0263: "Certainty"

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Ephphatha
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Postby Ephphatha » Fri May 18, 2007 8:10 am UTC

OneLess wrote:
xkcd wrote:YOUR TASK: Politicize the distributive property in 50 or fewer words!

It's obviously a concerted attempt by liberal elitist mathematicians to foist communist rhetoric upon the masses. They'd rather children learn that numbers can be rearranged through distribution of multiplication than embrace the reality that it works much better when you let the invisible hand of the market arrange the operations!

Exactly fifty muahaha!
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Dominance

Postby genneth » Fri May 18, 2007 8:18 am UTC

Left module-ist! Your pathetic attempt at pushing the leftist agenda has been noted!

Remember kids -- only communists use left modules.

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Postby ArchangelShrike » Fri May 18, 2007 9:40 am UTC

Alice*(Bob+Carol) != (Alice*Bob) + (Alice*Carol).

That is, a threesome is not the same as a guy getting cheated on by some random chick in the street.

In memory of Mr. Falwell, who proved that gay couples do not make a threesome. Or something. Something right.

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Postby archgoon » Fri May 18, 2007 9:51 am UTC

ArchangelShrike wrote:Alice*(Bob+Carol) != (Alice*Bob) + (Alice*Carol).

That is, a threesome is not the same as a guy getting cheated on by some random chick in the street.

In memory of Mr. Falwell, who proved that gay couples do not make a threesome. Or something. Something right.


Wow. Okay, I'm thinking of giving you the win here, sex being (almost by definition) sexier than programming languages. And tying in Falwell to boot. Though I do feel obliged to point out that you probably meant to use the smash product (^) there.
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Postby wibblymat » Fri May 18, 2007 9:52 am UTC

The alt text needs prefixing with "For all a,b,c in a field," or similar. Maths is only as perfect as the way you write it down!

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Postby ArchangelShrike » Fri May 18, 2007 9:56 am UTC

I'm too tired, but I'm sure you can find this tying in as well. And any mistakes are simply because I'm tired and I really don't want to go to sleep, which means getting up and going to work for some reason...

[Edit: Fix it mods, if my post was wrong!]

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Postby evilbeanfiend » Fri May 18, 2007 10:18 am UTC

JoshuaZ wrote:
UmbrageOfSnow wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Nothing can be proven universal, even math has it's axioms.

Sure, a(b+c) = (ab)+(ac) in our math systems, but it's based on axioms about multiplication and addition.

You could, in fact, set up a mathematical system where the above equation DOESN'T hold.


Yes Sir, Captain Godel.


This has nothing to do with Godel's theorem at all. ...


well goedel shows that if maths is consistent it can't be complete. a better and funny reference for showing there are always axioms (infinitely many hidden ones!) is http://www.ditext.com/carroll/tortoise.html
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Postby plams » Fri May 18, 2007 11:04 am UTC

"a(bc)=(ab)+(ac). Politicize that, bitches." ... can we get that on a t-shirt? I think it'd be hillarious to watch how different kinds of people react.

There would be a group of people who'd just assume it's over their heads, or nerdy, or something. This group ignores it.

There would be the "I'm trying to appear smarter than I really am" group that notices arcane mathematical markings, but focuses on the "bitches" part in its comments.

There's a related group that also focuses on the "bitches" part, but mainly because they find it offensive.

Some people with insufficient imagination, but sufficient math knowledge, would point out the alleged error.

Some people would find ways of making it true, perhaps by spending all day at work trying to come up with a new set of axioms that don't contradict the one on the t-shirt.

There'd probably also be mix'n'match groups that e.g. finds the error offensive but loves the "bitches" part.
Last edited by plams on Fri May 18, 2007 11:11 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby voodooKobra » Fri May 18, 2007 11:10 am UTC

This comic is full of win.
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Postby smithman89 » Fri May 18, 2007 11:13 am UTC

I showed this to my math teachers, this comic is now stickied to our whiteboard in class.

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Postby toysbfun » Fri May 18, 2007 11:42 am UTC

xkcd wrote:YOUR TASK: Politicize the distributive property in 50 or fewer words!

"Algebra is just Islamofascist propaganda trying
to recruit our children and make them become
terrorists! You either hate math or hate freedom."

Do I win?

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OneLess
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Postby OneLess » Fri May 18, 2007 12:27 pm UTC

Can a comic be written about using the word "maths" as a singular noun? It may or may not be correct as far as definition, but it sounds awful to hear a phrase like "Maths is great!" Bloody continentals, wot wot.

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Postby no-genius » Fri May 18, 2007 12:29 pm UTC

OneLess wrote:Bloody continentals, wot wot.


