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Poll Results

All Previous Polls: 151-200

Poll 151: How many digits of π do you know?

Total votes: 2056

6: 294 (14.3%)
5: 271 (13.2%)
3: 268 (13.0%)
10-11: 196 (9.5%)  
7: 180 (8.8%)
4: 163 (7.9%)
8: 163 (7.9%)
9: 137 (6.7%)
2: 71 (3.5%)
12-13: 54 (2.6%)
>99: 54 (2.6%)
14-15: 38 (1.8%)
20-24: 37 (1.8%)
0: 26 (1.3%)
50-99: 23 (1.1%)
16-17: 19 (0.9%)
30-39: 19 (0.9%)
1: 14 (0.7%)
40-49: 12 (0.6%)
25-29: 11 (0.5%)
18-19: 6 (0.3%)

If I assume everyone who voted for >99 knows 100 digits, and assign the average value for the ranges, then I calculate that Irregular Webcomic! readers know π to a mean of 10.54 digits. If any of the folks who voted >99 know it to significantly more, then this value could be somewhat higher. I bet the average Garfield reader doesn't know π to more than 10 digits!


Poll 152: Best cheese for throwing?

Total votes: 1873

Wensleydale, with a cheese-throwing gadget: 505 (27.0%)  
A good solid block of cheddar: 310 (16.6%)
A wheel of camembert, frisbee style: 233 (12.4%)
A firm, round edam: 216 (11.5%)
Limburger, as far away as possible: 199 (10.6%)
A soft, round mozzarella: 155 (8.3%)
Cream cheese, for flinging: 107 (5.7%)
A wedge of gouda: 70 (3.7%)
A crumbly, bouncy feta: 41 (2.2%)
A lump of stilton: 37 (2.0%)


Poll 153: Don't you not never use no double negatives?

Total votes: 1711

Not not no: 539 (31.5%)
Not not yes: 471 (27.5%)  
Not no: 429 (25.1%)
Not yes: 272 (15.9%)
<choose>: 96 (5.6%)

I didn't not expect not to get not this result.


Poll 154: Character most likely to be a Mary Sue?

Total votes: 2172

Me: 677 (31.2%)
Will Shakespeare: 247 (11.4%)
The Allosaurus: 203 (9.3%)
Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs: 165 (7.6%)  
Draak: 143 (6.6%)
Head Death: 123 (5.7%)
Erwin: 102 (4.7%)
Hitler's Brain: 99 (4.6%)
James Stud: 69 (3.2%)
Monty Jones: 67 (3.1%)
Mercutio: 67 (3.1%)
Steve: 51 (2.3%)
Prof. North Dakota Jones: 36 (1.7%)
Lambert: 35 (1.6%)
Kyros: 34 (1.6%)
Nigerian Finance Minister: 27 (1.2%)
Spanners: 18 (0.8%)
Serron: 9 (0.4%)

Hmmm. A Mary Sue is an idealised, perfect version of the author. So nearly a third of you think that "Me" is an idealised, perfect version of me? I'm not sure I want to know what you think the real me is like...


Poll 155: [image; sorry anyone who can't see this but it's necessary for this poll]
Which line separates yellows from oranges?

Total votes: 3785

A: 31 (0.8%)
B: 6 (0.2%)
C: 9 (0.2%)
D: 101 (2.7%)
E: 333 (8.8%)
F: 522 (13.8%)
G: 639 (16.9%)  
H: 604 (16.0%)
I: 532 (14.1%)
J: 471 (12.4%)
K: 224 (5.9%)
L: 141 (3.7%)
M: 70 (1.8%)
N: 46 (1.2%)
O: 25 (0.7%)
P: 10 (0.3%)
Q: 5 (0.1%)
R: 1 (0.0%)
S: 15 (0.4%)

The reason I asked this question was because I noticed that many, if not most, Americans tend to call the middle traffic light "yellow", whereas everyone I know here in Australia calls it "orange". Yet I've been to the US several times, and driven there, and the light is pretty much the same colour as it is here. I've also seen mass market cheddar cheese in the US, which has a disturbing dark orange colour compared to the cheddar cheese I know and love. But again, many Americans I know describe it as yellow.

So my theory is that the different cultures have different culturally ingrained definitions of what is yellow and what is orange. I suggest that exactly the same colour would be called "yellow" by a significant majority of Americans, but "orange" by most Australians.

Of course, this simple exercise depends on the calibrations of your monitors, and I'm not collecting additional data on responders' cultural backgrounds, but I thought it would be interesting to see what sort of spread there is.


Poll 156: Will this be the most one-sided yes/no poll in IWC history?

Total votes: 2862

Yes: 1596 (55.8%)  
No: 1266 (44.2%)

That's not very one-sided.


Poll 157: What do you say if you didn't quite hear?

