I love the Leaf-blowing curve!
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:05 am
I believe "not dropping transmission" goes somewhere between "cursing" and "selecting appropreate gear" on your learning
to drive standard curve.
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:36 am
I've always wondered what "steep learning curve" actually meant, and I'm sad to say I was completely wrong in my
half-baked assumptions. Excellent read, sir.
Oh, and while I'm glad to see "Raiding" and its associated skills are off the chart in the WoW diagram, I would swear
that "Identifying real women" would be much, MUCH higher on the curve.
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:39 am
Monday 21st of April 2008 4:37 am
Or, just put time on the vertical axis instead and then hey, hard things have a steep learning curve!
Monday 21st of April 2008 6:47 am
So this is what 5 years of college in the Education Field is supposed to be teaching me.
Monday 21st of April 2008 6:53 am
I would like to see a curve for learning how to properly consume Oreos, with stages such as twisting apart or making
quadruply stuffed cookies.
Monday 21st of April 2008 7:16 am
Monday 21st of April 2008 7:32 am
Monday 21st of April 2008 7:32 am
You know what they say... "Everything is bigger in Texas"
- Big Jap from Texas
Monday 21st of April 2008 7:38 am
Hey, love the website. Just wanted to see what Georgia's puzzle piece looks like.
Monday 21st of April 2008 7:45 am
Virtually everyone here in the UK drives manual (aka 'stick shift') cars. I didn't realise it was such a big deal!
Monday 21st of April 2008 8:07 am
I agree with what Rhode Island says...
Learning to drive manual transmission has the same curve as "learning to drive".
Because, lets face it, if you drive an automatic, you're not really driving...
Monday 21st of April 2008 8:17 am
I don't get it. My curve must look like this: __________
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:01 am
I really dig the Tetris learning curve. Nice
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:07 am
Ooh, let's see what the California puzzle piece has on it. Bet it's the Golden Gate Bridge. Stupid Bay Area gets all
that attention. They oughta split the state, I say. We in SoCal sure don't need NoCal.
On topic--"steep learning curve" may or may not make actual sense, but I wonder if it would be possible to take it out
of common parlance now. I doubt it. I'll probably still use it.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:13 am
Ha, I told you it would be that bridge. And a darned redwood? What about Hollywood?
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:13 am
Like NY, I think the whole endeavor makes much more sense with time on the vertical axis. That's how I've always thought
of learning curves, and it also follows convention by putting the controlled variable on the horizontal axis.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:26 am
Hollywood, like the area where tourists go, is a hole. Biggest waste of time. Hollywood the industry is cool. And to be
truly smartassy, I believe it's a Sequoia tree. Bay Area rules! Neener neener neener.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:28 am
Some of the things in the basketball learning curve seem to be out of place--I never learned to avoid a steal without
also learning how to steal.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:32 am
Wait a second, what the hell is this on the Indiana puzzle piece? A BEAVER?
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:32 am
I'd like to learn Beyonce's curves.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:41 am
The learning curve of an activity is not relative to the person learning it. An activity with a strict learning curve is
one in which there is objectively much to learn before becoming capable.
Monday 21st of April 2008 10:10 am
So what's the learning curve for understanding charts of learning curves?
Monday 21st of April 2008 10:18 am
Illinois, you took my joke. You're corny.
Monday 21st of April 2008 10:37 am
I prefer a learning swerve.
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:00 am
I am an IPHONE!
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:15 am
Where would "Stalling in the middle of the intersection" be on the stick-shift chart? Or should that be "how to
gracefully re-start your car in the middle of an intersection"?
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:32 am
Well, there are two usable definitions of "learning curve". The original, which you've used here, concerns the speed of
learning. The other is a reference to the difficulty of learning the basic skills required to complete a task
successfully. A graph of this second concept might have the total elapsed time on the vertical axis, representing the
time each task takes to learn.
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:36 am
I'm having difficulty visualizing one of these "time on the vertical" charts. Is there one online I can check?
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:48 am
My sister has a curve.
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:58 am
10 bucks says Michigan's puzzle piece will have a car on it.
