0872: "Fairy Tales"

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0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby sportsracer48 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:01 am UTC

Image

Alt text: Goldilocks' discovery of Newton's method for approximation required surprisingly few changes.

My dad does this with biology!

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby rho421 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:02 am UTC

The title text made me laugh aloud. Good comic, to say the least.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Jorpho » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:06 am UTC

Good heavens, that first panel is a train wreck.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby 10nitro » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:11 am UTC

If someone writes a book of fairy tales like this, I will buy it. I want this book.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby ImTestingSleeping » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:12 am UTC

Absolutely fantastic. My favorite of his from the last few weeks.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby bmonk » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:13 am UTC

Haven't you ever noticed that whatever you grow up with is, by definition, normal?

(Maybe that's why I'm always perpendicular to everyone else...)
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Ghandi 2 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:14 am UTC

Who the hell is talking in the first panel? Randall, are you even trying anymore?

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby ddxxdd » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:20 am UTC

Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"

Also, why would you say lim (x -> infinity) of x little pigs instead of the infinite little pigs? Maybe the comic meant to say "The Infinite Little Pigs, each one littler than the last, whose total volume = sigma (1/n) fron n=1 to infinity".

Yes, I'm being nitpicky. Like those moviewatchers who watch movies and criticizing certain parts that don't make sense, I might be annoying. But whether or not you nitpick or even notice those things, you have to admit that movies (and comics) that smooth out the small details tend to create a much better overall experience (or end up as a funny, impeccable, and timeless comic).
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby niky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:25 am UTC

One of the best for a long time. I actually laughed out loud.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Ghandi 2 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:26 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"

Also, why would you say lim (x -> infinity) of x little pigs instead of the infinite little pigs? Maybe the comic meant to say "The Infinite Little Pigs, each one littler than the last, whose total volume = sigma (1/n) fron n=1 to infinity".

Yes, I'm being nitpicky. Like those moviewatchers who watch movies and criticizing certain parts that don't make sense, I might be annoying. But whether or not you nitpick or even notice those things, you have to admit that movies (and comics) that smooth out the small details tend to create a much better overall experience (or end up as a funny, impeccable, and timeless comic).

The second one is just to make it more slightly more complicated so people who have taken high school Calculus can feel good about themselves for understanding the reference. I don't know about the first one, but I'm guessing it may have just been a mistake, as you can tell from the trainwreck of the first panel Randall did not spend a lot of time on this one.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Steeler » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:26 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"

Also, why would you say lim (x -> infinity) of x little pigs instead of the infinite little pigs? Maybe the comic meant to say "The Infinite Little Pigs, each one littler than the last, whose total volume = sigma (1/n) fron n=1 to infinity".

Yes, I'm being nitpicky. Like those moviewatchers who watch movies and criticizing certain parts that don't make sense, I might be annoying. But whether or not you nitpick or even notice those things, you have to admit that movies (and comics) that smooth out the small details tend to create a much better overall experience (or end up as a funny, impeccable, and timeless comic).
And when you fall asleep talking about your work, your rambling is coherent and sensible?
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby maparent » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:32 am UTC

The fairy tale is of course meeting someone who mixes maths and fantasy in this way...

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby glasnt » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:32 am UTC

Who needs stories to tell of social values, when they can teach science! :huzzah:

The only good example of this I remember from my youth (read: university) was when our AI teacher told us two stories relating to search algorithms: the drunken stumble, where he would know the general direction home when leaving the local pub, and at every roundabout, he'd check his bearings towards a) the ocean, and b) the local park.

The Depth search story involved infinate taxis holding infinate mobsters, the contents of which split off at each roundabout junction.


Good times.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Icalasari » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:42 am UTC

Is it weird that I want to read those versions now?

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby scarletmanuka » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:46 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"

You can just as easily do it with (n-1)->n as with n->(n+1). Which you use is basically a matter of taste and convenience in any particular case.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby chapel » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:49 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"


Well, to be nit picky about your nit pickiness, induction doesn't require that the "n" and "n+1" cases are equivalent, it just requires that the "n" case implies the "n+1" case and that the statement be true for a sufficiently small value. Likewise, you can show that the "n" and the "n+1" cases are logically equivalent by showing that the "n-1" and "n" cases are logically equivalent for arbitrary values of n.

