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Poll Results

All Previous Polls: 201-250

Poll 201: What's a nice person like you doing reading a comic like this?

Total votes: 2784

I guess I'm a glutton for pun-ishment: 670 (24.1%)
It sure beats working: 502 (18.0%)
Who says I'm a nice person?: 491 (17.6%)
Just keeping tabs on you. Regards, Jane Goodall.: 338 (12.1%)
It's more educational than my school science classes: 292 (10.5%)  
I suppose you want to buy me a drink now?: 225 (8.1%)
Haven't you got a better line than that?: 141 (5.1%)
Force of habit. This comic sucks.: 125 (4.5%)

Well. It's nice of Jane Goodall to vote 338 times. From multiple different IP addresses.

Poll 202: What thought do you give/to the classic poem form/of Japan: haiku?

Total votes: 2593

The cicada calls/I hear its clever question/and respond in kind: 800 (30.9%)
Haiku are fun, yay!/Five-seven-five syllables/That is all I need: 546 (21.1%)
Ha, you would never/catch me doing something that/stupid and silly: 447 (17.2%)  
Haiku? What? Where's the/link so that I can learn from/Wikipedia?: 312 (12.0%)
Without a kigo/your paltry question attempt/is but senryu: 273 (10.5%)
furuike ya/kawazu tobikomu/mizu no oto: 215 (8.3%)

Poll 203: Preferred pronunciation:

Total votes: 2387

No time to lose!: 1275 (53.4%)
"No-Time" Toulouse.: 496 (20.8%)  
Note: I'm teh los3.: 283 (11.9%)
No. Time to lose.: 206 (8.6%)
No time. To lose!: 94 (3.9%)
No time too. Lose.: 33 (1.4%)

Poll 204: P=NP?

Total votes: 1962

Mu: 625 (31.9%)
I can't tell if my thoughts on this will halt: 306 (15.6%)  
False: 192 (9.8%)
Provable, but not in polynomial time: 177 (9.0%)
False, but not provably so: 154 (7.8%)
Totally undecidable: 149 (7.6%)
True or false: 137 (7.0%)
True and false: 96 (4.9%)
True, but not provable: 85 (4.3%)
True: 41 (2.1%)

Poll 205: Person most likely to have been a time traveller?

Total votes: 2638

Leonardo da Vinci: 1062 (40.3%)
Jesus Christ: 328 (12.4%)
Albert Einstein: 261 (9.9%)
Comte de Saint-Germain: 204 (7.7%)
Benjamin Franklin: 182 (6.9%)
Gautama Buddha: 163 (6.2%)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 144 (5.5%)  
Galileo Galilei: 74 (2.8%)
Isaac Newton: 60 (2.3%)
Aristotle: 58 (2.2%)
Charles Darwin: 51 (1.9%)
Thomas Jefferson: 30 (1.1%)
Muhammad: 21 (0.8%)

Clearly I missed a lot of good possibilities here. That's what I get for not having a new poll question ready and writing one in a panic 5 minutes before posting a new poll. For the record, people also suggested Nostradamus, Nikola Tesla, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and John Titor, among others.

Poll 206: Favourite word/phrase used in English with accented characters?

Total votes: 2430

menage à trois: 318 (13.1%)  
déjà vu: 316 (13.0%)
coup de grâce: 222 (9.1%)
Ångström: 218 (9.0%)
smörgåsbord: 188 (7.7%)
Übermensch: 182 (7.5%)
naïve: 162 (6.7%)
coup d'état: 148 (6.1%)
Motörhead: 148 (6.1%)
jalapeño: 146 (6.0%)
Häagen-Dazs: 120 (4.9%)
façade: 96 (4.0%)
café: 63 (2.6%)
à la mode: 56 (2.3%)
fiancé/fiancée: 47 (1.9%)

I was getting tired of writing poll questions and having dozens of people e-mailing to say, "You forgot such-and-such an answer! How could you??! I demand to put in a vote for it!" I normally write the poll questions in a panic about 2 minutes before I post a new question, and so inevitably miss some option that would have been obvious given another minute's thought.

So this time I thought, "I'll get you!" And I posted the question to the IWC forums and asked the posters there for all the answers they could think of. And I stuck all the best ones in the poll as options.

And man, did that ever fail. I received more "How could you forget so-and-so??" for this poll than any other one I've run. People sent in dozens of good suggestions, from tête-à-tête to naïveté, from fête to touché, from crème brûlée to bête noire.

See if I ever try that again.

Poll 207: Most beautiful architectural stone?

Total votes: 2186

Marble: 869 (39.8%)
Granite: 336 (15.4%)
Alabaster: 241 (11.0%)  
Sandstone: 141 (6.5%)
Basalt: 121 (5.5%)
Quartzite: 102 (4.7%)
Dolomite: 95 (4.3%)
Slate: 90 (4.1%)
Limestone: 81 (3.7%)
Travertine: 67 (3.1%)
Flint: 43 (2.0%)

Poll 208: Pick a number from 1 to 10:

Total votes: 2085

1: 413 (19.8%)
2: 728 (34.9%)
3: 789 (37.8%)  
4: 17 (0.8%)
5: 18 (0.9%)
6: 12 (0.6%)
7: 61 (2.9%)
8: 22 (1.1%)
9: 15 (0.7%)
10: 25 (1.2%)

Funny how only offering the first three options in the actual poll form skews the results.

Poll 209: Are you a photographer?