THROW HIM/HER IN THE WATER!!!
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Postby Iluvatar » Fri May 18, 2007 12:32 pm UTC

I'd be tempted to compare the distributive property to Hitler and see who picks it up, but for the recent Godwin's law comic.
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Postby bpms » Fri May 18, 2007 12:38 pm UTC

Well with the
abc=ab+ac, we can either 1. divide by a to get
bc=b+c which is manipulatable to
(b-1)(c-1)=1, oh which integer solutions are 2, 2 and 0, 0.
Also, for any given value of b, we can use this to solve for c.
or we can 2. factor out a, and note that if a =0, then both sides are 0.

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Postby bigglesworth » Fri May 18, 2007 1:46 pm UTC

OneLess wrote:Can a comic be written about using the word "maths" as a singular noun? It may or may not be correct as far as definition, but it sounds awful to hear a phrase like "Maths is great!" Bloody continentals, wot wot.


Yeah, but imagine how your (possibly hypothetical) friend James would feel if you said Jame is great!

(we're right and you're wrong)

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Postby The LuigiManiac » Fri May 18, 2007 1:54 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:
OneLess wrote:Can a comic be written about using the word "maths" as a singular noun? It may or may not be correct as far as definition, but it sounds awful to hear a phrase like "Maths is great!" Bloody continentals, wot wot.


Yeah, but imagine how your (possibly hypothetical) friend James would feel if you said Jame is great!

(we're right and you're wrong)


Can't we all just call it mathematics and get along?
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Postby bigglesworth » Fri May 18, 2007 2:01 pm UTC

Yes. Yes we can.

I'm sorry Oneless...

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Postby McLurker » Fri May 18, 2007 2:07 pm UTC

OneLess wrote:Can a comic be written about using the word "maths" as a singular noun? It may or may not be correct as far as definition, but it sounds awful to hear a phrase like "Maths is great!" Bloody continentals, wot wot.


Would "Mathematics is great" also sound awful to you? Do you say "Mathematics are great"? (I would say the former).

I've always wanted to know this, but have kept on forgetting to ask.

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Postby Ren » Fri May 18, 2007 2:15 pm UTC

Kira gets in another comic? Awesome!
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Postby byzantine » Fri May 18, 2007 2:49 pm UTC

A friend of mine in sophomore year announced his principle of Williamsian geometry: a=/=b.

Because no two numbers can be EXACTLY alike, and you're oppressing the individuality of 5 by expecting it to be the same as 10/2, or five, or 2.5*2, you bastard!

Of course this actually meant, when we worked it out, that a=/=a, and I still have a shirt somewhere to that effect (which also says "logic is for losers") on it.

The funny thing is, he wants to be a mathematician.

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Postby Belial » Fri May 18, 2007 2:53 pm UTC

Of course this actually meant, when we worked it out, that a=/=a, and I still have a shirt somewhere to that effect (which also says "logic is for losers") on it.


I want this. Mass-produce it to suit my whim!
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Postby Casey » Fri May 18, 2007 3:00 pm UTC

xkcd wrote:YOUR TASK: Politicize the distributive property in 50 or fewer words!


(ab)+(ac)=a(b+c) because I'm a uniter, not a divider.

-c.

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Postby McLurker » Fri May 18, 2007 3:26 pm UTC

"a(b+c)=(ab)+(ac)" is an example of Basically Decent liberal bias.

I have no evidence for that statement, but people who use those sort of terms never do. So no evidence is needed.

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Postby cmacis » Fri May 18, 2007 3:30 pm UTC

I love this comic, as well as any dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise.

There is a thread in Mathematics section for debating whether it is "math" (no) or "maths" (yes).
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Postby oblivimous » Fri May 18, 2007 3:51 pm UTC

evilbeanfiend wrote:
JoshuaZ wrote:
UmbrageOfSnow wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Nothing can be proven universal, even math has it's axioms.

Sure, a(b+c) = (ab)+(ac) in our math systems, but it's based on axioms about multiplication and addition.

You could, in fact, set up a mathematical system where the above equation DOESN'T hold.


Yes Sir, Captain Godel.


This has nothing to do with Godel's theorem at all. ...


well goedel shows that if maths is consistent it can't be complete. a better and funny reference for showing there are always axioms (infinitely many hidden ones!) is http://www.ditext.com/carroll/tortoise.html


Doesn't Godel's Theorem rely on the distributive property? If I remember correctly, mathematics with only addition and mathematics with only multiplication are both complete. I believe Godel's Theorem requires a field with distribution. So yeah, it does. Kinda.
Last edited by oblivimous on Fri May 18, 2007 4:38 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby csours » Fri May 18, 2007 4:27 pm UTC

Why do a, b, and c, always get the limelight. And if its not a, b, or c, its always x, y and z. To be most correct we should use the 'ignored' letters like w, m, i, o, and h. </sarcasm>

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Postby Barbie » Fri May 18, 2007 4:27 pm UTC

plams wrote:"a(bc)=(ab)+(ac). Politicize that, bitches." ... can we get that on a t-shirt?

Haha, that would be so incredibly awesome. I would definitely wear it!

