720: Recipes

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To be fair, the braised and confused newt on a bed of crushed Doritos turned out to be delicious.
Title text: To be fair, the braised and confused newt on a bed of crushed Doritos turned out to be delicious.

[edit] Explanation

A genetic algorithm starts with a set of candidates and evaluates them. The best candidates are combined and randomly mutated to form the candidates for the next generation. After being allowed to proceed for an extended period, a genetic algorithm can often produce remarkable results. If the initial candidates are randomly-generated (as appears to be the case here), the initial generations are usually horrible.

In the comic, the computer science department is the host of a dinner party based on recipes produces by a genetic algorithm. Based on the remarks of the second diner, this is probably not the first generation, and the results are still horrible. The host of the party is so enamored of the promise of the genetic algorithm that he fails to take into account that it will be several years before the recipes become remotely good.

The title text could make reference to the fact that genetic algorithms will sometimes return results which are highly abnormal and vastly deviate from what we would think to be "selected for," but nonetheless can be quite successful, albeit unorthodox.

[edit] Transcript

[Three people, one woman and two men, sit along a table with dishes and drinks in front of them. A fourth man is walking in, a plate with food on it in one hand, a laptop in the other.]
Woman: I've got... Cheerios with a shot of vermouth.
Man #1: At least it's better than the quail eggs in whipped cream and MSG from last time.
Man #2: Are these Skittles deep-fried?
Cueball: C'mon guys, be patient. In a few hundred more meals, the genetic algorithm should catch up to existing recipes and start to optimize.
We've decided to drop the CS department from our weekly dinner party hosting rotation.
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are you sure it's mepls? looks like the A and the L just overlap a bit... 17:59, 3 February 2013 (UTC)mr

The title text seems to be a reference to "dazed and confused," which must mean something more significant than most simple conjunctions. I'll figure it out at some point. --Quicksilver (talk) 02:48, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Also, I believe the laptop (notice how he holds it by the top of the screen) may be a reference to comic 925's (Cell Phones) title text "He (Black hat guy) holds the laptop like that on purpose, to make you cringe"...this is an unlikely reference though. - androidtribbles (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

He's not holding it by the screen, it's being held by the keyboard right at the trackpad. It's still really cringe-inducing, but not quite as... fragile. 08:49, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

It could also be a rugged laptop, those are a lot tougher and have a handle on them right below the keyboard; it could be the rectangle is not a trackpad, but the hole for the handle. While it's still not advisable to carry the laptop with the screen open like that, it's not nearly as cringe-worthy as the case and monitor hinges are made of thick metal. 17:12, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Made an edit to the explanation. It seemed no one picked up on the possible meaning of the title text... But it could just as easily have been Randall's typical pedanticism... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
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