Shared posts

02 Feb 16:32

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - BEES


Hovertext: But, when I look at bees, I don't see caste.

New comic!
Today's News:
29 Jan 15:29

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Science Magic!


Hovertext: Behold! As the show continues, entropy inexorably increases!

New comic!
Today's News:
29 Jan 06:25


by Greg Ross

When David Huffman died in 1999, the world lost a talented computer scientist — Huffman was best known for discovering the Huffman coding technique used in data compression.

But it also lost a pioneer in mathematical origami, an extension of the traditional art of paper folding that applies computational geometry, number theory, coding theory, and linear algebra. The field today is finding wide application, helping researchers to fold everything from proteins to automobile airbags and space-based telescopes.

Huffman was drawn to the work through his investigations into the mathematical properties of “zero curvature” surfaces, studying how paper behaves near creases and apices of cones. During the last two decades of his life he created hundreds of beautiful, perplexing paper models in which the creases were curved rather than straight.

But he kept his folding research largely to himself. He published only one paper on the subject (PDF), and much of what he discovered was lost at his death. “He anticipated a great deal of what other people have since rediscovered or are only now discovering,” laser physicist Robert Lang told the New York Times in 2004. “At least half of what he did is unlike anything I’ve seen.” MIT computer scientist Erik Demaine is working now with Huffman’s family to recover and document his discoveries (PDF).

“I don’t claim to be an artist. I’m not even sure how to define art,” Huffman told an audience in 1979. “But I find it natural that the elegant mathematical theorems associated with paper surfaces should lead to visual elegance as well.”

Please support Futility Closet on Patreon!

27 Jan 15:43

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Teaching Math


Hovertext: Every sociology education should start with an explanation of the Big Bang.

New comic!
Today's News:
23 Jan 21:18



seems like your jam, @chelsea

26 Jan 18:30


26 Jan 17:40


23 Jan 06:33


by Greg Ross

Biologist F.W. Went points out that the physical size of human beings was a critical factor in their mastery of fire. Any flame must maintain a certain size in order to sustain the ignition temperature of its fuel, and a wood or coal fire in particular radiates so much heat that it must maintain a fairly large critical mass in order to keep burning; a small fire will go out.

“Interestingly enough,” Went writes, “a wood or coal fire above the critical size produces just the right amount of heat to warm man in a cave, or a room, or a camping site. But ants or small rodents would have to keep too far away to make a fire economical, or rather, they would be unable to bring up enough wood to keep the fire going. Therefore in an ant society fire is not an economical possibility, and they have developed without its benefits, by operating only while outside temperatures are within the physiological range. Man on the other hand has been able to move into very cold areas by using fire.”

“Man, with his remarkable brain, developed the use of fire, but … only a creature of man’s size could effectively control that fire,” writes Peter S. Stevens in Patterns in Nature (1974). “It happens that a small campfire is the smallest fire that is reliable and controllable. A still smaller flame is too easily snuffed out and a larger one too easily gets out of control. Prometheus was just large enough to feed the flames and to keep from getting burnt.”

(F.W. Went, “The Size of Man,” American Scientist, 56:4 [Winter 1968], 400-413.)

Please support Futility Closet on Patreon!

21 Jan 05:42

The System 780: Alternatives To Netflix And Chill

by admin

I'm not sharing because I think this is funny but because I think it's weird/stupid how many jokes about "Netflix and Chill" are like this. Also "Netflix and Chill" is neither alliterative or assonant, why are all the jokes like this?

This comic, unlike most podcasts, is not sponsored by Slack. Or Basecamp. Or, while we're at it, Naturebox.

First off, for my mom that will read this comic, please don’t ask me about this one. But here’s a link to a definition of Netflix and chill, so you don’t have to ask me about it.

21 Jan 13:54

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - History is Weird


Hovertext: Thank you for browsing this funnybook on the Galactic Network.

New comic!
Today's News:

If you want to come to BAHFest London's Evolution show, you must buy online tonight by midnight! There will be no tickets at the door! 

19 Jan 17:32

Hey, how are cool teens holding their cigarettes these days? Index and middle finger with lit end poking out the back of the hand? Pinched between thumb and other fingers?

5 vape pens, equally spaced while pinched between the teeth.

19 Jan 23:12

Angry white folks launch YET ANOTHER petition against Kanye West, this time because he wants to do a Bowie cover album. Can we stop pretending this has nothing to do with racism? If you don't like Kanye, then just don't buy his music. Jeez.


I would definitely listen to this album

If you think about it, hating Kanye West but having him still exist is one of the worst struggles the White Community has to struggle with.