Total votes: 2545

What?: 541 (21.3%)
Sorry?: 456 (17.9%)
Pardon?: 305 (12.0%)
Huh?: 277 (10.9%)
Excuse me?: 198 (7.8%)
What was that?: 147 (5.8%)
Say again?: 146 (5.7%)
Eh?: 129 (5.1%)
Could you repeat that?: 123 (4.8%)  
I didn't hear you.: 74 (2.9%)
Beg your pardon?: 65 (2.6%)
Say what?: 57 (2.2%)
Speak up!: 27 (1.1%)


Poll 158: In my real life roleplaying campaigns, which characters do you think are played by the same players as Serron and Paris, respectively?

Total votes: 1589

Mordekai & Alvissa: 440 (27.7%)  
Kyros & Alvissa: 410 (25.8%)
Lambert & Alvissa: 153 (9.6%)
Draak & Alvissa: 126 (7.9%)
Alvissa & Mordekai: 50 (3.1%)
Alvissa & Draak: 40 (2.5%)
Kyros & Mordekai: 40 (2.5%)
Kyros & Draak: 36 (2.3%)
Mordekai & Draak: 36 (2.3%)
Alvissa & Kyros: 34 (2.1%)
Draak & Mordekai: 34 (2.1%)
Alvissa & Lambert: 29 (1.8%)
Lambert & Draak: 28 (1.8%)
Draak & Kyros: 24 (1.5%)
Mordekai & Kyros: 24 (1.5%)
Lambert & Mordekai: 20 (1.3%)
Mordekai & Lambert: 20 (1.3%)
Kyros & Lambert: 16 (1.0%)
Lambert & Kyros: 16 (1.0%)
Draak & Lambert: 13 (0.8%)

Most people seem to have twigged to the fact that the two female characters, Alvissa and Paris, are played by the same player. But Serron is actually played by the same player as Kyros. Some of you remembered this from the annotation for #850, which I had forgotten about when I wrote this poll question, so it's not surprising that many of you also seemed to have forgotten it.


Poll 159: What's under your bed?

Total votes: 2196

Dust: 406 (18.5%)
Random junk, could be anything: 406 (18.5%)
Things I rarely use, stored long-term: 262 (11.9%)  
Monsters: 239 (10.9%)
Books, magazines, and/or toys: 207 (9.4%)
Nothing: 177 (8.1%)
Things I use sometimes, stored neatly: 132 (6.0%)
I really have no idea: 129 (5.9%)
I sleep on the floor: 118 (5.4%)
Shoes: 62 (2.8%)
Luggage: 58 (2.6%)

A reader wrote:

When I read the poll "What's under your bed" I was on my computer in my room, so naturally, I looked. Lo and behold, was my bag that I had been missing for three months now! It had money, valuble college books, my script, songs I wrote, and even some of my girlfriend's jewelry!

I really owe you one, man! I really needed that bag!


Poll 160: What would you most like to see?

Total votes: 2237

An intelligent alien: 747 (33.4%)
A dragon: 620 (27.7%)
A hippogriff: 195 (8.7%)
The Loch Ness Monster: 172 (7.7%)  
A ghost: 130 (5.8%)
A woolly mammoth: 112 (5.0%)
A Tyrannosaurus: 88 (3.9%)
A sabretooth tiger: 82 (3.7%)
A Neanderthal: 59 (2.6%)
A sea serpent: 32 (1.4%)

There was a bit of interpretation on this question over on the forums. Some people figured an alien was the only thing on the list they were ever likely to see, so dismissed the rest out of hand. Some other people figured that most of the other options would probably kill you, so dismissed those as choices too. I really should have phrased the question as "If it was possible and safe, what would you most like to see?" but that just seemed too many words for too little gain. Besides, I like to leave these poll questions a bit open to different interpretations and ambiguities, because it makes the results more interesting.

And quite frankly, I'm surprised, nay astounded, that a Tyrannosaurus figures so far down the list. I reckon getting to see a living specimen would be incredibly cool. I mean... they actually existed. But then, I tend to see more wonder in nature than fiction.


Poll 161: The coloured speech bubbles are:

Total votes: 1934

Just fine thanks, don't change them!: 1059 (54.8%)
Distinctive, don't you dare change them!: 731 (37.8%)  
Okay, but too light, make them darker!: 89 (4.6%)
Okay, but too dark, make them lighter!: 29 (1.5%)
Stupid, use normal black-outlined ones!: 26 (1.3%)

I've recived a few e-mails from readers asking for the speech bubbles to be made either darker or lighter. Since I get both, I figured if I do change them I'll just end up upsetting some people. This poll indicates significantly more people would like them darker than lighter - but also that if I do that it will indeed annoy some people.

I am glad that there wasn't a big request for black-bordered bubbles, since they take more than twice as long to make and would significantly increase my workload. I'm still not sure what, if anything, to do about this. For now I'll leave things as they are.


Poll 162: Most evocative non-food smell?

