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robertogreco : xkcd   38

xkcd: Where Do Birds Go
[via: "It’s been raining a good deal here in central Texas recently, and whenever the rain comes and the birds disappear from our bird feeders I have the same thought, one which is memorialized in one of my favorite xkcd comics."
https://buttondown.email/ayjay/archive/notebooks-a-monk-and-the-death-of-a-poet/ ]
via:ayjay  birds  rain  weather  humanism  nature  interconnected  universal  universalism  xkcd  comics 
may 2019 by robertogreco
The Up-Goer Five Text Editor
"Can you explain a hard idea using only the ten hundred most used words? it's not very easy. Type in the box to try it out."
writing  language  words  classideas  vocabulary  xkcd  onlinetoolkit  via:lukeneff 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Introducing: Flickr PARK or BIRD | code.flickr.com
"We at Flickr are not ones to back down from a challenge. Especially when that challenge comes in webcomic form. And especially when that webcomic is xkcd. So, when we saw this xkcd comic we thought, “we’ve got to do that”:

[image]

In fact, we already had the technology in place to do these things. Like the woman in the comic says, determining whether a photo with GPS info embedded into it was taken in a national park is pretty straightforward. And, the Flickr Vision team has been working for the last year or so to be able to recognize more than 1000 things in images using deep convolutional neural nets. Incidentally, one of the things we’re pretty good at recognizing is birds!

We put those things together, and thus was born parkorbird.flickr.com!"

[See also: http://parkorbird.flickr.com/

"Want to know if your photo is from a U.S. national park? Want to know if it contains a bird? Just drag it into the box to the left, and we'll tell you. We'll use the GPS embedded in your photo (if it's there) to see whether it's from a park, and we'll use our super-cool computer vision skills to try to see whether it's a bird (which is a hard problem, but we do a pretty good job at it).

To try it out, just drag any photo from your desktop into the upload box, or try dragging any of our example images. We'll give you your answers below!"]
flickr  goelocation  nationalparks  xkcd  2014  birds  nature  photography 
october 2014 by robertogreco
xkcd: Where Do Birds Go
""Where do birds go when it rains?" is my new favorite Google search. It gives the answer, but also shows you an endless torrent of other people asking the same question. Pages and pages of them across regions and cultures. I love the idea that somehow this is the universal question, the thing that unites us. When it rains, we wonder where the birds go. And hope they're staying dry."
birds  xkcd  beauty  humanity  humanism  2014  twitter  search  online  internet  wonder  wondering  posthumanism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Randall Munroe Of xkcd Answers Our (Not So Absurd) Questions | FiveThirtyEight
"WH: In “What If?” you often rely on estimation techniques to develop reasonable answers to pretty complex questions. For example, in the Supernova neutrino radiation question, you reconciled two things that happen at extremely different orders of magnitude. Of the estimation techniques you use, which do you think is the most applicable for people to apply to their daily life? What’s a technical takeaway you’d like to see people use more?

RM: One thing that bothers me is large numbers presented without context. We’re always seeing things like, “This canal project will require 1.15 million tons of concrete.” It’s presented as if it should mean something to us, as if numbers are inherently informative. So we feel like if we don’t understand it, it’s our fault.

But I have only a vague idea of what one ton of concrete looks like. I have no idea what to think of a million tons. Is that a lot? It’s clearly supposed to sound like a lot, because it has the word “million” in it. But on the other hand, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” made $7 million at the box office, and it was one of the biggest flops in movie history.

It can be more useful to look for context. Is concrete a surprisingly large share of the project’s budget? Is the project going to consume more concrete than the rest of the state combined? Will this project use up a large share of the world’s concrete? Or is this just easy, space-filling trivia? A good rule of thumb might be, “If I added a zero to this number, would the sentence containing it mean something different to me?” If the answer is “no,” maybe the number has no business being in the sentence in the first place.

One thing that’s been really helpful for me is to memorize random quantities to serve as reference points. I remember that Wyoming is the smallest state and has a bit over half a million people, and that New York’s metro area has about 20 million. Boston’s has 5 million, and Tokyo’s has 35 million. “One in 100 Americans” is 3 million people, and “1 in 100 people” is 70 million. Once I have those reference points, when I hear “10 million people have lost power in the storm,” I at least have something to compare it to.

But I’m also wary of people saying “everyone should know” some skill from their area of expertise, because people have their own stuff to deal with. It’s easy for me to imagine an abstract person and then say, “Wouldn’t it be better if that person knew how to program?” And maybe it would. But real people are complicated and busy, and don’t need me thinking of them as featureless objects and assigning them homework. Not everyone needs to know calculus, Python or how opinion polling works. Maybe more of them should, but it feels a little condescending to assume I know who those people are. I just do my best to make the stuff I’m talking about interesting; the rest is up to them."

