Ziggy and--The Axiom of Choice?

The wikipedia article on the comic Ziggy says:

The reference given is not an online source.

I can find no reference to this idea anywhere else on the internet. (Except for quotations from the wikipedia article.)

Is this a false Wikipedia edit?

Alternatively, is it true? :eek:

Alteralternatively, is this Tom Wilson making a joke of some kind?

Did you know that the word “gullible” isn’t in the dictionary?

Someone pointed out that spurious bit of Ziggy lore to me on Wikipedia years ago. As far as I know, it’s just some mathematically-minded Wikipedia wag’s idea of a joke.

Have you actually looked at any Ziggy cartoons to see if any of them do refer to the axiom? I am guessing a random sampling of four or five* would soon furnish pretty strong evidence against the claim.

*OK, I pulled that number out of my ass. I’m hopeless at stats.

Searching “Zig-Zagging” on google books for the work “axiom”, “Zorn”, “mathematics” gives zero hits.

This comic presents us with a set of Ziggys, a set of parrots and set of wood peckers. The Axiom of Choice guarantees that there exists a set conaining Ziggy, the parrot and one of the wood peckers.


I have never understood the impulse to make that joke in response to someone expressing skepticism and asking for verification. It’s weird–people make that joke all the time under that kind of circumstance, but the joke makes no sense in that context.

If I’d been fooled by the wikipedia article, the joke you made would make sense. But I communicated clearly that I didn’t believe it, so your joke falls completely flat.

A wood pecker is something very different from a woodpecker.

Agreed 100%.

Never mind.

Very, very much agreed.

And neither is the same as a wooden pecker.

Searching inside the cited biography at Amazon.com gives no results for “axiom”, “math”, or the given quote. It’s an amusing bit of vandalism, but I’m going to remove it.

Thank you. An important set theoretical distinction.

That was there since October 2010, with the cite. It was never questioned. That’s how you pull off a successful vandalism of wikipedia.

Well, I’m sure it was questioned by many of its readers, who did not take the claim at face value, but who weren’t confident or motivated enough to remove it. So it’s successful in the sense that it stayed up all this time, and that’s a concern, but it might not have been successful in the sense of actually convincing people.

Statistically, assuming that the probability of consecutive Ziggy’s referring to the axiom was independent, one would need a run of 14 axiom-free Ziggy’s to be able to assert with 95% confidence that the likelihood a given strip referring to the axiom was < 20%.

I’d test it, but the thought of examining 14 consecutive Ziggy’s gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Furthermore, I’m not sure I’d be able to determine whether a partciular strip refers to the axiom or not. I don’t understand the axiom, and even if I did, great art is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretation and can refer to a lot of things. So can Ziggy. I mean, if Ziggy’s goldfish threatens to eat him, has he not selected Ziggy from a set?