Appearance of Age

This recent XKCD comic is amusingly relevant to our recent age-of-the-earth brouhaha:

The universe started in 1970.  Anyone claiming to be over 38 is lying about their age.

The comic itself is (uncharacteristically) not that funny; but don’t miss the mouseover text: “The universe started in 1970. Anyone claiming to be over 38 is lying about their age.”

Today’s XKCD also tangentially touches on issues of creation:

Real programmers set the universal constants at the start such that the universe evolves to contain the disk with the data they want.

Again, don’t miss the mouseover text: “Real programmers set the universal constants at the start such that the universe evolves to contain the disk with the data they want.”

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24 Responses

  1. For those that aren’t geeky enough to get the jokes:

    Unix systems keep time in seconds since Jan 1, 1970, converting to human-readable dates on demand. Thus Y2K was a Windoze problem, not a Unix problem. Unix’s own equivalent problem is due in 2038, when that seconds counter will fill up its 32 available bits, and need to roll over.

    Emacs is a text editor — kind of the MS Word of computer programming. I use emacs. Emacs rocks.

  2. not that funny

    Note to self; apparently “epoch fail” is a pun on “epic fail“, which is a phrase I’ve never heard before.

  3. Great finds — loved them both.

  4. Go here for pictures of ‘epic fail.’

  5. LOVE the failblog! Much better than lolcats!

  6. Failblog is a new fun blog find of mine in the past week. Though, I still love lolcats.

  7. Rube:

    In addition, 1/1/70 is specifically known as the start of the Unix ‘epoch.’ Rather than just a generic term for a duration of time, it’s doubly funny because that’s the actual term used for the operating system’s timekeeping.

    Not that I’d like to start a battlefront for the emacs/vi(m) wars here on your blog, but I’ve always found vim to be everything I need without all those crazy control- and meta- keypresses. I’m sure if you learned it first (as I did with vim) it might seem natural, but I just don’t understand people who *like* contorting their hands in the ways that emacs forces them to.

    I found the mouseover text for today’s xkcd very intriguing as well. I certainly don’t subscribe to the “blind watchmaker” theory, but I feel that God set up the natural processes of the Universe very much in that “set the constants at the start such that things turn out as desired” sort of fashion. (e.g. Aligning the bodies of the solar system in such a place and time that the Magi would be led to Bethlehem.)

    Furthermore, I consider it a work of His power and might to have accomplished such a feat, not an example of Him constraining himself as some are wont to characterize that interpretation.

  8. I’ve always found vim to be everything I need without all those crazy control- and meta- keypresses.

    That’s just the entry to the emacs/vi(m) wars I’ve been waiting to pounce on! When I got started in the programming game (undergrad, 88), the mainframes on which we were to write our (C) programming exercises still charged by the cpusecond, and we students had to be frugal with our alloted budget (infinite loops were always a worry!) At that time, everybody (including me) used vi because emacs was considered a cpu hog.

    A few years into undergrad, they abandoned the cpu-charging scheme, I discovered emacs, and never looked back (unless I get stuck in an unconfigured system, I can use vi when I need to).

    Now the hand-contortions are second-nature to me, although I do need to use a Unix-style keyboard (CTRL is left of A), or somehow swap CTRL and CAPSLOCK, or else my left pinky gets quite sore over a day of code-warfare.

    I’ve never played with vim, but I guess it has all the emacs essentials, like multiple buffers, syntax highlighting, parend matching, auto-indenting, keyboard macros, command-customizing, incremental search, etc. — all of which are absolute essentials for programming.

    If so, then I could probably get used to vim, and my left pinky might appreciate the switch. But I do find that vi’s ‘insert mode’ vs. ‘command mode’ paradigm always bites me. I prefer the command keys.

    But you and I, my friend, are bosom buddies like the Amillenialist and Postmillenialist (the one and only Millenium ends at the one and only second coming), compared to the Premillenialist that prefers to edit by constantly moving his hand between keyboard and mouse!

  9. set the constants at the start such that things turn out as desired

    Well yeah, it’s the whole Intelligent Design thing.

  10. The fail blog has to be one of the funniest I’ve seen in a while. Specifically the “rapist search”.

    Thanks Steve for that link.

    I now have to go change my shorts.

  11. uh-oh, SPHINCTER FAIL!

  12. But I do find that vi’s ‘insert mode’ vs. ‘command mode’ paradigm always bites me.

    There aren’t really two modes. The whole of vim is really “command mode,” and dropping into then back out of “insert” is just one of the available commands.

