Sea of Noise

Mon, 29 Jan 2007

xkcd Rocks My Webcomics World

Some friends turned me on to xkcd last week and it instantly rocketed into my top five webcomics! (Yes, I went back and read the entire archive in one sitting...) It has a geeky yet quirky appeal that I dare say will appeal to my fellow Far Side and Userfriendly fans.

Take today's comic, for example:

TV Romantic Drama Equation

If, like me, your reaction was to laugh while computing the first and second derivatives of the two functions, you owe it to yourself to become a regular reader.

The Easy Way: Start by normalizing n to 1, making both a function of a single variable x. From the first derivatives, you'll see that both functions have a critical point at x=1/2. However, for the gay cast, the second derivative is positive on (0,1), implying a minimum; while, for the straight cast, the second derivative is negative on (0,1), implying a maximum. (Of course, x=0 and x=1 are maxima for the gay cast and minima for the straight cast.)

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