I wonder if Inductive White ever found her Transfinite Charming. Only his kiss can break the spell and awaken her from her slumber inside her glass coffin of natural numbers. I must know... did they live ordinally ever after?

Edit: Ninja'd

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Ghandi 2 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:53 am UTC

Oh, Randall remembered dialogue should be readable and fixed it. Good thing I saved the original!
Image

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Kpyolysis32 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:54 am UTC

Ghandi 2 wrote:Oh, Randall remembered dialogue should be readable and fixed it. Good thing I saved the original!
Image


Oh, I must have gotten here just after he fixed it and was very confused by the "What a trainwreck that first panel is" comments.
Now things make sense.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby thescaryworker » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:12 am UTC

Started thinking about Goldilocks's discovery of Newton's method. I guess she sampled two adjacent bowls (and chairs and beds) to get a derivative, then calculated the next approximation for her "zero", when she would enjoy it most.

I wonder if she had to account for the bowls cooling according to Newton's Law ...

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby swamp_ig » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:28 am UTC

I'm not sure if this is more nerdy than funny, or funny than nerdy.

:D

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby 10nitro » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:47 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Also, why would you say lim (x -> infinity) of x little pigs instead of the infinite little pigs? Maybe the comic meant to say "The Infinite Little Pigs, each one littler than the last, whose total volume = sigma (1/n) fron n=1 to infinity".

Because f(infinity) is undefined; duh. Which means f(lim[x->infinity](x) little pigs) is what we care about.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:08 am UTC

I wonder if we can make our own nerd-tales.

"The Cat in the Hat Matrix" by Professor Seuss.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Fixblor » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:22 am UTC

Some say that every equals sign has a troll living under it.

https://SAVE-THE-TROLLS.org = sqrt (fun)

:EDIT:
Which could also be expressed as ...
https://ww2.SAVE-THE-TROLLS.org = fun
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby mercuryseven » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:32 am UTC

Perhaps the closest thing to a mathematical fairy tale we have now is Vihart's story about Wind and Mr. Ug - and an original story at that (as far as I know)

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby snowyowl » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:43 am UTC

bmonk wrote:Haven't you ever noticed that whatever you grow up with is, by definition, normal?

(Maybe that's why I'm always perpendicular to everyone else...)

Just because it's normal to you, doesn't mean it has to be normal to v and w.

Hmm... "And the wolf then went to the nth little piggy's house, which was built out of a material much stronger than the (n-1)th piggy's house, and said 'Little pig, little pig, let me come in!' "
The 12th little piggy built his house out of neutronium. Everyone after that lives in a black hole.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby MSTK » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:17 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"

Also, why would you say lim (x -> infinity) of x little pigs instead of the infinite little pigs? Maybe the comic meant to say "The Infinite Little Pigs, each one littler than the last, whose total volume = sigma (1/n) fron n=1 to infinity".

Yes, I'm being nitpicky. Like those moviewatchers who watch movies and criticizing certain parts that don't make sense, I might be annoying. But whether or not you nitpick or even notice those things, you have to admit that movies (and comics) that smooth out the small details tend to create a much better overall experience (or end up as a funny, impeccable, and timeless comic).


  • i actually prefer using (n-1) imples (n) in my inductive proofs. it's a matter of taste, I guess.
  • you cannot have an infinite amount of pigs; infinity is not a number, and is not rigorously defined by any stretch. you can, however, have a limit of pigs that can be counted as more in number than any arbitrary number by simply counting more (which is exactly the rigorous definition of limits to infinity).

the moral:

The details are smooth; you can't expect Randall to dumb down jokes. the perceived un-smoothness is an illusion for those unable to see past it.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby tommm » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:46 am UTC

I really didn't enjoy this comic, despite understanding why it "should" be funny and whatnot. The alt-text was the only good part.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Afrael » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:34 am UTC

I bet Newton wished he was Goldilock's derivative so that he could tangent her curves.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Marlayna » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:34 am UTC

OH MY GOD THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT MY MOTHER DID.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:25 pm UTC

Ghandi 2 wrote:Oh, Randall remembered dialogue should be readable and fixed it. Good thing I saved the original!
Image


HOLY SHIT.

