dissenter like Anon 10:50 from yesterday.

    Oh well, shooting cuddlefish in a barrel is always fun!

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  149. You'll never guess who I am, HA!June 30, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Carl, stop posting anonimously just so we think people actually disagree with you, everyone knows xkcd sucks already!

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  150. carl your links both lead to bill's comment.

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  151. HEY CARL I THINK YOU SCREWED UP THE LINKS SOMEHOW MAYBE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT HUH

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  152. carl i think your links are fine and keep up the good work

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  153. No, no, no you've all got it wrong. What you do is, when you have to join the two halves, you write "and because of Müller's theorem" this is that. Foolproof.

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  154. Now I don't think xkcd is that bad. I mean, its not great, heck, its not always even good, but my thinking is this: If its SO bad, and pisses y'all off so much, why not just avoid going back in the future. I mean, just playin devils advocate here but... staying up to date with in order to be angry at it is like saying "man... this tv show is so god-awful that it makes me angry. Id better tune in each week to see how terrible it is." I just don't visit the site, because I don't think its worth the time. But hey, this is the internet, my logic has no place here.

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  155. uh.

    that is actually the only reason I watch most of the television and movies that I do. I expect it to be terrible, I watch it, I derive sublime pleasure from basking in how terrible it is. there is very little that is more fun than something which is terrible.

    I mean, it's cool if you're not into that, but you really shouldn't act like you're being logical just because you're too boring to figure out how to derive pleasure from mockery.

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  156. Oh no, I love mystery science theater 3000, and bad scifi movies like mega shark vs giant octopus, but this blog just seems a bit excessive. I mean, i think its cool to make an offhand mockery of something, but most of the commenters here, and even the author himself at times, just seem angry, not mocking.

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  157. You can't always tell what expression the writer is using over the internet Anon 1:14.

    If I rant about bullshit and terrible entertainment (if it can be called such) it sounds angry, it sounds like I'm venting because I hate it. No, I'm just writing about something I dislike because I like to point out why I dislike it. I love tearing down things that everyone loves to show why they are bad. Sure the haters come and usually bring up some weak argument or just say "nu-uh" but I just ignore them until they can give me a good debate as to why the subject in question isn't shit.

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  158. that's because you're on the internet and for some reason people on the internet think that everyone else is being deadly serious on the time. this is pretty much why everyone on the internet is always being so fucking stupid.

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  159. meh, fair enough. whatever floats your boat I suppose.

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  160. my favorite is when people assume that we care deeply about this blog, or when they assume we're so angry we must have crippling psychological issues. there's just this wonderful lack of perspective when someone tells you to get a life or etc because you have written something on the internet.

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  161. Nah the best is when you say completely ridiculous things in a completely ridiculous context and people still assume you're being dead serious.
    IS KIDNEY THEFT LEGAL IN THE UK?
    FUCK DAN I'MA SAVE YOUR KIDNEYS BUDDY.

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  162. oh yeah. the last few comments in the Frequently Asked Irritating Self-Righteous Questions are a perfect example of that one! I said something like 'George Washington owned slaves, George Washington didn't hate XKCD, therefore XKCD fans are all slaveowners' and some dude was all deadly serious 'you are the dumbest person ever for believing that'

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  163. "Why do I review crap? Simple: for pleasure. For the sheer joy of it. Every piece of crap you like is an immense world of delight waiting to be explored. Crap is a driving force, crap is inspirational: nothing urges me to set things right more than seeing them done wrong. I'm especially pleased when the crap is so bad it makes me angry — for anger is a pleasant sensation. To feel your bile rise and your blood boil, to feel a rush of fury — why, it's the pleasure of being alive, of feeling some actual emotion instead of the constant dull fuzz of the easily contented."
    -Stephen Bond

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  164. Rob why do you hate George Washington?

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  165. Could it be that your "pa" was a NAZICOMMU-PROGRESSIVE TERRORIST who DESERVED to die?

