1210: "I'm so random"

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Eutychus
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1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Eutychus » Fri May 10, 2013 6:17 am UTC

Image

http://xckd.com/1210

Alt-text: "In retrospect, it's weird that as a kid I thought completely random outbursts made me seem interesting, given that from an information theory point of view, lexical white noise is just about the opposite of interesting by definition."

I have a kid like that, too. (Waves if he's reading)
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rhomboidal
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri May 10, 2013 6:19 am UTC

I'm only hoping monkey tacos really is random, and not a soon-to-be special at Carl's Jr.

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BAReFOOt
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri May 10, 2013 6:34 am UTC

Obviously Randall doesn’t know a thing about psychology (or game design). ;)

Random events are indeed actually making things more interesting. (Unless of course they happen in some kind of regular fashion. ^^)
The reason for this is, that everything out of the ordinary is interesting to the human brain, because its whole point is to predict the future, and hence there's a natural drive to inspect things that it didn't expect. Even adrenaline rises so we get more attentive, and our learning rate / ability to change neural links improves.
The more unusual, the more interesting it is. (In the typical logarithmic scale.)

Of course this doesn't mean you actually get lasting attention. For that it also has to be useful! It has to mean something to that person. Either in the way of preventing harm… or preferably in the way of gaining something.

But that still doesn't mean it is a good thing to act like that. Because attention is not what you actually want. Which you will notice as soon as somebody wants a lot from your, but you're not getting anything (but that attention) back. It still feels bad. It still sucks. So you have to set a price. A value. That person now wants something, so you can want something in return. And remember kids: Saying no if you don’t get a fair deal will never cause you to lose anything, since you wouldn’t have gotten anything good in the first place. It is much more likely to raise the value of what you can demand in return. ^^ (As long as you don’t overdo it.)

Only then will it actually achieve what you wanted.

We use all these concepts in game design, to create fun: You offer a valuable reward, you always give and take just the right amount (=balancing) for motivation, and what you give is also something of value (so it is a good deal). Finally you add random events, so joy becomes fun. (Yep, fun is just joy plus surprises.)

So see, Randall, your behavior wasn’t actually that wrong at all!

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BAReFOOt
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri May 10, 2013 6:36 am UTC

rhomboidal wrote:I'm only hoping monkey tacos really is random, and not a soon-to-be special at Carl's Jr.


Will there be a side of EXTRA BIG-ASS FRIES?

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby maximsk » Fri May 10, 2013 6:38 am UTC

I would like to point out that 'monkey taco' is an example of trochee fixation and requires immediate treatment.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby KarMann » Fri May 10, 2013 6:47 am UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:
rhomboidal wrote:I'm only hoping monkey tacos really is random, and not a soon-to-be special at Carl's Jr.

Will there be a side of EXTRA BIG-ASS FRIES?

Mmmm, ass-fries.
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri May 10, 2013 6:52 am UTC

[carefully chosen random sentence]I have studied English on the street at noon.[/carefully chosen random sentence]
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri May 10, 2013 7:00 am UTC

KarMann wrote:
BAReFOOt wrote:
rhomboidal wrote:I'm only hoping monkey tacos really is random, and not a soon-to-be special at Carl's Jr.

Will there be a side of EXTRA BIG-ASS FRIES?

Mmmm, ass-fries.
and idiocracy.

Also, FUS RO DAH!

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby snowyowl » Fri May 10, 2013 7:08 am UTC

This is part of Randall's continuing quest to make an XKCD comic that's relevant to each conversation on the Internet.
The preceding comment is an automated response.

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J L
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby J L » Fri May 10, 2013 7:37 am UTC

Maybe what kids think of as "random" is just creative anarchy, which is interesting given they are expected to only use words that make sense most of the time.

zukenft
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby zukenft » Fri May 10, 2013 8:04 am UTC

the last panel is wrong. children love to laugh at nonsense, so it should be the kid saying :ahaha, that's so cool! do it again!"

