568: Well 2

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Well 2
But I've made $13.72 already today! Ow, stop throwing pennies.
Title text: But I've made $13.72 already today! Ow, stop throwing pennies.


This is the second comic in the Well series: The first was 561: Well.

The average person's lifespan is 80 years now. So, while immortality may become a reality within the coming century, Ponytail won't live long enough to achieve it.

Cueball is looking for a programming language that does not need him to be specific about his ideas. When humans communicate ideas to other humans they may be vague but still understood, since the listener can infer a lot of detail from context and basic knowledge. Until we start 'raising' compilers (like you would a child) compilers will not possess that feature. Hence the need for the programmer to be exact in communicating his ideas to the compiler. No language will ever be able to change that. Cueball complains that he knows what he means, perhaps hoping that this is perfectly sufficient.

Finally we find out that one of Megan's admirers, Mike, whom she avoids, is hiding in the well. He has been waiting for her to come for her uncomfortable truth, so he can make her believe that she is actually attracted to him. But she is not so easily fooled and calls his bluff, telling him to come out of the well.

The title text suggests he might also have been down there for the money everyone is throwing in to the well to get this uncomfortable truth. So it has never been a working well. When everyone (or just Megan) finds out about this, Mike is bombarded with the all the pennies people have brought along.

In the comic game 1608: Hoverboard there is also a well in the left part of the world. This well has the same type of covered top and at the bottom (it is very deep) there is a girl and above her a coin, like the one thrown into a wishing well. On these links, to images on xkcd ; used in the game, the top and the bottom of the well can be seen.


[Four people are lined up by a covered well, Ponytail in front followed by Cueball, Megan and a man with some kind of hat (could be Beret Guy, but only half of his head is shown so it is not clear). A large sign stands well in front of the well. Ponytail throws in a coin.]
Well: Science may discover immortality, but it won't happen in the next eighty years.
Sign: The Uncomfortable Truths Well.
[Zoom in on the well and Cueball who throws in a coin.]
Well: You'll never find a programming language that frees you from the burden of clarifying your ideas.
Cueball: But I know what I mean!
[Same zoom in on Megan who throws in a coin.]
Well: You avoid your friend Mike because you're uncomfortably attracted to him.
[Megan bend in over the well looking down]
Megan: Nice try, Mike.
Megan: Get out of the well.
Mike (from inside the well): Aww.

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...1,372 people??? Greyson (talk) 20:41, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Not necessarily; maybe some people threw quarters, dimes or nickels? 22:06, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Could the money be a refernce to 313: Insomnia? 02:35, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Your IP address starts with the same digits. 17:45, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

The explanation has this line: "Maybe Megan still thinks the well really works, since she wishes him to get out." I really don't think that is the implied meaning. To me it is pretty clear (and backed up by the title text) that Mike is actually down the well. --Pudder (talk) 08:51, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

The explanation above interprets panel #2 as meaning that no programming language will ever be self-documenting (inherently clear to the reader). I don't think that's what it means, and furthermore think that self-documenting code plausibly could exist (at least, I don't see why it would be impossible). Instead, I took panel #2 to mean that no programming language will ever allow you to be vague about what you want the program to do: writing a program inherently involves specifying in exacting detail every single thing the program should do in every possible situation, and no possible change in the language can ever eliminate that fundamental difficulty. (I feel that non-programmers generally fail to appreciate the staggering level of precision that programming requires.) 09:00, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

What you need to do is invent audio.
Some sort of a warm wax jar that will take an imprint of sound-waves that you can collect ideas in. With enough jars you could explain the idea as you go -even include problem solving with each step.
It just requires some sort of mechanism to read it back later. And something to cool the wax and keep it solid until needed.
I think that is what comments are for (unless you're being sarcastic, in which case "ha ha!")21:00, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 14:26, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

I changed the interpretation of the programming language part to mean the communication problem between programmer and compiler, rather than between programmer and others. I take it from that I am not the only one, feeling that this is more what is meant here. --SomebodyFromTheInternet 07:38, 9 July 2015