Comic 240 - Technobabble

2nd Mar 2012, 10:31 PM in Filling in the Past
Average Rating: 4.8 (5 votes) Rate this comic
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

view 2nd Mar 2012, 10:31 PM edit delete
Wah! Is it just me, or is Elvis super-cute on this page?


cattservant 2nd Mar 2012, 10:39 PM edit delete reply
Yes he is. Well on his way towards super-smart also. I think he's found a motivation and maybe a mentor too.
view 2nd Mar 2012, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
Not really. He just sounds smart to you because you're not from their culture. Destructive backups and QRAM are common knowledge, so it's roughly the same as a kid from our culture saying "what we need are cell phones that have video recording!"
cattservant 2nd Mar 2012, 10:49 PM edit delete reply
What you see is dependent on which set of eyes you bring with you... (Super-smart is the baseline in the Future!)

A kid who might go on to do outstanding things with a sufficient motivation and guidance.
Fleurt 3rd Mar 2012, 12:08 AM edit delete reply
Nevermind he looks quite aware and concerned, that's the key to smartness for me.

About conservation of certainty, it seems that the biggest of their problems with robots is the conservation of humanity...
view 3rd Mar 2012, 12:18 AM edit delete reply
Well, one leads to the other.
Fleurt 2nd Mar 2012, 10:47 PM edit delete reply
In the first frame Elvis looks as tall as Jim, but in the close-ups he looks much more like an androgynous kid. I'm not criticising, actually he gives me a nice impression. The multiple changes in his expression renders a profound deepness, and a rational sensitivity.
He looks already cooler than Jim to me =}
view 2nd Mar 2012, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
Ahhh, the first panel is just art fail. Maybe I should tweak it.
Alecsander 2nd Mar 2012, 11:51 PM edit delete reply
He doesn't look to be exactly the same height as Jim to me, but he's not much shorter either. In the first panel, that is.
JasperWB 2nd Mar 2012, 11:13 PM edit delete reply
He does look very cute. He'd still make a good Joseph you know.
cattservant 2nd Mar 2012, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
He's definitely an anti-Shemp though.
view 2nd Mar 2012, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
I already told you, there are no good Joes!
JasperWB 2nd Mar 2012, 11:22 PM edit delete reply
That hurts...
view 2nd Mar 2012, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, the only good Joe is a Sloppy Joe. ;|
JasperWB 3rd Mar 2012, 12:12 AM edit delete reply
Bah! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken. Leave my loneliness unbroken, quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!

Sloppy Joe...
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 12:31 AM edit delete reply
Oh Poe! Watch out! He's serious, he's quoting literature!!!

Oh ground beef, onions, sweetened tomato sauce or ketchup and other seasonings... "Nevermore!"

view 3rd Mar 2012, 12:44 AM edit delete reply
Oh, a lotta things... chicken, corn, green peppers, chili... sigh... onions...
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 12:57 AM edit delete reply
The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented by a cook named Joe at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa, (per Wikipedia) not far from the future alternate view-niverse location of the city of Metropolis. (A coincidence? Hmnnn...)
view 3rd Mar 2012, 1:04 AM edit delete reply
Oh, you've cracked the secret!
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 1:14 AM edit delete reply
Well, I do know there is a fifth-wall. I bump into it every so often and smudge the wallpaper. Trouble is, I can't see it! But don't worry "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!"
JasperWB 3rd Mar 2012, 1:23 AM edit delete reply
Could just be me and the medication flowing through my veins like soda through a straw, but this is probably the weirdest comments section this story has managed to spawn. People half quoting Hogans Heroes, comparing things to Bugs Bunny. And that's before you add my offbeatness..ess
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 1:31 AM edit delete reply
You Sir, are the parenthetical device which contains our widespread and wandering themes!
JasperWB 3rd Mar 2012, 1:07 AM edit delete reply
I detest Sloppy Joes. Figures it was invented in Iowa. I also hate the abbreviation Joe. But Joey and Joseph are perfectly acceptable dammit!
duLapel 3rd Mar 2012, 1:15 AM edit delete reply
Elvis is cute huh... Let's see:
Big eyes . . . . . . . . . .
Tall forehead . . . . .
Small chin . . . . . . . .
Tinny tiny nose . . .

