Thursday, January 10, 2008

Science, bitches!


Brilliant as they are, I don't often steal and repost items from Kaye's great NiteNote blog. But yesterday's entry about the terrific online comic strip xkcd is just too good.

As Kaye and the artist Randall Munroe himself describe xkcd, it's a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language. Being that some of the language is programming language, there are references that sail over my head -- but I still get the idea well enough to find funny.

Example:


It's a strip that may sometimes send you scrambling for your Periodic Table or Perl reference or just Wikipedia, but it's worth the trouble. In fact that's the beauty of it. Dude's funny.

Here's one last existential space-time continuum joke (you can click on any of these to see them full size):


Thanks Kaye!

5 comments:

freda said...

ok, now you have done it, I had to go check out the cartoons and got hooked, though to be honest, I don't understand many of them. who or what is sudo?

kateco said...

how cool -- make the geek higher!

Freda: Sudo, or super user do, is a program that allows a user to execute a command in a unix-based computer operating system using the security privileges of the superuser. For the space of a single command, it makes you as powerful as the most powerful users of the system, like admins, so the computer might do things for you that it would not normally do for users with your privileges.

That's my understanding. Val, refinements?

freda said...

sheeeeet! I think I need to come over and take lessons. thanks

Val said...

Yep, you got it. It's an alternative to the 'su' command which logs you into the root (superuser) account. With su, you remain in that mode until you explicitly exit, so it's easy to forget you're logged in as root and do something stupid; sudo makes you ask permission each time. Here's the man page, or, if you're on a Unix-y system, you can type 'man sudo' at a command prompt and get the manual entry.

sudo has a couple of pronunciations: 'soo-doo', like 'superuser do', and a form I favor which rhymes with 'judo' and 'pseudo', as in the pseudonym you're using to execute the privileged operation.

For a good guide to some of the geek terms thrown around on xkcd, see the Jargon File -- computer slang from the beginnings thru today -- and the Urban Dictionary, a wide-ranging compendium of pop slang including a lot of technical terms. This is the place to decode things like 'YHBT. YHL. HAND.', or to figure out what those LOLCATS are saying.

And speaking of judo, xkcd.com is, among other things, also a reference to stick-figure animation as exemplified by xiao xiao's stick figure karate. Enjoy!

Mark said...

Val, thanks for the ref material and also for turning us on to this genius comic in the first place. It cracks me up.