Understudy 05

September 13th, 2013, 11:33 am

Average Rating: 5.00

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What do the points point at?
Am I even real?
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Reply TheCatMolloy, September 13th, 2013, 11:40 am

Everybody loves imaginary internet points!

God, Aleister's such a hack. Way to pander to social media, Aleister. Booo.

Anyway, on yesterday's strip, somebody in the comments asked if the fact that they'd watched movies from before they were born made them a time traveller.

I say yes. By enjoying and understanding things from or about the past, we gain a sense of the world as it was before we were born.

Humans are, as far as I know, unique in our sense of history. We're interested in cavemen and Romans and the kingdoms of Westeros and so forth. We have a sense of what previous civilizations are like because we read books and watch films and we have imagination.

The human faculty of imagination can be used for time travel. Yes, you are a time traveller.

Homework is a 100-word-or-less essay about time travel. Bonus points for style and making sense, triple bonus points for actually doing the homework. Scoring is done by the QI system of arbitrarily assigning points, and represent an arbitrary value of success.

Running to meet Paige, Cosmo the Quote bunny will be updated later, but you can vote anyway to see the old quote if you like.

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User's Comments:

Reply GabrielsThoughts, September 13th, 2013, 1:08 pm

Ha! I have more imaginary internet points than I know what to do with... as well as imaginary buckets full of belly button lint But what is this QI thing? I know the Q stands for Quality, but The " I " is the real sticking point for me, what does it mean?

Also, while enjoying and understanding things from the past we need to also remember that we are viewing them in the context of then current events. Current, that is, with the act of recreation. Not necessarily within the actual context of the time period represented.

Reply Pat (Guest), September 13th, 2013, 2:09 pm

QI is Quite Interesting, a panel show hosted by Stephen Fry in which the scoring is famously inscrutable. Will Bowen, the show's "mathematics elf," claims that there is actually a proprietary algorithm for the scoring, but refuses to say more about it.

Reply FPS (Guest), September 13th, 2013, 3:24 pm

Old Cosmos Could you upload the old Cosmos somewhere?
I nearly missed everyone.

Reply Connorses (Guest), September 13th, 2013, 10:26 pm

Drew Carey Welcome to "Who's Line Is it Anyway?" where everything is improvised and the points don't matter!

Reply TheCatMolloy, September 14th, 2013, 6:26 am

@GabrielsThoughts: I think you'd really like QI. Stephen Fry throws obscure trivia questions at an assortment of Britain's top comedians. It's a panel game rather than a quiz show though, so there are no prizes and everybody'a just playing for fun.

It's all wry wit and obscure facts, I love it. There are a bunch of full episodes on YouTube.

There's another good BBC panel game called 'Just a minute' where people have to talk or a full minute about a given topic. Competitors can buzz in if the speaker hesitates, repeats themselves, or digresses from the topic, and a correct challenge means they take over the minute.

Anyone can buzz in at any instance of hesitation (um...) phrase repetition (phrase repetition) or digression from the topic.

I thought it was just a radio show, but apparently it's on TV as well. It's also good fun to play with friends if you're theatrically inclined, and a wonderful exercise to improve fluency of speech.

Reply ? (Guest), September 14th, 2013, 6:35 am

You should make an chapter where we see all 5 of the kittens.

Reply The Doctor (Guest), September 14th, 2013, 8:17 am

Essay/homework My theory of time-travel, based on the concept of actually moving through time rather then getting a comprehension of it, is that there are two ways for safe time-travel to happen: One is you merely go as an intangible invisible observer, able to watch the events at the moment they happen. The second is that if you go back and interact with the time period, its only because it was meant to happen. Going back purposely to alter history is impossible, even going back and accidentally altering time would result in a time-loop in which you would never go back to alter said event as you would have no need to, and due to you not going back the event would happen resulting in you going back to alter it. Such a loop would result in the fabric of reality breaking down, with no possible way of having time move forward from the period in time when you first go to alter events. For example, if I went back with the intent of killing Hilter and succeed in doing so, Hilter would never had existed thus giving me no reason to go back, so I would never travel back and Hilter would exist making me go back.

Well, its longer then 100 words, but eh enjoy the read.

Reply TheCatMolloy, September 14th, 2013, 7:49 pm

First essay gets five bonus points and twenty regular points!

Reply auntmousie, September 15th, 2013, 1:23 am

I am a time traveler. I am a time traveler. I travel through time, forward (according to the arbitrary conventions of our species), at the rate of one second per second. As you read this, you also travel, at the same rate. It is far more difficult to avoid traveling in time, and still more difficult to travel in the other direction. There is no theoretical barrier to traveling forward at a greater rate. In fact, this is potentially a sound investment strategy, if one can avoid incurring any expense in achieving faster time travel. This essay is precisely one hundred words including this note.

Reply TheCatMolloy, September 15th, 2013, 6:17 am

Not sure whether to award additional bonus points for precise word count, or to take points away for the last ten words being about the word count.

Going to award you a 'W' for this one.

Points for paradox-free time travel and thinking of an application for it, but you put some unnecessary commas in there so I'm going to have to hate you fiercely for about twelve seconds.

Reply jomabu (Guest), September 15th, 2013, 7:37 pm

This is too trippy . . . For the past few weeks I've been reading NtK from the beginning ("no thumbs"), making a slow journey in time from the early 2000's forward, reading comics and comments with shifting cultural references, shifting technical references, etc.
I'd just gotten into a comment-dense section from 2010 (late 700's) where there was a substantive ongoing conversation in the comments among Gar, Jeff, and various readers and I was thinking, "I am an observer from the future, looking at this slice of interaction happening in 2010."
And then I hit #779 ("A Dystopian Future"!) and its comments concerning the failure of the NtK.net site, and followed a link to the present (glad it's still here!) and the comments theme is . . . Time Travel!
Going back to the past now, to continue catching up in the natural way, by reading rather than jumping.
(Love that 3rd panel, btw. The very image of madness!)

Reply TheCatMolloy, September 16th, 2013, 3:46 am

What a great little sequence! Triple bonus points if that's homework, but only double bonus points if it's all lies.

Reply jomabu (Guest), September 16th, 2013, 11:58 pm

I'll accept double-and-a-half, sir.
Not because of any lies -- it's all the gods' honest truth -- but because the homework assignment was only part of what moved me to comment (the part that tipped me over the edge from inaction to action).
Mainly I just felt compelled to share this overdose of serendipity.

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