Talk:2269: Phylogenetic Tree

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 19:06, 17 February 2020 by (talk) (Spilling eroors korrected)
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Because of timezones this comic was released on Sunday in some areas 07:21, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

Well, it's always either that or Tuesday in some areas, right? However, yes, this again was up quite early. But the exact upload times seem to fluctuate heavily all the time. --Lupo (talk) 07:40, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

I don't know much about basketball (only heard about march Madness here/xkcd and on HIMYM before), but where is Gonzaga coming from? shouldn't it be either UVA, Kansas or FSU? or is it a different name for one of those 3 teams? Also: Do we need a march madness category? maybe as a subcategory of bracket tournaments? It seems to be quite reocurring. --Lupo (talk) 07:43, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

Gonzaga is on here as a joke. In 2019, late night host Jimmy Kimmel humorously refused to believe that they were a real college from the start of the tournament. They lost in their division finals. 16:01, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
While you are correct, I think the question is how they show up in the tree without being shown on any of the lower branches. Since this tree is about genetics, my guess is it's supposed to be a mutation that just appears out of nowhere. Gonzaga has had a few good years in the past, most notably this detail from Wikipedia: "Gonzaga advanced to the Elite 8 of the 2015 NCAA tournament, losing to eventual national champion and No. 1 ranked Duke." I suspect it's no coincidence that they lose to Duke in this tree! Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 16:25, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

Could someone explain what a "March Madness Bracket" is? It appears to be something to do with American college basketball, but why does it have the same structure as a phylogenetic tree? What does the word 'Bracket' mean here? (talk) 07:48, 17 February 2020 (please sign your comments with ~~~~) 07:51, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
Seconded. The explanation as it stands assumes that the reader is from the USA and understands American sports. Neither of these is true for me. Can we please have concise one-line explanations of:
  • what sport?
  • what teams?
  • what a bracket is?
  • what tournament this refers to?

I was a biologist; the science part is clear to me. It needs an explanation akin to that about phylogeny, for non-sports-followers and non-US-sports followers. Lproven (talk) 09:02, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

Getting better! Terms now undefined: "NCAA", "ABA", "NBA", "Division 1", "single elimination", "bracket pool", "college basketball". Lproven (talk) 11:05, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
NCAA = National Collegiate Athletic Association, but it doesn't cover all colleges -- just the bigger ones. NBA national Basketball Association, the (main?) pro basketball grouping of mens' teams (as opposed to the WNBA). ABA is _probably_ the American Basketball Association, of which I know nothing (but guessing by analogy with NBC/ABC television networks; National/American Broadcasting Company. And college basketball is, well, basketball played by college teams. For the rest of it, I'm out of my league. (talk) 06:41, 17 February 2020 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
From what I understand, the NCAA categorize teams into divisions, with Division 1 being the highest. "Single elimination" is a type of tournament bracket where once you lose a match, you're done. A bracket pool is where people get together and each makes a prediction of the bracket. Whoever is closest to what actually happened wins. The ABA is the American Basketball Association. (talk) 09:02, 17 February 2020 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The three prominent "Duke"s in the center of the chart, made me look for the logical continuation "of Earl." I didn't see it... :( (talk) 06:41, 17 February 2020 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

  • That would be a reference to the 60's song Duke of Earl. It has a refrain "duke, duke, duke of earl..." SDSpivey (talk) 17:09, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Likewise. Also, duck fuke. (talk) 07:52, 17 February 2020 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

SO is the displayed bracket last seasons? a prediction for this season? completely random? Are they even real universities? Or is Randall embedding more jokes? What is Basketball? why do universities play it? why do we care? It is only February - why are we discussing March? Mind you May Week is in June and the Octoberfest in September so March Madness could be in February for all I know? Arachrah (talk) 16:59, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

And what is with the colours?

  • All the universities mentioned (at least, those whose names are legible) are real universities: Duke University, Gonzaga University, University of Louisville, University of Dayton, University of Virginia ("UVA"), University of Kansas, Florida State University ("FSU"). Most of them are ranked highly in the current basketball rankings (published by the Associated Press and compiled from a weekly poll of sportswriters) -- Duke #6, Gonzaga #2, Louisville #11, Dayton #5, Kansas #3, Florida State #8. (These are rankings of how well the basketball teams are playing in the current season.) Virginia isn't doing as well this season, but they did win the national championship last season. It is reasonable to predict that all seven of the universities mentioned will be selected to play in the tournament this year (about 350 schools are eligible, and 68 of them are selected). Since "March Madness" (the championship tournament) is the culmination of the entire season, basketball fans start caring about March Madness before the month of March starts. (This year the tournament begins on March 17 and ends on April 6.) This tree isn't formatted properly to be comprehensible as an actual prediction of the tournament. -- 18:45, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
(What is it with the colours...) In the Biological sense, colours indicate the direct 'lineage' from the common ancestor (or an offshoot from that line) to a given end-creature (or swathes as a whole family/clade/whatever branch). In the Bracketting sense, it would show the route to the final (or as far as they got) of a competitor or a group of competitors. I'm not sure which it's 'intended' to be, but I'm sure it's a common phylogenetic tree convention, outside of this peculiar mashup.
Incidentally, I misread the comic at first as mentioning 'Duke Gonzago', as per the lines from Hamlet: "The Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the duke’s name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what o' that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung." 18:54, 17 February 2020 (UTC)