Search found 37 matches

by Widmerpool
Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:23 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1131: "Math"
Replies: 156
Views: 33175

Re: 1131: "Math"

Non-numeric ways of telling which of two things is larger: [...] Smash them into each other and see which one recoils. There's a name for the process of smashing one group of voters into the opposing group, to see which recoils; it's a method that was last tried (in the US, at least) a hundred and ...
by Widmerpool
Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:38 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1127: "Congress"
Replies: 446
Views: 86448

Re: 1127: "Congress"

I'd imagine anyone from Europe will have had a little chuckle at the use of the term 'Far Left' in the key, frankly. US political 'far Left' probably barely makes it centerist politics over here. :D I (a Brit, writing from England) definitely chuckled at the number of "Far Left" Senators....
by Widmerpool
Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:30 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1113: "Killed In Action"
Replies: 78
Views: 19973

Re: 1113: "Killed In Action"

Red Hal wrote:I'm too old for this shit.

You're not trying to draw a psycho pension! You really are crazy!
by Widmerpool
Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:50 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1113: "Killed In Action"
Replies: 78
Views: 19973

Re: 1113: "Killed In Action"

Definitely a reference to the trope. I think there is also a reference to the unexpected hanging paradox http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unexpected_hanging_paradox . I think the best solution (from a logic perspective) would just be to randomly retire people at the end of each day, so that way no one ...
by Widmerpool
Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:26 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1075: "Warning"
Replies: 112
Views: 30834

Re: 1075: "Warning"

Theoretically, this sign should improve traffic safety by appealing to our instinctive fears and desire for self-preservation. In practice, people would probably crash trying to read all 23 words on the sign as they pass by. There are speed readers out there. Noooo! Evolution didn't prepare us to r...
by Widmerpool
Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:41 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 51832

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

In my mental image of you, you knew that reference off the top of your head. I like this image. Me too! "A handful" is a measurement of volume, not quantity. The quantity depends on the granularity of the thing in your hand: how many can fit? "They found themselves a mere handful of ...
by Widmerpool
Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"
Replies: 238
Views: 51832

Re: 1070: "Words for Small Sets"

No. A couple is a pair of lovers. When people started using that word to mean "any group of two things", they were already stretching it. No, "cople" came from "copula" meaning a link. When people started using that word to mean a romantic linkage (in 13th century Fran...
by Widmerpool
Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:03 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

yurell wrote:I think you'll find that the 'by any definition' was hyperbolic, not literal.

Yes, I did find that, and I said so. Well, I said "incorrect", which amounts to the same thing.
by Widmerpool
Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:35 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

If people want to discuss the morality of depriving the Queen of her company credit card, they should do so. But Battlemoose's claim about it being theft is incorrect. In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent with the intent to de...
by Widmerpool
Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:12 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

No, I'm not missing the point at all. There is no whiff of convention about my personal stake in my own body; but it requires a corpus of convention (later solidified into law) to create an institution of "ownership" in things that aren't me. The fact that yesterday I 'owned' a castle in ...
by Widmerpool
Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:56 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

[snip] Also, redefining what the law could[i] be is pointless and irreverent. Again, I wasn't aware I'd done [i]that . The discussion was about whether stripping the royal family of their privileges - including the property they own in virtue of them being the royal family - would be theft. I say n...
by Widmerpool
Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:39 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1060: “Crowdsourcing”
Replies: 115
Views: 23834

Re: 1060: “Crowdsourcing”

Hmm. Value means anything you're willing to pay for; having someone deliver my newspaper for me has value, though the deliverer is a pure middle-person. I wouldn't say it's desirable to remove that person from the chain. The only people that create wealth...um...doesn't it depend what you mean by '...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 31, 2012 9:48 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1060: “Crowdsourcing”
Replies: 115
Views: 23834

Re: 1060: “Crowdsourcing”

Ah, middlemen. Extracting cash without adding wealth. Yum. I believe you've just demonstrated a greater understanding of basic economics than either Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner or Paul Krugman possess. Except that's almost always not true. If middlemen were valueless nobody would use them, unless th...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 24, 2012 3:52 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