⇒ I’t Bugs Bunny º•º
Actually in it’s the normal human response to neotenous/pedimorphic faces... or in some early cognitive psychology literature as the “Bugs Bunny Effect.”
It’s why we think Bambi is adorable, and Troll Dolls lovable...
It’s why most of us consider 4 year olds cute rather than the obnoxious creatures they really are... and nature’s way of preventing all us hair brutes from brutalizing them.
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
Cute is an essential species survival skill!

Hail Sir duLapel. You've been somewhat conspicuous by your absence!
duLapel 3rd Mar 2012, 7:35 PM edit delete reply
cattservant wrote: "Cute is an essential species survival skill!"
...a survival trait of mammalian young and apparently human woman by some Darwinian Psychology notions..., but yea, you got it in a nutshell!
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 8:15 PM edit delete reply
RE: Nutshells; Now all I have to look out for is the

You know, there has been very little discussion of the social anthropology (robopology <?>) of the view-niverse robots. Given their stated need to emulate humans it would be interesting to see what they do 'alone in the dark' so to speak.
Gyde 3rd Mar 2012, 1:51 AM edit delete reply
Yay, I finally have to look up a term from someones comment again! For some reason I love it when that happens.
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 2:12 AM edit delete reply
Canon and Comments, view's sweet universe is an excellent place to find obscure and curious references.
Prestidigititis 3rd Mar 2012, 1:41 AM edit delete reply
"Doctor Kirk says he'll try moving the QRAM into the buzz to improve buzz."

"You need so much more buzz shielding it gets too buzz and hard to buzz. That's why we need nondebuzztive buzz buzz. I know, nobody's buzz it buzz and you have to buzzstep buzz of buzzbuzz..."

Sometimes I am exactly the wrong kind of nerd to follow this comic.
view 3rd Mar 2012, 1:46 AM edit delete reply
Captain, we can route the tachyons through the warp core to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!

... You really don't have to understand the babble, it's just to show that the kid is thinking.
JasperWB 3rd Mar 2012, 1:53 AM edit delete reply
Polarity? In a neutron flow? You fuck with changing shit on that scale, y'all best be careful. You can vaporize the whole damn ship otherwise.
Prestidigititis 3rd Mar 2012, 2:05 AM edit delete reply
I see your point on one basic level, view. But when so much of the character relationships depend on the fact that these robots are essentially human-ish, except when they get knocked by a crane, the stuff that gets discussed around it carries a little more weight than talking about how a spaceship moves.

I can see that the kid is thinking, in other words. I just can't get catch the depth to which he's thinking.
JasperWB 3rd Mar 2012, 2:13 AM edit delete reply
It's not that important. The only parts that really do matter, the idea that "Elvis" is lamenting that robots are so fragile but little can be done with current levels of technology, is easy to figure out.
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
@Prestidigititis: But you are indeed here! There was some mention of your hypothetical comic collection in the Comments very late last month.
Prestidigititis 3rd Mar 2012, 2:22 AM edit delete reply

I just feel denser and denser as this thread progresses.

Cattservant, which comments were these?

Jasper, what does it say about me that I didn't figure it out?
view 3rd Mar 2012, 2:39 AM edit delete reply
Don't let it bother you, as long as you get the basic idea.
JasperWB 3rd Mar 2012, 3:28 AM edit delete reply
I don't know what to tell you. There is a lot that I miss the first time around. I have seen a number of details only through other people mentioning it. You just have to really read things I guess. I completely doubt its that you don't understand the basics, I think you just might be getting hung up on things that don't matter by thinking they're the parts that do matter. If it matters it gets explained. If not, its not integral to anything really anyway. Also things moving a page at a time doesn't help if you're confused. Just follow the characters emotions. Take everything in. Ask view even. If you're not getting it, it could have something to do with the comic and not you. View keeps asking for feedback and stuff anyway