Total votes: 2186

The earth after rain: 532 (24.3%)
Woodsmoke: 313 (14.3%)
Freshly cut grass: 287 (13.1%)
A sea breeze: 234 (10.7%)
New leather: 137 (6.3%)
Newly sawn wood: 118 (5.4%)
Pipe tobacco: 99 (4.5%)
Jasmine on a summer night: 93 (4.3%)  
National Geographic ink: 89 (4.1%)
Eucalyptus: 60 (2.7%)
Wet dog: 51 (2.3%)
Newly bathed baby: 47 (2.2%)
Roses: 42 (1.9%)
A barn: 37 (1.7%)
Wet paint: 24 (1.1%)
Old Spice: 23 (1.1%)

That smell has a name. Petrichor. And I see a good number of you know the delight that is the smell of a fresh National Geographic.


Poll 163: All in favour?

Total votes: 1947

Aye!: 1518 (78.0%)
Nay!: 429 (22.0%)
<choose>: 60 (3.1%)  


Poll 164: Do you use the vision-impaired setting?

Total votes: 2117

No, I don't need it or want it: 1249 (59.0%)
The what?: 418 (19.7%)
Ooh, I hadn't noticed that! Cool!: 284 (13.4%)
Yes, I look for extra description there: 117 (5.5%)  
Yes, I like to see the text there: 37 (1.7%)
Yes, I am vision-impaired and it helps: 12 (0.6%)

I received more e-mail on this poll than any other I've run. Nearly 20 readers wrote to say that although they personally don't use the vision-impaired setting, they think it's a great idea and definitely want to see it remain. I have no intention of removing it, so anyone who felt similarly can rest easy.


Poll 165: Is the answer to this question a logical paradox?

Total votes: 2024

Shut up and help me lift this stone: 419 (20.7%)
No: 390 (19.3%)
Only if I always lie: 231 (11.4%)
This is not my answer: 199 (9.8%)
Yes! I mean, no! I mean... damnit!: 179 (8.8%)
My grandfather died as a child: 134 (6.6%)
This answer is false: 118 (5.8%)
A list of answers excluding this answer: 96 (4.7%)  
I didn't expect to be hanged today: 87 (4.3%)
Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski: 68 (3.4%)
Yes: 55 (2.7%)
The first non-interesting answer: 35 (1.7%)
Where are they?: 13 (0.6%)


Poll 166: Are you published?

Total votes: 1828

No, I don't care to be: 405 (22.2%)
No, I wish I were: 287 (15.7%)
Yes, an academic paper: 171 (9.4%)
Yes, a blog: 154 (8.4%)
Yes, a magazine article: 147 (8.0%)
No, but I should be: 117 (6.4%)
Yes, some other option I missed: 117 (6.4%)  
No, but I will be soon: 98 (5.4%)
Yes, a newspaper story: 73 (4.0%)
Yes, a letter to the editor: 66 (3.6%)
Yes, poetry: 41 (2.2%)
Yes, a photograph: 39 (2.1%)
Yes, a non-fiction book: 38 (2.1%)
Yes, a self-published work: 30 (1.6%)
Yes, a work of art: 24 (1.3%)
Yes, a novel: 21 (1.1%)


Poll 167: Who would you most like to travel with?

Total votes: 1721

Neil Armstrong: 717 (41.7%)
Jacques Cousteau: 283 (16.4%)
Leif Ericson: 224 (13.0%)
Marco Polo: 151 (8.8%)
James Cook: 101 (5.9%)
David Livingstone: 63 (3.7%)
ibn Battuta: 53 (3.1%)
Ferdinand Magellan: 43 (2.5%)
Roald Amundsen: 31 (1.8%)
Christopher Columbus: 28 (1.6%)
Roy Chapman Andrews: 27 (1.6%)  

I'm a little surprised at how low Columbus rated. I thought he was something of a folk hero in the USA. I'm aware that in recent times there has been a trend to describing him as a conqueror who brought misery to the native populations of the Americas, but I didn't think that was a majority opinion. Of course it may simply be that everyone thinks most of the other options were just plain more interesting.


Poll 168: How do you mark your place in a book?

Total votes: 2213

Random scrap of paper: 891 (40.3%)
An actual bookmark: 468 (21.1%)
Remember the page number: 275 (12.4%)  
Search for it next time: 175 (7.9%)
Leave open, face down: 140 (6.3%)
Fold the page corner: 138 (6.2%)
Poke the dustjacket in: 116 (5.2%)
Leave open, face up: 10 (0.5%)
Tear off page corner: 1 (0.0%)


Poll 169: Sport is:

Total votes: 1577

B. Physical competition: e.g. athletics, football, gymnastics, diving, ice dancing: 387 (24.5%)
A. Objective physical competition: e.g. athletics, football: 265 (16.8%)
D. Physical activity: e.g. athletics, football, gymnastics, diving, ice dancing, jogging, aerobics, dancing: 239 (15.2%)
E. Physical recreation: C and D: 184 (11.7%)
H. Competition: e.g. athletics, football, chess, poker, Balderdash, talent contests, Nobel prizes: 117 (7.4%)
G. Objective competition: e.g. athletics, football, chess, poker: 85 (5.4%)
F. Organised competition: e.g. athletics, football, chess tournaments: 80 (5.1%)
E and H: 49 (3.1%)
D and F: 43 (2.7%)
C. Physical entertainment: e.g. athletics, football, gymnastics, diving, ice dancing, pro wrestling, circus acts: 32 (2.0%)  
D and G: 25 (1.6%)
E and F: 21 (1.3%)
E and G: 14 (0.9%)
C and F: 10 (0.6%)
C and G: 10 (0.6%)
C and H: 9 (0.6%)
D and H: 7 (0.4%)


Poll 170: Did you know the circumference of a circle is the derivative of its area with respect to radius?