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Klear
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Klear » Fri May 10, 2013 8:07 am UTC

J L wrote:Maybe what kids think of as "random" is just creative anarchy, which is interesting given they are expected to only use words that make sense most of the time.


Yeah, that's the point, I think. "Random" things are not actually random. Even in this example he used monkey, which is one of the inherently funny words to say.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Danno81 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:11 am UTC

Intoxicating Corneria ejecta spasms.
So there!

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Danno81 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:12 am UTC

That wasn't random by the way. Just a list of top 4 favorite 'things, events and outcomes'.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby hungryjoe » Fri May 10, 2013 9:36 am UTC

This has always bugged me as a gripe that people have, since one of the OED definitions of the word random is;
Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard.

which seems to fit monkey tacos fairly well.
Science types (myself included) seem to assume that the word random always refers to a more mathematical definition, possibly related to unpredictability.
Interestingly one of the lesser used definitions of random from the OED is;
A rush or stream (of words, fire, etc.)

Take from that what you will.

And yes I did register just to make this comment.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 10, 2013 10:00 am UTC

Klear wrote:
J L wrote:Maybe what kids think of as "random" is just creative anarchy, which is interesting given they are expected to only use words that make sense most of the time.


Yeah, that's the point, I think. "Random" things are not actually random. Even in this example he used monkey, which is one of the inherently funny words to say.


Yes, just like 7 is by far the most random of the single-digit numbers.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby dzamie » Fri May 10, 2013 10:00 am UTC

I find it interesting that the two words the "random teen" chose were both trochees.

Code: Select all

:Clrhome
:while 1
:Output(randInt(1,8),randInt(1,16),randInt(0,9))
:Output(randInt(1,8),randInt(1,16)," ")
:Output(randInt(1,8),randInt(1,16)," ")
:End

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SeySayux
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby SeySayux » Fri May 10, 2013 10:25 am UTC

Those digits aren't random. In fact, they're copied directly from this book.

The Cat

Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby The Cat » Fri May 10, 2013 11:48 am UTC

I'm only hoping monkey tacos really is random, and not a soon-to-be special at Carl's Jr.


Oh no, it's gonna be a special at Carl's Junior! It could be 2 for the price of 1 in your area. Obviously you have never had a monkey taco. I like mine with a lil mango salsa. Book it! my complements on the avatar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYyd0dvNNXU
Last edited by The Cat on Fri May 10, 2013 12:36 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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ellbur
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby ellbur » Fri May 10, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

My friend and I used to have a game where we would try and say totally unrelated words. It was quite difficult.
I don't think you realize that for me this is real.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby cellocgw » Fri May 10, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

How wonderful that I should grab this thread just as the 17th post showed up. You may not be aware of this (I am, being a genuine Physicist), but 17 is the world's most random number.
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby cellocgw » Fri May 10, 2013 12:43 pm UTC

BTW, in information theory, the least interesting stream is actually completely nonrandom: repeated 0 (or 1) forever. No information there at all. As we all know (I hope :oops: ) the theoretical ideal encrypted message is indistinguishable from white noise. Useful information is somewhere in between.
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orthogon
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 10, 2013 12:47 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:How wonderful that I should grab this thread just as the 17th post showed up. You may not be aware of this (I am, being a genuine Physicist), but 17 is the world's most random number.

I'll grant you that. However, 17 does derive much of its randomness from its "7" component, which I only claimed was the most random single digit number.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Lopsidation
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Lopsidation » Fri May 10, 2013 12:50 pm UTC

My friends and I agreed a few years ago that the correct response to "Name a random word" is "vineyard".
If you want the second-most-random word, take "hootenanny". Going down the list, there is then "marble", "pizzerias", and "squelch".

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby ctdonath » Fri May 10, 2013 12:52 pm UTC

Danno81 wrote:Intoxicating Corneria ejecta spasms.

I'm gonna wash your mouth out with soap for that one!
Harumph. Kids these days. Belgium.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby ctdonath » Fri May 10, 2013 12:54 pm UTC

SeySayux wrote:Those digits aren't random. In fact, they're copied directly from this book.