"Theft" is defined in terms of property rights, which are defined by convention, common law and statute - and which can therefore be overturned by statute. So a law that said "these items are now not the property of Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Battenberg, they are now the property of...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 24, 2012 3:39 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

there certainly are precedents for transferring monarch's private property to the state in a way that is wasn't considered as a "theft". ...I am sure it would qualify as theft for any definition of "theft" that you could come up with. "Theft" is unlawful taking of prop...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 24, 2012 3:24 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

BattleMoose wrote:I think my main point is, now anyway, is that there is some abstract form of ownership of the Crown Estate (or perhaps to some portion of income from the Crown Estate) by the Monarch and terminating this just because the State feels like it, is wholly illegal.

Which law would it break?
by Widmerpool
Tue May 22, 2012 8:20 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

Concerning this question of "What would happen to the Crown Estate if Great Britain were to become a republic, and would it be a theft?", I think a comparative study would be useful. After all, many countries that once were monarchies are now republics, and so there certainly are preceden...
by Widmerpool
Mon May 21, 2012 12:02 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

Oh gee, I definitely don't see anything wrong with the state creating new legislation simply to say that property is now owned by them, and not the current holders, without any legal reasoning to do so other than "we don't like these people. Their ancestors from hundreds/thousands of years ago...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 17, 2012 3:15 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0137: "Dreams"
Replies: 53
Views: 34644

Re:

Bah. Proscriptivist. Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but if you're going to correct people's grammatical assumptions, you might want to learn to spell "prescriptivist". ;) Surely a pre scriptivist tells you what you should write, while a pro scriptivist tells you what you shouldn't .
by Widmerpool
Thu May 17, 2012 3:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0084: "National Language"
Replies: 56
Views: 47220

Re: "National Language" Discussion

Its surprising the number of United Statesians who can't speak any language (I am aware of the irony! It was intentional), they claim to be able to speak English but when us Brits try to point out that you have it all wrong you claim that we speak your language, hmm now if I recall you're descended...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 17, 2012 1:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0084: "National Language"
Replies: 56
Views: 47220

Re: "National Language" Discussion

Its surprising the number of United Statesians who can't speak any language (I am aware of the irony! It was intentional), they claim to be able to speak English but when us Brits try to point out that you have it all wrong you claim that we speak your language, hmm now if I recall you're descended...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 17, 2012 1:49 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

I am glad I don't live in a society where its okay for the state to seize the property of others because the state thinks its okay for whatever reason. Perhaps you should try it. Where I live, the state can confiscate the property of criminals, if it's believed that that property was got with the p...
by Widmerpool
Thu May 17, 2012 1:39 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What makes Royal families Royal?
Replies: 90
Views: 20217

Re: What makes Royal families Royal?

Except it's blatant theft. "Theft" is defined in terms of property rights, which are defined by convention, common law and statute - and which can therefore be overturned by statute. So a law that said "these items are now not the property of Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Battenberg, t...
by Widmerpool
Mon May 14, 2012 12:09 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1049: "Bookshelf"
Replies: 867
Views: 135446

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

We need courts, yes. That is the primary function of government; the only function of government per se, though states these days have assumed many functions besides government. The question at hand is what kind of charges can rightly be levelled in those courts. The "only function of governme...
by Widmerpool
Mon May 14, 2012 11:47 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1049: "Bookshelf"
Replies: 867
Views: 135446

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

*I should engage in rational self-interest. *Accidents happen, and I may become one of the non-producers at any moment. *Therefore, I should hedge my bets by saving for the future, or joining an independent organization that provides insurance/protection. " ...or voting in an administration th...
by Widmerpool
Mon May 14, 2012 9:10 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1049: "Bookshelf"
Replies: 867
Views: 135446

Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Steeler wrote:xkcd seems consistently phoned in recently

What does "phoned in" mean?
by Widmerpool
Fri May 11, 2012 10:46 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1054: "The Bacon"
Replies: 55
Views: 27038