Total votes: 2417

I've taken a few shots: 662 (27.4%)
I have a decent camera but should use it more: 587 (24.3%)
I dig my camera out for vacations: 354 (14.6%)
I take snapshots at important events: 283 (11.7%)
I take lots of photos with a cheap camera: 215 (8.9%)
I'm an enthusiastic amateur with mid-range gear: 203 (8.4%)
I've never taken a photo in my life: 41 (1.7%)
You've probably seen my work in National Geographic: 40 (1.7%)  
I take photos nearly every day with good gear: 21 (0.9%)
I'm a professional photographer: 11 (0.5%)

Wow, 40 National Geographic photographers read this comic. Somehow I have an easier time believing that 11 readers are genuinely professional photographers. :-)

Poll 210: Do you ever eat standing up?

Total votes: 2742

Some snacks, the occasional meal: 1169 (42.6%)
Only snack foods: 652 (23.8%)
Yes, I'm a horse: 263 (9.6%)
Only canapés at fashionable parties: 200 (7.3%)
I often eat meals standing: 169 (6.2%)
What? No. How uncouth.: 102 (3.7%)
Frequently; I'm too busy to sit down: 98 (3.6%)
Yes, the calories don't count that way: 62 (2.3%)
All the time; it's unusual for me to sit and eat: 27 (1.0%)  

I bet at least half of the National Geographic photographers who read Irregular Webcomic! are horses.

Poll 211: Creepiest thing about creepy-crawlies?

Total votes: 2624

The feel of them on the skin: 592 (22.6%)
Not knowing where they are: 504 (19.2%)  
The scuttling: 282 (10.7%)
Too many legs!: 239 (9.1%)
The egg laying: 239 (9.1%)
Biting and scratching: 231 (8.8%)
Ooziness when squashed: 182 (6.9%)
Knowing where they are: 118 (4.5%)
Crunchiness when squashed: 105 (4.0%)
Dirt and germs: 77 (2.9%)
The shiny blackness: 28 (1.1%)
The hairiness: 27 (1.0%)

Poll 212: What should the pirate ship be named?

Total votes: 2905

Archimedes' Principle: 776 (26.7%)
Arrr!: 654 (22.5%)
Banana Daiquiri: 416 (14.3%)
Scurvy Barnacle: 363 (12.5%)
Red Jewel of Tortuga: 179 (6.2%)
Shanghai Surprise: 148 (5.1%)
Sea Kennel: 107 (3.7%)
Black Shark: 86 (3.0%)
Who is this Blackbeard anyway?: 85 (2.9%)  
Long Tom's Tavern: 57 (2.0%)
Jolly Roger: 34 (1.2%)

I really screwed up here in leaving off an option. Enough people wrote in to suggest it that I feel compelled to hereby christen the pirate ship:


Poll 213: If you knew you would die next week, what would you do?

Total votes: 3001

Do one of those life goals I've always wanted to do: 665 (22.2%)  
Calmly put my affairs in order: 609 (20.3%)
Try anything to avoid my fate: 468 (15.6%)
Party non-stop: 233 (7.8%)
Go on a wild crime spree: 227 (7.6%)
Spend like crazy, and run up a huge debt: 227 (7.6%)
Carry on my routine as normal: 148 (4.9%)
Get blind drunk and stay that way: 122 (4.1%)
Pray: 117 (3.9%)
Panic: 115 (3.8%)
Mope: 70 (2.3%)

Poll 214: What Wiki project would be coolest?

Total votes: 2376

WikiBible - the Holy Text anyone can edit: 580 (24.4%)
WikiStarWars - the scripts for the special edition movies anyone can edit: 399 (16.8%)
WikiWarGames - the military control computer code anyone can edit: 271 (11.4%)
WikiTV - the broadcast entertainment anyone can edit: 219 (9.2%)
WikiScience - the explanation of the universe anyone can edit: 177 (7.4%)
WikiLaw - the legal system anyone can edit: 157 (6.6%)
WikiHistory - the record of the past anyone can edit: 128 (5.4%)
WikiConstitution - the codification of government principles anyone can edit: 126 (5.3%)  
WikiUN - the international security resolutions anyone can edit: 126 (5.3%)
WikiMetric - the system of measurement units anyone can edit: 79 (3.3%)
WikiISO - the international standards anyone can edit: 73 (3.1%)
WikiMedicine - the diagnosis and treatment reference anyone can edit: 41 (1.7%)

Yes, some things by these names already exist, but they are about a topic, not actual editable source material.

Poll 215: How famous are you?

Total votes: 3045

I'm not really known beyond family and friends: 977 (32.1%)
I'm well known to about 100 to 1000 people: 872 (28.6%)
I'm only known to a small family/friends group: 295 (9.7%)
I'm a recluse: 226 (7.4%)
Actually, you'd be amazed to know I read your comic: 193 (6.3%)  
I'm famous within a specialised field, but not outside: 132 (4.3%)
I'm in a witness protection program: 132 (4.3%)
Everyone in my town knows me: 84 (2.8%)
I'm a well known net.personality: 44 (1.4%)
I have a popular web site: 44 (1.4%)
I'm fairly well known in several countries: 17 (0.6%)
I'm an international celebrity: 15 (0.5%)
I'm moderately well known in traditional media: 13 (0.4%)
I'm famous within a country but not elsewhere: 1 (0.0%)

I was hoping this poll would cause me to receive e-mail from someone amazingly famous. But no... it seems the only celebrities who read this comic are too embarrassed to admit it. ;-)

Poll 216: At a vacation destination, how do you prefer to get around?