[via: https://twitter.com/doingitwrong/status/508015133147561984 ]
randallmunroe  via:timmaly  xkcd  scale  numbers  comparison  data  magnitude  communication  people  humans  coding 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Leaflet - a JavaScript library for mobile-friendly maps
"Leaflet is a modern open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. It is developed by Vladimir Agafonkin with a team of dedicated contributors. Weighing just about 33 KB of JS, it has all the features most developers ever need for online maps.

Leaflet is designed with simplicity, performance and usability in mind. It works efficiently across all major desktop and mobile platforms out of the box, taking advantage of HTML5 and CSS3 on modern browsers while still being accessible on older ones. It can be extended with a huge amount of plugins, has a beautiful, easy to use and well-documented API and a simple, readable source code that is a joy to contribute to."

[via: http://xkcd-map.rent-a-geek.de/ of http://xkcd.com/1110/ ]
edg  javascript  maps  mapping  leafletjs  webdev  xkcd  webdesign 
may 2014 by robertogreco
6, 6: Asymmetrical information
"I have so little interest in grand pictures of the world with nothing to say about children. This assumption in cultural discussions that people step out of a wall sometime between 18 and 21, well, it’s not good enough; it’s not serious enough. If you want to talk to me about surveillance and censorship, tell me about baby monitors and when you would let kids in your care read 4chan. Your approach to that matters more than your approach to the finer connotations of the word “Orwellian”, e.g., whether the figure of thzzzZZZZZZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZ[snort]ZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZZZZ."

(Removed from this point a good deal of grumping about people who use arguments in the form “we should be treated like adults” without saying what that means to them other than “down with bad stuff, up with good stuff”, nor how non-adults should be treated; and then kind of halfheartedly trying to shame people for treating Foucault’s geneological method as if it were The Path And The Way Of Criticism rather than a useful tonic; and getting sad that sometimes children’s experience is treated as if it counts only insofar as it will be remembered by the adult they will become.)

"Something I tell myself: Assume you’re teaching. More often than thinking “Oh, I figured something out, time to share”, ask “What am I teaching right now, and am I doing it well?” Sometimes what I’m teaching is not pretty: “Don’t expect too much from strangers” or “Everyone has their quirks” or worse. All the more reason to think about it.

Like a lot of intrapersonal advice, this is tricky to explain: too obvious, too precious, too odd. The principle comes partly from reflecting that many of the most important things I’ve learned were from incidental actions of people working on something else. (I remember flipping through my mother’s MTW and learning about graphic design, poetry, pedagogy – everything but gravity.) It also comes from an idea put well in XKCD 1053.

(And this gives us one of the distinctive flavors of work made for the internet: layerednes. A blog post about some small issue will carry coded gestures to connections with highfalutin’ academic work; deniable hints of limits and risks might appear when a conscientious engineer is made to work hard-sell PR; and who among us has not seen something on a controversial topic flying a big red herring to distract zealots? And we have art like this [http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/for-shame-the-giant-poster-that-shows-drone-pilots-the-people-theyre-bombing/360257/ ], which works entirely by lying about its audience: that isn’t for drone operators at all, but by saying it is, it works on its actual audience: people like me.)"



"One of the things that’s been bringing OODA to mind is what you might call legibility capture. Let’s take it as read that we’re surrounded by giant translucent surfaces, and we’re trying to see inside them, and to understand their shapes and connections, in order that we might discern what their deal is. They meanwhile are examining us, covertly, with consent, obliquely, loudly, by proxy, for unknown future use, and in many other ways, which is worrying.

There are many ways to think about this; for me it’s phrased most naturally as “legibility” in the way that John C. Scott has developed it. His brilliance is perhaps fogged by his prose style, which with time becomes its own painfully funny effect, a kind of Marx Brothers–esque absurdism, as he over and over again, in the same book, with placid deadpan, re-introduces legibility as if for the first time.

(Thinking of this becase a couple friends spent the weekend at some kind of Data Tragicomedy conference – my ignorance of the details is a small pleasure but a sincere one – which it pleased me to believe consisted entirely of artbros in their off-blacks standing up, clearing their throats, smiling, and saying “I’ve discovered – or perhaps invented – something that I like to call ‘legibility’…”.)