Re: 1054: "The Bacon"

pyronius wrote:
jpk wrote:
CosmicLuck wrote:Delicious and relaxing ? What can't bacon do ?
Brew a decent IPA
If you're brewing an IPA you're a chump. If you can't brew an IPA you just cant brew.
And bacon can't brew
Therefore bacon can't brew a decent IPA
So jpk was right.
by Widmerpool
Thu May 10, 2012 11:52 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1053: “Ten Thousand”
Replies: 127
Views: 41774

Re: 1053: “Ten Thousand”

In reality daily life will show you that the less you know the more you will learn in a daily setting. In elementary school I learned common knowledge as often as 10[?] times a day, in high school I may have learned a common fact as infrequently sometimes as 1 in 4 days. Why would it decay? It deca...
by Widmerpool
Wed May 09, 2012 4:35 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1053: “Ten Thousand”
Replies: 127
Views: 41774

Re: 1053: “Ten Thousand”

I love this strip! But, the math is off by a couple orders of magnitude. 30 years is 10,957 days; so on average, if 4 million people learn a fact over that many days, it's about 365 people per day (4M/10957 = 365 and change). Not 10,000. Sure, but that's only the people born in one given year. You ...
by Widmerpool
Wed May 09, 2012 4:31 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1053: “Ten Thousand”
Replies: 127
Views: 41774

Re: 1053: “Ten Thousand”

The only oversimplification I see is that the model ignores people that die before turning 30. Or who otherwise fail to join the (obviously slightly less than) 100% of everyone-who-knows that [you don't make airplanes out of lasagne]* But that's OK, because for the USA the correct figure for daily ...
by Widmerpool
Wed May 09, 2012 4:23 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1053: “Ten Thousand”
Replies: 127
Views: 41774

Re: 1053: “Ten Thousand”

This is an oversimplified model. In reality daily life will show you that the less you know the more you will learn in a daily setting. In elementary school I learned common knowledge as often as 10[?] times a day, in high school I may have learned a common fact as infrequently sometimes as 1 in 4 ...
by Widmerpool
Wed May 09, 2012 4:02 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1053: “Ten Thousand”
Replies: 127
Views: 41774

Re: 1053: “Ten Thousand”

Not everyone wants to know....and it's fine if they don't... It's really not, though. Collective willful ignorance is a constant drag on society. It prevents us from moving forward, and, in some cases, prevents us from teaching our children in such a manner that we can do anything but regress. Ooh!...
by Widmerpool
Wed May 09, 2012 3:52 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1053: “Ten Thousand”
Replies: 127
Views: 41774

Re: 1053: “Ten Thousand”

babble wrote:There's something about the 'let me show you, little lady' about the character.

What made you think one of the characters was a woman? If the person on the left is a man, would that change how it feels for you?
by Widmerpool
Thu May 03, 2012 4:06 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Replies: 360
Views: 88160

Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Can't do maths? I've got a wonderful deal for you, potatoes, 19p a pound, three pounds, for you, special offer, a quid. Ok, tell you what, 90p, and that's cutting me hand off. Don't dare compain, you insisted you can't do maths. Like those potatoes? I've got this wonderful mortgage offer just here....
by Widmerpool
Wed May 02, 2012 5:06 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Replies: 360
Views: 88160

Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

To be fair, fractals (at least, the calculation-based stuff like Julia sets) require a good knowledge of complex numbers, which is definitely NOT taught in any high school I've ever heard of. Sadly. College math has all kinds of fun things like that. The British A-Level (age 16-18) "Further Ma...
by Widmerpool
Wed May 02, 2012 4:45 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Replies: 360
Views: 88160

Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

And as for the "you use math every day" argument - no we don't... except for elementary school stuff. Unless your chosen profession involves math, when was the last time you had to take a logarithm, or solve a system of linear equations, or use a trigonometric identity? I do, most days (t...
by Widmerpool
Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:09 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1047: "Approximations"
Replies: 159
Views: 71007

Re: 1047: "Approximations"

A propos of nothing...the entropy of the Secret Santa distribution is log([imath]\pi +\frac{6}{11}[/imath])to one part in 80,000

Go to advanced search