Total votes: 2965

Walk or hike: 1012 (34.1%)
Experience local public transport: 587 (19.8%)
Actually, stay in one place and just relax: 491 (16.6%)  
Drive myself around: 460 (15.5%)
Stay in one place and do lots of activities: 171 (5.8%)
Canoe, horse, overland skiing, other, etc.: 93 (3.1%)
Take long distance train or bus trips: 57 (1.9%)
Hire private transport: 48 (1.6%)
Be on an organised tour: 46 (1.6%)

On the vacation I took while this poll was up, I drove a hire car along the Great Ocean Road, and did a bit of walking at various stops along the way. It was very much a journeying type of trip, with the travel being part of the experience.

Poll 217: What worries you least?

Total votes: 2648

An asteroid hitting Earth: 1041 (39.3%)  
A huge terrorist strike: 490 (18.5%)
Global warming: 355 (13.4%)
Escalation of crime: 283 (10.7%)
Nuclear war: 186 (7.0%)
Mass extinctions: 160 (6.0%)
An unstoppable new plague: 96 (3.6%)
Biological warfare: 37 (1.4%)

Poll 218: Do you use a shopping list?

Total votes: 2572

I just remember what's needed when I go shopping: 821 (31.9%)
I compile it by checking supplies just before going shopping: 447 (17.4%)  
I just run out of stuff and dash out to buy it as needed: 349 (13.6%)
Someone else takes care of all that: 344 (13.4%)
I compile it as things run out and take it shopping: 318 (12.4%)
I help compile it, someone else does the shopping: 154 (6.0%)
Someone else compiles it but I take it shopping: 139 (5.4%)

Poll 219: Before looking at the options, how many New Zealanders can you name?

Total votes: 2527

Um... none: 952 (37.7%)
Peter Jackson: 296 (11.7%)
2 of the above: 249 (9.9%)
None of the above, but a few others: 243 (9.6%)  
2 of the above, plus a few others: 184 (7.3%)
1 of the above, plus a few others: 107 (4.2%)
3 of the above: 99 (3.9%)
3 of the above, plus a few others: 90 (3.6%)
More than I can easily count: 53 (2.1%)
Maybe 10-20 or so: 45 (1.8%)
Russell Crowe: 42 (1.7%)
4 of the above, plus a few others: 41 (1.6%)
Sir Edmund Hillary: 35 (1.4%)
4 of the above: 28 (1.1%)
All of the above, plus a few others: 27 (1.1%)
All of the above: 13 (0.5%)
A few dozen: 11 (0.4%)
Ernest Rutherford: 8 (0.3%)
Helen Clark: 4 (0.2%)

I got a lot of feedback on this one. Of course I left some other specific names off the list; it was a matter of choosing five names from the dozens I could have chosen, to keep the number of poll options down to a reasonable number.

I picked Sir Edmund Hillary and Ernest Rutherford immediately as the two most internationally significant and enduringly famous New Zealanders of all time. (You could argue that, I suppose, but I'd be difficult to convince otherwise. Unfortuately, as many people commented, they of course knew of them but had no idea either one of them was a New Zealander.) Next, I picked Peter Jackson, because of his work on Lord of the Rings and how well known that would be amongst my audience. Fourth I decided another entertainer would be a reasonable pick, and chose Russell Crowe as probably the most famous, although as many people commented he is often thought of as Australian. (He lived here for many years, but has always been a New Zealand citizen.) Finally, I picked the current NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clark, figuring people who might not be interested in entertainers might know world politics instead.

Other options included Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tim and Neil Finn, Lucy Lawless, Anna Paquin, Murray Ball, and so on.

I avoided sportspeople deliberately, as anyone who follows cricket or rugby can probably name a couple dozen Kiwis without even drawing breath.

And then there were the New Zelanders who wrote to me, saying they were confused by why I would ask such a specific question until they looked at the options and realised they could include famous people too. :-)

Poll 220: How do you carry coins?

Total votes: 3107

Loose in my pocket: 1155 (37.2%)
In a wallet/purse in the coin compartment: 1037 (33.4%)
Hoard them at home: 361 (11.6%)
In a dedicated coin purse: 157 (5.1%)
In a wallet/purse in with the banknotes: 103 (3.3%)
Leave in the car and grab as needed: 99 (3.2%)
I eschew coins completely: 71 (2.3%)
In a compartment of handbag or other bag: 37 (1.2%)
Loose in a handbag or other bag: 34 (1.1%)
In the secret compartment of my attache case: 31 (1.0%)  
In my sock/shoe: 10 (0.3%)
In my hand: 8 (0.3%)
In a money-belt: 4 (0.1%)

Poll 221: Did you notice this poll question appeared a day late?

Total votes: 2331

You mean there's a schedule?: 1143 (49.0%)
I just answer when I see a new question: 817 (35.0%)  
Now that you mention it, yeah: 86 (3.7%)
I thought it was roughly about time: 84 (3.6%)
Huh? What poll question?: 81 (3.5%)
Yes, I was wondering what was up: 71 (3.0%)
I answer every day, new question or not: 49 (2.1%)

Poll 222: What age are you and do you drink alcohol?

Total votes: 2773

21 or over, infrequently: 757 (27.3%)
21 or over, yes: 690 (24.9%)
21 or over, no: 462 (16.7%)
Under 18, no: 292 (10.5%)
18-20, no: 210 (7.6%)
18-20, yes: 210 (7.6%)
Under 18, yes: 83 (3.0%)
Under 18, only under supervision: 53 (1.9%)  
18-20, only under supervision: 16 (0.6%)

Poll 223: Does it snow where you live?

