Search found 77 matches

by mcdigman
Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1819: "Sweet 16"
Replies: 49
Views: 14064

Re: 1819: "Sweet 16"

Specifically, the NBA2K17 top players are apparently LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook. If those kindergarteners are good enough, LeBron James could end up facing himself in the finals! Jorpho wrote: I assumed "Top Players" referred to the couc...
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:32 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"
Replies: 157
Views: 80858

Re: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"

I think we can make fire from moonlight - I believe there is a subtle flaw in Randalls argument. We may need a material with a very high index of refraction though - which might be hard to get. My back of the envelope calculation is that to get a factor of 400,000 concentration for an object that t...
by mcdigman
Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:41 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"
Replies: 157
Views: 80858

Re: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"

If, like sb said, the black body temperature of the light would determine the maximum heat of a target, wouldn't it be possible to filter out the low frequencies to make moonlight resemble sunlight? Filtering would use energy, so "Lenses and mirrors work for free; they don't take any energy to...
by mcdigman
Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:40 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"
Replies: 157
Views: 80858

Re: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"

I'm not a physicist, but I've always wondered about this question and that made me want to join in on the discussion. From my non-physicist point of view, everyone seems to agree that if the moon were a giant mirror you could use a magnifying glass to light a fire with it; that doesn't necessarily ...
by mcdigman
Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:16 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma
Replies: 62
Views: 22071

Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

There is a very important result in physics called "Noether's Theorem". Simply put, it states that every symmetry in the laws of nature give rise to a conserved quantity, and vice versa. Noether's theorem is a very fundamental result, and as the name implies it's not an observed relation,...
by mcdigman
Fri May 30, 2014 3:52 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"
Replies: 76
Views: 19388

Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny. No. It rounds to the nearest mile for the cities (as real road signs do), so it should do the same for space. Its actually probably too precise for significant figures already, given that the exact plac...
by mcdigman
Thu May 22, 2014 12:55 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1371: "Brightness"
Replies: 21
Views: 9493

Re: 1371: "Brightness"

Yes, but does this "Earth" have silicon, the element necessary for the evolution of intelligent digital life? We don't know yet, but our spectra show a whole lot of oxygen, one of the most dangerous oxidative elements. I don't think anything can survive in that stuff. On the other hand, i...
by mcdigman
Thu May 15, 2014 8:54 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 20472

Re: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

There should be a rule that if you fail a lawsuit, you pay a small percentage of the damages you were seeking. That would curb these ridiculous demands, and the over the top suing culture in general. What an utterly nonsensical idea. There are plenty of cases that might lose but nevertheless are le...
by mcdigman
Thu May 15, 2014 3:59 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 20472

Re: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

I'm a little disappointed that Randall didn't get compounding interest involved in some way, especially since exponential growth figures into several other What Ifs. All you'd need to do is invest a few bucks in China, and wait umm.. Trying to mind my sig figs, can't be bothered to go look it u...
by mcdigman
Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:26 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0094: "Billion-Story Building"
Replies: 106
Views: 28611

Re: What-if #0094: Billion-Story Building

for a starter, anything above geosync orbit would have negative gravity, and since that includes most of it, it would be torn off it's foundations. and i don't even want to think of the forces involved if it wasn't built at the equator. (well, a pole would maybe be the most benign place in this reg...
by mcdigman
Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:02 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0085: "Rocket Golf"
Replies: 52
Views: 19214

Re: What-If 0085: "Rocket Golf"

I did a quick relativistic calculation using Randall's numbers to see if it could be done with one golf ball, so we don't have to propel all those extras: apparently, the golf ball only has to be going about 7.7% the speed of light. And we only need 0.068 grams of fuel (antimatter) to get it to that...
by mcdigman
Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:07 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0083: "Star Sand"
Replies: 44
Views: 12979

Re: What-If 0083: "Star Sand"

It's much worse than that. I actually crunched the numbers a while back. If you were to take all the matter in the entire observable universe, every star, every planet, every nebula, comet, moon, and asteroid, every last speck of space dust, and pile it all together with the same density as water, ...
by mcdigman
Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0083: "Star Sand"
Replies: 44
Views: 12979

Re: What-If 0083: "Star Sand"

I juggled a bit with the numbers and found something fascinating...and a little depressing: When you spread the sand & gravel out so that the distances are in scale with the sizes, you end up with a map of the galaxy spanning roughly 200.000km. At this point, please picture in your mind the ear...
by mcdigman
Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0083: "Star Sand"
Replies: 44
Views: 12979

Re: What-If 0083: "Star Sand"