Total votes: 2103

Yes, and I know why.: 806 (38.3%)
Ooh, I hadn't noticed that!: 509 (24.2%)
I had noticed that, actually.: 387 (18.4%)  
I understood "circle".: 190 (9.0%)
Is that calculus?: 125 (5.9%)
The wha...?: 86 (4.1%)


Poll 171: What do you realistically hope to see in your lifetime?

Total votes: 2184

Changeover to sustainable fuels: 680 (31.1%)  
A manned Mars mission: 394 (18.0%)
Cures for cancer and AIDS: 229 (10.5%)
A total solar eclipse: 176 (8.1%)
Artificial intelligence: 170 (7.8%)
Antarctica: 114 (5.2%)
Proof of extraterrestrial life: 97 (4.4%)
A daylight supernova: 70 (3.2%)
Flying cars: 60 (2.7%)
Equal rights for everyone: 60 (2.7%)
Another good Star Wars movie: 60 (2.7%)
Faster-than-light travel: 55 (2.5%)
World peace: 19 (0.9%)


Poll 172: Choose:

Total votes: 1603

<choose>: 319 (19.9%)
I have no opinion on that at all: 275 (17.2%)
Other: 260 (16.2%)
The answer I want isn't there so I'll pick <choose>: 252 (15.7%)
I don't even answer these polls: 244 (15.2%)
All of the above: 152 (9.5%)
None of the above: 149 (9.3%)
I hate choosing, so I refuse to: 106 (6.6%)
I'll be clever and hack in an answer: 81 (5.1%)
I don't understand the question: 61 (3.8%)
The answer I want isn't there so I'll e-mail the author: 23 (1.4%)  

Wow, I think this is the first time that <choose> itself ended up as the most popular response. I think that's pretty amazing.


Poll 173: Favourite story arc?

Total votes: 1871

The Deaths go on strike: 450 (24.1%)
The ongoing fantasy quest: 418 (22.3%)
Anakin argues Coruscant physics: 400 (21.4%)
The Allosaurus runs for President: 104 (5.6%)
Recovering orichalcum from Atlantis: 89 (4.8%)
Steve is the King of Nigeria: 80 (4.3%)
The death of Paris: 70 (3.7%)
Shakespeare rewrites Lord of the Rings: 60 (3.2%)  
Dr No reinterpreted: 40 (2.1%)
The Martians invade Ishmael's room: 38 (2.0%)
The superheroes chase Aqualich: 38 (2.0%)
Steve jumps the shark: 37 (2.0%)
Shakespeare's crush on Loren: 30 (1.6%)
The Romans visit Hades: 17 (0.9%)


Poll 174: Soup!

Total votes: 2069

Chicken noodle: 274 (13.2%)
Tomato: 262 (12.7%)
Chowder: 180 (8.7%)
French onion: 174 (8.4%)
Beef stew: 140 (6.8%)
Minestrone: 111 (5.4%)
Cream of mushroom: 110 (5.3%)
Hot and sour: 95 (4.6%)
Pea and ham: 94 (4.5%)
Won ton: 88 (4.3%)
Miso: 76 (3.7%)
Chicken: 67 (3.2%)
Gumbo: 55 (2.7%)
Gazpacho: 54 (2.6%)
Pumpkin: 47 (2.3%)
Borscht: 47 (2.3%)
Goulash: 44 (2.1%)
Chicken and sweet corn: 41 (2.0%)  
Bisque: 38 (1.8%)
Mulligatawny: 31 (1.5%)
Laksa: 23 (1.1%)
Vichyssoise: 18 (0.9%)


Poll 175: Which would you most like to go back in time to see? (assuming it's safe)

Total votes: 2082

The Library of Alexandria: 478 (23.0%)
Dinosaurs!: 416 (20.0%)
Imperial Rome at its height: 279 (13.4%)
Construction of the Pyramids: 168 (8.1%)
Tenochtitlan before the Spanish conquest: 136 (6.5%)
The Apollo 11 moon landing: 135 (6.5%)
The eruption of Krakatoa: 83 (4.0%)
The first humans in Africa: 71 (3.4%)
The Battle of Agincourt: 65 (3.1%)
Signing the US Declaration of Independence: 62 (3.0%)  
Tokugawa unifying Japan: 54 (2.6%)
The Wright Brothers' first flight: 50 (2.4%)
da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa: 38 (1.8%)
The Hindenburg: 31 (1.5%)
Signing of the Magna Carta: 16 (0.8%)


Poll 176: Who will win?