Total votes: 2427

Every year, a big fall every few years: 721 (29.7%)
A big fall every winter: 433 (17.8%)
Every year, but only lightly: 295 (12.2%)
No, never: 289 (11.9%)
Rarely; once every 10 years or more: 215 (8.9%)
Not every year, but a few times in a season: 202 (8.3%)  
Infrequently; once every few years: 173 (7.1%)
Lots, sometimes in summer too: 79 (3.3%)
Summer? What's that? It snows all the time!: 20 (0.8%)

Poll 224: If you could buy one extra hour per day on demand, what would be the most you would be willing to pay to do so?

Total votes: 3458

US$20 per hour: 510 (14.7%)
I wouldn't on principle: 510 (14.7%)
less than US$10 per hour: 475 (13.7%)
US$10 per hour: 469 (13.6%)
US$100 per hour: 385 (11.1%)
US$50 per hour: 353 (10.2%)
US$30 per hour: 182 (5.3%)
more than US$1000 per hour: 175 (5.1%)  
US$40 per hour: 102 (2.9%)
US$200 per hour: 69 (2.0%)
US$75 per hour: 65 (1.9%)
US$150 per hour: 45 (1.3%)
US$500 per hour: 38 (1.1%)
US$1000 per hour: 32 (0.9%)
US$300 per hour: 19 (0.5%)
US$125 per hour: 18 (0.5%)
US$400 per hour: 10 (0.3%)
US$750 per hour: 1 (0.0%)

I thought this was a fairly simple question. I wasn't prepared for the torrent of e-mails and other feedback from readers, who wanted to know more about this "deal" before picking an answer.

By far the most common question was, "Who's getting the money?" People figured someone would be getting rich from this scheme, and wanted to know who before deciding how much an extra hour of time was worth to them. I'm conjecturing here, but I think if it was Bill Gates selling time, people would have been less likely to buy, whereas had it been a worthy charity or something they would have been happy to take advantage. But of course my question had no such conditions attached to it. It wasn't supposed to be important where the money went; all you were supposd to worry about was that you would no longer have it.

Some people expressed the opinion that this sounded like some sort of contractual agreement, involving a commitment to buy a certain minimum number of hours or something. This made them wary of the whole deal. Some people extended this concept and expected there would probably be peak demand periods and therefore shortages of time when you most needed it, and there'd probably be extra charges, plus government taxes and all sorts of other stuff. This was enough to make them, even though they liked the idea of getting extra time, decide that it probably wouldn't be worth the trouble.

Others said that the price would probably be set by market forces, which would mean that the expected price would tend to fluctuate with demand, thus making it unpalatable to many buyers.

Some people wondered how the extra time would physically be granted. Someone suggested that you'd have to slow the rotation of the Earth to once every 25 hours, rather than 24*. And what would be the point of that? You'd be paying for an extra hour and everyone would get it! Therefore, this offer is a rip-off, and not worth paying anything.

* Yes, I know this is not strictly correct. My degree is in astrophysics after all. For anyone baffled by this footnote, I'll explain it another day.

Some people wanted to know, "where's the catch?" They figured this sounded like a wish granted by a capricious genie, and were extremely reluctant to agree without knowing that nothing bad would happen.

A lot of people wanted to know more of the mechanics of how this extra time woudl be granted. Would it be an extra hour of life? Or would it be subtracted from the end of your lifespan? What sort of things could you actually do in the extra time? What happened to everyone else? Were they frozen in time for an hour, meaning you could commit all sorts of amazing crimes willy-nilly?

Then there were the ones who analysed it from an economic point of view. They figured that they got paid a certain amount of money per hour of work, so that was what an hour of time was worth to them. Someone said that he hoped the price of these extra hours wasn't too cheap, because he figured that if you could get cheap extra time, his boss would give him extra work to do!

Now, the way I saw this question was that sometimes you just need some extra time. Like you're studying for an exam, or trying to finish a homework assignment. Or you're running late for a wedding and really want to make sure you make it on time. Or you want an extra hour with your sweetheart before they leave on the plane to Hong Kong for a year. Or maybe you're racing to save someone's life and you get there just too late - unless you can somehow get some extra time. In those sort of situations, what would be the most money you woud be willing to give up in order to get the time you need? I can think of a lot of cases where an extra hour would be virtually priceless. I figured nearly everyone would be willing to give up a lot of money to have this option when they most need it.

Clearly though, given that 56.7% of you would be willing to pay only US$20 or less to get an extra hour of time when you most need it, there were a lot of other considerations coming into your answers.

I think this is the most interesting poll I've run in some time.

Poll 225: If everyone who answers this poll votes A, I will give you an extra comic next week.

Total votes: 3484

A: 3331 (95.6%)  
B: 153 (4.4%)

Poll 226: Referring back to the blank strip #1402, did you re-read it as requested by the annotation, including after #1410?