I juggled a bit with the numbers and found something fascinating...and a little depressing: When you spread the sand & gravel out so that the distances are in scale with the sizes, you end up with a map of the galaxy spanning roughly 200.000km. At this point, please picture in your mind the ear...
by mcdigman
Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:17 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0082: "Hitting a Comet"
Replies: 59
Views: 16062

Re: What-if 0082: "Hitting a Comet"

Well, there are more ophthalmologists in the US than nasa employees, so its probably more likely that a random person in the US can successfully do eye surgery than land a probe on a comet.
by mcdigman
Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:49 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1318: "Actually"
Replies: 76
Views: 16669

Re: 1318: "Actually"

Edit: dammit, ninja'd. You call that ninjaing? You're almost 4 hours late! :shock: Perhaps the most accurate description would be a complete description of its wavefunction or quantum state? What is "it"? Does "Earth" include humans, animals, trees, flora in general, satellites,...
by mcdigman
Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:58 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1318: "Actually"
Replies: 76
Views: 16669

Re: 1318: "Actually"

I do wonder though - if something looks like a sphere but it's in a part of space curved by its own gravity, what would it look like in a perfectly flat space (unmodified by gravity)...? Symmetry would suggest it would still be a sphere, I guess...? And how about a geoid? Or, as Lem might ask, a......
by mcdigman
Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:46 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1318: "Actually"
Replies: 76
Views: 16669

Re: 1318: "Actually"

Actually, it's Earth-shaped. The only accurate model would be another identical Earth. ce !This :twisted: Actually there can't be an identical Earth due to the Pauli exclusion principle. It might look the same but its quantum numbers will be different. Plus Spock probably wears a goatee and intends...
by mcdigman
Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:28 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1291: "Shoot for the Moon"
Replies: 67
Views: 17202

Re: 1291: "Shoot for the Moon"

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving may not be your thing.
by mcdigman
Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:25 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1288: "Substitutions"
Replies: 147
Views: 43773

Re: 1288: "Substitutions"

The fact that these substitutions are now being done on this electric messaging board means that all the code snippets posted before now substitute 'car' for 'cat' (I know it says 'cat' for 'cat') so the code snippets do nothing except possibly change the case. Congressional leaders should rebuild t...
by mcdigman
Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:40 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1277: "Ayn Random"
Replies: 534
Views: 82994

Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

chridd wrote:It looks like the comic's title text is missing some backslashes. /(\b[plurandy]+\b ?){2}/i would make a lot more sense.

I see backslashes on the real comic. Don't know if they've been added or if its a browser problem.
by mcdigman
Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:33 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0065: "Twitter Timeline Height"
Replies: 102
Views: 39307

Re: What-If 0065: "Twitter Timeline Height"

My point here is that if there's any nonzero probability for any human to survive to the end of the universe (or an arbitrary point far in the future), then any attempt to put a finite value on the expected lifetime of the human race is going to be confounded by extremely high variance, so in the a...
by mcdigman
Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:15 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0065: "Twitter Timeline Height"
Replies: 102
Views: 39307

Re: What-If 0065: "Twitter Timeline Height"

gmalivuk already mentioned that that's not a uniform distribution in the way that population is. There are a lot of trickses to show why this estimate doesn't work, but that's not one of them. Edit: Should say that I don't know statistics, and it seems on the surface that existence per year should ...
by mcdigman
Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:23 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0065: "Twitter Timeline Height"
Replies: 102
Views: 39307

Re: What-If 0065: "Twitter Timeline Height"

Assuming that homo sapiens have existed for ~200,000 years, by the same logic, we can consider the probability that today is in the middle 90% of our species existence. If we choose a random year in the existence of homos sapiens, it is best to say it is in the middle 90%. That means that given that...
by mcdigman
Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:44 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1273: "Tall Infographics"
Replies: 55
Views: 16935

Re: 1273: "Tall Infographics"

Some great examples here: http://www.worstinfographic.com/ My personal favourite (and it's tall) is this one: http://www.worstinfographic.com/botox-and-you/ I love that XKCD is one of the top 100 infographics that isn't shit. Not just 'in the top 100' - no less than 8 xkcd comics are in the top 100...
by mcdigman
Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:05 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0059: "Updating a Printed Wikipedia"
Replies: 34
Views: 30141

Re: What-If 0059: "Updating a Printed Wikipedia"

Is sharpie the one and only manufacturer of markers in the USA? I'm used to calling it a 'marker', not the company that makes them (actually I say 'stift' or 'markeerstift' but you get the idea). <snip> In America we tend to use a brand's name in place of a product name when one brand has a large m...
by mcdigman
Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:51 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0059: "Updating a Printed Wikipedia"
Replies: 34
Views: 30141