One of the things that OODA is concerned with, in its productively unsatisfying way, is initiative. In go, this is sente. Alice has sente in a game with Bob when she’s made a move that Bob must respond to, instead of building his own position. To hold sente is to keep Bob on the defensive, so that he can’t plan or build; he’s always a turn behind. (Every time I think about this stuff I’m startled again by the illumination of psychological violence, from domestic abuse to torture-as-interrogation.) Boyd wants you, the student of OODA, to have initiative, because to have initiative is to have options. (Cough cough Nussbaum’s capability approach cough cough sneeze.) You have initiative because you can read the opponent better than they can read you, and so you can at least partly decide how they read you.

Skip this paragraph if you like me are easily disturbed by violence. This gruesome Amnesty briefing on the violence this year in northern Nigeria and this SSP report on the famous body bags in Kadugli both explain (partly) how they did their satellite imagery analysis to identify or confirm mass graves. This is in an obvious way highly responsible: conclusions should be presented with the evidence that led to them; theories should be falsifiable. It also bears risks, because by showing methods to identify mass graves they necessarily show how to hide from those methods, and even how to play into them by creating fake graves to distract and discredit.

That risk is the thing. It’s what I think about when people are like “Ah ha, I figured out I can look at tail numbers, or shell casing markings, or IP addresses owned by spyware companies; now we know what’s up!” Once they know you know but before you know they know you know, you’re at their mercy; they’re feeding you. Legibility capture.

I don’t know. I keep thinking of XKCD 1053, and the kind of empathy it calls for, and of the epigrams Joe Armstrong throws around about Erlang (e.g., p. 9):

The world is parallel
The world is distributed
Things fail

I said at the beignning of the year that my theme would be scale: communicating the sizes of stuff. I’ve done very little about that. I keep remembering things, little parcels of spacetime. Sleeping on a boat under a Saltillo blanket, listening to a flag’s rope ring against the pole in the wind. With a flu, in a parked Volkswagen Golf, reading Elfwood. When you GPS-track yourself you start to find that a lot of what it tells you is about where you weren’t."
charlieloyd  2014  teaching  learning  xkcd  legibility  scale  allsorts  learningallthetime  howwelearn  howweteach  perspective  understanding  layerdness  datadrama  jamescscott  violence  ooda  johnboyd  competition  initiative  offense  empathy  children  legacy  surveillance  censorship  babymonitors  4chan  adulthood  childhood  parenting 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Pages lost | Matthew Sheret
"The page is fucked. It’s not coming back. If you’re telling a story that’s available online then you no longer control the layout the reader sees. They’re tapping and swiping and pinching-and-zooming their way through your work, many of them without ever seeing the page as a whole and a few of them experiencing your stories only single-panel by single-panel.

The panel is now the fundamental unit of the comic

That’s a big change. Completely shifts the reader’s relationship with time and narrative. Very hard to come to terms with. On a basic level, it means creators may end up defaulting to Rupert-like stories comprised of flexible sequencing and extra bits of narrative that can be picked up or dropped on demand. But it also means you can treat the web like a page. Meanwhile‘s a great example of that, as is XKCD’s ‘Time’."
comics  media  storytelling  digital  publishing  matthewsheret  edg  srg  swimping  tapping  pinching  ux  interfacedesign  xkcd  touch  2014 
february 2014 by robertogreco
xkcd: 2014
"Some future reader, who may see the term, without knowing the history of it, may imagine that it had reference to some antiquated bridge of the immortal Poet, thrown across the silver Avon, to facilitate his escape after some marauding excursion in a neighbouring park; and in some Gentleman's Magazine of the next century, it is not impossible, but that future antiquaries may occupy page after page in discussing so interesting a matter. We think it right, therefore, to put it on record in the Oriental Herald that the 'Shakesperian Rope Bridges' are of much less classic origin; that Mr Colin Shakespear, who, besides his dignity as Postmaster, now signs himself 'Superintendent General of Shakesperian Rope Bridges', is a person of much less genius than the Bard of Avon. --The Oriental Herald, 1825"
predictions  2014  xkcd  history  1834  1863  1903  1905  1907  1908  1914  1923  1924  1926  1934  war  education  future  futurism  1925 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Creator of xkcd Reveals Secret Backstory of His Epic 3,099-Panel Comic | Underwire | Wired.com
"When xkcd creator Randall Munroe first posted a new installment of his webcomic titled “Time” on March 25, it looked deceptively simple: a picture of two black and white stick figures, a man and a woman, sitting wordlessly on the ground. There was no story, no punchline, no words. 30 minutes later, the image changed; the figures shifted slightly. And they continued to change every half-hour for the next week–and every hour for months after that–slowly coalescing into a story as the two characters discovered disturbing changes in the landscape around them, and set out on an epic, time-lapsed journey to discover the truth about what was happening to their world. 