Monday 21st of April 2008 12:18 pm
Guess I owe you 10 bucks. Cherries! Didn't see that one coming.
Monday 21st of April 2008 12:19 pm
Shouldn't cursing go before letting the clutch out of first gear?
Just wanted to represent for MD.
Monday 21st of April 2008 12:26 pm
I'm commenting simply so I can see the New Jersey puzzle piece.
Monday 21st of April 2008 12:47 pm
In soviet Russia curve learns you.
Thats right the soviets are hiding in Idaho.
Monday 21st of April 2008 12:56 pm
Sorry, have to agree that the problem with your analysis is that you put time on the wrong axis. Make time the vertical
axis and it would all make much more sense.
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:00 pm
I smell funny.
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:13 pm
My learning curve for driving a stick shift is very steep. I am still trying to figure out how to get my feet to work
at the same time so I can even START the car.lol
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:18 pm
The suggestion to put time on the vertical axis just to make the idea of the learning curve makes sense is stupid.
Sorry. California itself is still lovely.
"If you want to say that a desired skill has a "steep learning curve", this can only be true if the time-to-learn is
Yes, that's exactly it.
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:25 pm
Colorado can't talk to California like that! Bros before CO
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:32 pm
Lemme guess...the Arizona puzzle piece has a cactus on it!
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:36 pm
Yup...and not just one, 2 biggies and some leetle ones...
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:37 pm
Something has a steep learning curve because there is much to learn in a very short amount of time. So, for example if
you are brought in to a new job without any training and a report due next week you've got a steep learning curve -
because you'd better get your shit together if you want to keep that job.
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:38 pm
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:41 pm
What's the learning curve for people laughing at you as you stall out, trying to learn stick shift?
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:42 pm
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:43 pm
No comment, just want to represent New Mexico!
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:43 pm
We were the first state...don't we deserve a better puzzle piece?
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:53 pm
True dat, bro.
Monday 21st of April 2008 1:53 pm
Giant Sequoias are a species of redwood.
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:01 pm
Hey Rob--Hate to disagree with you, but doesn't a "Learning Curve" more commonly refer to the relationship between what
is to be learned and the time PERMITTED to learn it? Hence, something with a "steep" learning curve is typically more
difficult, because it involves learning complex steps in a relatively short period of time. Check out the wikipedia
article on "Learning Curve."
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:12 pm
That's what she said!
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:17 pm
Why do we have to share our puzzle piece with Massachusetts and Connecticut? Sucks to be the smallest state!
Monday 21st of April 2008 2:39 pm
That Wikipedia article doesn't have any graphs. I want my money back!
Monday 21st of April 2008 3:04 pm
"Dropping the long ones along the edge" - you mean to say you can put them somewhere else?!
Monday 21st of April 2008 4:18 pm
Illinois has lots of corn, as this puzzle piece displays. So is most of the Midwest.
You know that the Earth is much like Crispix cereal. Corn on one side, Rice on the other.
Monday 21st of April 2008 4:57 pm
Monday 21st of April 2008 5:04 pm
Isn't is "Missoura"?
Monday 21st of April 2008 5:05 pm
How about a learning curve for playing craps?
Monday 21st of April 2008 5:05 pm
Monday 21st of April 2008 5:08 pm
Monday 21st of April 2008 5:10 pm
the only time i've heard it in conversation it seemed to refer to a positively *accelerating* curve. the thing being
learned was an intellectual subject, and i thought the idea was that once you knew what the words meant and stuff,
learning "takes off", it gets *faster*
Monday 21st of April 2008 6:27 pm
I'll bet Pennsylvania Has a dang Amish buggy on it.
Why not a Philly cheesesteak or a Steeler Hypocycloid?
Spelling hypocycloid has a learning curve I'm sure!
Monday 21st of April 2008 6:58 pm
Kentucy? That's definitely a lernin' cerf
Monday 21st of April 2008 7:36 pm
I didn't realize there was so much to learn blowing leaves.
Monday 21st of April 2008 8:06 pm
Dude, you need to pump up your entertainment curve.......