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Postby dakota » Fri May 18, 2007 4:28 pm UTC

This is perhaps the greatest xkcd of all time (including future strips in bizzaro self referential 'what if' dimensions).

That being said, here's my stab at politicizing:

Knowledge of the distributive property would allow terrorists to effectively make a dirty bomb, therefore no educational visas should be granted to noncitizens.

I can see this being a response in a presidential debate. :(
As with "good" any political statement it takes something seemingly incorruptible and add just enough ambiguity to support an unrelated agenda.
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Postby Pathway » Fri May 18, 2007 4:46 pm UTC

cmacis wrote:I love this comic, as well as any dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise.

There is a thread in Mathematics section for debating whether it is "math" (no) or "maths" (yes).



xkcd: A webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

I rest my case.

(Temporarily, in case you somehow delude yourself into thinking you're still right. :) )
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Postby Yakk » Fri May 18, 2007 5:12 pm UTC

The distributive property presumes that our finite knowledge of mathematics continues upwards without bounds. This imperialistic implicit conquest up to infinity is a legacy of externally-oriented conquest-based societies, which are inheritly unstable and base their prosperity on the suffering of others. True Math is a list of tried and tested facts grounded in physical experience, not unproven axioms based off of mere extrapolations of experience.

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Postby Lemm » Fri May 18, 2007 5:52 pm UTC

Is Mr. Munroe really trying to argue the fact that because Iraq, and Iran are so close to each other that one might even simply add them together, that the United States has the Universal Authority to invade both as stated by the Universal Truth of the distributive property?

USA*(Iraq + Iran) /= (USA*Iraq) + (USA*Iran)

Stating otherwise is simply war-mongering.

(ps, love the comic)

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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri May 18, 2007 5:58 pm UTC

a(b+c)=(ab)+(ac)?
a(b+c)=a^2+b+c

Because brackets killed the simplon. If my maths is wrong, this only further proves my point.
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Postby blob » Fri May 18, 2007 6:09 pm UTC

xkcd wrote:YOUR TASK: Politicize the distributive property in 50 or fewer words!


"Your petty bourgeois ambitions have been thwarted, class traitor!"
"But I would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those pesky kids! Curse their loyalty to our fearless and perfect leader, whose boots I am not worthy to lick!"
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Postby Jwink3101 » Fri May 18, 2007 6:20 pm UTC

As a physics major, i have to say, i love this comic. I was debating with some math friends of mine about how math isn't a science. When you solve discover something in physics and use math to represent that, you are still going under the assumption that it may not always be true. The best example by far is Newtonian mechanics vs relativity.

On the other hand, assuming the proof was done properly, a mathematical proof is always true.

With saying it isn't a science, i do acknowledge that it is the language of all physics and therefore the language of all science (biology is applied chemistry, chemistry is applied physics, physics is applied math). That is to say, physics is applied math like literature is applied language.

This reminds me of a joke. The other day, a physics professor, a math professor and a philosophy professor were sitting and talking. The physics professor was saying he needs billions of dollars in machinery to do some cutting edge research. The math professor was saying how he has it better than the physics professor because all he need to do research is pencil, paper and an eraser. The philosophy professor says he has it even better, all he needs is pencil and paper.

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Postby DeadCatX2 » Fri May 18, 2007 6:23 pm UTC

xkcd wrote:YOUR TASK: Politicize the distributive property in 50 or fewer words!


This distributive propery, a(b+c)=(ab)+(ac), is obviously about distributing drugs. The letter a is a drug, and the letters b and c represent babies and children. Please, won't you think of the children?

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Got Godel?

Postby ahammond » Fri May 18, 2007 7:04 pm UTC

For a site devoted to "advanced" math, this comic sure doesn't get it. Or perhaps I am just not understanding Godel's work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del ... ss_theorem

Briefly, "If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent."

While there is stunning beauty in the world of math (Godel's theorem being one of the, in my opinion), there are also some serious limitations to the formal systems we use to understand it. Arrogant blathering about "perfect universal truths" is only true if the subject of your discussion is trivial. Which reminds me of another rather lovely H.L. Mencken quote: "Every complex problem has a solution that is simple, direct, plausible, and wrong."
Last edited by ahammond on Fri May 18, 2007 7:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ArchangelShrike » Fri May 18, 2007 7:08 pm UTC

Okay.

But does the winner get a shirt, the chance to lead xkcdia, or 42?

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Postby Yakk » Fri May 18, 2007 7:09 pm UTC

However, c(a+b) = ca+cb can be expressed and proven as true within a trivial system.

Godel doesn't mean you can't say something is true, it just means there are limits to your ability to find and guarantee truth. :)

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Postby william » Fri May 18, 2007 7:40 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Yeah, but imagine how your (possibly hypothetical) friend James would feel if you said Jame is great!

At first when you said "Jame" I thought you were referring to this.

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