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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » XKCD: So beautiful it deserves a new thread (Page 4)

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Author Topic: XKCD: So beautiful it deserves a new thread
The White Whale
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Oh, now we're going for fictional leaders?

I'll throw my vote in for Rachel Weiz as Queen Isabella.

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Tatiana
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Fictional? In that case, I really have to submit to you Aragorn as the hottest 82 year old head of state ever.

Eomer wins in his age-group, whatever that is. Does anyone know his age? He's a lot younger than Aragorn, obviously, since he wasn't born yet when Aragorn was living with the Eorlingas. But I don't recall his exact years. Maybe in his 30s to 50s? The Eorlingas have lesser lifespans than the former Numenoreans, I guess, but still perhaps longer than ours. I'm not sure.

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Sean Monahan
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At the time of the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is 87-88 (the day he meets the reborn Gandalf in Fangorn is his 88th birthday), and Eomer is 27.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Galadriel wins her age category.
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Marek
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Of the real ones, I think Yulia is the obviouse winner, of fictional rulers, I hardly no where to begin.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Galadriel wins her age category.

I think she'd probably win in her age category regardless of whether she was the head of state or not, since I can't imagine there are a whole lot of 20,000+ year old female elves hanging around that have been around since well before the journey across the Helcaraxe (spelling I know).
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Galadriel wins her age category.

I think she'd probably win in her age category regardless of whether she was the head of state or not, since I can't imagine there are a whole lot of 20,000+ year old female elves hanging around that have been around since well before the journey across the Helcaraxe (spelling I know).
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rivka
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*sets timer for 5.5 hours*
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Tatiana
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rivka, what happened at 7:30 PM CST last night?

Unrelated question: my son called our kitty "ribka", apparently a Russian endearment meaning little fishy or something like that. Is that a cognate of your name?

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Orincoro
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Indeed, Ribka means little fishy, although if you're talking to the fish directly, you call it ribko.
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Tatiana
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Cool! Orinoco, do you speak Russian? Does it matter if it's a male or female fish (or cat, for that matter)?
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
rivka, what happened at 7:30 PM CST last night?

Had Lyr stayed consistent, he would have posted a third time. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
"ribka", apparently a Russian endearment meaning little fishy or something like that. Is that a cognate of your name?

Not as far as I know. Rivka is the original Hebrew of Rebbecca.
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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
rivka, what happened at 7:30 PM CST last night?

Had Lyr stayed consistent, he would have posted a third time. [Wink]


Lol, now I get it!
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
"ribka", apparently a Russian endearment meaning little fishy or something like that. Is that a cognate of your name?

Not as far as I know. Rivka is the original Hebrew of Rebbecca.
Do we know what Rivka means? I know what Rachel and Leah and Sarah mean, but not Rivka.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
rivka, what happened at 7:30 PM CST last night?

Had Lyr stayed consistent, he would have posted a third time. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
"ribka", apparently a Russian endearment meaning little fishy or something like that. Is that a cognate of your name?

Not as far as I know. Rivka is the original Hebrew of Rebbecca.

Wow I didn't even notice the double post. How the heck did that happen so far apart?
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CaySedai
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I'd like to see a timeline graph of this thread, seeing as how the topic returned to LOTR eventually. [Wink]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Not as far as I know. Rivka is the original Hebrew of Rebbecca.

Do we know what Rivka means? I know what Rachel and Leah and Sarah mean, but not Rivka.
Not really. I've seen some speculation, but as far I know, that's all any of the theories are.

None had to do with fish, though. [Wink]

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Tatiana
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I'm guessing Russian fish might be named after your name, or something. [Smile] It reminds me of when I first found out "Nacho" was a hispanic nickname for Ignatio. I was like "dude, are you named after a snack?"
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rivka
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More likely, it comes from somewhere else entirely. Lots of sound-alike words have no common origin, even in the same language.
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CaySedai
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
I stumbled across this on youtube today and thought all us XKCD lovers would appreciate it.

I love XKCD fans!

Another version - with some recognizable names.
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Leonide
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I love that Neil Gaiman's on the trampoline with his daughter for "I love her sister." Just adorable. [Smile]
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Tatiana
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The latest one is insidious. I urge you not to click on this link and be trapped as I was last night.

If you start with each positive integer in turn, and if it's even, divide by 2 but if it's odd multiply by 3 and add 1, then keep iterating this process, everything seems eventually to settle into the 4-->2-->1 cycle. I tested it last night up to 16,000. I mean, I didn't do it by hand. Sheesh. I used Excel. Anyone who wants to see my spreadsheet is welcome to have a copy.

The formula is just some nested if statements. I went from A to AKA in the columns and from 1 to 16,000 in the rows. Filling down took about an hour on my laptop. I realized afterwards that I didn't need near so many columns, though. The longest series went to column JN, I think. So I think I'll do it again with a more efficient formula and going just to ZZ in columns but much farther in the rows, maybe to 100,000 or so.