Readers set out on a similar journey, although their path led not to the wild unknown, but rather back to the same URL where the mystery continued to unfold hour by hour. Who were these characters? Where were they? What did the story mean? Munroe offered no direct answers, instead seeding the panels with esoteric clues from botany, astronomy and geology. Soon, “Time” had developed a fanatical following that pored over every update pixel by pixel and gathered online to trade theories, decipher clues, and even write songs. …"
astronomy  comics  xkcd  time  2013  randallmunroe  slow 
august 2013 by robertogreco
xkcd: Sticks and Stones
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it."
xkcd  sticksandstones  childhood  acceptance  thingswetelleachother  thwwordsweuse  words  life  living 
june 2013 by robertogreco
xkcd: Click and Drag
Matt Thompson says it best: "Bit by bit, day by day, Randall Munroe continues to prove he's truly the spiritual successor to Bill Watterson:"

http://twitter.com/mthomps/status/248459142279331840
randallmunroe  billwatterson  comics  srg  edg  2012  clickanddrag  xkcd 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Purity
"The enemy of rigour and purity is the ad hoc approach, an approach that fits solutions to a particular purpose. Ad hoc explanations and solutions are sound and often highly effective in their own contexts, but make no claims to generality. As such, they attract only the sneers of scientific purists. Pure science, like the kitschiest art, aspires to be generic and timeless and universal. Pure science rejects all worldly purpose.

Scientific purists are right to be suspicious of purpose. Applied research is politicised research, openly co-opted to some political agenda, which, given present-day sources of funding, is more often than not a reactionary one. The aim of such research is to to produce work that will advance corporate or national interests in controlled, predictable ways: to produce patented techniques that give a competitive edge, or to produce concrete (and desirable) policy recommendations to be mulled over by think-tanks."
practical  practice  theory  celibacy  purpose  learning  scientificpurity  ghhardy  cpsnow  mathematics  m  math  romanticism  randallmunroe  academia  elitism  skepticism  stephenbond  xkcd  science  purity 
september 2012 by robertogreco
PlotWeaver: Automating xkcd's Movie Character Interaction Graphs - information aesthetics
"After noticing the beauty behind xkcd's beautiful graphs depicting the Interactions of Movie Characters, Stanford student Vadim Ogievetsky decided to develop an online software tool that would allow him to generate visually similar looking versions. Accordingly, PlotWeaver [stanford.edu] presents an efficient and effective layout algorithm that, with the users help, generates visual results similar to these hand-crafted posters. Ultimately, his aim is to even automate the whole process from movie script or IMDB quote page to a beautiful representative visual depiction.
art  crowdsourcing  data  film  movies  statistics  visualization  xkcd  storytelling  narrative  software  programming 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Trends in Ed, 2.18.10 | EdLab - Math sees a future with web 2.0
"Is it a match made in Heaven? According to Maria Droujkova, developer of Natural Math and Math 2.0, it is! Droujikova saw the need for math to catch up to other subjects with regards to web 2.0 communities. Her response was to create math programs in which learning takes place within communities and networks-- a mashup between traditional math practices and social networking. This has given birth to the concept of social math:"
math  teaching  learning  education  tcsnmy  collaborative  networking  social  authoring  community  psychology  scratch  geogebra  danmeyer  wcydwt  xkcd  youtube  manyeyes  flickr  voicethread  problemsolving  instructables 
february 2010 by robertogreco
xkcd - Lego
"#1: When you take apart a Lego house and mix the pieces into the bin, where does the house go? #2. It's in the bin. #1: No, those are just pieces. They could become spaceships or trains. The house was an arrangement. The arrangement doesn't stay with the pieces and it doesn't go anywhere else. It's just gone. #1 [Checks off "Organ Donor" box]"
organdonation  organs  lego  humor  xkcd 
november 2009 by robertogreco
xkcd » Blog Archive » Youtube Audio Preview
"Wow. It seems someone at YouTUBE took this comic seriously and decided to add an “Audio Preview” feature. Now you can hear your comments read aloud to you."

[see comic: http://xkcd.com/481/ ]
comics  youtube  xkcd  humor  behavior  commenting 
january 2009 by robertogreco
xkcd - A Webcomic - Steal This Comic
"Thinking of buying from audible.com or iTunes? Remember, if you pirate something, it's yours for life. You can take it anywhere and it will always work. But if you buy DRM-locked media, and you ever switch operating systems or new technology comes along, your collection could be lost. And if you try to keep it, you'll be a criminal (DMCA 1201). So remember: if you want a collection you can count on, PIRATE IT. Hey, you'll be a criminal either way."
humor  piracy  dmca  drm  pirates  webcomics  xkcd  comics  law  flowchart 
october 2008 by robertogreco

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