xkcd rocks

by Eszter Hargittai on June 19, 2009

I don’t always get xkcd although often enough I think it’s quite funny and on occasion I think it’s just brilliant. Here’s one I’m surprised my students haven’t put on a T-shirt for me yet. And you might recall our CT discussion of this one. Today, Randall Munroe has added another to my collection of favorites, check it out. (I even forgive him for a slight misspelling at the end. I won’t get into specifics, because it would be a spoiler. See the first comment below for more. UPDATE an hour later: typo I write about has been fixed.:)

{ 23 comments }

1

Eszter Hargittai 06.19.09 at 12:55 pm

Erdős’s name is spelled with a short not a long umlaut on the o. Hungarian distinguishes between the two, the two are pronounced differently (albeit likely difficult to appreciate for a non-Native speaker) and seeing one versus the other is confusing.

On the topic of Erdős, note that we’ve had several discussions related to him on CT before, e.g., here and here.

2

Eszter Hargittai 06.19.09 at 1:11 pm

If you don’t get the cartoon, by the way, don’t feel badly. It looks like you’re not alone. A search on Paul Erdős is now showing up on the Google Hot Trends page.:) (HT @bradbuset)

3

john b 06.19.09 at 1:13 pm

Unless there’s some kind of crazy in-joke I’m not getting, see also the “cemetary” sign in the third-last frame.

4

Eszter Hargittai 06.19.09 at 1:23 pm

Haha, yes, good point.

5

Odm 06.19.09 at 1:36 pm

As someone who has “Roesrath” (i.e. Rösrath) as their place of birth in their passport, I can sympathize. I never knew there were short and long umlauts, though…

6

Barry 06.19.09 at 1:43 pm

7

Eszter Hargittai 06.19.09 at 1:46 pm

Barry, john b was referring to another typo on the cartoon.

8

john theibault 06.19.09 at 1:57 pm

Is “typo” the right word for a hand lettered cartoon?

9

Chris Stephens 06.19.09 at 2:07 pm

Apparently there is some controversy about how has the lowest combined Kevin Bacon-Paul Erdos number.

10

rm 06.19.09 at 2:10 pm

Scribo?

11

Monte Davis 06.19.09 at 2:18 pm

Write-o. (Appended “chaps” is optional.)

12

Eszter Hargittai 06.19.09 at 2:19 pm

Unless there’s some kind of crazy in-joke I’m not getting, see also the “cemetary” sign in the third-last frame.

This has now been fixed as well.:-)

Is “typo” the right word for a hand lettered cartoon?

How do you know it’s hand-lettered?;-)

13

Barry 06.19.09 at 2:37 pm

Because We Can Tell.

14

Martin 06.19.09 at 2:45 pm

I thought it was Natalie Portman; see her Wikipedia page.

15

Jacob Christensen 06.19.09 at 3:32 pm

I hate to say this but the link in your comment #1 is broken. It should be Degrees of Separation :-P

Given that there are no mathematicians among my closer colleagues, my Erdöösj number is probably pretty high, btw.

16

rea 06.19.09 at 6:33 pm

So, after extensive research, I deduce this is a joke about Hank Aaron–right?

17

Salient 06.19.09 at 8:03 pm

So, after extensive research, I deduce this is a joke about Hank Aaron—right?

Yeah, that’s how I parsed it initially at least. Apparently, it can also be read as a joke on what it means to “co-author a paper” with a pun on the word `paper’ (paper = work of scholarship vs. paper = piece of paper).

This comic made everybody’s day around the department (but then, we arrange a showing of the Erdős documentary every four months or so and it’s always the big department-social-occasion of the season).

Apparently there is some controversy about how has the lowest combined Kevin Bacon-Paul Erdos number.

It is widely acknowledged that Homer Simpson has the highest Bacon-Err-D’ohs number.

18

John Quiggin 06.19.09 at 8:10 pm

On Erdos related jokes, I was quite please with this one.

19

Jacob Christensen 06.19.09 at 9:09 pm

If you read Randall’s blog, there is an explanation for the typos:

“I just had extremely minor surgery this morning (removing a lipoma from my right arm). I’m fine; it’s just a paranoid better-safe-than-sorry thing. But I’m writing this under the influence of the lingering anesthetics and my first-ever Vicodin. No interesting side effects so far other than dizziness, a higher rate of typing errors, and the tendency to zoom images all the way in and stare at them for several minutes at a time.”

(I assume the cartoon was finished on Thursday)

20

Brendan 06.19.09 at 9:30 pm

Great post. While I was doing one in response, I Googled “xkcd author” to double-check the spelling of Randall’s first name, and I saw from the first hit that he recently did an @Google talk. It’s pretty funny, especially if you’re already a fan of the comic.

21

Lazygal 06.19.09 at 10:27 pm

As I understand the rules, I have an Erdos number of 3 (I’ve published with my father, who published with Roger Penrose, who published with Erdos) and a Bacon number of 2 (my boss, who knows Kevin)… do I win?

22

Watson Aname 06.20.09 at 5:20 am

Lazygal — no on two counts.

The proper Bacon number is like the Erdos one — your Erdos number comes from peer reviewed publications only, your Bacon number from actual film credits only. So unless you were saying you’ve been credited in a film with your boss, who has been credited in a film with Kevin Bacon,(in which case I’ve misread you), it doesn’t count.

Even following the rules strictly though, there are at least two people with Bacon/Erdos numbers this low (meaning 5).

23

Bloix 06.22.09 at 1:08 am

Eszter, I’m not surprised that you like xckd – you could be one of the characters in it!

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