15 Jan 19:03

You know, I don't like it when people tell me that shouting at bigots is a waste of time. Their reasoning for this is that I won't change the bigot's mind. NEWS FLASH: I'm not trying to change his mind. I''m providing the only form of consequence available for bigoted behavior. If nobody provides consequence to bigoted behavior, then they'll continue to be bigoted in public unimpeded at the expense of others. Yelling at them is the only thing that will make them think twice before trying it.

Yeah, bigots always think yelling at them is about them, rather than letting everyone else around know that bigotry is not fucking acceptable.

18 Jan 15:58

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Age of War


Hovertext: Curse you, Mrs. Jenkins!

New comic!
Today's News:

Come see me at BAHFest London! Along with Ed Yong, Simon Singh, Zoe Margolis, and more!! 

18 Jan 21:30


15 Dec 18:11

Saw It For You: Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

by kris

No/very minimal spoilers

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Synopsis. Decades after the Empire’s defeat, a new band of Rebels must stop the Empire from doing the same thing again.

Tagline. What Awakens? It is the Force.

Promotional tie-in. Everything looks better from a Kia Sorento. Star Wars in theaters December 18th.


  • This is director J.J. Abrams’ third Star Trek film.
  • To prevent plot points from being leaked, each scene in The Force Awakens was completely improvised.
  • Visual effects specialists pored over thousands of hours of footage and reference photos in order to meticulously reconstruct an accurate Harrison Ford.
  • Perhaps overreacting to criticism of his earlier movies, Abrams took extreme precautions to ensure that no light sources would create lens flares on camera. This was achieved by shooting the entirety of The Force Awakens in total darkness with night-vision optics, and then digitally coloring the scenes in post.
  • Director’s trademark. 3D silver letters, in Futura, that permanently hover near all characters and locations displaying their names.
  • Carrie Fisher reprises her role as Metal Bikini Woman, whom faithful Star Wars fans know from being licked by the Crime Worm.


  • The Millennium Falcon changes scale throughout the movie. This is most glaringly noticeable when the Star Destroyer tractors the Falcon into its cargo bay, and the Falcon retaliates by tractoring the Star Destroyer into its own cargo bay.
  • Han Solo refers to this as a “Mexican tractor-beam standoff.” Mexico does not exist yet.
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) is stalked throughout the movie by a metal orange ball that sometimes makes noises. This is never addressed by any character.
  • Continuity. The movie opens with an aged Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill in a single-line cameo) saying “If you guys need anything, I’ll be here next to this tree.” When he motions to give a thumbs-up, his hand is being chopped off by Darth Vader.
  • The planet of Alderaan “finally having recuperated” seems inconsistent with the events of A New Hope. 
  • Incorrectly regarded as goof. When Han shaves Chewbacca’s back, a second Chewbacca face is inexplicably revealed beneath the fur. However, this may just be a previously unknown trait of Wookiee physiology.
  • On set, actor John Boyega couldn’t help but shout “bang” each time he fired a blaster. The production team was forced to make all blaster fire sound like John Boyega saying “bang.”
  • Equipment gaffe. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) can occasionally be seen consulting the back of a Kylo Ren action figure box before delivering dialogue.
  • No explanation is given for Finn and Kylo to lightsaber-fight using just the tips.
  • During the First Order assembly, George Lucas can be clearly seen wandering forlornly through the rows of stormtroopers.

Memorable Quotes

Rey. Garbage! Garbage for sale.
Garbago. I’ll buy some of your garbage. This garbage is very good.
Rey. I wish I had a bigger destiny to fulfill.

Han Solo. We’re all getting old, pal.
Chewbacca. Raaaawr.
Han Solo. It’s not the years, Chewie… it’s the parsecs. (five-second-long wry smile directly into camera) (fade to slow panning closeup of Solo’s face as he grins and knowingly nods) (faint overlay of fedora and coiled whip) (music swells as John Williams’ Han and Leia theme gently incorporates Raiders March)

Kylo Ren. We Sith will rebuild and take what is ours. Soon the galaxy will know the power of the Dark Side once more. Senator Bimbambanoonoo, ready the Trade Federation gleepgheeps.

C-3PO. Oh my! It is so good to see you again, my friend!
R2-D2. (beeps and whistles)
C-3PO. My databanks may be faulty, but I will never forget that night.
R2-D2. (oohs)
C-3PO. R2, you’re incorrigable! Not here during General Leia’s briefing!
R2-D2. (beeps and whistles)
C-3PO. (servo motor noises)
R2-D2. (servo motor noises)

Finn. It doesn’t make any sense for me to be here. Stormtroopers are supposed to be white. Just more SJW bullshit.

