TOM THE DANCING BUG: Super-Fun-Pak Comix, feat. Middle-Aged-Couple-In-Armchairs-Man!


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Horse should have said “100.”


Isn’t 10 correct? Only in base 10 3…

100 would be…


ALL numbering systems use base 10

Now that I think about it, horse would have used


1 for each hoof, 0 being “no hooves”
And thus 2+2 := 4


Maybe the horse was counting in base 4.


Huh? As ChuckV said, the horse used base 4. Our ten fingers give us base ten, the horse’s four hooves give it base 4. Base 10 on left, base 4 on right:

0 0
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 10
5 11


I notice Ruben is not using the new Jeb Bush look!



I prefer the older, jollier Jeb before he went all Sam the American Eagle.


As far as the horse is concerned, it uses base 10 - see your chart, our numbering system on the left, the horse’s on the right.

But, yeah – we go from 1…10 on our fingers, not 0…9 (I actually had to do that several times to convince myself).

You know what the 2 hardest problems are in computer science?

Cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors.

UPDATE: WAIT A MINUTE – I said that the horse would have counted 0…1…2…3…4, Only in base-3 would “10” have been a correct answer, and “100” would be a correct answer in … base 2? I dunno. (hold on, let me check on my toes, too…)

In (what we call) base 4 (and the horse calls base 10), 2 + 2 := 4
In (what we call) base 3 (and the horse calls base 3) 2 + 2 := 10

I am recalling time in high school where I would write out long lists of numbers in hexadecimal…

UPDATE UPDATE: I am soooooo confused


Nope, base 4 does not contain 4. (I know, weird right?) It’s got 4 symbols, 0, 1, 2, and 3.


Why are you jumping straight from 13 to 100? (why not 20?)



let’s go shopping!


This is very clever, buuuuuuuuuuttttt…

base 1 doesn’t.


Base 1 doesn’t count.


Sure it does, it just takes a lot longer.


All right, I got nothing.


Now that’s funny. Bravo!


OK, did my public school just skip this “base” stuff, or am I so old that it didn’t exist when I was learning the maths?


All this talk of math, and no one is savoring the scrabblicious potential of the word “uxorious” ?

Also, I would totally watch the Middle Aged Couple In Armchairs movie. Didn’t Marvel already announce that one for 2053? Why isn’t the hype train rolling already?


I’m actually pretty good at naming things. But off-by-one errors… grrrr.

I rarely work in the same language two days in a row, and there’s no consistency in computer languages as to whether string, array and/or loop indexes begin with zero or one. At this point I literally check every single time; I’ll routinely put in debug statements that tell me beginning and ending loop indexes and I’ll purposely reference whatever[0] to see if it’s in bounds, then I’ll put a reminder comment in the code so I won’t have to do it again for this codebase. My memory’s not reliable enough for the dozens of languages I need to use, and I’ve been burned too many times (and had to fix too many other people’s off-by-one code) to do it any other way.

I have seen other people try to fix code by randomly inserting and deleting equals signs into loop termination conditions… like “it’s broke, I’ll try converting this -ge into a -gt and see if that fixes it!” Sometimes this “fix” actually works, too, which makes the baby Djikstra cry.


I certainly don’t know how to do it, and it was not in any of my curricula, but it has to do with decimals using the “tens” place because humans like it because we have ten fingers. I want to say some ancient South Americans used base 12 or something, IIRC, though. the joke is that the horse doesn’t have ten fingers.

different “bases” are useful in computer science due to efficiency, somehow; I’m guessing particularly since processing power and memory were in such short supply in the early days? anyhow, I’ve only ever heard of it in a CS context when I browse the same places as them on the internet. anyway, I struggle mightily with math but I’ve been able to infer the above, someone else could probably explain it properly.


I’m just gonna say that the horse joke and the Dunwoody one might be my favorite Super-Fun-Pak Comix I’ve ever read. At some point a couple weeks ago, I had occasion to read the comics page in the L.A. Times for the first time in a decade, and though I loved newspaper comic strips for most of my life, I was amazed at how funny they weren’t anymore.

But these two were great.