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Thread: xkcd

  1. - Top - End - #301
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: xkcd

    Yea, driving sounds like fun until you realize you could die by sneezing at the wrong time.

  2. - Top - End - #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by rooster707 View Post
    As someone whoís currently learning how to drive, I find todayís comic extremely relatable.
    This comic says more about the shockingly poor standards for drivers in the US than driving itself, though.

    20 minutes? Really? I wasn't even allowed in a training car until I passed a theory exam (for which I took weeks of class), and didn't take the driving test until after months of 3-times-per-week driving lessons with a professional driving teacher. And I'm not even talking Germany-level exams here.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  3. - Top - End - #303
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    I had to do a lot more than just take a 20 minute test, but I don't know if the standards used to be lower (or if they are lower in Massachusetts than in Virginia, where I grew up). Maybe the 20-minute test he is referring to is the one you have to take before getting a learner's permit (i.e., before you are allowed to even start learning to drive)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    This comic says more about the shockingly poor standards for drivers in the US than driving itself, though.

    20 minutes? Really? I wasn't even allowed in a training car until I passed a theory exam (for which I took weeks of class), and didn't take the driving test until after months of 3-times-per-week driving lessons with a professional driving teacher. And I'm not even talking Germany-level exams here.

    GW
    I donít think I can speak for the entire US, but thatís fairly similar to what Iíve been doing.
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    What this guy said.

  5. - Top - End - #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    I had to do a lot more than just take a 20 minute test, but I don't know if the standards used to be lower (or if they are lower in Massachusetts than in Virginia, where I grew up). Maybe the 20-minute test he is referring to is the one you have to take before getting a learner's permit (i.e., before you are allowed to even start learning to drive)?
    Relevant source material

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    I had to take hours of classes, IIRC something like 10 hours, and then pass a written exam, and then take a strict road test with an instructor (who was such a belligerent arse that I ended up failing because he was making it impossible to pay attention and in general seemed to regard anyone who wasn't a jock or cheerleader as a waste of flesh). I had to take it again after a few months of practice driving and with a different instructor (whose attitude wasn't "scream at anything that moves").

    Trying to find a good citation, but I recall reading that a disproportionate number of accidents are caused by an oddly small slice of the driving public (that is, repeated accidents involving the same drivers take up a disproportionate number of overall accidents).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    This comic says more about the shockingly poor standards for drivers in the US than driving itself, though.

    20 minutes? Really? I wasn't even allowed in a training car until I passed a theory exam (for which I took weeks of class), and didn't take the driving test until after months of 3-times-per-week driving lessons with a professional driving teacher. And I'm not even talking Germany-level exams here.

    GW
    Quote Originally Posted by rooster707 View Post
    I donít think I can speak for the entire US, but thatís fairly similar to what Iíve been doing.
    I think it was about 12 hours of classroom instruction (2 hours a week for 6 weeks), followed by 3 or 4 hours of on-the-road instruction with a professional driver (who had a brake on his side so he could stop the car), followed by a theory test, followed by a good year of having to have a "responsible" adult in the front seat to keep me from crashing, followed by an on-the-road test. The hardest part of that was parallel parking.
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  8. - Top - End - #308
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    Dunno about other places, but in the UK you can get a provisional licence to drive a car so long as you're of sufficient age (at least 15 years and 9 months) and are basically not blind. However, a provisional licence limits you to only driving when someone with a full licence is in the car with you, you have to have red L plates displayed prominently on the car, and you aren't allowed onto motorways.

    To actually get a full licence is harder now than it was when I passed my test nearly 30 years ago--there's a theory test now which didn't exist in my day, for a start. Even in my day the actual driving test was a good hour of general driving and testing specific things (e.g. three point turn), though, not 20 minutes.

  9. - Top - End - #309
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    When I got my license, 20-odd years ago, it involved four written tests, two road tests, and a half-semester class with both classroom and behind-the-wheel training. Also some eye tests.