Read more Saw It For You entries

14 Jan 19:27

So, it turns out the only people who got Oscar nominations for their work on Straight Outta Compton were white people. SURPRISE!!!

Sylvester Stallone was the most deserving actor that came out of CREED, I guess. Sur-fucking-prise.

14 Jan 06:21

Down in Front

by Greg Ross

In 1924, as today, it was troublesome and embarrassing to have to excuse your way down a row of theater patrons to get to your seat. Massachusetts inventor Louis Duprey offered this improvement: The whole auditorium is built atop a “loading compartment” where each patron can take his seat, which is then raised on a giant plunger into the theater.

During a performance, any seat occupant may depart by merely turning the handpiece, causing the seat to be lowered into the lobby or loading compartment, and in like manner he may again re-enter the auditorium without in any wise disturbing, or interfering with the view of, other patrons.

A side benefit is that “in case of fire or other panic” all the seats can be lowered into the loading chamber, which is fireproof and designed to accommodate an orderly mass exit. You can even retrieve your hat from the underside of the trapdoor as you take your leave.

Please support Futility Closet on Patreon!

14 Jan 18:25

French Surprise

by Greg Ross

An attractive woman approaches Sylvester in a bar. She has a proposition: For a single payment of £50, he can have a passionate weeklong holiday with her in Nice. Everything else is covered: travel tickets, a first-class hotel, and her attentions. There’s one further condition. She’ll shortly say something important, which we’ll call the “key.” If the key is true, then she keeps the £50 and Sylvester gets the holiday at no further cost, as explained. If the key is false, then Sylvester must accept the £50 back, but he still gets the week’s holiday with her for free.

“How can he lose?” asks Peter Cave in How to Think Like a Bat (2011). “Either way, with regard to whether the key is true or not, he is bound to have the splendid trip and the passion. At worst, it costs him a mere £50.” He gives her the £50, and she gives him the key:

Either I shall return the £50 or you will pay me £1 million.

For an either/or statement to be false, both elements must be false. So for the key above to be false, the woman must not return the £50. But under the agreement she must. So this yields a contradiction, whether or not Sylvester pays her £1 million; the key cannot be false. On the other hand, if the key is true, then the agreement requires that she keep the £50 … which means that he must pay her £1 million.

“Once we have contradictions involved in conditions,” writes Cave, “we may find ourselves trapped into all manner of things.”

Please support Futility Closet on Patreon!

09 Jan 00:27

The ONLY time the NRA was in favor of gun control was in the 60s when the Black Panthers were defending the right to bear arms-- surely there's some way to harness the power of racism and trick the gun lobby into supporting anti-gun legislation??

I think as long as police are shooting black kids on sight for holding toy guns in FUCKING OPEN CARRY STATES, racists and the NRA (I know, I know, almost 100% overlap) are just going to be for more guns in everywhere.

09 Jan 15:20

"So, if I put a black and white paper in and press color copy, it will add color to all the right..."

“So, if I put a black and white paper in and press color copy, it will add color to all the right spots, correct?”

- Coworker FAR too impressed with the new copier
12 Jan 18:22


13 Jan 17:16

Friendly fire.

No, I want the condom back.
13 Jan 01:49

bruce wayne chooses a name

by kris


“getting apprehended and prosecuted” did not fit legibly on the front of the costume

04 Jan 21:30



punchline's less funny than the setup IMO

04 Jan 20:49


by kris


only two comics into the new year and i hit you with preaching! ha! strap in for 2016

05 Jan 19:28

a netflix documentary series

by kris


official police stance: “we weren’t gonna solve this one, so figured might as well have some fun with it”

06 Jan 15:21

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Power of Prayer


Hovertext: Please stick to the original plan, which you were going to stick to anyway. Amen.

New comic!
Today's News:

With the new year, tickets are zooming for BAHFest London. If you want a seat, please book in the next two weeks or so. 

09 Jan 20:09

the st. peter conundrum

by kris


“ha! i figured it out, sinner. i will let you into heaven after all — because to you, that would really be eternal punishment oh wait oh hmm”

11 Jan 05:00


In the latest round, 9-year-old Muhammad Ali beat 10-year-old JFK at air hockey, while Secretariat lost the hot-dog-eating crown to 12-year-old Ken Jennings. Meanwhile, in a huge upset, 11-year-old Martha Stewart knocked out the adult Ronda Rousey.