Re: What-If 0059: "Updating a Printed Wikipedia"

There is a "footnote" link to an image of IBM punchcards in the Federal records center in Alexandria, Virginia, November 1959: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/IBM_card_storage.NARA.jpg According to the link what you can see represents 4.3 billion characters of punchcard...
by mcdigman
Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:15 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1239: "Social Media"
Replies: 34
Views: 11460

Re: 1239: "Social Media"

A realtime twitter polls confirm that 67% of twitter users disagree with your assessment that twitter has made press conference questions stupider. Are you concerned that your response to the social media response to the impending asteroid impact is harming your social media image?
by mcdigman
Tue May 07, 2013 4:44 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1208: "Footnote Labyrinths"
Replies: 50
Views: 15545

Re: 1208: "Footnote Labyrinths"

rogerhere wrote:Reminds me about "CLOG" - The Computer Linograph, an Ada package for automatic footnote generation.
Communications of the ACM, April 1984.

:D


You don't happen to remember if it was released on any specific date in April, do you?
by mcdigman
Thu May 02, 2013 10:09 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1206: "Einstein"
Replies: 76
Views: 15897

Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Suppose it is possible to create a perfect illusion of a sandwich, by any means (hypnosis for instance). Can we be really sure that any sandwich we ever taste is a real sandwich and not just an illusion? Is it possible to prove the existence of any sandwich, let alone a good one? Well, insofar as w...
by mcdigman
Thu May 02, 2013 6:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1206: "Einstein"
Replies: 76
Views: 15897

Re: 1206: "Einstein"

So in fact [because of QM], in order to prove Einstein wrong in this context, we would not even have to demonstrate the existence of a good sandwich inside the limits of the town, but simply demonstrate that it is possible for a good sandwich to exist anywhere - if you can make one in your kitchen,...
by mcdigman
Thu May 02, 2013 5:10 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1206: "Einstein"
Replies: 76
Views: 15897

Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything. But isn't the "it's" in "it's impossible" a contraction for "it is", as in present tense, as in at the time and date...
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:41 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1177: "Time Robot"
Replies: 51
Views: 11205

Re: 1177: "Time Robot"

endolith wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:You may be able to prolong your life, but its not like you can escape your inevitable death, is it?


That depends on the ultimate fate of the universe, doesn't it?


Yes, for I am the universe, and the universe is me.
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:38 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1177: "Time Robot"
Replies: 51
Views: 11205

Re: 1177: "Time Robot"

https://xkcd.com/220/

Come with me if you want to stay dry.
by mcdigman
Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:58 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1176: "Those Not Present"
Replies: 139
Views: 26703

Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Blonde: "Hey, did you see what Randall just did? That guys a little off isn't he?" Guy: "Yeah, have you seen the things he says are his hobbies? Weird stuff." Blonde: "No, I can't get past how badly drawn his stick figures are. Guy needs to take an art class to learn how to ...
by mcdigman
Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:34 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 45819

Re: 1168: Tar

This thread proves the sheer lack of humor sense present in some *nix users. Why read xkcd at all? The way I approach the forums is this: The comic portrays a ludicrously implausible and contrived situation, for humorous effect. In this context, the very act of making a post which purports to inter...
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 45819

Re: 1168: Tar

I don't think we can assume it's a shell, even though it seems to have a prompt. It would be easier to write a script, which calls tar with the arguments you supply. Or it's a special shell that does the same. Such a thing would have to be called the "bomb shell". Well, if it takes everyt...
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:25 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 45819

Re: 1168: Tar

syrinxsean wrote:
drbitboy wrote:an interesting correlation here would be age bins of the posters vs. percentage using a hyphen before the options.
Here's one data point: I'm 40 and I never use a hyphen before the options.


Data point 2: I'm 19 and-wait, they're optional?
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:56 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 45819

Re: 1168: Tar

I don't think we can assume it's a shell, even though it seems to have a prompt. It would be easier to write a script, which calls tar with the arguments you supply. Or it's a special shell that does the same. Such a thing would have to be called the "bomb shell". Well, if it takes everyt...
by mcdigman
Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1168: "Tar"
Replies: 158
Views: 45819

Re: 1168: Tar

sudo /etc/init.d bombd stop sudo systemctl stop bombd.service sudo systemctl disable bombd.service You guys are wimps-this is a bomb we're talking about: sudo killall -SIGNAL 15 -m . EDIT: Following my own advice to not play nice, that should be sudo killall -SIGNAL 9 -m .

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