Thursday, December 16, 2010

Comic 834: Leaking On My Good Carpet

lekes

[ALT: STUDENTS ARE CALLING PRESIDENT JOHNSON EN MASSE TO PROTEST THE BOMBING AND IT'S JAMMED THE WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD. COULD THEY COLLAPSE OUR CRITICAL PHONE SYSTEMS? HAS THE FIRST TELEPHONE WAR BEGUN? STAY TUNED FOR MORE ON THIS DANGEROUS NEW TECHNOLOGY.]

First, the praise. Randy has made a more-or-less topical comic not once, but twice in recent memory! Compared to his usual "this thing that was relevant in 2006 is still funny now, right guys?" schtick, this is fucking brilliant. And that is basically what the WikiLeaks logo looks like. So, good job?

Sadly that's the only good thing I have to say about this comic. The core of the joke seems to be "lol wouldn't it be funny if wikileaks released a bunch of data about people who supported it a bunch???" which, I'm not even sure how that's supposed to be funny. It seems to be coming down on the vaguely negative-on-wikileaks side? But it's not a particularly plausible or harsh criticism, unless it's trying to say that people only like it so long as it's not leaking their information.

Lots of people seem to like the alt text. This is wrong, both morally and intellectually. The alt text is boring and predictable and doesn't say anything new or interesting.

I could be wrong here, since the comic is so utterly insubstantial that it's very possible it is actually nothing more than the product of random chance, but it seems to me that the problem here is that Randy is trying to express an opinion--and subtly, for a change. Normally he expresses an opinion in such a hamfisted way that there can be no doubt that Randy has decreed this to be good and expects his followers to obey him, as they do in all things. But this time he's gone for subtle, and is relying on the power of his writing and the strength of his art to convey the intended message! Unfortunately his writing is weak and his art is shit, so the intended message never gets there.

Listen, Randy. You suck at subtle. Stop trying.

Anyway! I took a little adventure to the forums to see what they had to say about this one. They don't seem to care for the comic much, but it has launched an incredibly hilariously retarded discussion on the nature of truth. It's probably not worth reading, but it produced the following gem:

"Don’t get me wrong: Without trust, a working society would be impossible. But we weren’t meant for this. We were meant for groups of 20-50 people, where we could look every single one of them in the eyes, and he knew the harsh consequences of hurting his group. I’m already in the process of developing a solution that allows societies of the size of ours to work like this again. But it will take time, because it’s far more developed than what anyone could imagine based on the above alone."

He's developing a solution, guys! In a few years all the problems of living in a large society will be solved, thanks to the xkcd forums. You can thank them later.

79 comments:

  1. If humanity has any redeeming value then the first time that goohmba tries to implement his plan he will promptly be beaten down by his irate fellows.

    Please God don't let me down.

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  2. Guys, the xkcd forumite is clearly talking about a zombie apocalypse. It's the only way it makes sense.

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  3. Guys, I'm like 90% sure that the forumguy is talking out of his ass...

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  4. Anyone notice that hes using a mac based browser? Hmmm.. I thought for sure he would've drawn a linux one

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  5. RANDY USES SAFARI HIS NERD CRED IS GONE

    YOU CAN STOP READING XKCD NOW

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  6. Thank goodness, a solution to society is coming.

    Like every useless forummer, I quickly looked for a solution to society via google and came up with the following very plausible representation of how to "solve society":

    Tyranny!. You don't need to worry about whether the government is keeping secrets from you, because it's just an established fact!

    Also, I am expecting some crappy sap comic to finish off the week, maybe I will be wrong let's hope so.

    I'm just saying, the rate of serious crimes in Vlad's Wallachia were surprisingly low.

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  7. I use safari, and it doesn't look like that.

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  8. Also, Rob your lordship, is there some survey we can fill out to change the site demographics for Google?


