Friday, October 24, 2014


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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Happy 7th Birthday, (x, why?)! Back? After seven years and 921 comics (more or less), I'm not going anywhere!

Funny thing about using song lyrics. Thanks to the Internet I can check on the lyrics I'm not sure about, and discover that the ones I've "known" since I was a kid aren't actually the words, but they've been stored that way. As for "Signs", I discovered that every site had one of two distinct sets of lyrics. My "understanding" was somewhere in between, but still incorrect. Glad I checked. I learned that lesson all the way back in Comic #99 -- before I uploaded it, thankfully!

Starting Year 8 ... now.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

(x, why?) Mini: Algebra Problems

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

There are Algebra problems and then there are Algebra problems!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seventh Birthday Coming Friday!

Hard to believe that nearly seven years have passed since I started making these comics to pass the time and to keep my sanity. And then I started to lose a little sanity trying to keep to a schedule. So much so that I even had vacation strips running for a week!

But (x, why?), which started on this blog and then migrated -- for better exposure, I guess -- to the Comic Genesis site, is having a 7th birthday, or it is an anniversary, on Friday.

I guess it isn't too hard to believe that a webcomic can run for seven years. Many of the webcomics I read back then (or shortly after I started) are still running. It seems to be a "thing". And this "thing" is taking me places, giving me ideas. Keeps me writing, and getting me to do a little bit of programming. Okay, so I haven't done any actual programming in a few years. Now, it's more about maintaining the links and fixing anything that breaks.

Personally, there are a few things I'd like to do. I'd like to have an Archive page that updates automatically as I gave up on mine a long time ago. I'd like to understand how to write an RSS feed because even though blogger and CG both have them, my own domain does not. If I wanted to post everything there, I would lose the feed. Thankfully, there's always twitter and Facebook and Google Plus. Hell, lately I've even started updating my Pinterest pages.

I'm still having fun, even if the demands on my time prevent regular updates three times per week. (I hated to discover that it takes me almost a year to do 100 strips!) But I'll keep at it.

So be here on Friday for the seventh birthday. I just hope I have the time tomorrow to finish a comic.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

(x, why?) Mini: Break the Plane

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Why are planes always parallelograms? Doesn't that get confusing?

I've wanted to do this every Sunday since the season started, and then I forget until the last minute ... so I say, "That's okay. There's Monday Night, too!", but that hasn't worked out recently, either. So here it is.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Max & Min

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Some thought that they could have Max without Min, but he knew his boundaries, and Min was always there.

Belle and Mr. Whiskers have been here for a while now, too. I think that this is their sixth appearance in seven years.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Hand Up

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

They also needed someone to make the coffee, apparently.

I've been wanting to get these characters back into the same building for a while. Every time that I have a good (or reasonable) idea for a gag, I put it on hold because they aren't in the same place. But the sub jokes have run their course, and I keep losing the notes I make for when they get together. There's only so much that can happen at a bowling alley.

Co-incidentally, I am currently back in my old school, but this may only be a temporary situation. However, wherever I wind up, for now, I think these characters need to be together. I don't keep much of a storyline with these "gag-a-day" individuals, but I like to be consistent for those reading along.

And, yes, I checked. It seems the A.P.'s rank is only given as "Leader" (or, I should say, the source material's rank).

Sunday, October 12, 2014


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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Numbers of Cos(play) would be totally rad!.

Hopefully, there are enough buried references to math, sci-fi and this very comic to keep people guessing/wondering/analyzing for a while!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

More Filling, Less Great?

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

You shouldn't be drinking so much anyway. They're doing you a favor!

Monday, October 06, 2014

(x, why?) Mini: Law in What Order?

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Observation #1: I'm not sure in those are shapes in the alley, or the chalk outlines.

Observation #2: With their police hats on, those guys are *octagons*, just like STOP signs are.

These police men, er, ... units, er, ... shapes first appeared last Halloween in a Math horror movie.

I just missed out on having these cops appear on "10/4" (like they should have but, you know, Real Life) and they're a few too late to be comic 911 (it's 914).