I hope I didn't offend anyone here at all. I'm just trying to lend a hand by tossing out the viewpoints I maintain.
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 2:29 AM edit delete reply
It was a secondhand reference to back-issues of "Scoop-Shift" (comments page #238). Original reference (comments page #044). And the threads are very loosely woven tonight indeed! Sort of like fishnet stockings, suggestive and somewhat revealing...
Chase2806 3rd Mar 2012, 5:54 AM edit delete reply
So is Kirk wants to place Hansel's QRAM in his torso? Though Jim states you need more EM shielding to the point it is impractical. Hmmm... I'm guessing EM refers to electromagnetism or some-such. Is the torso where Hansel's power supply is located? If that is the case, what do they run on? Batteries, kinetic energy, nuclear power, solar?
view 3rd Mar 2012, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
They run on electricity, but there are a few kinds of storage they use.
Brex 4th Mar 2012, 2:18 AM edit delete reply
lol, god I can be so dense. Of course they run on electricity. They must have very efficient batteries to store such power to even function for 8 hours of activity. Hmm.. so I take it that they must recharge or "sleep" to get their power up to full in the morning. Possibly... oh so much to speculate so little data.
view 4th Mar 2012, 5:41 AM edit delete reply
Most of them use a lightweight liquid that stores chemical energy, which turns into electricity upon contact with a nanofiber stack. The stack has to be replaced once a month or so, but the fluid can be replaced in less than a minute and normally only has to be done once a day.

You could store it as a standalone battery, but since recharging it would require replacing the fluid anyway, most of the robots use it as a kind of multi-purpose cooling/spitting/energy fluid. It's super cheap.
cattservant 4th Mar 2012, 8:16 AM edit delete reply

"...cooling/spitting/energy..." and the bitter tears of young robot maidens.


"...super cheap." And possibly algae derived?

(*In the current page of Dresden Codak the heroine says that her prostheses run on glucose.)
Badger 3rd Mar 2012, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
So, extra EM shielding in the torso would make it too heavy and hard to cool. I'm just making an assumption, but wouldn't the head have EM shielding as well, or does that only apply to whatever the power source is to keep the bots from accidentally harming humans via radiation or somesuch?
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 11:03 AM edit delete reply
@Chase2806: There really hasn't been much discussion of robot physiology so far. Re: Power supply; Philostogen perhaps?

@Badger: Seems as though the farther from the power supply, the less EM shielding required. Also, there is a stated correlation between human-like appearance and human-like brain function. Not to mention, human and robot alike, the closer the proximity of the input sensors to the brain the better the function thereof.

(view certainly named this page appropriately!
ravenor78 3rd Mar 2012, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
View has the ability to determine what we will discuss next! But yeah this has to be the most jumbled comments section i've come across so far.
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 11:11 AM edit delete reply
Why, Good Morning! Up all night or just passing through?

Yes, the Commenteers were somewhat in disarray tonight. (It'll be a full moon on March 7th.)

You know, I really haven't seen much discussion of the robots 'daily functions'. Have you noticed anything?
view 3rd Mar 2012, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
First, the skull is a very good electromagnetic shield. Second, the head is far away from significant electromagnetic sources such as muscles and power conversion.
cattservant 3rd Mar 2012, 5:33 PM edit delete reply
@view: A metallic cranium would be an excellent Faraday cage.
Re: Routine robo-functions; Or, 'Robots at Home'! Maybe you could script in a page or two. Something like Gretel's Mom in an oil bath. (Remember See-Threepio in episode IV) I'm sure there would be general interest amongst the fans!
Archduke 4th Mar 2012, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
AAAAAAARGH so much chatter and gibberish, the spread of heresy is inevitable!

In other news Cattservant used the word 'viewniverse' which I hold so dear. Yay.
cattservant 4th Mar 2012, 4:12 PM edit delete reply
Sometimes only the right word will do!
Cormorant 4th Mar 2012, 2:00 PM edit delete reply
You know that feeling when you read all the way through a comic's archive and end in the middle of a chapter?


I really like this comic though.
view 4th Mar 2012, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
Well, it comes out pretty fast. 6 days a week. So hopefully you'll be okay with that.
cattservant 4th Mar 2012, 4:10 PM edit delete reply
So view... What do robots do,* when they are at home, 'alone in the dark'?

*Given their imperative to emulate human behavior.

weakcyborg 23rd Mar 2012, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
A construction crane dropped 6 metric tons of metal on Robert Woo, an architect.
Later, Woo tested one of the first civilian Ekso Bionics exoskeletons.
Hans and Jack are not that implausible after all.
view 23rd Mar 2012, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
This comic is pretty hard (Mohs scale) scifi. I have a tough time writing magical scifi because I keep thinking "Hey, if they can do X, why wouldn't they just use it to do Y all the time?"
Meddy 23rd Mar 2012, 7:53 PM edit delete reply
Woah, he took the whole crane? I thought he was only hit by the hook...
view 23rd Mar 2012, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
The T joint failed, and the whole crane fell apart. He got hit by the horizontal part that has the counterweight in it.