    Because I really, really, really would take any ads over these T-shirt ads that are apparently marketed at me. Even those really weird University ads Youtube has been giving me lately.

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  9. I didn't understand the alt text...

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  10. I have no control over the ads. their revenue still goes to line Carl "Ugly" Wheeler's pockets.

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  11. I'm pretty sure that the quote is an overenthusiastic reference to "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn. It is a book about how 'civilization (enabled by agriculture) is basically the root of all evil. Luckily, civilization also kicks ass so let's not kill it but make it better.'

    People who don't like undergraduate philosophy students would say that undergraduate philosophy students like it a lot.

    That aside, I found this comic to be at least a little bit funny. Exaggeration to comic effect isn't completely worthless. This is the kind of humor that my son (a freshman in high school) likes. I don't find it uproariously hysterical, but it isn't completely deadening.

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  12. You guys have to kill me, I actually laughed once at 835. Geeky/Topical/Colours. Plus, every secondary character dislikes the geeky primary, so that's good enough for me.

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  13. if(xkcd.getHumor() == 0){
    System.out.println("What a shitty comic. BIG SURPRISE.");
    }
    else{
    //Empty case, indicative of runtime error
    }

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  14. Ok I am now 100% positive the whole of xkcd forums is just a giant troll and all the posters secretly dislike XKCD as much as we do.

    Almost all the posts on the new comic are "LOL this is hilarious!" "side splitting laughter!" "the grey background is beautiful!"

    I refuse to believe these people are being honest... are people really that easy to entertain? It's a pun. Nothing wrong with puns, I like puns. But it's not really a clever pun. It's just a nerdy pun. Is that all it takes to get nerds to bend over backwards to suck your dick?

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  15. 835: Their all saying, "I major in CS!"

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  16. Rob, I think this comic was fine. When you deconstruct the joke, it's easy to make it SOUND unfunny, but I think the core concept of "lol wouldn't it be funny if wikileaks released a bunch of data about people who supported it a bunch???" actually IS funny.

    So I guess this might be the first time I disagree with not only this site, but the XKCD forums themselves. I give this comic my stamp of approval.

    But that comment from the forum was fucking dumb.

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  17. I'd say there's a reasonable and not overly subtle point there. Julian Assange personally has made clear that he supports transparency as an ideal in general, not just with respect to the government. And Wikileaks has leaked information about private sector organizations. Wikileaks wouldn't leak the information of "Anonymous" because that's both impossible and stupid, but Wikileaks is more or less against secretive organizations in general. So there's a genuine tension there, which can be exploited using irony.

    I didn't find the comic terribly funny, if only because all that Anonymous shit just preemptively annoys me, but I'd say there's some potential there.

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  18. there's no real tension there, because organizations who have secrets to keep from the public are not, by and large, supporters of WikiLeaks. this is the only way this comic could work: if there were prominent supporters of WikiLeaks who themselves had secrets that they did not want released to the public. to my knowledge no such entities exist.

    the issue is further complicated by the fact that WikiLeaks is an organization run by humans, not a robot that just collects secrets and leaks them at random. the humans that run it are unlikely to be so indiscriminate as to leak information on its most prominent supporters, even if there are prominent supporters who have secrets to hide (which I must stress is highly dubious--people with the sort of secrets WikiLeaks goes after are aware that they have those secrets, and will not be out supporting their work).

    find me a secretive organization that /genuinely/ supports WikiLeaks and I might concede that there is the seed of a good joke here.

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  19. I reached the same conclusion as Anon 12:07. If anything, I saw it as Randall making fun of /b/'s love for taking causes without really understanding what are they fighting, just following trends. My only real clue for this was the "we are legion" speech, wich, unless you're Fox News, it's commonly associated with 13 year olds trying to be dark and edgy. Hell, most boards outside outside of /b/ would thing the same. Nobody takes that shit seriously.

    So yeah, I find it pretty funny. Even if maybe for the wrong reasons.