My computer kept burping and telling me to close some applications because it didn't have enough memory. I don't think there were any overflows in the size of the integer in each box. I formatted the cells as #,###,###,### but I'm not even sure what is the maximum integer that can be held in each excel cell. My guess is it would be a long integer, which is something in the trillions, isn't it? It's been a while since I did this kind of thing and maybe they do infinite precision integer arithmetic now which would be cool. Used to be you could only do that in Lisp, back in my day, in the dark ages of stuff like... you know... dot matrix printers and things. I remember saving a print out of the factorial of some huge integer that I calculated using lisp and it was several pages long on my dot matrix printer but that was cool because it printed on fanfold paper, hah! Okay, okay, I know, I'm ancient.

Anyway, number theory has this quality about it of infinitude. It sucks you in, which is of course what the comic is all about. And no, nobody has called me to hang out in a while, in fact, why do you ask? [Big Grin]

So what is this thing called anyway? Oh yeah! The Collatz Conjecture! Anyway, the bizarre thing is this pattern of doublings. Like consecutive integers can fall into exactly the same patterns eventually. It's so weird! Why???

There are just fascinating patterns that flit around pregnant with all these meanings that are just beyond the threshold of understanding. Close enough that your mind won't drop it. But never coalescing into anything solid you can hold on to. Number theory is like that, isn't it? It reminds me of the Mandelbrot set.

There's a lot of behavior in this thing that seems to be self-similar at different scales, as nature always tends to be. I used the zoom function in Excel, going all the way in and all the way out and watching the patterns and it's just tantalizingly patterned. Almost regular but not. But definitely not random. Not white noise.

Please don't try this at home. Or if you do, tell me what you find. It's a strange country. I'll post my spreadsheet on google docs if anyone wants to see it. My basic cell formula is just a series down the left hand side from 1 to 16,000, the same as the row number. Then across the top from column B to column AKA I use this formula:

=IF(A1=1, 0, IF(MOD(A1, 2)=1, 3*A1+1, A1/2))

That's what's in cell B1, I mean. Then I filled that to the right to column AKA so that each cell looked to the cell immediately to its left and if that cell was even it halved it and if it was odd it tripled it and added 1. But if the cell was 1 it just became zero and I formatted all the cells to show blank for zeroes. (#,###,###,###)

Then, of course, I copied that row from column B to column AKA and filled down to row 16,000 with the same formula.

Anyway, I'm thinking it might speed it up to add another if statement that if the cell to the left is zero, just make this cell 0 too rather than dividing by zero. Not sure if the IF will take more processing time than the division but I'm thinking it will probably be faster. Programmers please tell me if I'm wrong.

Here's the Wikipedia article about it.

Anyone else get sucked in by this? I think I worked on it for a while once before when I read about it in GEB or something. It's quite a seductive problem. Do remember to eat and drink, okay? [Big Grin]

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Tatiana
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By the way, I got my longest series at 13,255 which went to column JP before hitting 1. Which is what? 276 terms or something? J=10 10*26=260 P=16 260 + 16 = yeah 276.
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Xavier
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I'm not sure where you are going with the spreadsheet implementation. Is that more for a visual representation?

Banging something out quickly in Java:

code:
public class Xkcd {

public static void main(String[] args){
int number = Integer.parseInt(args[0]);

while(number != 1){
if(number % 2 == 0){
number /= 2;
}
else{
number *=3;
number++;
}
System.out.println(number);
}

}

}

That calculates any arbitrary integer and prints each step. Seems to work for numbers in the several billions. This one overflows with the integer range is reached, but would only take a few seconds for me to use BigDecimal instead, which would allow it to work for much bigger numbers even.

Edit: Now that I am reading your post more closely, I think I see what you are doing. I can modify my program to find longer and longer chains, could be fun.

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Xavier
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This is the printout where it tries successive starting numbers and prints out only when it finds a chain longer than one it has encountered before.

2 was 2
3 was 8
6 was 9
7 was 17
9 was 20
18 was 21
25 was 24
27 was 112
54 was 113
73 was 116
97 was 119
129 was 122
171 was 125
231 was 128
313 was 131
327 was 144
649 was 145
703 was 171
871 was 179
1161 was 182
2223 was 183
2463 was 209
2919 was 217
3711 was 238
6171 was 262
10971 was 268
13255 was 276
17647 was 279
23529 was 282
26623 was 308
34239 was 311
35655 was 324
52527 was 340
77031 was 351
106239 was 354

It's been running for a long time and hasn't found one higher than 354 yet.