Total votes: 2618

I pretended I'd re-read it, but didn't bother actually doing so: 717 (27.4%)  
Each time while reading it, but not after #1410: 496 (18.9%)
Yes, each time, and it was worth it: 422 (16.1%)
I didn't bother "reading" it at all: 340 (13.0%)
Yes, each time, but I didn't see the point: 220 (8.4%)
I re-read it, but only after being asked twice: 203 (7.8%)
What annotation? There was an annotation?!: 112 (4.3%)
I re-read it, but only after being asked three times: 77 (2.9%)
I didn't read the comic or the annotation: 31 (1.2%)

Poll 227: In poll #225, I said if everyone voted A, I would give you an extra comic. Out of 3484 votes, there were 3331 'A's and 153 'B's. I'm giving you a second chance. If at least 3331/3484 (95.6%) of the valid votes for this poll are A, I will give you an extra comic next week.

Total votes: 4737

A: 4514 (95.3%)  
B: 223 (4.7%)

So close.

This poll did break two records though. The highest number of valid votes in a poll so far. And the highest number of attempted ballot-stuff votes (which of course don't get counted).

There were 88,459 ballot-stuffing attempts. Of those, over 87,000 were attempts at stuffing the ballot for "A", and barely over 1,000 for "B".

Poll 228: Are you usually early, late, or on time?

Total votes: 2745

I'm usually a little early: 905 (33.0%)  
I'm usually a bit late: 629 (22.9%)
I'm usually right on time: 413 (15.0%)
I'm always a little early: 247 (9.0%)
I'm usually really early: 204 (7.4%)
I'm always a bit late: 136 (5.0%)
I'm always really early: 85 (3.1%)
I'm always right on time: 48 (1.7%)
I'm usually really late: 46 (1.7%)
I'm always really late: 32 (1.2%)

Poll 229: How do you put banknotes in your wallet/purse/moneyclip/pocket?

Total votes: 2536

Opened out, sorted in denominations, oriented uniformly: 608 (24.0%)  
Opened out, unsorted, oriented randomly: 540 (21.3%)
Opened out, sorted in denominations, oriented randomly: 393 (15.5%)
Some non-euclidean method you haven't mentioned: 250 (9.9%)
Opened out, unsorted, oriented uniformly: 141 (5.6%)
I don't use banknotes: 137 (5.4%)
Sorted, oriented uniformly, folded in half together: 97 (3.8%)
Unsorted, oriented randomly, folded in half together: 80 (3.2%)
Folded in half individually, unsorted, oriented randomly: 49 (1.9%)
Sorted, oriented randomly, folded in half together: 45 (1.8%)
Folded together into thirds or smaller, unsorted: 41 (1.6%)
Folded together into thirds or smaller, sorted: 33 (1.3%)
Unsorted, oriented uniformly, folded in half together: 29 (1.1%)
Folded individually into thirds or smaller, unsorted: 25 (1.0%)
Folded in half individually, sorted, oriented uniformly: 24 (0.9%)
Folded in half individually, unsorted, oriented uniformly: 20 (0.8%)
Folded in half individually, sorted, oriented randomly: 15 (0.6%)
Folded individually into thirds or smaller, sorted: 9 (0.4%)

One person answered: "I'm usually really late".

Poll 230: What's black and white and bounces?

Total votes: 2643

A photocopy of a cheque: 643 (24.3%)
A penguin on a pogo stick: 589 (22.3%)
A killer whale playing Dance Dance Revolution: 503 (19.0%)  
A mime in a tumble drier: 385 (14.6%)
A panda on a trampoline: 322 (12.2%)
An oscillating Jolly Roger: 135 (5.1%)
A bungee-jumping zebra: 66 (2.5%)

Poll 231: When did you stop believing in Santa Claus?

Total votes: 2110

Wait. What are you implying??: 556 (26.4%)  
Aged 5-7: 433 (20.5%)
Aged 8-10: 417 (19.8%)
Never believed: 388 (18.4%)
Aged under 5: 162 (7.7%)
Aged 11-13: 130 (6.2%)
Aged 14-16: 23 (1.1%)
Aged 17-19: 1 (0.0%)
Aged 20+: 1 (0.0%)

Wow. I don't think I've ever done a poll before where two of the options gathered only 1 vote each.

Poll 232: How controversial is this poll?

Total votes: 2707

Not at all: 653 (24.1%)
All religions are fundamentally the same: 475 (17.5%)  
John Cage's 4'33" is music: 388 (14.3%)
There was more than one gunman: 270 (10.0%)
A moderate amount: 192 (7.1%)
Global warming is not caused by humans: 183 (6.8%)
A little bit: 152 (5.6%)
Women are intellectually inferior to men: 97 (3.6%)
Cosmetics should be tested on animals: 91 (3.4%)
The Holocaust never happened: 76 (2.8%)
Creationism should be taught as science: 68 (2.5%)
Gay marriage erodes family values: 62 (2.3%)

It's good to see that I'm not at all controversial.

Poll 233: Do you ever leave the door open when using the toilet?

Total votes: 2365

Only when alone (at home, hotel room, etc): 571 (24.1%)
Only when at home alone: 416 (17.6%)
Only if absolutely necessitated by lack of door: 377 (15.9%)
No, never!: 337 (14.2%)
If the only person present is my spouse/partner: 261 (11.0%)  
If the only people present are immediate family: 152 (6.4%)
If I think I can get away with it: 139 (5.9%)
Door?: 77 (3.3%)
With friends, family, whoever!: 15 (0.6%)
With any family: 14 (0.6%)
In completely public places: 6 (0.3%)

Poll 234: How many coins do you have on you right now?

