Talk:2313: Wrong Times Table

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 21:28, 1 June 2020 by (talk) (A possible interpretation)
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Such an illogical table. Smaller numbers multiply to larger answers than larger numbers? Even numbers multiply to odd numbers?! How?!?! What sort of illiterate alien declared this to be the multiplication table?! 20:54, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

This is easily one of the worst XKCD comics, period. Not funny, nor clever. Just seems like noise. 20:57, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

I suspect Randall may have just been feeling random, perhaps after several months of mostly Coronavirus-related comics. Barmar (talk) 21:13, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
That's fair, I'm being a bit harsh, but this just comes across as exceptionally meaningless and contrived, so much so that I felt the need to come here and comment immediately for the first time ever 21:18, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
I relate to certain mathematical facts not sounding right, like how 54 intuitively feels like it's divisible by 4. Nonsensical, but makes sense anyway. 21:42, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

This seems like the multiplication equivalent of looking at a word and thinking it is spelled incorrectly. Sometimes I look at a simple word like "fish" and think: "That can't be right." Sometimes multiplication can feel that way, particularly 7's because those were tricky for some reason. The alt text confirms fishiness with 7's 21:09, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

Is it weird that I don't get this? I have this sense of "that is obviously wrong" when it comes to multiplication of small numbers like these, even with sevens and eights. If I read that 7 * 8 = 54, my brain screams "NOOOOOOOOO IT IS 56 YOU IDIOT!". 21:14, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
It's lucky for you! Careless errors [of all types] can be annoying, and sometimes difficult to locate... Some of us have ingrained this information better than others. (This comic seems less like a joke and more sharing a hindrance Randall suffers from when doing arithmetic. And speaking personally, I can certainly relate to that.) 18:05, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

Well, 2,2 that's actually 2^3=8. 2,3 is addition instead of multiplication. 1,2 is division instead of multiplication. 1,1 is subtraction. 10,10 seems to be a visual gag, though most of the 10s row is either multiplication by 11 or 12... There's some logic to some of these, but it's different for each row, column, or cell. 21:13, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

Yeah, there is something going on. It looks like a lot of it is remembering the correct answer to a different problem. By my count 55 squares are the correct answer to a square next to it and 31 have a correct answer for somewhere else on the grid. Also, 2*2, 4*4 and 5*5 are double the correct answer. 21:41, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

It's almost disappointing that he didn't hide one or two asymmetries in there just to throw us off! 22:04, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

I get the idea that this is the sort of table you'd get if you tried to train an Adversarial AI from scratch to determine x*y purely by stocastic guessing and comparing to a co-evolving 'scorer' that also starts off naively but supports each answer according to the 'rightness' it thinks it has except for the real answer which is always hard-coded to be down-scored. (Also noting that DA reportedly came by his choice of 42 by asking people which numbers were 'funnier' than others, which can be said to be a similar kind of process but without the arrayed "original multiplication" element.) 22:13, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

As someone who often confuses 7*8 as 54, I found the alt text very humorous. 22:29, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

I'm disappointed to see that 6*9 isn't equal to 42. Probably not Douglas Hofstadter (talk) 23:01, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

This is just a collection of equations with the wrong answers. I'm not sure who finds this funny. 00:33, 30 May 2020 (UTC) of oddities (talk) 01:16, 30 May 2020 (UTC)

I have asked a Code Golf Stack Exchange question with the goal of producing the shortest program that computes this function. Aaron Rotenberg (talk) 02:29, 30 May 2020 (UTC) @Aaron I had a similar thought, but was going to settle for the generator function for the main diagonal. If we can come up with one, we should submit it to Cellocgw (talk) 13:30, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

I'm disappointed that 17 does not show up in any product cell, seeing as I've known since at least 1970 that 17 is the world's most random number. <-- a fact proved for a limited case here: Cellocgw (talk) 13:35, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

I too was unimpressed with this... unitl I got to the alt text. I'm in my sixties now, and for some reason, 8*7 has ALWAYS been difficult for me. I find myself always doube-checking to make sure I did it right. And 6*7 gave me problems too, but I got over that a few decades ago. I wonder what it is about those that gave us trouble. -- 14:35, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

I do not believe that the table was constructed rationally, but intuitively by Randall. He took the two factors (in both permutations) and thought, which resulting number he felt best about. It is more like a psychological experiment than a table constructed with a system or code in mind. Sebastian -- 16:27, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

Am I the only one who reads the author's intention slightly differently? I don't think that he intended that these values feel more correct than the real multiplication table. Rather, I thought he meant that from all possible wrong values, these feel most correct to him. In this way, I at least could sympathise with many values given here. 17:34, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

Agreed--he doesn't feel that the answers are incorrect, but rather, if he were given the problem on a test, "True or False: One times two equals one half.", he'd have to think for a minute. 18:08, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
I just edited that (first) bit, myself, before seeing your comments. I hope this version is better for you (might need further editing later in the paragraph, but stil considering this). 19:12, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

I don't know whether I am reading too much into this, but couldn't it be an allusion to all contemporary anti-science and anti-rational movements? We hear a lot of times from this kind of people that they do not need big professors to tell them what is true, because they now what "feels right" to them. What feels right to them may be just as wrong as this multiplication table, but that does not stop them to keep believing it. 21:28, 1 June 2020 (UTC)