Saturday, October 23, 2010

Comic 809: Atomically Lame

BOOM

[ALT: The test didn't (spoiler alert) destroy the world, but the fact that they were even doing those calculations makes theirs the coolest jobs ever.]

I'm sure every one of you who doesn't suck has watched Dr. Strangelove. The premise of the movie runs something like this: what if everyone who was supposed to prevent disaster from happening in the Cold War were crazies and incompetents? The result is one of the best absurdist comedies out there.

Much like Dr. Strangelove, this comic has a premise: what if one of the researchers on the bomb didn't know math very well? The result of this one, unfortunately, is incredibly boring. Nothing wacky happens at all! It turns out, in Randy's hypothetical scenario, that if someone researching the bomb didn't know math very well, someone else would just redo his work, and disaster would be averted.

I don't need to tell you how boring this is, but I do want to draw attention to something here: this is a hypothetical scenario. An alternate history, if you will. Randy came up with something he thought was hilariously wacky--one of the scientists sucks at math! HILARIOUS! And maybe this could be a great story. An absurdist comedy about the scientific elite.

Except even when Randy is coming up with wacky hypothetical scenarios, it's still fucking boring. Randy is unable to conceive of something amusing happening. His mind is so incredibly boring that his wacky hypotheticals end exactly the way the real world events happened: without mishap.

There's so many ways this could have been funny. Funny characters, a funny story, something funny happening. Anything. Anything besides "oh no we have to recheck our work!" Anything besides someone saying "hey I don't remember the mnemonic we were taught in high school, which one is it" and someone else saying "OMG YOU DON'T REMEMBER THE MNEMONIC YOU SUCK AT MATH LET'S REDO ALL YOUR WORK."

In conclusion, Randy sucks and I hate you.

63 comments:

  1. Are you sure Randnificient doesn't hate all of us too? Surely this comic is the greatest feat of misanthropy since Hitler invaded Poland.

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  2. No, this is bullshit. The written joke itself would be decent enough if it was visually interesting. It builds up an exaggerated scenario and then deflates it with an anti-climactic twist. It's not the greatest joke ever, but it's definite humour. The only actual problem with the comic (apart perhaps from the superfluous final line) is that the artwork can't back the joke up at all, and though that recurring problem with XKCD remains as significant as ever the emphasis you chose is that of a cuntfaced shitbrain who likes to pretend he knows what he's talking about but is really just latching on to the first thing resembling criticism that his decayed little mind can find.

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  3. boring is not the same thing as funny. sorry, but your sense of humor is worse than Randy's.

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  4. OMG I LEARNED SOH CAH TOA IN HIGH SCHOOL GOOMHR!!

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  5. So how long to plan to keep updating this silly and pathetic blog?

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  6. I can't believe no one has yet to mention that a line is missing for Steve's text in the last panel. Nor has Randall Orwellianroe changed it despite it nearly being two days.

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  7. So how long do you plan to keep commenting on this silly and pathetic blog?

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  8. @Anonymous 5:01PM

    And whose fault is it that the artwork can't be used to make a joke? This is like saying that the fat kid in high school isn't to blame for running a mile so slowly. After all, he'd run faster if he weren't so fat.

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  9. "There's so many ways this could have been funny. Funny characters, a funny story, something funny happening."

    ... a funny joke, characters saying something funny, a funny plot, a funny situation, a funny picture, characters doing something funny...

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  10. one of the reasons I don't usually comment on the art is it's pretty much a given that the art sucks. I only comment on it if it's bad in a new, spectacular sort of way--like if it's trying to tell a visual joke (which this one isn't).

    I'm not a visual artist, so that is not something I focus on.

    but in the event anyone was doubting it: yes, the art is always shitty, and my previously stated position that the comic would improve drastically if Randy got a real artist still stands.

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  11. Ever since Rob took over this place has been one of the few things on the web worse than XKCD itself. :(

    Unimaginitive tripe, talking about other unimaginitive tripe. And now this comment is unimaginitive tripe talking about unimaginitive trip talking about other unimaginitive tripe.