Total votes: 2557

None: 1608 (62.9%)  
21+: 164 (6.4%)
11-15: 158 (6.2%)
16-20: 74 (2.9%)
3: 70 (2.7%)
5: 67 (2.6%)
4: 65 (2.5%)
2: 62 (2.4%)
6: 60 (2.3%)
7: 53 (2.1%)
1: 51 (2.0%)
8: 45 (1.8%)
9: 45 (1.8%)
10: 35 (1.4%)

Poll 235: What are you wearing right now?

Total votes: 2884

Casual clothes: 1371 (47.5%)
Pyjamas: 450 (15.6%)
"Smart" casual (whatever that is): 276 (9.6%)
What do you want me to be wearing?: 233 (8.1%)  
Underwear: 156 (5.4%)
Nothing: 155 (5.4%)
Exercise/athletic gear: 71 (2.5%)
Formal office wear (suit/tie/etc): 68 (2.4%)
A uniform: 49 (1.7%)
Manual labour clothing: 22 (0.8%)
Safety gear: 18 (0.6%)
Fancy dress: 8 (0.3%)
Formal evening wear: 7 (0.2%)

I'd like to know what sort of fancy dress people wear when they browse the web...

Poll 236: Nazi science does not sneer at:

Total votes: 3069

The Allosaurus: 844 (27.5%)
Jane Goodall: 714 (23.3%)
The fourth wall: 400 (13.0%)
Hobbit puns: 330 (10.8%)
Harry Potter fan-fiction: 177 (5.8%)  
George Lucas: 145 (4.7%)
Role-playing games: 144 (4.7%)
Men in Black: 133 (4.3%)
Busting myths: 99 (3.2%)
Death: 83 (2.7%)

Poll 237: What is your Bacon number?

Total votes: 3067

8 - I know someone, anyone, so there has to be a link somewhere!: 839 (27.4%)
6 - Never been in a film, but I did a school play, does that count?: 794 (25.9%)
9+ - I don't know anyone: 494 (16.1%)
0 - I am Kevin Bacon: 243 (7.9%)
4 - I had a bit part in a low-budget independent production: 242 (7.9%)
7 - My friend's neighbour's aunt knew a guy who mowed Rutger Hauer's lawn: 168 (5.5%)  
3 - I'm an unknown with a few minor film credits: 135 (4.4%)
5 - I was an extra in an obscure pre-1920 foreign film once: 103 (3.4%)
2 - I'm a semi-famous actor and appeared in a major film: 34 (1.1%)
1 - I'm a famous actor and worked with Kevin: 15 (0.5%)

It was nice of you to answer this poll 243 times, Kevin, but that really wasn't necessary.

On the other hand, I'd like to hear from the 15 famous actors who read my comic.

Poll 238: Have you listened to an Irregular Podcast!?

Total votes: 2487

No, I'm not interested in podcasts.: 559 (22.5%)
No, I might check it out if I'm bored one day.: 407 (16.4%)
What's a podcast?: 278 (11.2%)
There's a podcast?! Where?! Let me at it!: 233 (9.4%)
Yes! Make more!: 220 (8.8%)
No, I don't have the necessary equipment.: 203 (8.2%)
I intend to grab them soon.: 152 (6.1%)
Yes, I'm hoping they improve.: 144 (5.8%)
Yes, they're not bad.: 128 (5.1%)
No, I have too much stuff to listen to already.: 99 (4.0%)
I've downloaded but not had time to listen yet.: 40 (1.6%)
Yes but, well, I won't in future.: 24 (1.0%)

For those who don't know, a podcast is an episodic audio file which you can subscribe to using various software tools such as iTunes. You don't, however, need iTunes or an iPod to listen to it. As long as you have a (reasonably modern) computer with speakers or headphones, you can just download the individual episodes from the podcasts page and play them on your computer.

Poll 239: Would your reading experience be significantly improved if I included the actual comic image in the RSS feed, as opposed to just a link to this site?

Total votes: 2430

I don't use the RSS feed, so I don't care.: 1331 (54.8%)
Huh? What? Stop talking gibberish!: 508 (20.9%)
Yes, that would be nice.: 162 (6.7%)
I use the RSS feed and don't mind either way.: 152 (6.3%)  
Yes, I really want you to do that!: 103 (4.2%)
No, I like it the way it is now.: 103 (4.2%)
No! Don't do it! That would be actively bad.: 71 (2.9%)

You know, I'm still not quite sure what to do about this. Adding the images to the RSS feed is a major hit on my bandwidth, which I pay for out of my own pocket. I estimate enabling this feature would multiply my bandwidth by a factor of 10 or so. The reason is because I currently block my images from being loaded on other sites. I had to do this some time ago, because people were posting hotlinks to my comics in their blogs, LiveJournals, on forums, etc. And some of those pages got hundreds or thousands of users looking at them every day, with the result that my server got hit for the image each time, so I was showing the image more on other people's sites than on my own site, and it was getting perilously close to costing me extra webhosting fees each month. In order to enable the image in the RSS feed, I'd have to remove that block.

Now, my webhost grants me extra bandwidth every month, which is growing faster than my readership, so it's likely that now I have enough to handle all those extra hits. But... I'm still wary. So I'm going to think about this a little longer. If I do put the images into an RSS feed, I will also include the annotations, and I won't change the existing feed - I'll make a second one. But I'm not promising anything just yet. I do want to make you all happy, but sometimes I just need a little time.

Poll 240: Have you ever thought about making a webcomic of your own?

