Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Code 30

Left panel: "Ugh, this stupid error! I have no idea what it means." "What is it?" "Code 30." Right panel: "Ha!" "What's so funny?" "Code 30 means that the issue is 30 cm in front of the computer."

Isn’t it impressive how technology is self-aware enough to tell that you’re the problem?


A bunch of papers, all flowing up in their connections to the original idea, but with all of the needed details scattered amongst the literature.

Not pictured: The paper cited in the original work that simply says, “In preparation”, with no other identifying information.


Left panel: A paper saying, "The reason we chose this quantity is because there are many connections to the work of others. The choice of our expression comes from the study of ... For more information on this choice, see Section 2 of Ref.(23)." (What I wish papers did.) Right panel: "But *why* won't they explain their choices?!" (What they usually do.)

I’m sure it’s just common-knowledge, or something else so banal that it’s not worth wasting pixels over…

Barrier to Entry

Left panel: Art Club (All Are Welcome). Right panel: Science and Mathematics Club. "Woah, you can't enter here without multiple years of study!"

Personally, I feel a huge barrier to entry when staring at a painting, but at least I can enjoy it in some form. The unfortunate nature of a lot of scientific and mathematical ideas (combined with how we present them), doesn’t allow us to do this.


Phrases that should be banned from papers: "It's well-known that...", "After a trivial calculation...", "It's obvious...", "This is interesting...", "Recently, ...", "The present authors ...", "Blah, blah, blah (1-75) ..." (Way too many indices).

Am I the only one who finds it difficult to parse this weird language of Academese?


*Sigh*. What's wrong? You know, I study black holes, the densest objects in the universe, yet *this* figure is denser.

My favourites are when you get figures that are labeled a) through z), with a mountain-sized caption. Really makes it feel like the figure is doing a good job!


Executive: We have the largest quantum computers in the industry. Scientist: Then why do all the papers I see use only half of the qubits? Executive: We're padding our stats.

Except for a few outliers, this seems to be the norm in the industry. There’s the “advertised” number, and the “useful” number.


A one-dimensional line with unknown unknowns on the left, and known unknowns on the right. The usual coding errors are on the right, but the real sneaky ones are on the left.

The best part is when the unknown unknown is masquerading as a known unknown, as can happen when inspecting error messages in code.


A plot of the number of rereads indexed by paper. A few gobble up most of the reread count.

By the time I’m done with those papers on the left, I know more about the work than the authors!


A person walking around in the dark with a flashlight, thinking they would be making more frequent breakthroughs. Caption: Science: Mostly just wandering in the dark.

Well, I just got my daily session of wandering in!