1056: Felidae

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'Smilodon fatalis' narrowly edged out 'Tyrannosaurus rex' to win this year's Most Badass Latin Names competition, after edging out 'Dracorex hogwartsia' and 'Stygimoloch spinifer' (meaning 'horned dragon from the river of death') in the semifinals.
Title text: 'Smilodon fatalis' narrowly edged out 'Tyrannosaurus rex' to win this year's Most Badass Latin Names competition, after edging out 'Dracorex hogwartsia' and 'Stygimoloch spinifer' (meaning 'horned dragon from the river of death') in the semifinals.

[edit] Explanation

This comic shows a graph with three parts.

First, the names are sorted up by genera (plural of genus, a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms) from bottom to top of which animals would win in a fight. Secondly, the names within the genus are then sorted by coolness of name from left to right (the degree of "coolness" of the name is apparently determined in subjective manner by the author). Thirdly, in red you can see the direction that Apple has taken with nicknaming the versions of their OS X operating system. They started at v10.0 "Cheetah", and have moved through genera from there in no order that this chart can make out.

OS X version Code name Year released
10.0 Cheetah 2001
10.1 Puma 2001
10.2 Jaguar 2002
10.3 Panther 2003
10.4 Tiger 2004
10.5 Leopard 2006
10.6 Snow Leopard 2008
10.7 Lion 2010
10.8 Mountain Lion 2012

Please note that the second words in "Snow Leopard" and "Mountain Lion" are capitalized in the table because they are used as the proper names of the operating system versions. In their normal use, as species vernacular names, they are not capitalized and are written as "snow leopard" and "mountain lion".

Bobcats are a running XKCD joke, so their inclusion is to be expected. The genus Puma here only lists synonyms for the puma (see cougar) instead of the actual genus. Of course, the three OS X versions named by three of these synonyms are not the same.

Since this comic was published, Apple has stopped naming versions of OS X after big cats: v10.8 "Mountain Lion" was followed by v10.9 "Mavericks", named after a beach in California, followed by v10.10 "Yosemite", named after the California national park.

The title of the chart depicted on the comic ("OS X problem") is perhaps an allusion to the travelling salesman problem, as the directed arrows and graph nodes might appear as a possible path of the salesperson between the cities. The computational difficulty of the travelling salesman problem might echo with the difficulties that the author has with trying to figure out the underlying reason for naming the OS X versions in particular order. The chart thus looks like a parody on the scientific presentation.

In the title text, despite being named after "Hogwarts", the magical school from the Harry Potter series of books and movies, Dracorex hogwartsia is real. On the other hand, all of the contestants listed for the Most Badass Latin Name competition have problematic credentials: Smilodon combines two Greek roots for carving knife and tooth, Tyrannosaurus combines two Greek roots for king and lizard, Stygimoloch combines a Greek root with a Semitic root, and Hogwarts would be barred from good Latin usage for the spells alone.

[edit] Transcript

Well-known felines:
[A graph organizing various feline species labeled with common names ordered by genera (in order of which would win in a fight) on the y axis, and coolness of name on the x axis.]
Smilodon (extinct): "Saber-toothed cat (scientific name: Smilodon fatalis)
Panthera: "Jaguar", "Leopard", "Snow Leopard", "Tiger", "Lion"
Puma: "Cougar", "Puma", "Panther", "Mountain Lion"
Other felidae: "Ocelot", "Cheetah"
Felis & Lynx: "Housecat", "Bobcat", "Wildcat", "Lynx"
[Some elements are further connected using an unbranched acyclic digraph. The elements are connected thus: "Cheetah" -> "Puma" -> "Jaguar" -> "Panther" -> "Tiger" -> "Leopard" -> "Snow Leopard" -> "Lion" -> "Mountain Lion".]
The OS X Problem

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I'm pretty sure there's the saber-toothed tiger in the smilodon category too. That's gonna be faaar to the right. Davidy22[talk] 10:05, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

@davidy: saber-toothed tiger == saber-toothed cat. Same animal, different name. 21:38, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

If I'm not mistaken, Dracorex hogwartsia was specifically named for Hogwarts, so the name isn't disturbingly similar.Kdesltd (talk) 06:13, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

this page is useless without a table of cat names to osx versions

cause where else am i going to go for that information? obviously [explain]xkcd. 22:43, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Here! Dawfedora (talk) 18:27, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

I see your sarcasm and raise you one wikitable. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

No one addresses what the Ox problem is - I believe that he could be referring to the fact that all the cool names are taken. Although it could be the strange order? Seems like the mountain lion version wasn't even out? Did he know that this was the name or did he guess? No matter what he did spot a problem since they did stop using cat names. Kynde (talk) 16:24, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

The version Mountain Lion had been announced in (I believe) February of that year, so he would have known about the name. 03:40, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

I personally interpreted "the OSX problem" as them increasingly struggling to find cat names for their releases which top the previous names in some way. The first three releases were clearly moving up the scale of "which would win in a fight". The fourth takes a step backwards in "would win in a fight" but moves forward in "coolness of name". Then we see a step up in both scales. Then a double step back in coolness of name. Then further progress on coolness of name before finally taking steps backwards in BOTH "coolness of name" and "would win in a fight". -- plugwash
One other problem: cheetahs are the fastest animal on earth. 10.0 Cheetah was SLOW. 18:15, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
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