Citation, please! Page & line number!

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby dp2 » Fri May 10, 2013 12:56 pm UTC

J L wrote:Maybe what kids think of as "random" is just creative anarchy, which is interesting given they are expected to only use words that make sense most of the time.


Except if you do it to much, it becomes expected and no longer interesting.

A prime example: read the bios in the program to any high school play. I guarantee you that most of them will be filled with made-up, random-so-it-must-be-funny information. "In his spare time, Steve enjoys knitting bowling ball cozies and raising marmosets" (obscure animals are a must. Admit it -- some of you reading this were that kid). Expected, even predictable. It could almost be a Mad Libs (which themselves are full of expected randomness but are funniest when the randomness happens to make some sense).

In my opinion, even Monty Python loses its luster after a while. Not all of it, to be sure, but a large amount of Flying Circus is just random stuff.
Last edited by dp2 on Fri May 10, 2013 1:17 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

The Cat

Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby The Cat » Fri May 10, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

BTW, in information theory, the least interesting stream is actually completely nonrandom: repeated 0 (or 1) forever. No information there at all. As we all know (I hope :oops: ) the theoretical ideal encrypted message is indistinguishable from white noise. Useful information is somewhere in between.



Indeed. Suppose it depends on the interpreter's value of order.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby SilverEyes » Fri May 10, 2013 1:07 pm UTC

Quicksilver wrote:... <snip> ... and idiocracy.

Also, FUS RO DAH!


Or possibly a Word of Chaos from 3.5 D&D

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby snowyowl » Fri May 10, 2013 1:11 pm UTC

The Cat wrote:
BTW, in information theory, the least interesting stream is actually completely nonrandom: repeated 0 (or 1) forever. No information there at all. As we all know (I hope :oops: ) the theoretical ideal encrypted message is indistinguishable from white noise. Useful information is somewhere in between.



Indeed. Suppose it depends on the interpreter's value of order.

By this measure, the least random English sentence is whatever your predictive texting algorithm comes up with when given no information to start with.
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Patrik3 » Fri May 10, 2013 1:25 pm UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Also, FUS RO DAH!


Aw, I was gonna say that. Although, if randomness = white noise then maybe it should be "FUZZ RADAR"!

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby A.B. » Fri May 10, 2013 1:35 pm UTC

Jurgen Schmidhuber has proposed a rigorous definition of interestingness in terms of algorithmic information theory.
In a nutshell, a piece of information is interesting if it is surprising to us yet makes sens in hindsight.

A piece of random data contains a lot of information, but the information is only about the piece of data itself. An interesting piece of data contains a lot of information, but the information is about data you've previously encountered.

http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/interest.html

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby thevicente » Fri May 10, 2013 1:47 pm UTC

POTATO

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby DanAxtell » Fri May 10, 2013 1:50 pm UTC

I was on the verge of complaining that there were no runs of three digits in a row in a list of about 150 digits. That absence is both unlikely and also typical of a flawed human effort to make a list that looks random. In a list of n digits, one would expect a run of log10(n)+1 digits in a row somewhere.

But, then I saw the 6 zeroes aligned vertically. A human trying to make a random list of digits probably would have altered that because it's contrary to a human notion of randomness. Therefore, I'm willing to believe that this list is random.

I like to think that the vertical run of 6 digits is homage to the "Feynman Point" in the decimal digits of pi. That's also a run of six digits that defies the odds (six 9's starting at decimal place 762). The Feynman Point strongly suggest that the decimal digits of pi are random and not made up by a human.
- - - - -
Edit: I, too, thought that SeySayux's citation was mere whimsy, but the the numbers are there in print. And the probability of a coincidence here is a lot less than one googolth. I am so guilty of overthinking with that whole vertical alignment hypothesis.
Last edited by DanAxtell on Sat May 11, 2013 2:33 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby richP » Fri May 10, 2013 1:52 pm UTC

dzamie wrote:I find it interesting that the two words the "random teen" chose were both trochees.


