Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Conscious Decisions

A pie chart of decisions. The huge bulk of the pie has the label, "Going with the flow", while a small sliver has, "Consciously considered".

It’s always a little disconcerting when I think about the series of odd events that led to me being where I am today.


A graph of "Wonder and insight" versus "Depth of inspection". There's a linear function, with the label, "Any subject".

Everything provides insight and wonder if you study it deeply enough.


Three boxes of various sizes. The biggest is in the front, labelled "Work." Behind it and partially obscured are much smaller boxes labelled "Hobbies" and "Family". Caption: Make sure this is the balance you want.

There’s no bad balance, but there can be a mismatch from what you want.

Jargon Free

A sign in the ground that says, "This is a JARGON FREE zone. If your grandmother wouldn't understand what you're about to say, please reconsider your words. Let's keep the science understandable!"

And then of course, you find out that the person speaking has a grandmother in the same discipline as them.

Good Idea

A student and their supervisor are discussing. The student says, "Are you sure this is a good idea?" The supervisor answers, "Don't worry: if I thought it was great, I would've kept it for myself."

“Remember, all my ideas come from this probability distribution!”

Novelty Urge

A graph of "Urge to start a new project" versus "Feeling stuck". There's a linear relationship. Near the top-right, there's a label which says, "Why I have so many unfinished projects".

My other weakness: Open-ended projects.

Idea Generation

A graph of the proportion of idea quality. Almost all ideas are of low quality, and a small number are good. There's an arrow near the right of the curve that says, "Why I need to generate so many ideas".

Somehow, all the bad ideas come first.

Lines of Reasoning

Title is "Lines of Reasoning", and there are nine examples of lines. 1. Circular. 2. Meandering, with the line weaving around the page. 3. Discontinuous, with gaps in the line. 4. Inquisitive, with the line shaped as a looking glass. 5. Logical, with the line shaped like an implication arrow. 6. Confused, with the line shaped as a question mark. 7. Probabilistic, with the line shaped as a binary decision tree. 8. Panicky, with the line darting all over the place. 9. Deep, with the line going down.

Bonus lines: Backwards, positive, quick, and witty.

Self Standards

A graph of "Work" versus "Time". The first linear curve is labelled "Your standards", while the one underneath it is labelled "Quality". The difference in height between the two lines at any point in time is labelled, "There's always a gap".

Hat tip to Ira Glass.

Required Expertise

A graph of "Required expertise" versus "Location in a talk". A dotted horizontal line indicates the minimum expertise for most of the audience. The usual talk is a solid horizontal line above the dotted line. A good talk instead gradually goes up, peaks just above the dotted line for a short period of time, and then gradually descends.

I’d like to see the cumulative probability distribution of “disconnecting” from a talk as a function of location.