761: DFS

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:59, 28 December 2013 by (talk) (Transcript)
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A breadth-first search makes a lot of sense for dating in general, actually; it suggests dating a bunch of people casually before getting serious, rather than having a series of five-year relationships one after the other.
Title text: A breadth-first search makes a lot of sense for dating in general, actually; it suggests dating a bunch of people casually before getting serious, rather than having a series of five-year relationships one after the other.


When doing a blind search in computing, there are two main tactics - depth-first search, and breadth-first search. Depth-first search, as indicated in the comic, means going as far as you possibly can before looking at other possibilities. This turns out to be a bad idea: instead of preparing for his date, as he should have been doing, he instead spent the whole time doing research on snake venom, to the exclusion of even getting dressed. By contrast, a breadth-first search will look only minimally into a topic before moving on to another; any new depth exposed by this minimal check will be added to a list of stuff to do later. This would have allowed the man to briefly check many more things within the time allotted, and probably still have been able to get dressed.

LD50, or median lethal dose, is the dose of a toxin required to kill 50% of the population studied, usually expressed in milligrams of toxin per kilogram of body mass. The inland taipan's venom does, indeed, have highest median lethal dose among snake venoms. (Fortunately, it is extremely shy in temperament, and will always escape danger rather than bite if it can, which is why it isn't considered to be a particularly dangerous snake.) Incidentally, corn snakes and garter snakes are not even remotely dangerous to humans (in fact they're the most popular pet snakes), and of the four different species commonly known as "copperheads," the only dangerously venomous one is Deinagkistrodon acutus or sharp-nosed viper.

The relationship advice given in the title text should probably not be taken too seriously, even though one might be more sure about what kind of person one is looking for after already having dated a few people.


Preparing for a date:
[Hairy with wet hair and a towel around his waist thinks with his hand to his chin.]
Hairy: What situations might I prepare for?
1) medical emergency
2) dancing
3) food too expensive
4) bee eating contest...
[Close-up on Hairy's face.]
Hairy: Okay, what kind of emergencies can happen?
1)A) snakebite
B) lightning strike
C) fall from chair
D) tracheal bowing...
[Still thinking...]
Hairy: Hmm. Which snakes are dangerous? Let's see...
1)A)a) corn snake: ?
b) garter snake: ?
c) copperhead: ?
d) coral snake...
[Sits down in a chair with a laptop, still wearing towel.]
Hairy: The research comparing snake venoms is scattered and inconsistent. I'll make a spreadsheet to organize it.
[Bottom panel is larger than top four, and aligned to right.]
[Ponytail meets Hairy on his front stoop. She is carrying a purse, and looks down at his towel. Hairy holds his arms in the air triumphantly.]
Ponytail: I'm here to pick you up. You're not dressed?
Hairy: By LD50, the inland taipan has the deadliest venom of any snake!
I really need to stop using depth-first searches.

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I'm curious about the half-cut-off options in each panel. The first looks like '[something] eating contest,' the second looks like 'tracheal [something],' and the third looks like 'coral snake.' Alanbbent (talk) 23:49, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

I think you may be right about the snake, but the others I am not so sure. However, I can't help out with better suggestions... 23:53, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the eating contest one says "bee eating contest". 07:43, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I was reading "bee dating contest". 21:19, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I saw "bee dating context" 02:23, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Inland Taipan, also known as the Fierce Snake. Dude, wikipedia might tell you this one is shy, but its still a taipan - don't be going and getting relaxed around taipans. If its in Australia and its a snake, its a fair bet you don't want touch it. Plm-qaz snr (talk) 12:43, 13 August 2014 (UTC) [Australia]

Ironically, I've never seen any xkcd character quite as dressed as Hairy in this strip... Mumiemonstret (talk) 14:09, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Megan isn't "wearing nothing at all"! She is wearing a purse, which in fashion is also accessory. And that is practical for a date. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Simple addition: first frame says 'BFF dating control'? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I don't think so.--Dgbrt (talk) 16:16, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Several suggestions for the last entry visible:

  • BFF Rating Contest
  • Off Dating Content
  • Off Dating Context

Chemikerhero -- 18:30, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

To me it said "BFF Dating Contest". It kind of sounds like it makes sense - a contest each person dates the BFF(s) of the other person? Lol. Numbermaniac (talk) 04:16, 15 January 2020 (UTC)