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  20. newest comic: not funny. at all.

    i only noticed it because some dude burst out guffawing over it and announced "OH MY GAWD GUISE THIS IS LIKE THE BEST XKCD EVER. READ THE ALT TEXT TOO. READ IT."

    no. just no. not funny, and laughing at xkcd does not make you cool.

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  21. I hate to sound like a cuddlefish, but the alt-text gave me one of my first genuine GOOMH moments. Whenever I hear people freaking out about anonymous, all I can think is "my god, it's just 4chan, chill out."
    By presenting the fears of today one level of technology back, Randy successfully makes them look ridiculous.
    Skip the comic, and the alt-text still stands on its own as an excellent joke with a sense of humor that reminds me of the onion.

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  22. 835, yyyyyyyyeah, CHRISTMAS TREE -> BINARY TREE and throw in a heap for good measure. 834 is definitely better for the alt text alone.

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  23. Charles Augustus FortescueDecember 17, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    The problem of the new one is that it tries to have its cake and eat it regarding awful puns. The author has thought of two puns which he knows are awful, but he makes them anyway and covers himself by including two other characters' groaning response.

    That's sort of OK, but it's not as good as making jokes that are good in the first place.

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  24. What is the 'heap' supposed to be, some sort of weird n-ary max heap?

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  25. 835, in forums:
    "I'm a CS major and so there's no way I could possibly accept that this isn't funny"

    At least some minority of them are admitting it's contrived and groan-worthy at best. It is classical xkcd-style of nerd pandering, though, I must admit. Although in this case it's definitely at its worst.

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  26. "I'm a CS major and so there's no way I could possibly accept that this isn't funny"

    Facepalm. DOUBLE facepalm!

    The writing is horrible. He both spelled out the pun and made groan-inducing PPD groans. That's a whole new level of shit, guys! In a perfect world, this comic would be only the picture of the tree and the heap of presents, leaving for the reader to make the connection. Granted, that'd be easier if the heap wasn't pretty much a tree, representation-wise.

    The art, too, is awful. No amounts of shiny shading can save this, guys! And I'm going to save this image here because I can't remember that cache site we're supposed to use, because, notice: Randall forgot to color under the rightmost stickman's arm. And some other points as well but, really: this is stick people, a tree of wires and balls and presents. It can't be THAT complicated that by the end of it Randall would be too tired to notice those goofs!

    So, this comic could be much better. But Randall had to dumb it out to his high school fans, so it comes out as what it is: a dumb pun panel.

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  27. 835.. I'll admit, I laughed... It's not really pandering, but an actual joke. Amazing.

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  28. Time from me seeing today's xkcd and it appearing in my Twitter timeline: 4 minutes.

    Paraphrase: "Sometimes I feel like crying because of how much XKCD is ingenious"

    That's the sort of people you meet when you're a CS major. :|

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  29. There are two kinds of people who make me embarrassed for being in a Computer Science course: Randall Munroe and his fans.

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  30. I thought this one was mildly funny until I hit the third panel, which was completely unnecessary. It's just a simple exaggeration of wikileaks leaking things, but it drew a chuckle. Which ended when I hit the third panel.

    835: Eh. Silly programming humor. I chuckled because the parallel was amusing to me. Would have been better with the parental dialogue switched to an eyeroll/expression of annoyance.

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  31. hey i study CS too

    are we friends now

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  32. Agree with 12:07 and Yaridovich. (Incredibly) poorly executed irony.

    But the newest comic? I hate so much. Unfathomably. Take all the hate contained in the entirety of this blog, wrap it up into a little ball, compress that ball into an atom, use the LHC to smash it apart so scientists can examine those silly bubble-chambers that they pretend they can pretend to understand (because, seriously, let's be honest), result in a spiral that "definitely determines" the existence of the Higgs-Boson, create hundreds of thousands of years of scientific and creative invention based on this assumption, discover (due to XKCD's influence, inevitably) that it is wrong, cause the collapse of modern galactic society and the deaths of septillions of creatures, and ultimately bring about the extinction of all known galactic lifeforms in an initial event ultimately known as "The XKCD Horrible-Idea Compression MegaHolocaust?" All those deaths, however horrid, wretched, regrettable, shameful, preventable, etc, that they are? That's less than how I feel about this comic.