Monday 21st of April 2008 8:11 pm
I think "Your father screams, 'Shift goddamn it!' at the intersection where the hot guy is watching you" should
definitely be on the stick chart. Despite this, I still only drive manual transmission cars...
Monday 21st of April 2008 8:15 pm
Time should always be represented (as the input of the graph) on the X axis of a chart. To those of you who advocate
placing time on the Y axis, I say "Fie on thee! Get ye to an algebra or statistics class!"
Monday 21st of April 2008 8:25 pm
How about the "Why roundabouts are better than intersections" learning curve?
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:20 pm
Because colorado always seems to be right and i'd hate to spoil the trend, i'll just say this: right or wrong, that was
some decent entertainment rob. Keep it coming.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:44 pm
I understand that the First State is small and has a unique shape, but this puzzle piece just looks like a weird
squiggle... A "learning squiggle" perhaps.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:46 pm
Oh God, it all makes sense now!
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:50 pm
What about things that take a rather long time to start out, then get easier? I would think that, with learning a
language such as Russian, it takes a long time to make initial progress - learning Cyrillic and basic rules, etc. Then
you could theoretically learn the rest very quickly before leveling off. So it'd be sort of a 1/(1+exp(-x)) graph.
Monday 21st of April 2008 9:59 pm
I like ice cream.
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:13 pm
I so had this puzzle when I was a kid. States rock!
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:17 pm
Monday 21st of April 2008 11:53 pm
Texas Sucks... you should do a learning curve on their ability to read and write... well it would actually be more like
a flat line!
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 12:17 am
I think a "steep" learning curve just means that each next step is much harder than the previous one. the vertical axis
would be "difficulty" and the horizontal axis would be "number of things learned". Not the way you had it. (the way you
had it is fine, but I think my way shows the steep learning curve idea better).
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 1:03 am
Why does Ohio have a car on it?? Shouldn't that be Michagan? Ohio should have a polluted river that's been haphazardly
lit on fire on it.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 1:55 am
All eyes on me today! Watch a bunch of people you wouldn't trust to wash your dog decide the fate of the entire free
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 8:09 am
"Thats right the soviets are hiding in Idaho."
Moscow, Idaho, perhaps?
Figured nobody would use SD, baby!
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 9:02 am
reppin' my state, fo sho.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 10:14 am
MICHIGAN rules! (so i want to believe)
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 1:04 pm
Rob, I've seen another presentation of learning curves that I think you might find interesting. It slightly modifies
the quantities depicted, substituting skill for time and difficulty for number of things learned. In this alternate
presentation, curves that are steep represent things that get too hard too fast while curves that are steep represent
things that are so easy they are
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 1:36 pm
boring. Ideally, learners stay in a nice middle zone where the difficulty of the task stays in proportion to the
learner's increasing skill. Part of the success of World of Warcraft is, I think, due to the fact that the game
continually throws new and small challenges at you. These keep you in the Goldilocks zone.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 1:39 pm
Big Sky Country here. Just wanted to say that as much fun as it was to read the piece on learning curves, the comments
section has been kicking my ass.
Good times! Thanks Robs, and all ;)
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 3:00 pm
We don't learn anything in Maine. We just survive.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 3:17 pm
I think there should be a learning curve for mastering public transport.. especially in foreign countries :)
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 5:16 pm
I'd like to see a dating learning curve, or a making out learning curve. How long does it take the average guy to
figure out how to remove a bra with one hand? I'm scared that this state might have a picture of West Virginia's
sister on it...
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 6:16 pm
i think i'm even more confused than before.
i'm not from alaska. but alaska needs more coverage. i was there once. ahhh the joy of 7th grade.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 7:21 pm
It took me 30 seconds to get through the first part of the comments, looking for someone else from Missouri. Once I
found that person, I figured out that Missouri's piece is yellow and it took me only 5 more seconds to reach the end of
the comments. I don't care what people in other states have to say.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 7:41 pm
what is the learning curve for repeatitive motion acts... like sex?