Total votes: 1768

Brazil: 321 (18.2%)
England: 194 (11.0%)
USA: 194 (11.0%)
Germany: 170 (9.6%)
Australia: 96 (5.4%)
Netherlands: 73 (4.1%)
Sweden: 64 (3.6%)
Trinidad and Tobago: 63 (3.6%)
Japan: 58 (3.3%)
Côte d'Ivoire: 54 (3.1%)
Switzerland: 53 (3.0%)
Togo: 41 (2.3%)
Italy: 37 (2.1%)
Argentina: 36 (2.0%)
Czech Republic: 33 (1.9%)
France: 32 (1.8%)
Poland: 29 (1.6%)
Korea: 26 (1.5%)
Serbia and Montenegro: 26 (1.5%)  
Ukraine: 21 (1.2%)
Ghana: 19 (1.1%)
Mexico: 18 (1.0%)
Spain: 17 (1.0%)
Iran: 16 (0.9%)
Portugal: 16 (0.9%)
Croatia: 12 (0.7%)
Paraguay: 11 (0.6%)
Costa Rica: 10 (0.6%)
Ecuador: 9 (0.5%)
Angola: 8 (0.5%)
Tunisia: 6 (0.3%)
Saudi Arabia: 5 (0.3%)
The Allosaurus: 3 (0.2%)

The FIFA World Cup, of course. In a surprise result, Trinidad and Tobago ended up the most overrated in this poll, according to their official world ranking. And the Allosaurus managed to score 3 votes without even qualifying for the World Cup Finals.


Poll 177: Which would you prefer to win?

Total votes: 2086

The lottery: 615 (29.5%)
A Nobel Prize: 574 (27.5%)
A Wonka Golden Ticket: 161 (7.7%)
An Ig Nobel Prize: 101 (4.8%)
A Knuth reward cheque: 86 (4.1%)
A Pulitzer Prize: 75 (3.6%)
An Academy Award: 61 (2.9%)
A Rhodes Scholarship: 59 (2.8%)
World's Greatest Parent: 54 (2.6%)
Time Person of the Year: 48 (2.3%)
A distinguished military service medal: 46 (2.2%)  
A Darwin Award: 40 (1.9%)
The World Cup (any sport you wish): 33 (1.6%)
A distinguished civilian service medal: 32 (1.5%)
A Booker Prize: 30 (1.4%)
An Olympic gold medal: 27 (1.3%)
A Palme D'Or: 20 (1.0%)
A Grammy Award: 18 (0.9%)
Miss/Mr Universe: 6 (0.3%)


Poll 178: How reliable is this poll?

Total votes: 1933

The Allosaurus: 931 (48.2%)
Okay for broad trends, but not detailed results: 263 (13.6%)  
Better than random, but not by much: 256 (13.2%)
Very reliable except for a few joke responses: 136 (7.0%)
Completely infallible: 120 (6.2%)
A complete shemozzle: 89 (4.6%)
Mostly reliable: 64 (3.3%)
About 50% accurate: 49 (2.5%)
You could bet your house on the result: 25 (1.3%)

If this is a true indication of his popularity, the Allosaurus will have to run for US President again in 2008.


Poll 179: What card are you?

Total votes: 1551

The Fool: 292 (18.8%)
The Hermit: 176 (11.3%)
The Magician: 166 (10.7%)
The Hanged Man: 103 (6.6%)  
The Tower: 83 (5.4%)
Death: 81 (5.2%)
Judgement: 81 (5.2%)
The Heirophant: 65 (4.2%)
The Moon: 61 (3.9%)
Justice: 56 (3.6%)
Temperance: 52 (3.4%)
The High Priestess: 47 (3.0%)
The Star: 41 (2.6%)
Wheel of Fortune: 39 (2.5%)
The Lovers: 36 (2.3%)
The World: 36 (2.3%)
The Emperor: 34 (2.2%)
The Devil: 31 (2.0%)
Strength: 23 (1.5%)
The Empress: 17 (1.1%)
The Chariot: 16 (1.0%)
The Sun: 15 (1.0%)
The Allosaurus: 9 (0.6%)

Yes, he wasn't in the poll, but the Allosaurus still managed to pull 9 votes.


Poll 180: It's been two years since the Fantasy characters began their quest to cross the Orcrift Mountains, descend into the Swamp of Terror, in search of the Golden Citadel, to seek an audience with the great Dragon Sage Ardaxar, and inquire into the possible location of the missing Ruby of Dwarven Might from the ancient and shattered Crown of Power. How far do you think they'll have progressed in another two years from now?

Total votes: 3108

Back at Footcrag for more supplies for the crossing: 1253 (40.3%)
Lost somewhere in the Orcrift Mountains: 709 (22.8%)
Somewhere in the Swamp of Terror: 511 (16.4%)
Across the Orcrift Mountains but not at the Swamp yet: 421 (13.5%)  
Be at the Golden Citadel: 86 (2.8%)
Have met the great Dragon Sage Ardaxar: 57 (1.8%)
Recovered the entire Crown of Power: 45 (1.4%)
Know where to seek the Ruby of Dwarven Might: 15 (0.5%)
Found the Ruby of Dwarven Might: 11 (0.4%)


Poll 181: ________ on a Plane!