    That's right. This comic is literally (yes, literally) worse than the MegaHolocaust. Thousands of millions of deaths Earthlings, Martians, Saturnites, Alpha-Centaurions, Betelguesics is funnier than this comic.

    How does it feel, Randal? How does it feel to create something that is less funny than the MegaHolocaust?

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  33. The "heap" of presents is not a heap. If any of those people are CS majors they should fail.

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  34. If your major's CS then you'll see
    That there's more than one heap, ditto tree.
    If you try to combine
    These around Christmas time
    Then your parents will groan - so will we!

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  35. 834 was funny, or rather, it had the potential to be funny. I think the final panel was the weak point in the execution, but overall, it's a fun concept.

    835 reminded me of something Jason would do in Foxtrot. It's worthing of a knowing smile, perhaps, but it's not really that funny.

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  36. HOI YOU GUYS SUCK STOP BASHING XKCD, WHY DON'T YOU MAKE YOUR OWN WEB COMIC IF YOU'RE SO FRAKING CLEVER

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  37. I saw the new XKCD, unimaginatively titled "Tree," and just sat there staring at my screen. I just sat there, brain dead. My mind wanted to form some sort of question, like maybe, "This is an actual webcomic?" But nothing. I sat there for five minutes just staring, my mind empty. Not glorious Zen master emptiness. The emptiness of a goldfish.

    Something managed to snap me out of it, and I was able to close the tab before it caused any more damage. Now what I've been able to recover a little, I can finally say...

    "What the FUCK?"

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  38. You guys do know that Wikileaks published a leaked list of the e-mail addresses of Wikileaks donors, right?

    It just feel right posting as "Anonymous", btw.

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  39. Also, to SlimBoyFat:

    If a forum of people talking about how XKCD is sucks is offensive to you or in some way detrimental to XKCD, maybe it really isn't that great a comic.

    I am a film nerd. If people talk smack about films I know are true classics, I don't fucking care. Their arguments are ill-made and unfounded. I will just laugh them off or, if directly confronted by one, be able to prove them wrong with sound arguments. You are not showing us how we are wrong. You are just the forum equivalent of the LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE guy.

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  40. Professional Mole: the cache site is webcitation.org

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  41. "The "heap" of presents is not a heap. If any of those people are CS majors they should fail. "

    It's not a binary heap (I suppose you thought of that one, so did I at first), but it's a heap.

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  42. @Anon yesterday 7:52
    That's not Safari, that's Opera.

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  43. oh wait no. Firefox. even worse.

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  44. CITIZEN KANE SUCKED

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  45. "It's not a binary heap (I suppose you thought of that one, so did I at first), but it's a heap."

    No, it's not a heap. A heap is based on a complete tree. Again, the cs people who think the "heap" of presents is a heap should not have passed their data structures class.

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  46. Anon 8:57 - Thanks. But now it's to late, he corrected it already. :|

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  47. careful guys he's got SOUND ARGUMENTS(!!!)OPINIONS and it looks like he isn't afraid to use them

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  48. In computer science, a heap is a specialized tree-based data structure that satisfies the heap property: if B is a child node of A, then key(A) ≥ key(B).

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  49. Professional Mole: I thought I had posted this earlier, but it looks like Blogspot ate my comment: http://www.webcitation.org/5v2Jf0HzU

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  50. Apparently the xkdsuxredux "hacker" is still in control of the site.

