Thursday, December 24, 2009

Professional development: xkcd

I love xkcd, and I love Richard Feynman. I'm fond of zombies, too. I've spent several hundred posts and perhaps a quarter million words to say what Randall Munroe dashes off in a few stick figures above.

The guy's a comic genius, he loves the Pleiades, and he happens to be a physicist, too.

Randall Munroe generously lends his creations out to the bloggers. Really.


John Spencer said...

I've loved his comics for awhile and it strikes me that the world's best comic strip writer creates more strips of better quality than anyone else I've seen. And he licenses it as a Creative Commons.

I don't mind people making money doing what they love. But the minute you become convinced that you are "paid to do" something rather than "paid so that you can" do something you make yourself a commodity and this comes with some costs:

1. You are less likely to take chances.
2. You are more likely to cut corners.
3. You spend more time on PR and ass-kissing to ensure that you move up an imaginary ladder.
4. You hold back your good stuff with the hopes that it will pay off in an investment later on. Thus good bloggers get book deals and then save their best stuff for books and great speakers quit doing interviews and save it for keynote addresses.
5. You no longer collaborate and share.

I have a hunch that the quality of his work has increased because he shares.

doyle said...

Dear John,

Do you still give interviews (ldr!)

ertzeid said...

Io, Saturnalia!

ok, I read another post on my RSS reader that is not here on the blog proper. If I'm referencing something I wasn't supposed to see, I apologize.

NORAD Santa tracking is amazing. They have videos! I never thought I could love the military, even a little. It must be a Christmas miracle.

Christmas has far more to do with winter solstice than with Christ. I'm not exactly sure what time of year Jesus was born beyond that it wasn't the end of December. It was either summer or fall. It was the pagan Norse who refused to convert unless they got to keep their winter traditions (lighting and decorating trees, giving gifts, general celebration). In fact, if you ever see an old Stave church, the images of Jesus have only one eye, as Odin did.

Finally, the comment to the left of my 'leave a comment' box has a monkey icon. And the word verification is 'manki'. I'll accept this as another Christmas miracle, though I'm not sure what it actually accomplishes.

doyle said...

Dear ertzeid,

We were just talking about you tonight!

It wasn't your imagination--I pulled the NORAD one off because it wasn't science teachy enough, so I posted it somewhere else.

A one-eyed Jesus Odin--now there's an image. I may play with that one tomorrow.

Manki icons--it's a Christmas miracle!

What does any miracle accomplish? Sometimes simple reminders that chance and fate are intertwined. Or maybe it's just quantum mechanics, and your number came up.

(Please stay safe and warm out in the great West--and don't forget those of us ensconced in the cynical, cranky Northeast.)

Louise Maine said...

Thanks for making me that! Won't say what we need to do for schools...

Shannon said...

About a month ago I started reading your blog, I've been going through your archive and have loved reading it all.
I'm a senior in college and this past semester my beliefs on many things have changed and I have felt lost but very alive at the same time. Your blog has been one of the many guides helping me through this time. I wish I could describe just how enjoyable and meaningful it has been for me to read your blog. So thanks!

Also I had to comment because I love XKCD and Richard Feynman. My brother got me "Surely You are Joking Mr. Feynman" for XMas, I am excited to read it.

nashworld said...

I LOVED his post from yesterday. The visualization on gravitational fields within our solar system is just... smart.

Feynman? You might just appreciate this:
It is a video from three posted at:

Actually- this is my favorite:

Wow. Talk about a powerful remix. Have you seen these?

doyle said...

Dear Louise,

Isn't xkcd grand? A blogger could get a huge following just posting his stuff every few days, but there's o need--Randall Munroe is a generous genius.

Dear Shannon,

Thank you for the warm words.

A good education should leave you feeling lost and very alive at the same time--sounds like you got your money's worth from your school.

You might consider reading Wendell Berry along with Feynman. They both say similar things in very different disciplines.

Dear Sean,

I am a bit deaf--I looked at the videos, but could not understand what the voices were saying.The imagery was wonderful, though, and I may show them to my classes during a lull.

Is there anything as musical, though, as Feynman's own voice? What a wonderful cosmopolitan blend unique to this part of the world. I love his voice--and I can understand it.