    RESIST THE TEMPTATION! BREAK THE CYCLE!

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  12. Also, I think this comic would've worked better like this:

    They're sitting in a bunker, all wearing goggles, while someone is counting down in the background. The caption identifies this is the trinity test. And then they have this conversation, with the count reaching zero just as Steve remarks about not being sure about his math.

    For bonus points, Randall could've made the final panel a drawing of the explosion with some dashes of colour thrown in which would've had the forums gushing over what a great artist he is again.

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  13. "I don't need to tell you how boring this is, but I do want to draw attention to something here: this is a hypothetical scenario. An alternate history, if you will."

    An alternate story that will just return to the usual story. Which means it's pointless.

    I seriously hate the last panel of this. It could work very well if it wasn't for that huge PPD. It doesn't add anything, it kills any premise of humor in the punchline, it drags the scene longer than it needed. It's the epitome of PPD. Congratulations, Randall, you managed to unlock a new achievement in sucking!

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  14. rob didn't you say all cakes are like your children and you love them all unconditionally

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  15. We hate you too, Rob

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  16. Is the guy on the right meant to be Elvis? I can't think of any other reason Randal would have drawn hair like that on him.

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  17. Guys, it is actually true that the inventors of the bomb considered it very likely the atmosphere of the entire planet would be ignited. Still a bad comic though.

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  18. how often did this happen at NASA, where they were like "whoa guys Randy doesn't even have a master's, someone check that work"

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  19. probably for good reason, see floating heads and a seeming inability to proofread or put effort into anything he's not directly getting money from

    might also be why he refuses to get an editor

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  20. "how often did this happen at NASA, where they were like "whoa guys Randy doesn't even have a master's, someone check that work" "

    oh I get it, this is an autobiography! Randy is Steve.

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  21. http://imgur.com/pY4M3.png

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  22. Rob, you are too good at this, clearly. I read "Automatically lame" the first time, and "Anatomically lame" the second. One could argue that this just means I haven't been sleeping enough, but alternately your titles are filled with meanings. Or typos. Either way

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  23. It doesn't actually even matter if you confuse "soh-cah-toa" with "cah-soh-toa"

    think about it

    hence, Randy is a boring dumbass

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  24. he did get that one right actually--I checked. steve confuses "soh-cah-toa" with "coh-sah-toa."

    i confess i was surprised randy got his high school math right

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  25. "Anatomically lame" would apply to comic 799.

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  26. I'm pretty sure the new xkcd doesn't actually make sense. But it probably made sense in Randall's head, so I guess that's close enough.

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  27. 810 makes perfect sense. Stickman wants to design a system that will create helpful spambots and ban stupid people.

    Well, it makes sense in theory, at least. In reality, once the spambots get up to the level of stupid people, the stupid people mistake the spambots for their own and let them stay around, therefore keeping the level of annoyance constant.

    So the biggest problem with this comic is that Randall is once again horribly behind the times. Also, dear God, look how horrible those heads are in panels 2 and 4. They're not even close to round.

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  28. I actually like the new one. Not really that funny or clever, but there's something sweet about it, and the punchline is decent. PPD is in the alt-text where it should be. The girl is not smarter than the guy, and yet neither is depicted as particularly stupid.

    However, I can't help but shake the feeling that Randall wants to prevent people from posting negative things about his comic.

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  29. I think the new one would be better if it was Mr. hat making an SEO scheme. However, I scrapped it and replaced it with an actual joke. Enjoy.

    http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k537/xkcdfanboy/constructive-update.png

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  30. Nobody in particularOctober 24, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Quick answer to why Randall's idea for 810 doesn't work: People would not want to waste that much time.

    Slightly longer answer: Because a lot of comments require context to understand, which the users rating them would not have. Hence, good comments wouldn't necessarily be obvious. Furthermore, at what point do the comments just show up where intended? After they're been reviewed? Wouldn't that mean that all the bad comments would be seen by other people posting anyways?

    Or are they posted just after the poster rates a slate of comments? In that case, it doesn't do anything at all to stop stupid comments. It wouldn't be a captcha. It wouldn't do anything.