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 7:42 pm
I loved the tetris.
go red sox
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 8:38 pm
You don't have any learning curves which start with slow learning and get faster.
Also you spelt Kentucky incorrectly.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 9:04 pm
I think the wow curve is pretty accurate, except soul stone rules and identifying women. Sleep needed to function is
appropriatly placed as well. The following states all blow: Indiana (you peckers have all pot holes and no street
lights), Iowa (Boring), Kansas (Gay) and Louisiana (if i wanna go scuba diving ill go to Hawaii...)
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 9:25 pm
So did we actually get credit for our peaches on this puzzle? Georgia didnt try to claim peaches as their claim to fame?
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 9:26 pm
i just assumed my state would have a toothless banjo player on the puzzle piece. Cotton--go figure.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 10:37 pm
I've always used the term "steep learning curve" in reference to something that is learned quickly and easily.
Apparently my correct usage has likely led to a number of misapprehensions. Who knew I was so smart?
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 12:09 am
So a learning curve, on "learning" would be a circle, right?
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 12:36 am
I'm a god damn perfectly rectangular state.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 12:54 am
Me too wyoming, we should start a club.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 1:13 am
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 1:25 am
Man we got dem der peanuts over here... Georgia peaches aint somethin that grows on trees if ya know whats i mean
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 1:27 am
I have hardly any curves. :(
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 4:03 am
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 11:51 am
I love curves.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 2:58 pm
Peanuts don't grow on trees, either.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 3:15 pm
I read up there that "learning a language such as Russian, it takes a long time to make initial progress" But I have to
disagree. I've learned Japanese and French simultaneously and it's actually easier, for me, to learn the little stuff
fist. You never start out with things like grammar rules. You learn vocabulary first. And for Japanese, you learn the
alaphabets, one at a time.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 3:42 pm
Fun lesson, thanks! There are 7 tetriminoes, though: I, J, L, N, S, T, Z. Two shapes are mirrors of each other (J/L and
S/Z), but in 2D Tetris at least, they cannot be placed in identical positions. Add a little more time to that curve,
Hawaii--home of Tetris!
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 3:45 pm
Hi! I'm California's hat!
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 3:53 pm
What about Canada? No Canada? But we're your neighbors!
I guess our piece size would simply dwawf all of the US ones though...
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 5:15 pm
Tennessee pwns you.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 5:41 pm
Nobody lives in my state!
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 5:42 pm
what happen to idaho??
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 6:09 pm
What happened to Mexico?
Or, for that matter, any country outside of the US?
This chart has a hard learning curve.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 9:16 pm
Why do I have to share a picture with Rhode Island and Massachusetts? I am clearly superior.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 11:04 pm
Managed to figure out a stick shift in two weeks. Still can't do basic addition and subtraction, most of the time. Oh
well. At least Oklahoma is pink, woo hoo!
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 11:05 pm
Hey Connecticut... Look at me! And at least you have electoral votes!
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 11:06 pm
I'd like to see the learning curve for the poor kid that needs to learn actual geography from that budget map that makes
Mass, CT, and RI look like a couple of post-it notes on a red sock. Same for the VT/NH mess.
Have to say, though, that the New Jersey, Maryland, DC, Delaware mess is pretty spot on for what it represents.
Off to find me a pile of those sweet Georgia spuds...
Thursday 24th of April 2008 3:50 am
Check out Wired's article...it's not so much a learning curve as it is a forgetting curve.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 12:28 pm
Learning curve to Watching TV...
Thursday 24th of April 2008 1:11 pm
Cram it, Illinois.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 2:21 pm
Thursday 24th of April 2008 3:52 pm
So SoCal doesn't need NorCal, huh? Y'all would be like Vegas without the Hoover Dam if we cut off all that precious
water you can't survive without.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 4:55 pm
I'm kinda like the mirror of that cotton state Alabama...no one had picked me yet. Probably because they can't read or
write there....or they don't have internet access. Please direct all your angry pro-Mississippi responses to Rob :)
Thursday 24th of April 2008 6:02 pm
I learned how to lei your sister
Thursday 24th of April 2008 6:15 pm
Why is there a banana on the Illinois puzzle piece? And what's with the barber pole on Maine? Are people from Maine all
about getting a haircut?