Total votes: 2991

Uh, no, not at all.: 875 (29.3%)
Sort of, but not seriously at all.: 653 (21.8%)
Yes, but I wish I could draw better first.: 318 (10.6%)
Yes, but I wish I could draw AND come up with ideas.: 267 (8.9%)
Yes, but I find the time commitment daunting.: 201 (6.7%)
Yes, and I've sort of started, but it's not online yet.: 134 (4.5%)
Yes, but it's all just too overwhelming in general.: 118 (3.9%)
Actually, I started one, but it sort of died after a while.: 97 (3.2%)
No, but now that you mention it...: 90 (3.0%)
Actually, I have a webcomic, but it's not very popular.: 71 (2.4%)
Yes, but I wish I could come up with a premise and characters.: 64 (2.1%)  
Yes, but I'm not sure how to get it on the web.: 63 (2.1%)
Actually, I have a popular webcomic!: 23 (0.8%)
Yes, but I'm afraid of criticism.: 17 (0.6%)

Well. It seems a lot of people have thought about making a webcomic at some stage, but never done anything about it.

Now you can.

I am launching a new webcomic project, in which you get to contribute whatever skills and time you are able, and other people do all the other bits that you have trouble with. Check it out.

Poll 241: Do you always pick the Allosaurus as a poll option?

Total votes: 2321

The Allosaurus: 1408 (60.7%)
I consider each option carefully, and then pick Allosaurus: 690 (29.7%)  
<choose>: 318 (13.7%)
If it's available, yes: 103 (4.4%)
Even if it's not available!: 61 (2.6%)
I refuse to vote if the Allosaurus isn't an option: 59 (2.5%)

Poll 242: If there was a game where you win US$1,000,000 just for playing, but have a one in N chance of being killed, how big would N have to be before you would play?

Total votes: 2935

I wouldn't do it no matter what the odds: 836 (28.5%)  
More than 1,000,000,000: 326 (11.1%)
1,000,000,000: 190 (6.5%)
100,000,000: 97 (3.3%)
10,000,000: 105 (3.6%)
1,000,000: 323 (11.0%)
100,000: 167 (5.7%)
10,000: 241 (8.2%)
1,000: 283 (9.6%)
100: 210 (7.2%)
10: 157 (5.3%)

This one generated a fair bit of discussion on the forums and in e-mails to me. Most people's immediate response before thinking is that they would never play such a game, since nothing is worth the risk of dying.

But then an interesting thing happens if you stop and think for a bit.

You already take risks of the order of 1 in a million chance of dying whenever you drive in a car, or cross a road, or whatever.

And you do that every day, for reward no greater than perhaps a few hundred dollars of income, without even thinking about it. For a much larger amount of money, isn't it worth taking at least the same risk? If not substantially more?

Poll 243: If you suddenly discovered you had significant superpowers, what would you do?

Total votes: 2741

Use my powers subtly/secretly to better the world as much as I can: 774 (28.2%)
Use my powers subtly to gain power and/or wealth by legal means: 414 (15.1%)
Live a relatively normal life, but fight injustice in a low-key way: 382 (13.9%)
Become a shadowy vigilante for my own interpretation of justice: 249 (9.1%)
Use my powers to make the world a better place, by taking over: 182 (6.6%)
Become a superhero, complete with flashy costume and secret identity: 151 (5.5%)  
Use my powers secretly to gain power/wealth by illegal means: 140 (5.1%)
Become a flashy supervillain! Woohoo!: 132 (4.8%)
Submit myself to research to discover the cause of superpowers: 112 (4.1%)
Think I'm crazy and try to avoid using powers as much as possible: 90 (3.3%)
Announce it to the world and become a superhero of known identity: 51 (1.9%)
Try to live a completely normal life, ignoring my powers: 38 (1.4%)
Announce my powers and become a celebrity, performing for money: 26 (0.9%)

Poll 244: If there was a game where you win money just for playing, but have a one in a million random chance of being killed, and you get to play it exactly once, what would be the smallest prize that you would agree to play for?

Total votes: 2312

US$10: 119 (5.1%)
US$100: 90 (3.9%)
US$1,000: 172 (7.4%)
US$10,000: 252 (10.9%)
US$100,000: 309 (13.4%)
US$1,000,000: 395 (17.1%)
US$10,000,000: 224 (9.7%)
US$100,000,000: 95 (4.1%)
US$1,000,000,000: 134 (5.8%)
More than US$1,000,000,000: 174 (7.5%)
I wouldn't play it no matter how much the prize is: 348 (15.1%)  

Poll 245: Can you get those little "earbud" earphones to stay in your ears?

Total votes: 3152

Generally. They slip out occasionally.: 1084 (34.4%)  
Er, yes. Can't everyone?: 479 (15.2%)
No, damnit! How do people do it??: 431 (13.7%)
Yes. Not a problem.: 427 (13.5%)
I've never tried them.: 394 (12.5%)
Only if I really jam them in there.: 337 (10.7%)

Poll 246: Most annoying thing about non-sequiturs?

Total votes: 2626

The stupid animated paper-clip: 505 (19.2%)
The prominence of fish and bicycles: 469 (17.9%)
The digital rights management: 288 (11.0%)
When people spoil the ending: 279 (10.6%)
Taking the pickle off before eating them: 220 (8.4%)
Users who delete webcomic articles: 203 (7.7%)
That they power the Matrix using people: 172 (6.5%)
Getting a computer voice answering your call: 135 (5.1%)
Locking the keys inside: 124 (4.7%)
The ad breaks: 121 (4.6%)
Being sick instead of being able to enjoy them: 110 (4.2%)  
The Allosaurus (poll hack-in): 10 (0.4%)

Poll 247: Describe your diet.

