"It is the unhappy fate of the scientist today that he must play the role of Cassandra in the body politic, sending his fellow men to bed with nightmares in the hope to be heard in time."

- Arthur von Hippel, in "The Molecular Designing of Materials" (h/t @upbeatprof)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Neither Duck nor Non-Duck

Yet again, the truth, as it so often does, lies midway between the extremes.

Via xkcd; h/t Rust Never Sleeps


Michael Tobis said...

By the way, if anyone understands the immediately preceding xkcd strip, I'd appreciate an explanation. Call me thick but I really don't see the point.

Johnmac said...

Looks like the brillaint design with umbrella doesn't work - they get wet.

GRLCowan said...

My explanation of strip 689 would be that the cartoonist has some off days.

Much earlier, the guy with the hat saw through, George Nada-style, the whole 9-11 hoax, and revealed that the towers are still standing.

(How fire can be domesticated)

marcus said...

The umbrella strip: you have to be familiar with the various competitions at MIT and other places where the competitors build robots in order to do things like put balls into holding containers. Often there's a balance between designing a robot that is really good at ball pushing, and designing a robot that are really good at messing up the other robot (and, of course, designing robots that are robust to the other robot).

So, this particular robot was designed to set off the sprinkler system in other to kill its competition, but the umbrella keeps it dry enabling it to still get points by pushing balls around.

Does that help? I never took any of the robot design classes, but had enough friends who did that I still found the strip funny...

Michael Tobis said...

marcus, makes perfect sense, thanks!