    Oh, and isn't this great idea pretty much basically "Have a voting system for comments"? Don't people already have those?

    God dammit the more I think about it the more I realize that it isn't even an idea. It's just a...a travesty all around. It wouldn't work.

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  31. Nobody in particularOctober 24, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    Interestingly, I screwed up the captcha on that comment. I...I don't know what that means.

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  32. Oh man, it's been so long since I learned sine and cos that I completely forgot what SOH CAH TOA meant - I had to google it XD (ironically, I use them every day at uni...)

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  33. 810 is actually the worst xkcd I've seen this year.

    xkcd's been sort of okay lately too! Guess it figures that wouldn't last.

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  34. You know, the new comic is one of these ones which consistently reinforces my belive that XKCD needs faces.

    I mean the only way randall shows what emotion these freakish faceless abominations are expressing is by stating it
    "you look upset"

    or by doing this horrible jaggedy cursive writing.

    I mean really, look at the last panel, look at the featureless ovoid, then look at the text, back and fourth.

    It doesn't mesh, and makes my head ache

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  35. I'm not native English speaker, so I didn't get what "soh cah toa" meant at first, and thought that was a name of some evil deity. Sounds Indonesian or something (Krakatau volcano and all that). So I thought that those guys at Los Alamos didn't make a nuclear bomb but a weapon based on something "from the other side". That seemed kinda funny. I also thought that adding to "the ignorant" person some ritual accessoires would be a nice touch. And everything is really much more boring. Bleh.

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  36. 810: joke not disastrous, so best in a while. Heads in panels 2 and 4 are abominations unto the Lord. Maybe if they had faces, see, they'd not look terrible.

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  37. @Anon1035: "Guys, it is actually true that the inventors of the bomb considered it very likely the atmosphere of the entire planet would be ignited."

    That's a bit of an overstatement. There was some concern that this might happen, but someone (Konopinski, I think) proved it couldn't happen even before the Trinity test. That didn't stop Fermi from jokingly taking bets about it moments before the test, though.

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  38. This might be the first time I've seen swearing in XKCD :o

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  39. fucking is a funny word but i don't think randall used it right here (it's more than just adding it to anything, same with bitches) but i am probably guilty of this myself so

    so, does randy want people to actually make this?

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  40. Actually smiled at the last one. Marginally funny idea, but the art is traditionally meaningless of course.

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  41. my problem with 810 is, surely it wouldnt actually work?

    ok, so first new person joins the forum. they rate a few standard ones, get it right. (note that a bot could do this too, either from some form of heuristics, or just by pure chance - if its a reasonable number of questions, it's only a matter of time before a bot guesses right) they get told to enter some new sample ones, they think 'wtf, i'm not wasting my time on that' and type in some gibberish (or they're a bot, and they put in some coded-questions for their bot-brethren to pick up on). they dont get blocked, because they've already passed the up/downrating test.
    unless, of course, their samples are first up/downrated by the existing members of the forum. which, and forgive me if i'm wrong here, defeats the whole purpose. if existing people are having to read and interpret those messages, it renders the whole excercise pointless.

    it makes no sense.
    randy has provided a solution that doesnt work to a problem that doesnt exist.

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  42. Honestly? I think 809 would be all right if the "Someone redo Steve's work!" line were taken out. The queasy mathematician who doesn't want to run the test anymore is fine with me.

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  43. Randall is a dumbass, for two reasons.

    1) StickRandall fails to clarify how the comments are posted anyway. One can suppose they'll only be posted after they're rated constructive, but that means all the spammers need are several spambots rating each other's comments are constructive. The worst case scenario is that(as I thought at first), they only need to make a constructive comment to enter the system, and from there they'd be free to be spammy.

    2) Look at that last panel! LOOK AT THAT! Randall still didn't realize that those bothersome things that he refuses to draw(faces) actually serve a function: to give expression to his characters. How can a punchline like that have any effect when the character is litteraly blank faced?

    Summarizing: Randall was a dumbass, is still a dumbass, and will always be a dumbass.