Total votes: 2190

Allosauruses: 614 (28.0%)
Snakes: 294 (13.4%)
A differentiable Riemannian metric: 267 (12.2%)  
D&D alignments: 188 (8.6%)
Dwarves: 124 (5.7%)
Peanut butter: 123 (5.6%)
Mirrored spheres: 115 (5.3%)
Deaths: 112 (5.1%)
You need a good sharp blade: 107 (4.9%)
Passengers and crew: 106 (4.8%)
The City of Brass: 89 (4.1%)
Crocs: 51 (2.3%)


Poll 182: What will follow postmodernism?

Total votes: 2070

Allosaurusism: 530 (25.6%)
1337ism: 293 (14.2%)
Neo-modernism: 218 (10.5%)
Postmodernism++: 216 (10.4%)
Retro-paleolithic: 174 (8.4%)
Neo-postmodernism: 160 (7.7%)
Post-postmodernism: 143 (6.9%)
Retro-postmodernism: 131 (6.3%)
Post-contemporary: 128 (6.2%)
Re-modernism: 50 (2.4%)
Re-neo-postmodernism: 27 (1.3%)  


Poll 183: Should I even bother having non-Allosaurus answers any more?

Total votes: 1619

Allosaurus: 354 (21.9%)
Allosaurus for President: 333 (20.6%)  
Viva Allosaurus!: 332 (20.5%)
<choose>: 318 (19.6%)
Multiple Allosauruses: 260 (16.1%)
The Allosaurus: 192 (11.9%)
Allosaurus r00lz: 148 (9.1%)


Poll 184: How good a driver are you compared to the other people who answer this poll?

Total votes: 2176

I don't even drive, so really bad!: 598 (27.5%)  
Average: 445 (20.5%)
A bit better than average: 307 (14.1%)
Much better than average: 286 (13.1%)
Considerably better than average: 229 (10.5%)
A bit worse than average: 204 (9.4%)
Considerably worse than average: 72 (3.3%)
Much worse than average: 35 (1.6%)

That's more non-drivers than I expected. Either I overestimated the average age of my audience or there's quite a lot of you old enough to drive who don't. I was going to point out that more of you said you were better than average than said were worse than average, but the blowout vote for not driving at all has ruined that!

Oh, and one person wrote to tell me he didn't drive a car, but he plays golf, and his driving is pretty good.


Poll 185: Cbhirm-ibhf yver ebg13 ra senapnvf?

Total votes: 1636

Pregnvarzrag.: 441 (27.0%)
Zba nrebtyvffrhe rfg cyrva qrf nathvyyrf.: 374 (22.9%)  
Pr dhv?: 355 (21.7%)
Aba.: 288 (17.6%)
Wr ar fnvf cnf.: 178 (10.9%)


Poll 186: Missing anything?

Total votes: 2198

Nope, I'm intact!: 768 (34.9%)
Wisdom teeth: 649 (29.5%)
Teeth: 186 (8.5%)
Some other bit: 154 (7.0%)
Tonsils: 148 (6.7%)
Hair: 120 (5.5%)
An appendix: 78 (3.5%)
Other internal organ: 42 (1.9%)  
A gall bladder: 26 (1.2%)
A digit: 12 (0.5%)
An eye: 8 (0.4%)
A limb: 7 (0.3%)

A few people wrote in "foreskin", which was an option I completely forgot about when I assembled the poll question.


Poll 187: If you could travel through time but still connect to the Internet as it exists now, when would you answer this poll?

Total votes: 1932

At the end of the universe: 236 (12.2%)
A few weeks ago: 154 (8.0%)
Later this millennium: 148 (7.7%)
The era of classical civilisation: 122 (6.3%)
The 22nd century: 119 (6.2%)
Several years from now: 113 (5.8%)
The Renaissance: 106 (5.5%)
The 20th century: 91 (4.7%)
A few thousand years hence: 84 (4.3%)
The medieval period: 80 (4.1%)
Decades in the future: 72 (3.7%)
The Age of Enlightenment: 70 (3.6%)
Next month: 69 (3.6%)
The era of antiquity: 64 (3.3%)
The rise of civilisation: 49 (2.5%)
When the sun expands and the Earth is a cinder: 48 (2.5%)  
The Industrial Revolution: 45 (2.3%)
The dawn of humanity: 43 (2.2%)
The Precambrian Era: 34 (1.8%)
Millions of years in the future: 34 (1.8%)
The Dark Ages: 33 (1.7%)
Tens of thousands of years from now: 32 (1.7%)
The Jurassic: 25 (1.3%)
The Cretaceous: 18 (0.9%)
Next year: 17 (0.9%)
The Pliocene Ice Age. Pleistocene, whatever...: 15 (0.8%)
The Triassic: 11 (0.6%)


Poll 188: Which of these is most important in your life?

