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Bad Code

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"Oh my God, why did you scotch-tape a bunch of hammers together?" "It's ok! Nothing depends on this wall being destroyed efficiently."
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Covarr
6 days ago
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The wall may not be load-bearing, but it could be statistically significant. Let's not throw it out just yet.
Moses Lake, WA
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CallMeWilliam
5 days ago
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This is so close to the fire I am putting out that it hurts.
alt_text_bot
6 days ago
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"Oh my God, why did you scotch-tape a bunch of hammers together?" "It's ok! Nothing depends on this wall being destroyed efficiently."
hairfarmerrich
6 days ago
Is there a way to find related XKCD comics? Like "code quality 3": https://xkcd.com/1833/
hananc
4 days ago
Search http://www.explainxkcd.com

Solar Panels

2 Comments and 3 Shares
This works for a surprising range of sunlit things, including rooftops (sure), highway surfaces (probably not), sailboats (maybe), and jets, cars, and wild deer (haha good luck).
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Covarr
10 days ago
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So far I haven't been able to find a company willing to invest in my idea for a solar powered mechanical pencil.
Moses Lake, WA
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alt_text_bot
10 days ago
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This works for a surprising range of sunlit things, including rooftops (sure), highway surfaces (probably not), sailboats (maybe), and jets, cars, and wild deer (haha good luck).
cosmotic
10 days ago
How about checking for existing alt text =)
alexjurkiewicz
10 days ago
alt text bot was first! Whoever daanzu is they should probably deactivate theirs
Covarr
10 days ago
This works for a surprising range of sunlit things, including rooftops (sure), highway surfaces (probably not), sailboats (maybe), and jets, cars, and wild deer (haha good luck).

Felsius

4 Comments and 7 Shares
The symbol for degrees Felsius is an average of the Euro symbol (€) and the Greek lunate epislon (ϵ).
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Covarr
13 days ago
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Situation: There are three competing standards.
Moses Lake, WA
dukeofwulf
13 days ago
Well, Felsius makes it at least 9. Any volunteers to add the Felsius scale to Wikipedia? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scale_of_temperature#Conversion_table_between_different_temperature_scales
joeythesaint
13 days ago
Already covered: https://xkcd.com/927/
Covarr
13 days ago
Indeed, joeythesaint, that's why I phrased it this way :P
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benzado
13 days ago
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Use Celsius for everything else, but Fahrenheit is the superior measure for weather! The range 0-100°F covers everything a human can survive in (with a reasonable amount of effort).
New York, NY (40.785018,-73.97
mooglemoogle
13 days ago
Yeah I always kinda feel like F is better as a human. It’s built around humans, not around water. And since we don’t use centi, kilo, etc with temperature, we don’t get the decimal benefit typical of the metric system either.
davidar
13 days ago
At best you could say that it's one possible superior measure, given that you could (for instance) move the whole scale up by one point and what you said would still be true.
daanzu_alt_text_bot
13 days ago
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The symbol for degrees Felsius is an average of the Euro symbol (€) and the Greek lunate epislon (ϵ).

The Moon and the Great Wall

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And arguably sunspots, on rare occasions. But even if they count, it takes ideal conditions and you might hurt your eyes.
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Covarr
17 days ago
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Dear alt text: Please explain to me how a sunspot, made out of magnetic fire on a ball made of fire, qualifies as a structure. Sincerely, Covarr.
Moses Lake, WA
Screwtape
17 days ago
If "a set with one or more finitary operations" can be an "algebraic structure", I'm more than happy to qualify anything made out of physical matter.
davidar
17 days ago
structure = anything beyond a big single-coloured ball
Ironica
17 days ago
Hey, if a tent in a park can be a "pop-up restaurant," we are in no position to judge.
jth
17 days ago
"Structure" has many more definitions than "a building or other object constructed from several parts"
dukeofwulf
17 days ago
davidar: by that definition, continents are also "structures."
Fidtz
17 days ago
The craters on the moon and sunspots are both structures, just one is more temporary than the other.
davidar
16 days ago
dukeofwulf: yes
dukeofwulf
16 days ago
But the comic is obviously referencing the myth that the Great Wall is the only "structure" visible from space... so the comic itself is constraining the definition.
lamontcg
16 days ago
plasma structure, temporary on a shorter timescale than solid structures
davidar
14 days ago
dukeofwulf: well, yes, being pedantic does have a tendency to spoil jokes :p
dukeofwulf
14 days ago
Yeah, I don't know why you did that to Covarr! :D
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alt_text_bot
17 days ago
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And arguably sunspots, on rare occasions. But even if they count, it takes ideal conditions and you might hurt your eyes.

Interstellar Asteroid

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Every time we detect an asteroid from outside the Solar System, we should immediately launch a mission to fling one of our asteroids back in the direction it came from.
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Covarr
22 days ago
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Obviously it's a space carrot.
Moses Lake, WA
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alt_text_bot
22 days ago
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Every time we detect an asteroid from outside the Solar System, we should immediately launch a mission to fling one of our asteroids back in the direction it came from.