    Part of that was that I was, at the time, bouncing back and forth between two states, and the license transfer agreement Vermont and North Carolina had wasn't applicable because I was a minor.

    I ended up taking the written test in North Carolina to get my learner's permit, so I could take Driver's Ed in school, which involved classroom work, and then road practice in a Driver's Ed car with an instructor with a brake pedal in the passenger seat. Then I came to Vermont for the summer, and because my NC learner's permit wasn't valid in Vermont, I had to take the written test again to get a Vermont learner's permit so I could practice over the summer. Then when I got back to NC, I had to take the written test again, and then a road test, in order to get an actual driver's license.

    Then I came back to Vermont for college. If I'd been two months older, I would have been able to just hand them my NC license and get a Vermont license to replace it, but I was a couple months shy of 18, so I couldn't do that. I couldn't wait for my birthday, because I started college before then and was going to need my car for that, so I ended up having to take the written test and road test again to get a Vermont license.

    Though I didn't have to parallel park for the Vermont road test, because the test proctor was aware of my situation and also thought it was ridiculous, so when we couldn't find any open parallel-parking spaces on the first pass around the block, she just asked me if I knew how to do it, and checked the box off when I said I did.

    I passed all the tests every time, though there was one question that I think I got wrong on all four written tests... because North Carolina and Vermont have different correct answers for it, and included the other's correct answer as a wrong answer, and I kept mixing up which one went with which state.

    The rules are actually stricter now. If the current rules had been in effect when I was a new driver, I would have been screwed, because the current gradated license rules would have meant that, in practice, as a minor living hundreds of miles from my family, I wouldn't actually have been able to drive at all, and my campus was in the middle of nowhere, so I wouldn't have even been able to get groceries, and then I would have starved to death because holy crap was the college food service awful.
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  10. - Top - End - #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Campbell View Post
    The rules are actually stricter now. If the current rules had been in effect when I was a new driver, I would have been screwed, because the current gradated license rules would have meant that, in practice, as a minor living hundreds of miles from my family, I wouldn't actually have been able to drive at all, and my campus was in the middle of nowhere, so I wouldn't have even been able to get groceries, and then I would have starved to death because holy crap was the college food service awful.
    I'm pretty sure that the rules currently mean that students don't have to get a new license when they move to a new state for school. I maintained my Michigan license almost all the way through college in Utah and only got a utah one because I didn't have time to go back to Michigan to renew and wasn't allowed to renew by mail that time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    I'm pretty sure that the rules currently mean that students don't have to get a new license when they move to a new state for school. I maintained my Michigan license almost all the way through college in Utah and only got a utah one because I didn't have time to go back to Michigan to renew and wasn't allowed to renew by mail that time.
    It's not the switching states that would have been the problem. It's that, in many states, licenses for minors are no longer, "You have a license, you can drive," but have restrictions on when you can drive, where you can drive, who you can have in the car with you, and so on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Campbell View Post
    It's not the switching states that would have been the problem. It's that, in many states, licenses for minors are no longer, "You have a license, you can drive," but have restrictions on when you can drive, where you can drive, who you can have in the car with you, and so on.
    It has been 10 years since I had any sort of restrictions on my license, so I don't know what things are like now, but I'm pretty sure that the only difference between the license I got when I was 16 and the license I had when I turned 21 was that the former was sideways and said "under 18 until [18th birthday]" and "under 21 until [21st birthday]", presumably to make it easier for people checking IDs to see whether I was under age or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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  13. - Top - End - #313
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    Ah, I guess Randall used a bit of hyperbole there. I expected US laws to be more relaxed than German ones but the 20 minutes bit surprised. I guess I'm happy it's not quite so bad on your streets.