    And apparenty, no one cares. I only knew because I forgot to take the site from my Reader. :P

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  51. Personally, i thought it was funny, the joke is in an organization being so unbiased and eager to expose any and all secrets, that it ends up just destroying it's supporting group. I don't fault you for analyzing the comics, but i do think you are being hard on them. i dunno, you just dont find them funny at all o.O Some of them are bad jokes, but some of them are really pretty funny o,O once you look at every little bit, it can lose it's humor. You seem a bit biased against him, and just expect each of his comics to be bad. Maybe he just doesn't appeal to your sense of humor, but i find most of his jokes funny. It's harsh to say everything he does is bad humor because you don't like it. :I

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  52. "once you look at every little bit, it can lose it's humor."

    let's stop and look at this comment, shall we? it implies that a joke is funny so long as you do not, in fact, pay attention to it. that, so long as you ignore certain details, you can laugh at it. that a complete understanding of the joke ruins the joke.

    this is true--but only of bad jokes. good jokes stand up to analysis and nitpicking detail. XKCD does not.

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  53. Haha, Rob, you're such a card.

    re Xkcdsucksredux: Nobody cares because we've all [[well, I hope you all have at least]] realized that Robputer is just a filing machine who segregates our comments into neat little slightly-timely threads. Did he write something up there? I don't know.

    @Mr Ashby: Read through comments and you'll see that without any particular pattern, practically every [regular] commenter has at some point said that they liked an XKCD or at least thought it was "pretty okay" within the last two months or so. We've just yet to reach a consensus, and Rob can only say the comic is good if we all hate it, or else the site will just implode into nothingness. Rob, besides being a filing cabinet, is also the strong nuclear force keeping this site aimless and active, but especially aimless.

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  54. Humour is, naturally, subjective by nature. The main idea behind xkcdsucks is that most of the people here used to enjoy xkcd but felt that it has had a huge downturn in recent years. There's still comics some people here like and others don't. For example, one of my favourite xkcd strips was the subject of one of the 'angriest rants' posts.

    Nobody here is 'biased' against Randall, and while we do expect each strip to be bad, that's only because the evidence implying that future strips will be bad is pretty overwhelming!

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  55. In Carl's defense, that comic was creepy as shit, moreso by all the forummers chiming in "that's like me and this girl!"

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  56. "In Carl's defense, that comic was creepy as shit, moreso by all the forummers chiming in "that's like me and this girl!""

    I dunno, I thought the comic made it clear enough (especially at the end, with the 'I'm going to date this jerk' line) that it wasn't exactly serious for it to be funny rather than creepy. And it stands to reason the xkcd forumites might not be quite the sharpest tools in the shed.

    I found the comic pretty hilarious because it really is SO TRUE. There's people who actually think like that. Yes, it's observational humour, but it's good observational humour.

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  57. http://www.lisamcpherson.org/images/anonymous.jpg

    Copy Pasta is just that tasty.

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  58. I particularly disgusted with this comment. The joke was so incredibly bad that I cringed and died a bit inside.

    So much possible jokes with Wikileaks and Anonymous! So many of them! And he went for this piece of shit one.

    I didn't think he was THAT stupid. Obviously I was being astronomically stupid.

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  59. "http://www.lisamcpherson.org/images/anonymous.jpg

    Copy Pasta is just that tasty."

    Actually, I had the same thoughts and resized that very image to compare the two. They aren't quite alike; while he obviously used it as a close reference, he didn't just resize it and copy-paste it into the strip.

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  60. @Ravenzomg but the comic was clearly making fun of the creepiness of people who default to such tactics- the third last and second last panels are obviously not endorsing the intentions of the strategy as being anything more than selfish. It is, however, extraordinarily creepy the way so many readers interpreted it as putting a positive spin on the behaviour and found the comic vindicating. If I was Randall, I would have stopped making comics as soon as I discovered that I was serving such an audience.

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  61. Randall is using Safari for Windows on Haiku OS using a modified form of Wine - you heathen dogs. Carry on, Randall!

