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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - February 7, 2010
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Spiked Math Comic - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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This comic is worth one thousand words!

Well if you want to pedantic, it's worth 72 words.
I'll show you.
Assuming each part of the mathematical equations to be one word, so that "0.5" = 1w, "P" = 1w, and operators = 1w, then the panel breakdown is 15, 23, 33, and 1, respectively.
So, unless I added wrong, that comes up to 72, and thus this comic is only 72 words.

Unless you count the copyright information, in which case I would say +3w, since I'd say "spikedmath.com" is one word, and the copyright symbol is an abbreviation of one (compound) word.

but what about the images in it? those are worth ALOT of words.

unless the picture is worth infinite words

Now that's just silly Adrian...

Well if you ripped a picture in half it would be two pictures so two thousand words, but yeah, basically lol.

P=1000W (Given)
P/2=P (Given)
1000W=P/2 (Transitive)
P/2=500W (Substitution)
1000W=500W (Transitive)
1000W - 500W = 0 (Subtr. Prop. =)
500W=0 (Substitution)
W=0 (Div. Prop. =)

So a picture is worth a thousand words, but a word is worth nothing :D

Damn true. Nice reply.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you should send the thousand words: the picture takes 100K or 10M, whereas the thousand words take about 10K. The words are much cheaper to transmit!

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then a word is worth a millipicture.

I only have eight words for your picture.

This comic doesn't make any sense!

For example:
A given density of a box: In this case the number "1"
Rho = P
Now if you rip the box into two equally pieces...
The density of the two boxes still equals 1.
Therefore in my head the starting equation "P = 0.5*P" is wrong...
If you do what the creator of this comic did in my example it would probably look like this:

P = 0.5*P
1 = 0.5*1
1 = 0.5

But I'm open minded that my knowledge to math isn't that great! So please tell me why/how "P = 0.5*P" is possible. :)

I hope you understand my point :)

Your calculation doesn't work precisely because P=0. You can't divide by it.

Heh... I see that :) But to assume that P = 0 is total nutts?

I maybe got this all wrong, but... As the "first kid" said: "A picture is worth a thousend words." And that counts even if the said picture is ripped in half! So therefore P must equal "1000"? How the hell can the "nerd" in the picture assume that P = 0?

Again, I don't get the meaning of this comic =P So am I missing the point?

Actually, I think P = 8, which means


Because the acceptable range of worth is all real numbers, including zero. The density of matter, however, has a range of p < 0. If p were to equal zero, there would be no matter and therefore no density to be measured. It can't happen.

Thats why your analogy does not work.

Alternatively, half a picture is only worth 500 words. Unless it's a hologram, in which case each half is the whole picture, and so it's still worth 1000 words...but only from half as many perspectives.

Of course, all of us who argued and came up with proofs for this or that fit the fourth panel: "nerd."

You could also say, that a picture is worth aleph 0.

Yeah, but what you all didn't take into account was that my dick is bigger.

Oh no! They didn't count that! It's changing the whole mathematics since Euler. Oh humanity! We are lost

well, they could argue about ripping each of those in half...while the comic would be 'ripped in half', and the limit of the total number of words exchanged would taper - as the comic becomes 0 in size - to 1000! it's proven!

I suggest watching the movie "The number 23." It really dives into the issue of complex mathematical logarithms and lanthanoids.

The nerd in me compells me to point out that given the logic in the proof, the following proof also becomes valid.
Given the above proof, any given value now has an infinite amount of other possible vallues. So the value of the picture is potential 1000 words or 0 words. its all in the eye of the beholder.

You, sir/madam, just divided by zero.
How quaint!

sry mistype above. its +infinity not -. colds, late night websurffing and math dont mix. nore does spelling.

But what about the other half of the picture? If you rip the picture in half, you create two new pictures. This problem is just conveniently ignoring that. Each new picture is still equal to 1,000 words. All it's stating is that describing any picture, no matter what the size, would take 1000 words, not that within a picture are 1,000 word units.

If I'm reading this correctly the nerd may have discovered an infinite energy source. Since words are a creation of the human brain and as the human brain creates these words it releases energy in the form of heat (as a product of cellular respiration); all we have to do is hook up a bunch of people to heat gathering energy devices and rip a picture in half. And since we know that if you move half the distance to an object every time you take a step you will never reach the object (x does not equal 0.5x does not equal 0, if x is not equal to 0) the same must be true of a picture; if you rip it in half every time you rip it, there will still be part of a picture as long as your picture was not equal to 0 when you began (your picture being = 0 means you had no picture). Therefore, by collecting the heat generated by people watching a picture be ripped in twine and generating a new set of 1,000 words for every rip we could power the world!!!

Pfff, worth is a function, not an equivalence relation.


\forall P_x: P_x is an element of Pictures, Worth(P_x)=1000w

and for words (if it can even apply to them), Worth is presumably the identity function.

Personally, though, I think that sometimes a word is worth a thousand pictures.

Bonus trick question: What is adhesive worth?

You cannot start off a proof with P=P/2 that just says that 2P=P. Your math sucks. Don't try to sound or look smart if you don't know what you're talking about.

Now I've got to comment on this one. Some amount of the words that the picture is worth must be used to describe the picture's dimensions, correct?

Alternative: Define worth. Worth of a picture is defined to be equal to 1000 words. It's a function.

Was the picture ripped by Banach and/or Tarski?

In dutch, the expression is: "A picture is worth MORE than a thousand words"
So if every picture can be divided in two pictures, where both pictures are worth more than a thousand words, every picture is worth more than two thousand words. By induction we find that a picture is always worth more than 2^n * 1000 (n>1)
As n reaches infinity, a picture is worth infinity words and is thus indescribable!

3 18
5 50
7 98
4 ?

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