But Georgia confuses me the most, with that cluster of maggots. Gross.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 7:27 pm
Wikipedia sucks and cannot be trusted. Only idiots believe what wikipedia has to say.
ps. where the hell is guam? Iowa sucks. Stop hogging all the election attention, Iowa. No one cares about you. Same
with you, Ohio.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 9:01 pm
Kansas is not gay. You are the one that is gay. Your freakin corn fuel sucks Illinois, so look in the GD mirror.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 9:04 pm
No, no, no... Don't you remember your high school algebra? Graphs are supposed to be in the form of y = f(x), not x =
f(y). The function f() determines how much time is required to gain a certain amount of knowledge, which is what we're
interested in since we want to know how difficult something is to learn, which is measured by how long it takes.
In your graphs, the f() function tells us how much can be learned in a certain amount of time, and so naturally the
easier things have greater slopes because you learn more in the same amount of time.
However, in any case, comparison of the steepness of the learning curves isn't going to work unless you use the same
scale on each graph. Otherwise all you'll ever see is this curve which indicates that more detailed aspects of things
take longer to learn, which has nothing to do with the steepness of the curve anyway. A "steep learning curve" refers
to the slope of the line, not it's derivative (change in slope over the x axis).
Thursday 24th of April 2008 11:11 pm
Come on, New Jersey isn't even shaped like this.
Friday 25th of April 2008 12:30 pm
To me a steep learning curve is when you have to learn a lot in a short amount of time, and therefore your charts make
sense. I've recently had to learn all about the DNA testing process to be scientifically accurate for a film I'm
working on. I called that a steep curve. By the way, where are the provinces!
Friday 25th of April 2008 1:51 pm
Hmmm. I don't understand the beaver...or several of the other state pictures.
That is a seriously demented puzzle. Inquiring minds want to know...how old is that thing and where was it made?
Friday 25th of April 2008 2:12 pm
Get the heck off my back Indiana!
Friday 25th of April 2008 6:33 pm
Isn't there a learning curve for putting on underwear?
Friday 25th of April 2008 8:13 pm
we are underrepresented!
Saturday 26th of April 2008 9:15 am
Have you made a curve to represent time spent learning about learning curves?
Saturday 26th of April 2008 9:48 am
Saturday 26th of April 2008 12:45 pm
I am twice the size of Texas, dammit!
Also, as a maths teacher, I am linking to this fine article from my website, so my sneakier HS students (who are not
supposed to know my web address, but do) will be subjected to its fine and funny analysis.
Saturday 26th of April 2008 2:07 pm
We might not have the highest IQs or the most teeth, but we have PEACHES, by God, the finest peaches ever grown by
chemical fertilizers and a hatred of Yankees.
Monday 28th of April 2008 11:52 am
it's all about scale.
Monday 28th of April 2008 6:21 pm
Rob! I think you have a wrong idea about learning curves. I always thought that a steep learning curve means that at
the beginning, you invest a lot of time and learn little, but after a while, your learning speeds up. The curve I
imagine curves towards vertical, not towards the horizontal.
Tuesday 29th of April 2008 1:45 am
You steer an automatic. You DRIVE a stick. 'nuff said.
Tuesday 29th of April 2008 6:33 am
I had always thought that a steep learning curve represented slower learning (i.e. a more difficult subject). If that
were the case then your axis' would be reversed.
Tuesday 29th of April 2008 10:18 am
I quickly learned that I needed only to read bits and pieces of each graph and paragraph in order to get max amusement
for less effort.
Yes, we are surrounded by water and cabana boys here.
Tuesday 29th of April 2008 4:38 pm
I'd like to learn what the heezy is wrong with Steve from thesneeze. Can you tell him to come back? Is he ill? Last
thing he posted was a bump for you ... knowing full well that your readers are his and vice-versa. Lame, Steve. Bet he
ran off with his new toilet.
Tuesday 29th of April 2008 4:41 pm