Total votes: 2258

The ability to cook: 651 (28.8%)
Public transport: 243 (10.8%)
Yoda: 216 (9.6%)
Jeans: 209 (9.3%)
The art of M.C. Escher: 159 (7.0%)
The music of The Beatles: 145 (6.4%)
Dogs: 133 (5.9%)
The Human Genome Project: 114 (5.0%)
Bananas: 95 (4.2%)
Dance: 79 (3.5%)
Geology: 76 (3.4%)
Football: 69 (3.1%)
Futons: 43 (1.9%)
National Geographic magazine: 26 (1.2%)  


Poll 189: Which of these words do you pronounce the same?

Total votes: 2043

"Marry", "Mary", and "merry": 794 (38.9%)
What? They're all completely different.: 763 (37.3%)  
"Marry" and "Mary": 247 (12.1%)
"Mary" and "merry": 140 (6.9%)
"Marry" and "merry": 74 (3.6%)
"Marry", "Mary", "merry", and "Murray": 15 (0.7%)
"Merry" and "Murray": 4 (0.2%)
"Marry" and "Murray": 3 (0.1%)
"Marry", "Mary", and "Murray": 2 (0.1%)
"Mary", "merry", and "Murray": 1 (0.0%)
"Mary" and "Murray": 0 (0.0%) 

Wow, talk about bimodal. It's a good bet that the people who picked the "marry", "Mary", and "merry" rhyme option grew up in the American West, Inland North, Midland, or Canada, while those who picked them all being different speak English with a Commonwealth accent. This is one of the best known vowel mergers in the English language, the other being the cot-caught merger which is also partially spread across North American accents.

Even though these are "well known" in linguistic circles, most people are unaware of the subtle differences in vowel sounds between regional accents to this degree.


Poll 190: If dragons were real...

Total votes: 2439

We'd have made them extinct by now: 802 (32.9%)
They'd be critically endangered: 494 (20.3%)
They'd be secretly running human society: 394 (16.2%)
We'd be at war with them: 252 (10.3%)
They'd be feared predators who occasionally take humans: 140 (5.7%)  
They'd be a top draw in zoos: 138 (5.7%)
They'd be majestic wildlife in wilderness preserves: 117 (4.8%)
They'd have subjugated humanity: 102 (4.2%)

One reader wrote to let me know that his three-year-old daughter wanted to tell me that if dragons were real we would kiss them. Awwww...

I hope she also explains the vector calculus puns to her father.


Poll 191: Which line separates greens from blues?

Total votes: 4127

A: 13 (0.3%)
B: 4 (0.1%)
C: 5 (0.1%)
D: 25 (0.6%)
E: 97 (2.4%)
F: 222 (5.4%)
G: 403 (9.8%)
H: 878 (21.3%)
I: 1062 (25.7%)  
J: 1140 (27.6%)
K: 199 (4.8%)
L: 37 (0.9%)
M: 9 (0.2%)
N: 5 (0.1%)
O: 4 (0.1%)
P: 2 (0.0%)
Q: 3 (0.1%)
R: 1 (0.0%)
S: 3 (0.1%)
T: 16 (0.4%)


Poll 192: Which line separates reds from violets?

Total votes: 2014

A: 172 (8.5%)
B: 224 (11.1%)
C: 63 (3.1%)
D: 86 (4.3%)
E: 60 (3.0%)
F: 62 (3.1%)
G: 33 (1.6%)
H: 48 (2.4%)
I: 158 (7.8%)
J: 386 (19.2%)  
K: 264 (13.1%)
L: 82 (4.1%)
M: 33 (1.6%)
N: 17 (0.8%)
O: 10 (0.5%)
P: 11 (0.5%)
Q: 11 (0.5%)
R: 34 (1.7%)
S: 102 (5.1%)
T: 162 (8.0%)

For the record, 725 people entered <choose>. This poll was an exercise in taking the previous one to an absurd extreme, just to see what people did. I received actual hate mail over this poll, from someone who used swear words and complained about how $@#!$^% stupid this poll was and threatened to stop reading the comic.

I was strongly tempted to make the next poll a series of colours mixed up completely at random, with the question: Which line separates bananas from poetry?

But I think I'll give you all a break and spring something like that when you least expect it.


Poll 193: US President G.W. Bush has declared that humanity will return to the moon by 2020. Will we make it?

Total votes: 2295

Yes, but it won't be NASA: 687 (29.9%)
Politics/budget will delay it a decade or two: 638 (27.8%)  
It'll take far too long, but will happen: 294 (12.8%)
Yes, NASA will deliver: 292 (12.7%)
It'll be unavoidably delayed a few years: 263 (11.5%)
Not in our lifetimes: 83 (3.6%)
No, never: 38 (1.7%)


Poll 194: Which real person should I get to appear in the comic next?

Total votes: 2530

The MythBusters: 679 (26.8%)
An Allosaurus: 448 (17.7%)
Steve Irwin: 432 (17.1%)
Wil Wheaton: 291 (11.5%)
The Nigerian Finance Minister: 270 (10.7%)  
Andy Weir: 198 (7.8%)
George Lucas: 133 (5.3%)
Bill Gates: 67 (2.6%)
Dean Stahl: 12 (0.5%)


Poll 195: Your most usual breakfast routine?