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  44. I like the new comic. The alt text made me smile

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  45. I thought the latest one was kinda cute; I smiled and might've even laughed if I felt any sort of sympathy for these void-creatures.

    Captcha: pinodous. Something containing elements of whiny emo kids.

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  46. http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/7841/56956141.jpg

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  47. I'm a bit confused; does the paradigm in 810 actually force the eventual development of only helpful comments by spambots? it doesn't suggest that comments with a negative "constructivity" rating get purged or anything; why would anyone care that their comment was rated poorly?

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  48. 810 just screams "potentially a funny FFFFUUUU-esque comic" to me. Randy seems like that kind of person too. If he had done some ridiculously over-the-top face in the last panel, then it would have at least gotten the cuddlefish to force it as a meme.

    why am I better at being randall than randall is

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  49. So apparently Randall has never heard of "trolls". And he lives in a universe where nobody would ever spitefully vote down a constructive comment solely because they disagree with the content of the comment.

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  50. Sepia -1. Pointing out the flaws of Randall the God-Man. Come on, guys, let's vote this crap down until it's labelled as spam!

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  51. UndercoverCuddlefishOctober 25, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    fuck randall in the ass

    just the way he likes it

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  52. The last panel looks a bit like an orange balancing on a banana.

    "YESSSS I'VE BALANCED THE ORANGE ON THE BANANA. MISSION FUCKING ACCOMPLISHED"

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  53. To be more interesting, why not take the latest xkcd from another angle? How could one MAKE that work?

    Obviously, basing the entrance test entirely on a values question is pretty much establishing yourself as an elitist group with no interest in non-conforming ideas (something Randall would probably be wanting to make) but since we are relatively sane and not anti-social individuals how would you make a series of comments appear "constructive" in an objective way? Or is "constructive" as a quality strictly a subjective concept?

    Maybe something like an advanced captcha where there's a slate of comments, some of them that read like something a normal human being would write like "Hah I think that would be cool" and then others that are pure buzzwords like "social media youtube oil crisis middle east" and the test is you have to pick the one that isn't normal sounding. To make it even more difficult for bots you could add random misspellings that make sense to a human but wouldn't respond to a dictionary attack.

    Weeds out spambots, and maybe the people who speak mostly in buzzwords?

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  54. As I said on xkcdsuxredux, the plan outlined in #810 simply wouldn't work. The "constructive" nature of a particular comment is far too subjective, even for a person, to judge another poster by their appraisal of it. If you're only letting comments get posted that have received that sort of approval, then you're essentially letting the hoards of bots be your moderating team, an awful idea if there ever was one. (And as a one-time forum owner, I can promise you that bots are FAR more numerous than legitimate posters).

    So, we have three possible outcomes:
    1) Bots rate all comments as constructive. Posts continue through as though unmoderated, and significantly more spam makes it through than a captcha would allow.
    2) Bots rate all comments as not constructive. The board grinds to a halt as all comments, regardless of their quality, are discarded before making it to the message board.
    3) Bots rate roughly half of the comments as constructive, and half as not constructive. The rating system fails, as all comments receive roughly the same rating (the hundreds of bots outweigh the few real users and render their ratings essentially meaningless). Comments are either posted or blocked as a fluke, and enough spam gets through to make it worthwhile. Again, a captcha would be more effective.

    Randall, you suck again. See why you need an editor? If you'd have bounced this idea off of ONE PERSON you'd have seen how worthless it was!

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  55. @Andrew R.: I lol'd. Good job.

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  56. I think the guy with hair is supposed to be Feynman, who must be distinguished from the other xkcd character because he has had several healthy long term relationships with women, and while not in said relationships was a total pimp.

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  57. HEY you know what all these edits remind me of?












    XKCDCouldBeBetter

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  58. what are you talking about, none of them have rape or lame 4chan humor

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  59. What bothered me most is that getting SOH CAH TOA confused with CAH SOH TOA would have no effect on the maths.

    The CAH is just there to remind you that cosx = a/h, it's placing in the mnemonic has no effect on this.

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