Talk:2301: Turtle Sandwich Standard Model

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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This is the first time I have had a chance to see the comic early enough to make a meaningful contribution to the explanation, but this time I have no idea whatsoever what the comic is about! Moosenonny10 (talk) 20:32, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

Looks like it is referencing the standard model of elementary particles. The title text mentions four of the quarks(top,bottom,charm,strange) 20:38, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

Disagree with DgbrtBOT that this is primarily to do with genetics. I agree that it's about the standard model. Up, down, charmed and strange. It may 'because I'm dumb', but even I'm not that dumb.

I agree that this is not about genetics. The usual Mendelian diagram has the same traits in both dimensions. Maybe he didn't make the particle physics connection because that has more than 4 boxes. Barmar (talk) 21:52, 1 May 2020 (UTC)
Agree with Barmar: This is not at all about genetics, but only about the particles standard model. Hence the name given by Randal, hence the dimensions not fitting Mendel, hence the lab reference and hence the biological absurd combinations. It does not fit genetics at all, but it perfectly fits a basic assumption of the standard particle modell: That every combination does exist. Labs all over the world have spend decades trying find/prove the existance of a particle predicted by lining up the dimensions of the particles standard model just as shown here and most seeming just as absurd. 00:06, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

I added a bit about the physics part of it, but it can definitely use more information! ChunyangD (talk) 20:52, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

Randall missed an obvious physics/turtle joke "turtles all the way down" reference here Glenn Strycker 4:56pm CDT 1 May 2020

If this really is about genetics, which I question, it seems likely that most people who haven't studied genetics would find the use of genetics jargon to be less than helpful in an explanation.Darthpoppins (talk) 22:46, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

In my opinion, the ExplainXKCD community has been successfully trolled by the contributor of the explanation of this comic, and with humorous effect. The troll consists of an explanation couched entirely in terms used primarily by biologists but generally difficult for others to understand, contrary to this community's practice of trying to simplify. Genotypes, phenotypes, Punnett Squares, heterozygous, homozygous, ontogeny. That being said, the contributor is certainly correct that the comic is about genetics, in that the depicted two-by-two square is immediately suggestive of the visual tool used for predicting the results of cross-breeding experiments. And the comic is certainly also about particle physics, in that the comic title refers to a "Standard Model" and then the title text alludes to particle names used in the standard model of particle physics. So the comic's joke is about the unexpected juxtaposition of genetics with particle physics, and also is about turtle sandwiches which, as drawn, are intrinsically funny anyway. Yes, @Glen, all the way down. JohnB 00:25, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

This looks less like a Punnet Square than it does like one of those political alignment chart memes. Punnet squares use symbols next to each other to designate genotypes, not diagrams of the results. Not to mention that the individual labels along the sides are supposed to be alleles, not separate effing traits! That whole paragraph is completely wrong and should be removed. GreatWyrmGold (talk) 00:44, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

Isn't this about supersymmetry? The missing pieces are the bosonic partners of the known fermions (matter particles), and the fermionic partners of the known bosons (force particles).... Joel K

For a second, I thought it said "Turkey Sandwich Standard Model"AllTheWayDown (talk) 01:31, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

This is clearly a use of the box method for factoring a trinomial in standard form (ax^2 + bx + c) which the coefficient of the first term (say ax^2) is not simply 1 (a<>1). Actually, the moment I saw it I knew exactly what it was, simply because I have been helping my high school son with his algebra the past few weeks. I laughed out loud! I never heard of this method as a math undergrad because it was brand new at the time, but now it's evidently fairly standard.

You create a 2x2 box, and write the first term of the trinomial (ax^2) in the top right corner and the last term (c) in the lower left. Then you have to figure out what factoring of a x c gives you two middle terms that when added will yield the middle term, bx. Let's call those b1x and b2x (where b1 x b2 = a x c, and b1 + b2 = b). You put those terms, b1x and b2x in the two empty boxes (in either order). Then you pull out common factors along each row and column until they multiply correctly to get the table. The terms you have pulled out then are your two binomial factors of the trinomial.

Randall has factored a turtle sandwich where the first term (ax^2) is a sandwich and the last term (c) is a turtle. These are the known terms (check marks). The unknown terms, through working the box method, turn out work if the bread is the common factor along the top row and the turtle shell on the bottom row. The sandwich filling is the common factor in the first column, and the shell-less turtle is the common factor on the second column.

I believe the alt-text is a play on the fact that, if I'm not mistaken, there are more ways to factor a trinomial if you allow imaginary numbers, because that allows square roots of negative numbers. Analogously, dividing shells differently suggests subatomic particles—thus, various quark flavors like charm and strange. EternalLearner (talk) 01:52, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

Apropos of nothing, and just for the comic relief of the commenters, I searched for 'turtle' 'sandwich' 'standard' 'model' and came across | this bad boy. I couldn't resist sharing. Thanks for the knowledge. -- brad

Uhm,wut,mostly. Okay so the earth is on a turtle. What holds the turtle up? It's turtles, all the way down, I've heard but? "Turtle legs" is my answer. Why I'm here: didn't used to say it was updated Monday, w, f, ? 04:55, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

Please refer to for the top left sighting. Steven Nijhuis (talk) 05:35, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

LOL. This is the most random comments I have seen on one of these. This is 100% particle physics. Standard model of particle physics, up quarks, charmed quarks.. this is a commentary on how we know there is gravity, and we know there are electrons and we have a standard model which is still being filled in, in order to unify the theories.

--Adam Outler 06:03, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

I'm a bit confused by these comments. It seems like people are getting thrown off by the 2x2 table thinking that the comic must be related to where they've seen tables before (genetics / factoring quadratics / ...). This is wrong though, this comic is 100% particle physics. In particle theoretical (particle) physics, the way forward has often been unification (combining forces of nature mathematically). We know the Standard Model is wrong, so physicists have been searching for ways to theoretically extend the known theory for decades. One of the most popular ways of doing this is looking for a larger symmetry group that encompasses the known symmetry groups of the equations governing the Standard Model. And the first time that physicists got REALLY close to a working theory was extending to E(5). When doing this mathematical extension of the Standard Model, you automatically get new messenger particles that are predicted (leptoquarks) that would theoretically make a transition between leptons and quarks possible (much like the weak interaction allows for transitions between quarks). The whole thing tends to get represented as a matrix visually, much like the turtle sandwich joke. tl;dr: The joke makes perfect sense in theoretical particle physics. This type of diagram is common in extending the Standard Model (which is definitely incomplete) to a larger symmetry group like E(5). Tom B