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  166. he may have been a muslin but he was still my pa
    and also my ma
    and my aunt sheila

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  167. good thing he wasn't a dwarf or you might've been offended by today's comic

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  168. he was a dwarf muslin thank you

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  169. CARL

    I don't know if this is the best place to say this but you seem to have forgotten the little promise at the bottom of this post: http://xkcdsucks.blogspot.com/2010/01/10-best-xkcd-comics-201-400.html

    Five and a half months is not "a few days", hth

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  170. I was pretty stoked in frames 1 & 2 that Randall was doing a LOTR comic. But then the last frame was probably the biggest disappointment since ... well, since Monday's comic. Probably would've been good if he'd done a more extensive comic, one with a dozen frames and a good, nicely developed joke.

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  171. I would love to see a serious cuddlefish watch one of lewis black's performances.

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  172. Patton Oswalt, for that matter, Ves.

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  173. Gryffilion- OH MY GOD YES. Even better.

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  174. locke9000, are you kidding? That is Randall's first well-executed punchline in like a trillion years!

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  175. That's true... a crap punchline, but it's certainly the nicest execution of a crap punchline I've seen in some time.

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  176. The more Randall draws out a joke, the more of a letdown it tends to be. Case in point is the woodpecker comic (#614). In and of itself, it's a pretty decent punchline. However, when he drags it out like that, the general reaction is "This was nice enough, but did it really need seventeen panels?" After twelve or more panels, the LoTR joke would have been rendered even more painfully inane.

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  177. Thank heaven for small favors, then.

    The LotR one's a mixed bag for me. My biggest complaint is an echo of most of the posters here; the punchline was a HUGE letdown. For me, XKCD's humor is based on subverting expectations. This one is no exception, except Randall decided to subvert the well-known quote in the most boring possible way. The build was good, but the final punch was disappointing.

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  178. STOP MAKING FUN OF MY LINKS

    god i KNOW i am not perfect just SHUT UP

    Also: Yes, I promised to write about my least favorite comics in the range 201-400. But I am made of lies. Give it another year, maybe I will have written it. Read the Angriest Rants if you need something like that.

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  179. "god i KNOW i am not perfect just SHUT UP"
    You have no idea just how not perfect you are.

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  180. carl's perfect in my eyes.

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  181. Carl, your mom's commenting on the blog again.

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  182. Guys, I had sexual intercourse today! Turns out that it's pretty good.

    Anyway, I'm gonna go try do it again. I don't think I'll ever coming back here, so cya!.

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  183. One less rabid xkcd fan around here. Bye, Cuddlefish 3:32!

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  184. Sex is awesome. First you have it, and it's like, HOLY CRAP!

    Then, you have it again, and it's like, HOLY CRAP!

    Then, you're like, "Hey, if I marry this girl, we'll live together and get to have sex all the time!"

    A few years later you say "GOD DAMMIT" and you're back commenting on the internet with porn in the background and your wife yells at you to walk the dog.

    brb.

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  185. Charles Augustus FortescueJuly 1, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Man, Randall is really down on dwarfs at the moment. Two comics out of the last three making fun of dwarfism. And this from a guy so politically correct and right-on that he actually sat down and wrote this:

    http://blog.xkcd.com/2010/05/06/sex-and-gender/

    So what, are dwarfs somehow the last remaining minority it's still acceptable to make jokes about? Or did a short guy just ahead of him buy the last box of pop-tarts or something?

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  186. Dwarfs are just inherently funny. Sorta like cross-dressers.

    ...Wait, that might not be the best analogy.

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  187. "Guys, I had sexual intercourse today! Turns out that it's pretty good."

    And now it's time for THE BEST POSSIBLE REPLIES FOR THE COMMENT ABOVE!

    #1
    "Uh oh, Randall loses another fan."

    #2:
    "Yeah! I'm pretty sure your mum enjoyed it too."

    #3:
    "Try doing it with a human, next time. It's awesome!"

    Captcha: whemp. WHEMP! That's the sound of my AWESOME sense of humour hitting you guys on the head. KNEEL BEFORE ME

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  188. Alsworth- For me, XKCD's humor is based on subverting expectations.

    Um, that's kind of the basis of all comedy...

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  189. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  190. XKCD fails to subvert my expectations. Three times a week I expect it to be shit, and lo and behold...

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  191. For me, Pink Floyd's music is based on producing sound.

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  192. For me, Metal Gear Solids gameplay is about manipulating digital objects to produce various results formed by sound and pixels on a screen.

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  193. for me, masturbating is about weeping bitter tears and demanding that an uncaring universe tell me why i am so alone

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  194. rob you are so dense
    by all meanings of the word

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