­xkcd thread

The xkcd forums have not been updated in so long that its certificate has expired. So you can’t even get to the page that says they’ve been taken offline. I don’t know if there’s anywhere else to discuss the comic, so I thought I’d make a thread here.

Today’s comic was a real keeper. If you like physics puns, that is. But if you don’t, xkcd is probably not the comic for you. But I know there’s lots of people here who appreciate the strip.

Anyway, which did you do more at this one: laugh or groan?

I usually like xkcd, but that one did nothing for me.

I didn’t get that one, but ‘Alive or Not’ sparked an argument at my place as to whether clouds are more alive than fossils.

I like xkcd, but with this one have a slight issue - the premise is wrong.
“mb” is not a valid representation for millibar, at least not in my book - it is “mbar”.


But still worth it for that final pun…

After a bit of googling, apparently what happened is that there was a huge data breach last September where information about thousands of users was stolen, and they haven’t re-opened since then.

Why would fungi be more alive than plants? :confused:

Because mushrooms grow so fast?

“Planck yeast”. Heh. :slight_smile:

Fungi are more “alive” than plants because they’re more like animals, and the comic is taking the premise that animals are “more alive”.

And for the Planck yeast one, I was too stunned at the craftsmanship of that last-panel string of puns to laugh or groan.

Fungi are actually more closely related to animals than they are to plants, the mushrooms being our fellow opisthokonts. If you play around with the TimeTree website, the last common ancestor of us and a mushroom was something like 200 million to 400 million years more recent than the last common ancestor of us and a dandelion. (It’s still probably over a billion years ago, so it’s not like mushrooms are our close kin.)

So, if you were figuring out how strong to make the shelf for your RAID array, you’d calculate mbmb/MB right?
(unfortunately, I couldn’t honestly convince myself that milli-bit is a valid unit, so had to use capitals)

I see, interesting. My wife might disagree, but I always thought I was kind of a fungi.

One of my professors used to measure the sugar for his tea in barn-megaparsecs.

Yes, and there’s a page at the forum’s url explaining that. But now, you (or at least I) get an error that the website’s certificate has expired. And since the forum has HTTP Strict Transport Security set, I can’t bypass that. Or at least Firefox won’t do it.

I couldn’t help laughing at the last one.

Fungi, like animals, use the polymer chitin, as a structural base as do many animals. In general, they are also consumers rather that producers of carbohydrates and use cellular respiration to convert carbohydrates into energy. Fungi do not engage in photosynthesis although they can form symbiotic relationships with photosynthetic bacteria or algae, and are therefore are considered phylogenetically closer to Animalia.

I do have an issue with viruses being considered alive given that they do not meet the minimum criteria of having a separate metabolism and ability to reproduce. There is a minority view among virologists that the virus is actually the infected cell and virions (the capsid that contains and delivers the viral genome) is just a spore-like distributor, but given what we know and speculate about the genesis of viruses–that they are frequently derived from the genetic material of origin species–I’d hesitate to really classify them as independently living in any sense of term, and because of how they reproduce they do not follow the normal logical of evolutionary synthesis.


For a minute there I thought you were referring to the xkcd site itself, rather than the forums, which would have been a great loss as many of them are pretty funny, though some are obscure. Haven’t been there in a while. I just clicked “Random” and got this: Proving Einstein wrong. :wink:

…Huh. I visit the site every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but somehow I think I managed to miss that one.

Surely barn-gigaparsecs would be more useful for measuring sugar cubes?

A barn-megaparsec is about 3 cubic centimeters. You must like an awful lot of sugar in your tea.

I love this Board for posts like these.