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  62. He's using Firefox, but it's the Mac version of Firefox.

    WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW, XKCD FORUMITES

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  63. "'once you look at every little bit, it can lose it's humor.'

    [...]this is true--but only of bad jokes. good jokes stand up to analysis and nitpicking detail. XKCD does not."

    At the same time, overexposure to any humor ruins it. So while analysis is good and in the case of a good joke often leads to additional humor, too much analysis will inevitably ruin any given joke, at least for a while.

    But then the guy who posted the original comment is probably an anti-intellectual moron who voted for Sarah Palin in the last Congressional election. Zing, motherfucker.

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  64. Palin never ran for Congress, you intellectual douche.

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  65. "No, it's not a heap. A heap is based on a complete tree. Again, the cs people who think the "heap" of presents is a heap should not have passed their data structures class."
    Yes, it is and anyone who has taken more than just intro to data structures (or just taken a introductory class with a more thorough prof) would know this. Like someone else was trying to point out to you, only a BINARY heap must be a complete tree. However, binary heaps are the standard so most introductory data structures books/classes just call them heaps. General heaps only have ONE restriction and that is that if Node B is a child of Node A then key(A) >= key(B).

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  66. Update on the xkcdsuxredux mess(not that anyone cares):

    Now the anonymous "hacker" says he'll give the blog back if his post gets 150 comments. From this, I draw 3 questions:

    1) Why the hell would anyone want 150 comments to liberate a site he hates?

    2) Does he really think people care that much about xkcdsuxredux or any site as such in general?

    3) Who was the dimwit who messed up with the forums and directed that asshole to xkcdsuxredux?

    This last one gets an addendum: I usually disagree hard with the forumites and despise them in general, but I have one unwritten rule which is now written, and that is: not mess with the fandom so they don't mess with me. Not an act of cowardice, but just as I don't like having XKCD shoved at my face in every site I go, I avoid mentioning how much I hate XKCD to fans.

    That's why I think that must be the work of a dimwit.

    End of report.

    CAPTCHA: wargram. Correspondence written with prisoners of war.

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  67. OMG, he drew a Firefox browser on a Mac OS (check it, but I am right), while _I_ run Firefox on a Mac. Randall should get out of my head!!






    (Joking, of course)

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  68. @anonymice: I'll give Randall the credit re 531 that he was, in fact, making fun of these people [specifically that their plans are awful and generally aren't going to work, and even if they did, man, would that be disappointing for everyone involved], but the fact remains that it's a reminder that these people exist, and they think that Randall is paying some sort of HOMAGE to them with this comic.

    So, just like Cheetos have an irremovable mental link to the flu for me, this comic now has an irrevocable association with the people it had hoped to mock.

    Alternately, we can just cross our fingers and assume life is, indeed, the plot of every Taylor Swift song/music video, where you decide that pro-active behaviour is over-rated, and it's much better to just wait for relationships to "just happen on their own".

    Captcha: Nonaring. That's the holiest month of the Swedish lunar calendar where they fast during the daylight hours.

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  69. "At the same time, overexposure to any humor ruins it. So while analysis is good and in the case of a good joke often leads to additional humor, too much analysis will inevitably ruin any given joke, at least for a while."

    this is a lie, perpetuated by people who have bad taste and can't stand to have their taste ripped apart by people with two functioning brain cells.

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  70. UndercoverCuddlefishDecember 18, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    i like to think of myself as a semi regular poster here and i have never once enjoyed an xkcd comic or accepted it as anything but "awful"

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  71. Re: xkcdsuxredux

    Troll, troll trollll troll? Troll troll

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  72. rob only has 2 functioning brain cells

    this explains everything

    captcha: subblest. you're the subblest

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  73. Newest SMBC is pretty epic.

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  74. IM NO GAY IF I HAD SAID THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN FRAKIN CAPS YOU NUMPYS

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