1831: "Here to Help"

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fluffysheap
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1831: "Here to Help"

Postby fluffysheap » Mon May 01, 2017 3:00 pm UTC

Image

Title Text: "We TOLD you it was hard." "Yeah, but now that I'VE tried, we KNOW it's hard."

I've been trying for years to develop a reliable algorithm for being the first to make a new comic thread. Apparently, the solution is for nobody else to do it first.

rmsgrey
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 01, 2017 3:58 pm UTC

Part of the problem is that the successes when someone does swoop in with an interdisciplinary insight and finds an easy solution get a lot of publicity; the times someone swoops in, and gives up months later don't get advertised.

And, of course, very few of the problems that have been solved historically turned out to be really difficult once someone had the right idea, and the right framework had been developed (or, put another way, their difficulty turned out to be possible to break up into lots of easy steps...) so it's easy to think that all the problems that haven't been solved yet are going to turn out to be the same...

The Devils Engineer
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby The Devils Engineer » Mon May 01, 2017 4:08 pm UTC

The Six Phases of a Project:

1. Enthusiasm
2. Disillusionment
3. Panic
4. Search for the guilty
5. Punishment of the innocent
6. Praise and honors for the non-participants

I believe we are between steps #2 and #3.... :)
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squall_line
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby squall_line » Mon May 01, 2017 4:44 pm UTC

I'm guilty of being Algorithm Guy. Success in that regard tends to ebb and flow, but my success rate is slightly above 50%. Fortunately, I'm experienced enough at this point to temper my enthusiasm and try not to intervene nearly as much as I used to.

It's almost as bad as having managers who see someone as Algorithm Guy; I don't know how many times I've been asked "you're really good with spreadsheets. Can you write a macro to take this Crystal-Report-formatted (or other ridiculous) flat file and make it sortable?"

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Sonic#
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby Sonic# » Mon May 01, 2017 4:47 pm UTC

For some reason I can't help but think of FiveThirtyEight, with the caveat that some of its readers may be more overconfident about insights than Nate Silver himself, who admits the uncertainty inherit in many of his site's projects and estimates.

Education seems at least somewhat resistant to algorithms. There are too many interested, invested parties and too many exceptional factors. For instance, I'd love to use algorithms to make school districts and financial allocations more equitable, but I could never get the predominantly white and affluent school district to desegregate without a court order or tons of political will.
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Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea
And still the sea is salt."
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The Snide Sniper
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby The Snide Sniper » Mon May 01, 2017 5:09 pm UTC

It's a shame the explain xkcd server is choking. I wonder who's doing that.
Cueball wrote:Wow, this problem is really hard.

Hmm, I wonder why we've been struggling with this problem for years.
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myoilu
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby myoilu » Mon May 01, 2017 5:24 pm UTC

makes me think of https://xkcd.com/208/

sociotard
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby sociotard » Mon May 01, 2017 6:17 pm UTC

Heh, if you replace "algorithms" with "common sense", this is suddenly a very political comic.

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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon May 01, 2017 6:56 pm UTC

And this is why I laugh and laugh and laugh and then silently scream inside forever when nerds keep proposing that we put Silicon Valley people in charge of the government.
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jgh
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby jgh » Mon May 01, 2017 7:07 pm UTC

I can solve your problem!...... with Pattern Matching!
....
....
Yes. It's two bald men standing next to each other.

twistolime
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby twistolime » Mon May 01, 2017 7:44 pm UTC

In academia, I refer to this as "disciplinary imperialism," where someone from an outside discipline [*cough cough physics*] thinks, "How hard can curing cancer be? I bet no one smart has ever tried."

Opus_723
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby Opus_723 » Tue May 02, 2017 12:13 am UTC

twistolime wrote:In academia, I refer to this as "disciplinary imperialism," where someone from an outside discipline [*cough cough physics*] thinks, "How hard can curing cancer be? I bet no one smart has ever tried."


As someone in physics, this is spot on. I mean, it's a minority for sure, but it's still a bit concerning how many physicists know just enough about other fields to say dumb/misleading stuff very confidently.

*cough*carbonisgoodforplants*cough

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da Doctah
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby da Doctah » Tue May 02, 2017 12:15 am UTC

twistolime wrote:In academia, I refer to this as "disciplinary imperialism," where someone from an outside discipline [*cough cough physics*] thinks, "How hard can curing cancer be? I bet no one smart has ever tried."

Without that kind of attitude, we'd be far poorer in the field of inventing perpetual-motion machines.

And there'd be nothing worth watching on YouTube.

rattusprat
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby rattusprat » Tue May 02, 2017 1:18 am UTC

Is this a commentary on the first 100 days of President Trump?

RogueCynic
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby RogueCynic » Tue May 02, 2017 4:06 am UTC

This is not a commentary of Trump's first 100 days. In the last panel, he realizes the job is hard. The comment reminds me of how the Infinite Improbability drive was invented.
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Tengfred
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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby Tengfred » Tue May 02, 2017 2:30 pm UTC

myoilu wrote:makes me think of https://xkcd.com/208/

also https://xkcd.com/793/

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Re: 1831: "Here to Help"

Postby somitomi » Tue May 02, 2017 7:07 pm UTC

twistolime wrote:"How hard can [it] be?"

You mean Top Gear Syndrome?
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