95: The Sierpinski Penis Game
|The Sierpinski Penis Game|
Title text: Inappropriate places for the Penis Game include baby showers and terrorist attacks.
The Chaos Game is a method, invented by Michael Barnsley of generating a fractal by repeatedly applying randomly-chosen transformation functions to a point and plotting the position of the new point each time. The transformation functions are randomly chosen from a small, predefined list. The surprising result of this is that, even though the functions are picked randomly, a distinctly non-random fractal image emerges.
One such fractal that can be produced by the Chaos Game is the Sierpinski Gasket, which is the fractal pictured in this comic.
The Penis Game, on the other hand, is a childish activity where people (usually schoolchildren) compete to shout "Penis!" increasingly loudly in the presence of an authority figure (usually a teacher) without getting in trouble.
The two games could be said to be similar in that they both involve iterations of transformations; in the Chaos Game, a point's position is transformed (moving it closer and closer to the attractor set of the transformations); in the Penis game, the volume of the phrase "Penis!" is transformed (becoming louder and louder). The difference is that the Chaos Game works by negative feedback (eventually settling down into a well-defined image) whereas the Penis Game involves positive feedback (at some point, the cry of "Penis!" will become loud enough that the culprit will get in trouble and the game will end). Nonetheless, they could be vaguely considered inverses of each other, and Randall is conflating the two in this comic.
The title text may be calling attention to the fact that a mathematical object such as a fractal is also an inappropriate place in which to be playing the Penis Game.
- [A large triangle is shown, with many smaller triangles inside.]
- [Words are in the triangles.]
- PENIS! Haha, penis.
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