21 Comments

  1. In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man can be king. In the land of wavy lines, the guy who can draw a straight line can get a patent. Works for me.

    The artist had to work to make the “patent office” sign without accidentally using straight lines to make the letters.

  2. Why does he look so upset? If he’s always inhabited a wavy world, what’s the problem exactly? They seem to have got by ok without straight lines since they have (at least) clothing, chairs, glasses and patent offices. Is he upset because he realises while sitting there that his ‘invention’ is useless?

    Although I did notice that the shadows cast by the chairs are straight, so they’ve already got some form of linear in their world. Maybe that’s it. Someone beat him to it.

  3. What I don’t understand is why didn’t he use his brand new invention on himself. I think it would have worked better if the scene showed him sitting across the desk from the patent examiner, who would still be wavy, whereas the inventor would have had a crisp, straight line appearance.

    P.S. Naming no names, I can think of a number of cartoonists (living and dead) who could really have profited from this invention.

  4. P.P.S. @ Mitch – “…Is such a world even possible?…

    There is supposedly a bit of “fuzziness” inherent in the “string theory”used in particle physics. I only took two years of college physics, so I never had to work out the multidimensional equations, but according to the popular descriptions of string theory, the “additional” dimensions occur within such a miniscule physical scale that they are not observable by ordinary means..

  5. I don’t know about 2 + 2 = 5, but my high school biology teacher told us, “In mathematics, one plus one equals two, but in biology, sometimes one plus one equals three.”

    And in geometry, you can change Euclid’s fifth postulate, the parallel postulate, and still derive a consistent system of theorems, as shown by Riemann, Lobachevsky and others. One such system correctly describes geometry on the surface of a sphere, which, if you think about the etymology, is the system that SHOULD have been developed for “geometry”.

  6. @Kilby, the fuzziness isn’t specific to string theories. (There is no one string theory.) It’s inherent in quantum mechanics, of which the various string and brane theories are hypersets.

  7. Stan says, “They seem to have got by ok without straight lines”.

    They’ve gotten by so far without straight lines because they haven’t had any.
    Our world got by OK without telephones until Mr Bell came along. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Bell’s invention was useless.

  8. “They’ve gotten by so far without straight lines because they haven’t had any.”

    But they do. See the shadows?

  9. @ Carl Fink – I’m sure you’re right, but the most commonly known example of “quantum fuzziness” is Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle“. which isn’t what I meant. I was referring to the manifold of (10, 11, or more) “extra” dimensions used in various versions of the (multiplicity) of available string theories.

  10. Stan asks “Why does he look so upset?”

    That’s a universal side effect of having to wait in a chair when you had an appointment for half-an-hour ago.

  11. “That’s a universal side effect of having to wait in a chair when you had an appointment for half-an-hour ago.”

    Ahhh yes. Straight up!

  12. Usefulness? First to mind – straight lines would make for more comfortable roads to drive on.

  13. He does look like a mighty wizard – just we think same should look differently. Not all wizards wear tall pointy purple hats and have capes.

    When I first started actually working as an accountant (as opposed to working for my dad for fun and after I had graduated from college) I worked for a rather nice man about my parents age. I looked younger than I was – add in that I had graduated from college in 3 years when I was 20 due to where my birthday falls in the year, picking up 12 credits while in high school and going summers – also short, only 5’1″ and some clients were upset at my coming in to do their books as I looked too young to working. They just thought that an accountant should be older man, not a short, chubby, 20 year old who looked even younger.

    (He refused to change and do their books instead of me going in to do same and eventually it was no longer an issue and he had not lost any clients due to same.)

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