385: How it Works
|How It Works|
Title text: It's pi plus C, of course.
The comic reveals discriminative jargon against women when doing a task. When a guy does something wrong, it's his own mistake. When a girl does something wrong, it is taken as a confirmation that girls are inferior.
 The math
The mathematics displayed is neither semantically nor syntactically correct. To begin with, there should be a dx after x2. (That's easy enough to forget.) Now we have an indefinite integral on the left hand side.
The answer π is just nonsensical: What we want is a function, whose derivative is x2. Now, x3/3 satisfies this condition. However, since adding a constant to a function does not change its derivative, the full answer is (any function on the form) x3/3 + C, where C is any fixed number. The "plus a constant"-part is very easy to forget, and might even be omitted by a (sloppy) professional mathematician. So if someone really gave the answer π, "you forgot to add a constant" would be a pretty funny remark, cause in one way it's true, but on the other hand it wouldn't quite be the main thing to worry about.
(It would also be possible to fix the equation by adding bounds of integration, so that π becomes the area below a section of the curve x2. That is called a definite integral, and there would be no "+ C". The bounds would have to be somewhat awkward though; if 0 was the lower bound, the cube root of 3π would have to be the upper.)
With this explanation you can also get this classical joke on the same integral!
- [Cueball and an friend stand at a blackboard. The friend is writing, in standard mathematical notation, that the integral of x squared equals pi. No differential or bounds are given for the integral.]
- Cueball: Wow, you suck at math.
- [The same scene, except the writer is Megan.]
- Cueball: Wow, girls suck at math.