95: The Sierpinski Penis Game

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
The Sierpinski Penis Game
Inappropriate places for the Penis Game include baby showers and terrorist attacks.
Title text: Inappropriate places for the Penis Game include baby showers and terrorist attacks.

Explanation[edit]

The Chaos Game is a method of generating a fractal by repeatedly applying randomly-chosen transformation functions to a point and plotting the position of the new point each time. The transformation functions are randomly chosen from a small, predefined list. The surprising result of this is that, even though the functions are picked randomly, a distinctly non-random fractal image emerges. The exact nature of this image depends on the list of transformation functions used.

One such fractal that can be produced by the Chaos Game is the Sierpinski Triangle, which is the fractal pictured in this comic. See details in this video.

The Penis Game, on the other hand, is a childish activity where people (usually schoolchildren) compete to shout "Penis!" increasingly loudly in the presence of an authority figure (usually a teacher) without getting in trouble.

The two games could be said to be similar in that they both involve iterations of transformations; in the Chaos Game, a point's position is transformed (moving it closer and closer to the attractor set of the transformations); in the Penis game, the volume of the phrase "Penis!" is transformed (becoming louder and louder). The difference is that the Chaos Game works by negative feedback (eventually settling down into a well-defined image) whereas the Penis Game involves positive feedback (at some point, the cry of "Penis!" will become loud enough that the culprit will get in trouble and the game will end). Nonetheless, they could be vaguely considered inverses of each other, and Randall appears to be conflating the two in this comic.

The title text mentions two inappropriate places to play the Penis Game. A baby shower is supposed to be a celebration of childbirth or pregnancy, so it would be an inappropriate place for such crude humor. A terrorist attack is typically a time in which lives are lost, so it would be very immature to play such a crude game. The title text may also be calling attention to the fact that a mathematical object such as a fractal is also an inappropriate place in which to be playing the Penis Game.

Transcript[edit]

[A large triangle, point down, is shown, with many smaller triangles inside all pointing up. There is one large triangle in the middle, with 3 medium triangles on either side, with three triangles on either of their sides as well for a total of 9. This trend then continues three more times with 27 around the nine, and 81 around those and finally there was supposed to be 243 (3x81) very small filling out all the space outside the larger triangles, but staying inside the original triangle. But there seem to be missing three of these near the top. Two of those are on either side of the first (top left) of the nine triangles of size 3 as well as one to the left of the top of the top right second largest triangle. But there are also one extra triangle just below the P in the bottom triangle with a sentence. That would have been the first of the next level of 3*243=729 triangles in level 7. But it is the only one. So 240 small triangles plus 1 even tinier for a total of 362 inside the largest framing triangle).]
[There is a word inside the largest of the triangles and a sentence in the largest triangle below that triangle.]
Penis!
Haha, penis.

Trivia[edit]

  • Inside the large outer triangle with tip pointing down, there are 362 triangles all with tip pointing up.
    • One triangle is larger than the other, the Level 1 triangle.
      • Around this there are 3 Level 2 triangles, one on either side of Level 1.
        • Around these 3 there are 3 for a total of 9 Level 3 triangles
          • Around those there are 3 for a total of 27 Level 4 triangles
            • Around those there are 3 for a total of 81 Level 5 triangles
              • And around those there was supposed to be 3 around each for a total of 243 Level 6 triangles.
              • However three of these smallest triangles are missing, leaving only 240. See details in the transcript.
                • A single Level 7 triangle has also been added out of the possible 729. See details in the transcript.


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

Missing triangles

Any idea why there are some (at least 3) small triangles missing? --212.255.96.151 18:46, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Where?--Dgbrt (talk) 21:46, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Starting from the center going left, right or down these three are missing: LLLRD, LLRLD, RLRDR. But actually, infinitely many triangles are missing *g*. --Chtz (talk) 22:38, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
There's actually an extra triangle as well that doesn't fit the pattern. It's DDLRLL. -- 24.207.62.236 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
It's a secret message ILLUMINATI CONFERMED173.245.56.180 04:07, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I have added a description of those four in the transcript (three missing one extra) and have also added a trivia about the number of triangles and the error. --Kynde (talk) 23:23, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

I don't think this article meets standards of neutrality. Calling the penis game "infantile" is insensitive to those exploring their sexuality and does not reflect the nuances of the penis community. 173.245.56.66 21:21, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree. That said, if this were an IRL discussion, I'm fairly certain it would devolve into people just playing the penis game.

TheMightyGunns (talk) 20:44, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Edited. 108.162.237.178 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Should the situations in the title text be explained as to why they are inappropriate? 162.158.58.123 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yes they should--Kynde (talk) 23:23, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

Baby showers[edit]

The question "Or does Randall compare a baby shower in violence to a terror attack..." got me thinking:

Is Randall using the phrase "baby showers" in its ordinary way, or is he using the word "shower" in the sense of "rain shower" and making a joke that if babies are falling from the sky, you should not be playing games.172.69.34.150 03:01, 23 October 2019 (UTC)