­xkcd thread

I don’t think many unicycles have gearshifts, which makes a big difference in a 'cycle’s practicality. They usually can’t coast, either.

A geared bike is more practical, no doubt. It deserves to be near the top of any list. But fixie bikes are popular and totally usable on ordinary terrain. And of course skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, etc. are “morally” fixed speed.

I see that multi-speed unicycles are available. But I wonder if a fixed geared unicycle would be almost as good. You don’t necessarily need lots of torque all the time, but top speed is limited by wheel size with a fixed pedal-wheel relationship. The old penny-farthing problem.

Are geared unicycles a thing? 99% of the ones I’ve seen have the pedal cranks directly on the axle. The 1% are those tall ones with a chain drive reaching down to the axle. I’ve never noticed if they have ratio other than 1:1 or not.

You can also make a three-speed transmission using orbital gears-- Those aren’t as obvious, from an external look.

Don’t leave us hanging, Randall. What’s the answer?

Randall’s comics (including today’s!) are regularly featured at Language Log, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Randall hangs out there himself.

If so, I’m willing to bet that today’s comic is a stealth rejoinder to a certain Language Log commenter who never misses an opportunity to complain about people who say “gonna.” (Also “gotta,” “wanna”…)

Good to see that Gretchen is continuing her recovery from that Brown One attack.

I have a distinct memory of asking my teacher how to spell “gunta”. Learned a lot about spoken language that day.

I remember being confused that I did not know what the letter “elemeno” looked like.

I was stunned that the little dishes of food my mother handed around at parties before the main meal were “hors d’oeuvres” and not “orderbs”.

That’s where all those Texians died, right?

I blame the French for their relentless crusade against consonants.

My mother avoided this by calling them, “Horse’s doofers”

Didn’t you have a student ask you once how to spell “Onesaponatime” (which is how all fairy tales start)?

It was “Wunsaponatim”, but yes.

It looks like this - see the third line in the chart. It comes from a SNL sketch where they developed a 10-letter alphabet for the metric system; A, B, C, D, EF, GHI, J, K, LMNO, and all of the letters from P to Z combined.

There’s a character in Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash, a Chinese-American pirate called Bruce Lee. At one point, he talks with the protagonists, and punctuates his question with “Chomsayin?” Which it took me a few moments on first reading to realize was the actual informal pronounciation of “Do you know what I’m saying?”

Erm, I thought it was from German, power of Hydrogen or sumthin’. Nah, I don’t want to get into a discussion of what ‘real’ hydrogen is.