    And yes, Vi IMproved does have all the syntax highlighting, paren-matching, &c., that you could ever ask for.

  13. dropping into then back out of “insert”

    You mean dropping into ‘insert mode’ with command ‘i’, and backing out with ESC, same as vi, or something different? This is what I find annoying.

  14. many of the stars we see are non-existent. so, they are older than they appear. Indeed, they appear to exist while they don’t!

    Got a joke for that one too?

    Or, is continuing with the self-defeating and self-excepting position the modus operandi ’round these parts?

    :-)

  15. How long are you going to let this guy troll?

  16. RubeRad,

    Yeah, it’s the same paradigm as vi. You can enter insert mode in a number of different ways: ‘i’ or ‘a’ to jump into the text before or after the cursor location, shift-‘i’ or ‘a’ to jump in at the beginning or end of the current line, and I’m sure there are others.

    Vim commands are centered around text processing and manipulation, and the only thing you really need ‘insert mode’ for is manually typing in brand-new raw text. Copying, cutting, pasting, and all other actions can be completed more easily (and usually with fewer keystrokes) if you use other commands.

  17. Steve, on February 1st, 2008 at Said:
    How long are you going to let this guy troll?

    *************

    Gut any substantive comments yet, Steve?

  18. I’m with Steve on this one — at least in this thread. It’s just jokes. If 6x2forester can simply enjoy the jokes as jokes, then surely you can too. From the post on down, I declare this trail a substantive-free zone!

    the only thing you really need ‘insert mode’ for is manually typing in brand-new raw text.

    Only? Isn’t that the point of an editor? I don’t know about you, but I don’t type bugs, so brand new raw text is all I do.

    Seriously, though (but not substantively!) I think the answer is, vi needs iMproving, and emacs was there for me first. If I was a few years younger, so that vim existed when I needed it, I could well have gone that way. But as long as I can get my CTRL key left and center (instead of lower-left), emacs will do for me.

  19. I’m with Steve on this one — at least in this thread. It’s just jokes. If 6×2forester can simply enjoy the jokes as jokes, then surely you can too. From the post on down, I declare this trail a substantive-free zone!

    I think we all know you intended your joke to have a bite. Ridiculing the opposition is a time honored tradition.

    I thought my mirror of your joke was just, if not more, on target. Why didn’t anyone “laugh?”

    Does Steve ever post substantive comments?

    Anyway, let me try to turn my comment into a joke:

    Appearance of Existence/Reality

    a) mirage.

    b) illusions

    c) ignis fatuus

    d) The man we thought was real flesh and blood who was just a ghost in 6th sense.

    e) H.G. Wells’ radio show—War of the Worlds

    So, hahahah, it looks like you hold to a magical, make believe, fairy tail position hahahahah.

    Laugh along.

    :-P

  20. Oh, and sorry for not drawing more attention to the smiley face in my original post.

  21. Why didn’t anyone “laugh?”

    Because it wasn’t funny. I don’t get this new comment-cum-“joke” either.

  22. How’s this for funny,

    I think pico is better.

    ;)

    kazoo

  23. Because it wasn’t funny.

    Sure it was. If yours was funny, mine was at least 10 times as funny. Mine is more funny because you’re blind to how self-defeating almost all of your arguments are. I’ve matched almost every “scientific” argument you have given and thrown it back on you. Also, I thought it was HILLARIOUS how I showed that you have to say what the geocentrist theologians did was not “WRONG,” but “RIGHT” Funny because that was the ace up your sleeve you kept playing. Look, if you don’t find the humor in all of this I don’t know what’s wrong with you. What, never watched Eddie Murphy? Rodney Dangerfield? Sam Kinnison? Oh!, ooooooo!

    OEC – HAW HAW HAW, look at those YEC guys, they believe the stars have the appearance of age. That’s like thinking the earth is 5 minutes old. Any one older than 5 minutes, despite appearances, isn’t. HAW HAW HAW!

    YEC – HAW HAW HAW, look at these OEC guys, they believe the stars have the appearance of youth. In reality, they are much older than they look. In fact, most of them don’t even exist, though they appear to. That’s like the Star Trek episode where the humanoid children were really hundreds of years old. Anyone younger than 500 years old, despite the appearance, isn’t. HAW HAW HAW!

  24. […] Posted on February 14, 2008 by RubeRad I want to devote some attention to Wacky’s “joke”: Many of the stars we see are non-existent. So, they are older than they appear. Indeed, they […]

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