But how come he fixed it so stealthily? I thought he didn't get do-overs.

Ghandi 2 wrote:The second one is just to make it more slightly more complicated so people who have taken high school Calculus can feel good about themselves for understanding the reference.


That's the essence of xkcd: you don't need to be smart, you only need to feel smart.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

bmonk wrote:Haven't you ever noticed that whatever you grow up with is, by definition, normal?

(Maybe that's why I'm always perpendicular to everyone else...)



You have an accent.


BTW, my favorite story was Jack and the Traveling Salesman.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:16 pm UTC

Wait, you mean that the eigenvectors part of Cinderella wasn't a normal part of the story?



Afrael wrote:I bet Newton wished he was Goldilock's derivative so that he could tangent her curves.


If he was her derivative, wouldn't that imply he was her child? :shock:
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Sprocket » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:27 pm UTC

I really need to learn math. The number one reason to have information in any field is to understand the jokes.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:29 pm UTC

Don't bother. It involves numbers 'n shit.
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Dalek.TARDIS » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:48 pm UTC

anybody else after reading this thought of the magic cloak? My parents were doctors in the army for a bit, so when it came to the point when the solider reported for duty and said his magic cloak would protect him from harm, the ending became he got sent home with a section 8 medical discharge.

For those who dont know but like M.A.S.H, its what clinger keeps trying to get.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Sprocket » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:49 pm UTC

Ewe...numbers. Wait, I heard that's only for the lower levels...
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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby rhhardin » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:50 pm UTC

Eigenvalues are pretty much equal with shoes, so eigenvectors would be useless.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby Amyloid-ß » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:13 pm UTC

MSTK wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:Shouldn't the comic morph "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" into "Inductive White and the n+1 Dwarfs", instead of "n - 1 Dwarfs"? "n+1" is a critical phrase in inductive reasoning; if something is true for a certain "n", and is logically equivalent with both "n" and "n+1", then it is true for all "n"

Also, why would you say lim (x -> infinity) of x little pigs instead of the infinite little pigs? Maybe the comic meant to say "The Infinite Little Pigs, each one littler than the last, whose total volume = sigma (1/n) fron n=1 to infinity".

Yes, I'm being nitpicky. Like those moviewatchers who watch movies and criticizing certain parts that don't make sense, I might be annoying. But whether or not you nitpick or even notice those things, you have to admit that movies (and comics) that smooth out the small details tend to create a much better overall experience (or end up as a funny, impeccable, and timeless comic).


  • i actually prefer using (n-1) imples (n) in my inductive proofs. it's a matter of taste, I guess.
  • you cannot have an infinite amount of pigs; infinity is not a number, and is not rigorously defined by any stretch. you can, however, have a limit of pigs that can be counted as more in number than any arbitrary number by simply counting more (which is exactly the rigorous definition of limits to infinity).

the moral:

The details are smooth; you can't expect Randall to dumb down jokes. the perceived un-smoothness is an illusion for those unable to see past it.


I think the joke about it getting weird near the end makes more sense with the limit as well...

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby ProverbialNoose » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:24 pm UTC

Why are people so confused about the first panel? It's pretty obvious that the captions alternate between the two people, girl-guy-girl-guy-girl. They line up vertically with their respective characters in the same way that they always have in Randall's comics. I don't understand where all the confusion is coming from.

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Re: 0872: "Fairy Tales"

Postby A_of_s_t » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:54 pm UTC

10nitro wrote:If someone writes a book of fairy tales like this, I will buy it. I want this book.

Same here, sounds like most of these would be better than the boring old fairy tales.
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