Total votes: 2583

All food groups, in the wrong balance.: 1091 (42.2%)
I'll eat anything that's not totally gross.: 424 (16.4%)
All food groups, in the right balance.: 325 (12.6%)
Carnivore. Keep the vegetables away.: 319 (12.3%)
I'll eat anything. I mean anything.: 165 (6.4%)
Vegetarian, for moral reasons.: 75 (2.9%)
Vegetarian, I just don't like meat.: 58 (2.2%)
Health-based diet eg. diabetic, gluten-free.: 46 (1.8%)  
Breatharian.: 32 (1.2%)
Kosher.: 15 (0.6%)
Vegetarian, for health reasons.: 11 (0.4%)
Halal.: 9 (0.3%)
Vegan, for moral reasons.: 5 (0.2%)
Vegetarian, for religious reasons.: 4 (0.2%)
Vegan, for health reasons.: 3 (0.1%)
Vegan, just don't like meat/eggs/dairy.: 1 (0.0%)
Vegan, for religious reasons.: 1 (0.0%)

Poll 248: A hundred prisoners are each locked in a room with three pirates, one of whom will walk the plank in the morning. Each prisoner has 10 bottles of wine, one of which has been poisoned; and each pirate has 12 coins, one of which is counterfeit and weighs either more or less than a genuine coin. In the room is a single switch, which the prisoner may either leave as it is, or flip. Before being led into the rooms, the prisoners are all made to wear either a red hat or a blue hat; they can see all the other prisoners' hats, but not their own. Meanwhile, a six-digit prime number of monkeys multiply until their digits reverse, then all have to get across a river using a canoe that can hold at most two monkeys at a time. But half the monkeys always lie and the other half always tell the truth. Given that the Nth prisoner knows that one of the monkeys doesn't know that a pirate doesn't know the product of two numbers between 1 and 100 without knowing that the N+1th prisoner has flipped the switch in his room or not after having determined which bottle of wine was poisoned and what colour his hat is, what is the solution to this puzzle?

Total votes: 4249

The 64th square would have more rice than the entire kingdom.: 695 (16.4%)  
The surgeon is his MOTHER.: 493 (11.6%)
You should change your choice to the other door.: 485 (11.4%)
The seventh philosopher starves to death.: 472 (11.1%)
He commited suicide with an icicle.: 466 (11.0%)
16 miles per hour.: 389 (9.2%)
Only if the missionary is also the nun's uncle.: 366 (8.6%)
The first cannibal on the 29th night at midnight.: 346 (8.1%)
Ask him what the other farmer would say is the correct road.: 209 (4.9%)
He adds his own horse, then it's left over at the end.: 183 (4.3%)
He's too short to reach any button above the 10th floor.: 145 (3.4%)

The Allosaurus got 60 hack-in votes this time. I also got over 30 people e-mailing to suggest that the only possible correct answer must be 42.

While the Allosaurus is kind of funny as an Irregular Webcomic! in-joke, I have to admit that I find the constant repetition of 42 as the supposed answer to any non-straightforward question to be getting a bit tiresome. I like Douglas Adams as much as anyone, but I think it's about time we moved beyond its cliches.

Poll 249: Do you ever get frustrated by elections where there are no real distinguishing features between the candidates' policies?

Total votes: 2296

<choose>: 859 (37.4%)
No, it's a true expression of democracy: 701 (30.5%)  
No, it's a true expression of democracy: 605 (26.4%)
No, it's a true expression of democracy: 469 (20.4%)
No, it's a true expression of democracy: 273 (11.9%)
No, it's a true expression of democracy: 248 (10.8%)
The Allosaurus: 41 (1.8%)

For those of you interested in the order of the five identical options (which were the only options given), they finished in this order: 1, 4, 3, 5, 2.

I think this is the first time <choose> polled a plurality of votes when there was more than one other option in the poll.

This was by far the most frustrating poll for me to count the votes for, ever. I have a script that counts the votes in a fraction of a second, but so many people hacked in bizarre answers that it broke my script and it took me over half an hour to track down the cause and fix it. Aiiieee... Never again.

Someone also attempted to stuff the ballot with several hundred votes for <choose>. Hello... it's trivial for my script to detect and discard those. All you're doing is wasting your own time. But hey, I suppose that's better than you doing active harm somewhere else.

Poll 250: Ever been in a hospital?

Total votes: 2684

I've had emergency treatment.: 632 (23.5%)
I was born in one.: 461 (17.2%)
I've been admitted for an extended stay.: 352 (13.1%)  
I've visited someone there.: 323 (12.0%)
I've had elective surgery.: 279 (10.4%)
I've had outpatient treatment.: 265 (9.9%)
I've had diagnostic stuff done.: 244 (9.1%)
I used to work in a hospital.: 83 (3.1%)
I work in a hospital.: 37 (1.4%)
No. Never.: 8 (0.3%)

I received a few e-mails from obviously proud fathers who wanted to indicate that they'd spent several anxious hours waiting and or attending to their partners through the miracle of childbirth. I couldn't not include a note about that. :-)

My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
My blogs: (daily updates) | 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe (science!) | Carpe DMM (long form posts) | Snot Block & Roll (food reviews)
More comics I host: The Prisoner of Monty Hall | Lightning Made of Owls | Square Root of Minus Garfield | iToons | Comments on a Postcard | Awkward Fumbles
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This work is copyright and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International Licence by David Morgan-Mar.