Total votes: 2176

Cold breakfast at home: 882 (40.5%)
Skip breakfast, wait until lunch: 479 (22.0%)
Skip breakfast, have a mid-morning snack: 237 (10.9%)
Cook myself hot breakfast at home: 211 (9.7%)
Take something from home and eat at work/school: 92 (4.2%)
Take something from home and eat on the run: 70 (3.2%)
Someone else cooks hot breakfast at home: 63 (2.9%)
Buy something cold take-away and eat at work/school: 28 (1.3%)  
Hot breakfast prepared by work/school: 24 (1.1%)
Buy something hot take-away and eat at work/school: 21 (1.0%)
Eat in a diner, cafe, or similar: 20 (0.9%)
Buy something hot take-away and eat on the run: 20 (0.9%)
Cold breakfast prepared by work/school: 16 (0.7%)
Buy something cold take-away and eat on the run: 13 (0.6%)

Holy cow. I'm staggered that nearly a third of you skip breakfast! Didn't anyone ever tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? :-)

I mean, I knew some people skipped breakfast, but I never imagined it was such a high proportion. Wow.


Poll 196: Ever been in a prison?

Total votes: 2309

No, never: 1474 (63.8%)
Only a closed facility as a tourist: 466 (20.2%)  
Toured a working facility: 205 (8.9%)
Visited someone in prison: 73 (3.2%)
Currently serving time: 35 (1.5%)
Served my time: 28 (1.2%)
Had a job in a prison: 22 (1.0%)
Currently have a job in a prison: 6 (0.3%)


Poll 197: What do you think of the International Astronomical Union's proposal for the definition of "planet"? (FAQ here)

Total votes: 2253

More planets! Whee!: 373 (16.6%)
Pluto should have been demoted to a Kuiper Belt Object ages ago: 347 (15.4%)  
A sensible and well-thought-out proposal: 321 (14.2%)
Who the hell cares? I mean seriously...: 307 (13.6%)
In my day there were 9 planets and that's good enough for me: 189 (8.4%)
I don't care as long as we get to keep the name Xena!: 172 (7.6%)
What the? Ceres for crying out loud?: 140 (6.2%)
Pluto has to be a planet, so I guess we have to accept the others: 106 (4.7%)
The proposal is stupid, they're opening the floodgates: 104 (4.6%)
What the? Pluto and Charon a double planet?: 93 (4.1%)
All I want to know is how will it affect my horoscope?: 64 (2.8%)
Who do these IAU boffins think they are anyway?: 37 (1.6%)


Poll 198: Most antisocial behaviour?

Total votes: 2561

Smoking in non-smoking areas: 809 (31.6%)
Playing loud music all night: 454 (17.7%)
Queue jumping: 327 (12.8%)
Sticking chewing gum on public furniture: 228 (8.9%)
Not cleaning up after one's dog: 210 (8.2%)
Not giving up public transport seat to elderly/disabled: 178 (7.0%)  
Littering: 168 (6.6%)
Graffiti: 109 (4.3%)
Illegal parking: 78 (3.0%)


Poll 199: If you sampled random Internet users, their average intelligence would be:

Total votes: 2652

Much greater than average: 17 (0.6%)
Greater than average: 377 (14.2%)
Average: 1597 (60.2%)
Lower than average: 394 (14.9%)
Much lower than average: 267 (10.1%)  

This poll was deliberately constructed to be straightforward-seeming-but-actually-ambiguous as possible. The questions a decent statistician would ask would include:

  • Sample how?
  • Random in what sense?
  • How do you define an Internet user?
  • How many users?
  • What exactly do you mean by average?
  • What exactly do you mean by intelligence?
  • Compared to what, exactly?
I'm quite pleased that I only received one e-mail addressing any of these ambiguities, and even that merely to ask if the poll had been intentionally constructed in this way. The rest of you just made up your own minds and picked an answer! Excellent work, my students! :-)
Poll 200: Which fruit seeds annoy you most?

Total votes: 2375

Watermelon: 465 (19.6%)
Grape: 432 (18.2%)
Orange: 283 (11.9%)
Pomegranate: 241 (10.1%)  
Raspberry: 180 (7.6%)
Cherry: 155 (6.5%)
Apple: 133 (5.6%)
Lemon: 127 (5.3%)
Strawberry: 87 (3.7%)
Mango: 82 (3.5%)
Tomato: 80 (3.4%)
Fig: 47 (2.0%)
Kiwifruit: 37 (1.6%)
Guava: 17 (0.7%)
Passionfruit: 9 (0.4%)

Unfortunately I thought I'd included passionfruit when the poll opened, but only discovered that I'd neglected to type it in a day later. It seems by the time I added it, most people had already voted, so passionfruit received very few votes as a result. I expect it would be a few places higher up if I'd included it from the beginning. Oh well.


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