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Tatiana
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That's cool! Notice how the consecutive longest chain numbers tend to be either 1 or 3 apart? I wonder why? Wait except sometimes they're 8 or 13 apart and sometimes 26 apart. So many intriguing patterns that aren't regular but they're almost regular. Maddening!
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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This graph of the stopping times for the first 10000 numbers is mesmerizing: take a look!
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Tatiana
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Wow, that is the most amazing thing!
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plaid
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A reminder that today is the First Tuesday in February!
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0Megabyte
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Gotcha. Oh man.
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AvidReader
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Black holes aren't the Brawny towels of the universe? That one's actually kind of a bummer.

And the glass is surprising. I had heard it was a liquid in my college humanities class! Good to know that's just silly.

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BlackBlade
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I haven't had a chance to purge my mind of so much misinformation in so short a time in ages. It felt ridiculously good.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by AvidReader:
Black holes aren't the Brawny towels of the universe? That one's actually kind of a bummer.

And the glass is surprising. I had heard it was a liquid in my college humanities class! Good to know that's just silly.

Yikes. THe materials scientist in me insists I correct this. Glass is a rather ambiguous state of matter. It has some liquid like characteristics (no long range order, viscous creep). The claim that glass windows are thicker at the bottom because of slow flow is silly. The question of whether glass is a liquid or a solid is very complex and does not have a single simple answer. Here is the best summary I could find.

quote:
There is no clear answer to the question "Is glass solid or liquid?". In terms of molecular dynamics and thermodynamics it is possible to justify various different views that it is a highly viscous liquid, an amorphous solid, or simply that glass is another state of matter that is neither liquid nor solid. The difference is semantic. In terms of its material properties we can do little better. There is no clear definition of the distinction between solids and highly viscous liquids. All such phases or states of matter are idealisations of real material properties. Nevertheless, from a more common sense point of view, glass should be considered a solid since it is rigid according to everyday experience. The use of the term "supercooled liquid" to describe glass still persists, but is considered by many to be an unfortunate misnomer that should be avoided. In any case, claims that glass panes in old windows have deformed due to glass flow have never been substantiated. Examples of Roman glassware and calculations based on measurements of glass visco-properties indicate that these claims cannot be true. The observed features are more easily explained as a result of the imperfect methods used to make glass window panes before the float glass process was invented.

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Raymond Arnold
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Gah, now I don't know what to believe!
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Gah, now I don't know what to believe!

Believe that some things (like glass) don't fit the most common rigorous definitions of either liquid or solid.
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Raymond Arnold
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Well that's what I believed for 10 years before hearing that it wasn't true. (I can understand why there's a difference between "amorphous solid" and "supercooled liquid" but only sorta. They both translate in my head to "thing that doesn't fit the common rigorous definitions of liquid or solid.")

I guess what I'd like to actually is what makes glass different from a straight-up solid? (Neither your summary nor wikipedia really explains that, although wikipedia does use the "amorphous solid" phrase). The window-pane thing is still clearly not true. And one of the other things I heard that theoretically disproved the "supercooled liquid" thing was that you could find shards of obsidian that retained an edge after thousands of years.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I guess what I'd like to actually is what makes glass different from a straight-up solid?

Lack of a definite, repeating, consistent crystalline structure.
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rivka
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Pictures!

Glass

For comparison, two solids:
Ice
Starch

And a liquid:
Water

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Raymond Arnold
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Ah. Does that end up producing particular qualities that would matter to us?
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rivka
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Yes. Melting point, degree of resistance to stress, and I'm sure quite a few others.
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Raymond Arnold
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'Kay. Thanks.
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Carrie
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So I can stay out of trouble with materials scientists by saying "This glass sure feels solid"? [Wink]
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martha
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I interrupt this tangent to bring you back to the very first topic in this thread, namely xkcd #657.

My reason for this interruption is that someone was inspired to write a puzzle based on that idea:
http://ihavetofindpeach.com/puzzles/katamari_damacy/plotlines/

I haven't solved it yet, so maybe avoid posting spoilers here?

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AvidReader
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I'll be curious to see the answers if they eventually post them.
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Sean Monahan
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The answers are posted in the link at the top of the page: Call in Answers
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AvidReader
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Thanks, Sean. I would not have guessed that those were the answers.
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Glenn Arnold
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Today's XKCD is painful.

I know he's going through a family illness, beyond that I have no specifics, but I think he's making it clear here that someone is terminal. (((Randall)))

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Belle
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Tough one to see. [Frown]

((((Randal))))

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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Today's XKCD is painful.

I know he's going through a family illness, beyond that I have no specifics, but I think he's making it clear here that someone is terminal. (((Randall)))

Not necessarily terminal. Those look like typical "optimistic" numbers for cancer - something that is caught relatively early and that responds well to treatment.
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rivka
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My read agrees with Matt's.
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