Talk:1159: Countdown

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 19:43, 12 January 2013 by Frankie (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Zeroes

If you assume (with nothing else known), that large numbers have a probability about reciprocal to themselves to ensure a sum/integral of 1, the digits not being zeroes is extremely unlikely.

Whether black hat guy thinks a supervolcanoe eruption is a favourable event or being spared from one is not made entirely clear. Sebastian --178.26.121.97 08:56, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I warmly recommend the article harmonic series (mathematics). ;-) --131.152.41.173 13:30, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
You are right, the harmonic series is divergent. However, the maximal number of digits - which can be possibly displayed - is finite. Which distribution would you suggest? Sebastian --178.26.121.97 19:35, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Sebastian, do you know the specific name of the statistical principle you're invoking? I agree, but St.nerol does not, and he has a quick tendency to remove things. One part of it is that you don't know the magnitude of a number, exponential distribution is a more appropriate model than linear. Another part is about the unlikelihood of the middle digits being zero. - Frankie (talk) 21:37, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Benford's law is about the probability of certain first digit(s). Sebastian --178.26.121.97 22:34, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Hmm... "Benford's law also concerns the expected distribution for digits beyond the first, which approach a uniform distribution". I missed that the first time I read the article. Okay, that covers the essential parts of the argument. - Frankie (talk) 19:43, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Volcanoes

"I forget which one" may be a reference to the 7 known supervolcanoes, or it might be to a list published by the Guardian in 2005 of the top 10 existential threats to life on Earth, which went briefly viral. It included a supervolcano eruption, as well as viral pandemic, meteorite strike, greenhouse gases, superintelligent robots, nuclear war, cosmic rays, terrorism, black holes, and telomere erosion [1]

I understand how the hidden numbers could mean that a volcano could either erupt very soon or a very long time. But I don't get why this is a joke. Is there something funnny that I am missing?

It's a joke, because a supervolcano eruption would have a major impact on the earth, and Black Hat has a timer that will tell him when one will occur, but he is too lazy to see whether it will happen soon.
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?