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Hooked on a Flowchart

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Have you ever known anyone who just does the chant waiting for someone to jump in with the words. Have you ever been that person?

Flowcharting: a lost art. It doesn't have to be complicated, but it shouldn't be too "clever", either. Mostly, it should be readable so people in your audience can understand it (not everyone involved in a project is an expert coder). Readability, and easy understanding, are why I incremented the counter at the start of the loop instead of the end, and why there are two decisions instead of using a remainder function (Modulo) to see if the counter is two more than a multiple of four (or one more, if I incremented the counter at the end of the loop.) Going for the punchline, not the coding specs.

And, like Ken, when the chant starts, sometimes you wonder if it'll actually end.

October, already? Anniversary month.

Monday, September 29, 2014

(w, x, y, z) in Four Dimensions

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

I may make a poster of this even if my students get neither the math nor the TV reference. They need to learn about both.

As far as the math goes, there are two points on the co-ordinate plane to start. Let's call the first one Point A, with coordinates (-5, 2). The other point we'll call Point B, was at (2, 4) -- so it wasn't a rotational image of Point A. Point B has up and moved itself, which points don't usually do -- but then, they don't sing TV theme ditties, either. The image of Point B is at a translation of up 3 and 5 to the right, or T5, 3, which puts it at (7, 7).

In the second image, B' moves from Quadrant I to Quadrant IV. It's not a reflection over the x-axis (although it could be represented as a glide reflection), so we'll call it another translation. This translation appears to be 3 to the left and 12 down, which we represent with negative numbers, T-3, -12. This puts B'' at (4, -5).

Things get interesting with the third illustration as the point moves two more times, this time moving in three dimensions. We don't have any scale for the z-axis, so let's label the original plane as z = 0 and then increment by 1 as we move up. Using that frame of reference, B'' is located at (4, -5, 0). It then gets translated to B'''(-6, -6, 1), which is a transformation of T-10, -1, 1, and finally to B''''(2, 5, 2), a transformation of T8, 11, 1.

Keeping in mind that this panel shows a Composition of Transformations, we denote it in reverse order, the translation of the translation, using the form

T8, 11, 1 o T-10, -1, 1

The final frame shows a tesseract. I don't get to use those very often, but they are fun to draw (and to say). A tesseract is a way of representing hypothetical four-dimensional spatial coordinates. It might be better represented with a three-dimensional model, in the same way that three dimensions can be modeled in a two-dimensional image, but since I don't have an actual three-dimensional comic, this is the best I can do.

We use the last three letters of the alphabet for the usual three dimensions, (x, y, z), so we're out of letters. How do we represent the fourth spatial dimension? We can use w for it, but it seems awkward using (x, y, z, w) (and maybe people who work with higher mathematics than I do actually do this -- I don't know), but it would seem easier and more logical to use (w, x, y, z), putting it first like move up an office tower increases the first digit of the room number (and different corridors might represent increments of the second digit). Because we can't tell where the point is coming from nor do we have any scale for the new position, we'll skip writing a transformation statement for it. (Or I could leave it as an "obvious" "exercise for the reader".)

One final note and I'll end my seemingly endless mind-dump of this stream of thought: I keep referring to four spatial dimensions. This is to distinguish from the usual four dimensions we live in. Originally, the comic read "(w, x, y, z) in 4D space-time", but something about that bothered me. First, I don't know that tesseracts would be used to represent a time dimension mixed with three spatial ones, although I don't see a reason why they couldn't be. Moreover, the entire point of the comic was to use "(w, x, y, z)", which wouldn't make sense if we were using time, which would more logically be represented as t, which would give us (x, y, z, t), space plus time gives us space-time.

And that doesn't sound like a radio station. Certainly not one Dr. Johnny Fever would work at.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Keeping Time With Music

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(C)Copyright 2014, C. Burke.

Doesn't anything before 11 or after 8 in the morning?

She cried, "Moe! Moe! Moe!" Nyuk, nyuk! Wiseguy!