    That said.. In my own experience driving really is one of the few things that get harder the more you think about it. People who drive relaxed (the appropriate amount) are far better than the ones who are always stressed out what could happen.
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    The level of license restriction on new drivers has gone far past "they need time to learn", and firmly into the land of "it makes for good political theater because we're 'making people safer'".
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  15. - Top - End - #315
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    The 20-minutes part of the comic may be an exaggeration. However, the "in high school" thing isn't: I got my driver's license in high school. Sense then, I have not had to retake any driving tests to verify that I am still capable of driving safely. It is just assumed that because I could do something in high school then I can still do it now. Considering that people brag about forgetting things that they learned in high school, maybe that isn't a particularly safe assumption.
    Last edited by 137ben; 2018-05-08 at 01:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Considering that people brag about forgetting things that they learned in high school, maybe that isn't a particularly safe assumption.
    The difference being, you probably drive every day, or at least every week. You don't use algebra every week unless you're in a very specific career.

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    .... Today's comic is way too relatable. Minus the YouTube videos. But otherwise spot on.
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    I did, in fact, take a twenty or so minute class and then a test and got my license, about seven years ago. Terrified the heck out of me. I also wasn't a minor when I got my first license, I was already eighteen, so that might account for the difference.
    Last edited by Eurus; 2018-05-16 at 12:47 PM.
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  19. - Top - End - #319
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    FYI, there is a new What If. It's been a while, and I haven't been checking regularly, so it might have been there a while.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    FYI, there is a new What If. It's been a while, and I haven't been checking regularly, so it might have been there a while.

    GW
    I think I checked some time last week and didn't see it, but I had also mostly given up on checking for them.
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  21. - Top - End - #321
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    Pretty sure I looked a week or two ago and there wasn't a new one then, so this one is pretty new. Thanks for pointing it out!

  22. - Top - End - #322
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    Comic Rocket says the new What If was posted on May 21, although it would be May 22 in some time zones. The previous one was posted March 8 2017, more than a year earlier.

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    Ah, so it's entirely dead. Good to see it back, but apart from the "that's not how it works" part he could have given some answer to the question.. Maybe if it was phrased differently, like "how long would it take to drop to earth from R1, er, L1.

    Still, I'm devastated my dream of an interstellar fire pole will never come true
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  24. - Top - End - #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    Ah, so it's entirely dead. Good to see it back, but apart from the "that's not how it works" part he could have given some answer to the question.. Maybe if it was phrased differently, like "how long would it take to drop to earth from R1, er, L1.

    Still, I'm devastated my dream of an interstellar fire pole will never come true
    He said, that's "not how it works, but here is sort of how it would work if we could pull it off".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    He said, that's "not how it works, but here is sort of how it would work if we could pull it off".
    Honestly, im more than a little disappointed that he didn't just erase the moon from the equation and have a giant pole sticking out from the earth to approximately where the surface of the moon would have been.
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    But half the fun of What Ifs is how they take an impossible situation and take it dead seriously in terms of math/physics. Just removing one of the two largest variables in the equation would be very out of character.
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    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  27. - Top - End - #327
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    He does answer the question: it would take a few years plus a few weeks, plus possibly a few years of waiting for the best time for atmospheric reentry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    He does answer the question: it would take a few years plus a few weeks, plus possibly a few years of waiting for the best time for atmospheric reentry.
    Well but that's a horribly inaccurate answer, also followed by a Statement that makes the assumption any of this is not deadly.

    Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoyedthe article, I'm just missing the bit where he says "well, if you start from L1 and just slide down (assuming (no?)/ so much friction) you'll hit the surface after x days. But then he seems more focused on the rpboem of sticking a landing that is likely deadly anyway
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    "well, if you start from L1 and just slide down (assuming (no?)/ so much friction) you'll your vapourised remnants will hit the surface after x days
    Fixed that for you.

  30. - Top - End - #330
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Fixed that for you.
    Thanks, no idea what I was thinking there

    Btw, the part about the disintegrating hands made me wonder how fast a thing can be moving for you to safely try to grab it.. But I guess this depends too much on what material you want to grab.
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