Clickbait Isn’t New

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Clickbait existed before clicking did

“When you find out what these kids are jumping into, your jaw will drop!”

“Baby ducks see water for the first time—can you BELIEVE what they do?”

Confronted with such emotionally charged lines, it’s almost impossible not to click. Do the tykes tumble into a vat of chocolate syrup? Are ducklings reaching for toothpaste to brush their beaks? Can you summon the willpower to direct your itching index finger away from the mousepad? Or, will you take the clickbait?

It’s easy to think the internet is to blame for the brain-tease-and-skeez that is clickbait, or “the use of sensationalized headlines to lure people to click an online link.” We may be hypersensitive to clickbait because of the internet, but it’s actually been around for a lot longer than we thought. Clickbaiting is really just “yellow journalism,” by another name. Sensationalized news is nothing new. So, let’s take a closer look at the language used to get people to read something (whether misleading, or not) from criers to newspapers to the internet.

Town crier: the original clickbaiter?

The original clickbaiter was quite possibly the town crier in medieval Europe, bellowing the King’s news while interjecting teasers to visit the “finest” alehouse in the land. (After which, he’d shout a reminder that residents not pee or poop in the river the day before the alehouse brewed beer, a process that required drawing water from the, ideally excrement-free, river.) If this sounds like advertising, it is. If this sounds like providing just enough information to compel people to do certain things (like visit the alehouse and the outhouse), it is. Figuratively speaking, today’s clickbait also sends people to the alehouse or the outhouse; either to guzzle entertaining, intoxicating blather or to bear witness to the stinging stench of literary effluvium.

“Flip-bait” and yellow journalism

Clickbaiting speaks to the incestuous relationship between news and advertising, as the town-crier well recognized. Nineteenth-century journalism exploited this relationship and devised pre-clickbait baiting ruses of its own. In a heated circulation battle between the news giants of the 1890s—Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal—exaggerated headlines, fake news, big scandals, emotional manipulation, and splashy pictures filled the dailies to entice readers to buy. Clickbait 1.0, or “flip-bait” of the era, tempting people to flip the page.

Newspapers that engaged in flip-bait exaggeration were practicing yellow journalism, so-called because a popular comic-strip character named Yellow Kid pranced around the pages of New York World in an effort to jack up sales. Dressed in a yellow night-shirt that served as his speech bubble, the bald man-baby from the slums said weird things like “Gee! Wots de matter? I feel turrible worse.,” “Dis is grate stuff!,” and “Hully gee!,” while smoking cigars, swigging champagne, and engaging in racist boxing matches. Preposterous as it may seem now, Yellow Kid got people flipping.

Clickbaiting today: You won’t BELIEVE the ploys to get you clicking

Over a hundred years later, clickbait pros like BuzzFeed, Upworthy, and now the Onion’s satirical ClickHole, continue to employ techniques ripe for hoaxes, hoodwinking, scandal-mongering, cheap thrills, and/or ridiculous oversimplification. When in search of a verbal “alehouse,” the techniques can be funny; when seeking legitimate news, the clickbait can make you feel like you’re in a stinking outhouse.

In the spirit of true clickbait culture, here’s a little listicle of some linguistic maneuvers content-creators deploy in their clickbait titles:

 

  • “Connotation-rich vocabulary” (described by linguist Deborah Schaffer): like weird, shocking, pregnant, victim, sex, tragedy
  • A longer emotionally-charged line describing a theme, followed by a shorter, cryptic sentence: “You’ll be astounded to know how Pixie the Monkey recovered. But, it’s not how you think.” The longer sentence usually features a variation of: “You’ll be shocked . . .” “You won’t believe . . .” “Your faith in humanity will be restored/destroyed . . . .”  In other words, “We’re telling you you’ll feel this way, so you’ll click and make us money. Then, we’ll probably disappoint you.”
  • Vague pronoun reference: “This will blow your mind,” (What, exactly?), “He’s finally calling it quits” (Who’s calling what quits, and who cares?).
  • The teaser “what happens next” without any actual information about what happens next: “Male nurse knocked up four colleagues. With his fist. What happens next is insane.” (Right, a big brawny brawl in a hospital. Next.)

Whenever you feel the urge to curse the interwebs, remember clickbait isn’t new. Digital “clicking” technologies just make it more in-your-face, instantaneous, and omnipresent now.

Oh, and by the way, if you did take the clickbait to see what those kiddies were jumping into and just what the HECK those ducklings did—spoiler—it’s a swimming pool and the baby quackers drank the water.

The post Clickbait Isn’t New appeared first on Everything After Z by Dictionary.com.

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Covarr
27 days ago
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Moses Lake, WA
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