"Cowboy hooker bobcat scrapple" is a much cooler password than "correct horse battery staple".

Your move, hash breaking theorists.

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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby dassdrow » Fri May 10, 2013 2:01 pm UTC

The thing that makes people laugh is the unexpected, or more specifically having one's expectations betrayed. This only works though if the audience is expecting something to happen in the first place. People can only predict events in a world that is familiar.
Monty python was funny because each skit had a clear premise, and logic that the audience could understand. Self defense against fruit was funny because people can understand what is happening, 1. it's a self defense class. They expect to see punching drills, and the like. This expectation is blown by the fact they are running at Cleese with fruit. One expects to see a peaceful disarm to demonstrate a technique, what we get is a 16 ton weight being dropped from he ceiling. This however is not completely random, as resolves the conflict it was supposed to, the audience was just expecting something else.

Randomness makes people interested only in the sense that they receive one of several out comes, that was hard to predict.
FTL is anther good example, the whole game is random events with random out comes. They all fit and make sense in the context of a space exploration. A "random" event to keep the audience interested might be ' oh no the beacon your ship has jumped to drifted too near a star!,And there are Space Pirate boarding your ship!
The game has a numbered list of things that will happen in the game, and one of them is chosen without the player know what. We do however know it will always involve something we have seen on StarTrek:TNG
If true randomness was what people want then the developers would have turned all the crew into home appliances while operating inside a small woodland critter (bigger on the inside of course). The conflict would be the color of the star and you can only escape to light speed by 2 crew tap dancing while the lamp butters toast.(tap "alt" and "tab" alternately)

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Klear
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Klear » Fri May 10, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

SeySayux wrote:Those digits aren't random. In fact, they're copied directly from this book.


Wow... thanks for the link. The reviews are absolutely brilliant.

Lopsidation wrote:My friends and I agreed a few years ago that the correct response to "Name a random word" is "vineyard".
If you want the second-most-random word, take "hootenanny". Going down the list, there is then "marble", "pizzerias", and "squelch".


Vineyard is good. I can get behind that. Hootenanny is a prime example of the inherently funny words I mentioned earlier, and so feels a bit off as a truly random word. Your examples are going downhill from there. eh, marble works too

dp2 wrote:Except if you do it to much, it becomes expected and no longer interesting.

A prime example: read the bios in the program to any high school play. I guarantee you that most of them will be filled with made-up, random-so-it-must-be-funny information. "In his spare time, Steve enjoys knitting bowling ball cozies and raising marmosets" (obscure animals are a must. Admit it -- some of you reading this were that kid). Expected, even predictable. It could almost be a Mad Libs (which themselves are full of expected randomness but are funniest when the randomness happens to make some sense).

In my opinion, even Monty Python loses its luster after a while. Not all of it, to be sure, but a large amount of Flying Circus is just random stuff.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tCnj-uiRCn8#t=78s

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SeySayux
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby SeySayux » Fri May 10, 2013 2:22 pm UTC

ctdonath wrote:
SeySayux wrote:Those digits aren't random. In fact, they're copied directly from this book.

Citation, please! Page & line number!

Page 1, line 00000 and following.

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Adam H
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby Adam H » Fri May 10, 2013 2:30 pm UTC

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-Adam

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orthogon
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Re: 1210: "I'm so random"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 10, 2013 2:35 pm UTC

Klear wrote:Vineyard is good. I can get behind that. Hootenanny is a prime example of the inherently funny words I mentioned earlier, and so feels a bit off as a truly random word. Your examples are going downhill from there. eh, marble works too

When I was a teenager, my mum came home one day saying she'd seen a calendar of amusing words, one per day. But she hadn't bought it, she said, because the first word was "robust", which she didn't think was very funny. Needless to say, I thought it was hilarious. I've often wondered what the other words would have been. From my personal list, I can add "porch", "booth" and "sponge". "Plinth" is excellent too, but was claimed long ago by Stephen Fry.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.


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