There are two kinds of people in the world…

By Phil Plait | April 13, 2012 6:30 am

Image credit: me! If you want to use this elsewhere, feel free! But please link back to this post. Thanks!

MORE ABOUT: Venn diagram

Comments (41)

  1. Gary Ansorge

    There is a third class of people. Those of us who have never even HEARD of Venn diagrams…

    At the rate at which our species knowledge is expanding, I’m getting dumber by the minute(kinda like trying to catch up to the edge of our expanding space/time).

    So much to know. So little time…

    Gary 7

    PS. Just Googled Venn diagrams and all I have to say is “Oh, set theory…Doh!”.

  2. Hermit

    4th) People who mistake Venn Diagrams for Pie Charts. Uhhmmm dutch apple…..

  3. JMW

    I think there’s a funnier version of this, in a poking-fun-at-myself kind of way.

    Move the two circles so they overlap. Then, label the overlapping part “People who think they understand Venn diagrams.”

  4. Jakob

    That is what I call a Venn-Venn situation…

  5. 80% of people can’t add. The other 30% comment on BA blog posts!

  6. wootie

    …reminded me of: “There are 10 kinds of people in this world…those who can read binary, and those who can’t.”

  7. Tenebrarius (@Tenebrarius)

    There are 10 kinds of people in the world.

    Those who understand binary notation and those who don’t.

  8. Mike

    There is also something called “Vennice” diagrams. Draw two intersecting circles. The one on the left is the Mediterranean Sea. The one on the right is City of Venice.


  9. There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don’t.

  10. Slim

    This is a Euler diagram, not a Venn diagram. But I’m imagining that this was on purpose and is the joke.

  11. There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, those who don’t those who mistake it for ternary, and those who realise that this joke also works in base 4.

  12. RawheaD

    No there are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

  13. Nathan

    I hate being “that guy,” but I saw this on Reddit a few months ago. I think it had a different graphic, but the joke is identical.

  14. Webhead

    Shared! It’s rare that I laugh before I’ve finished my coffee; but this was one of those times.

  15. Atheist Panda

    @5. Josh – Ha! Reminds me of a book I once saw, ‘1001 Fun Facts About Binary’. Disappointed to find it only had 9 pages…..
    AP :)

  16. Wzrd1

    Actually, there are 3 types of people in the world (11 in binary).
    Those who understand Venn diagrams, those who do not understand Venn diagrams and those who have no use for logic.
    Regrettably, the latter are seeking public office…

  17. Eitheladar

    There are three types of people in the world: those who can count, those who can’t, and those who can’t even tell a joke properly.

  18. Not a matter of Venn, but Iff

  19. Grizzly

    Hey, did you know that there are 10 types of people in this world?

    Oh, you heard it already? Drat. 😉

  20. Tenebrarius (@Tenebrarius)

    How many people understand hex notation if only dead people understand hex notation?

  21. CB

    There are two types of people in the world:

    Those who think everyone in the world can be divided into two groups, and those who don’t. :)

    P.S. ‘people who think Venn diagrams are pie charts’ and ‘people with no use for logic’, ‘people who think they understand’ etc, are subsets of ‘don’t understand Venn diagrams’. :)

  22. Joseph Esser

    Shouldn’t make fun of the German accent. You don’t see walleyball players poking fun at them.

  23. VinceRN

    @21 CB – Not all people that have no use for logic are people that don’t understand Venn diagrams. There are highly educated people out there that understand Venn diagrams but find they have no use for logic.

    @13 Nathan – He’s only asking for credit on the image, not the joke.

  24. ShaneC

    Umm – I think only one circle showing a set is needed, right? The parent box is the universal set; if we assume it refers to “people” then you only need one set or the other denoted. Of course, the remainder of the universal set could be isomorphic to the null set…

    So, of which set is the author a member? Discuss.

  25. John Paradox

    There are II types of people in the world
    Those who understand Roman Numerals
    and those who don’t.


  26. Julie

    @Tenebrarius (#20)

    57005 😉

  27. Gary

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before. There are 2 types of people in the world, those that understand decimal and those that don’t.

  28. CB

    @ VinceRN: The intersection of the set of people who understand logic, and who do not find logic useful, is the empty set. Logic is useful for everyone — even if you’re a politician and your goal is to subvert logical opinions that you find inconvenient. All fields of thought employ logic.

  29. jomo

    so true so true

  30. Rob
  31. @ShaneC (#24) for the win. I had to read the comments to make sure no one else caught it. Unless someone can come up with an apologetic about what the negative space is around a binary definition.

    Sorry Phil, you’re technically in both the “People who don’t understand Venn diagrams” space and the external space which isn’t included in “People who understand Venn diagrams”. While you maybe thought of that and decided it looked better with two (here I am, creating apologetics for you) I think the joke is even better with just one circle with “People who understand Venn diagrams” in it and nothing else.

    At least if you’re targeting the joke to those who do understand them.

  32. sher747

    Too late to continue this joke. Anyways i just saw this…
    The diagram above is correct except it is swapped. The one on the left should be the one that does not know the venn diagram

  33. GEo

    Wait… what if, by some sort of weird quantum mechanical effect, I both understand and don’t understand Venn diagrams at the same time? Better make the circles interlapping.

  34. @ShaneC (#24) has an excellent point, although that assumes this is meant to be an actual Venn diagram.

    However if you take it as a piece of art, then we’re all right.

    Hmmm. Well, at least all of us who recognize it as art…

    – ShaneC (a different one! Hey, Shane, how are ya!)

  35. tudza

    I’ve seen this joke many times before.

  36. Georg

    No not at all!
    Mankind is divided in Word-Users and Excel-Users.

  37. There are 10 kinds of droids in the galaxy: the kind that understand the binary language of moisture vaporators and R2-D2.

  38. icemith

    Of course, the joke (that everybody has heard – “There are only …”, etc., for the binary comment), that has the best effect is the spoken version. In fact there really isn’t any joke in the written version. You have to hear it to appreciate the humour.

    I understood the “Venn” version, but have not really studied the logic – didn’t need to. But I had use of the Venn application in the Yometa application to multiply web search engines to enhance and vary success rates of maybe hits or otherwise different priorities in a search. I have had interesting results when the engines have been Safari, Bing and Yahoo. I think others can be used too.

    Or am I thinking of something else?


  39. James Barrett

    What do mathematicians sing on bus trips?

    Aleph-null bottles of beer in the wall
    Aleph-null bottles of beer
    You take one down and pass it around
    Aleph-null bottles of beer in the wall

    What do computer scientists sing on bus trips?

    100 bottles of beer in the wall
    100 bottles of beer
    You take one down and pass it around
    FF bottles of beer in the wall

  40. icemith

    In the Ooops department, (re #38 above), I have checked out the actual details re the YoMeta search engine suite above, and discovered that I confused Safari as a search engine. Actually it is a Browser, but because I have Google as the default S.E., I was mislead, when listing it.

    However, I was correct in suggesting that other S.E.s could be swapped in as preferred. Stangely, I had googled the site and actually asked that question in their search field and was provided with about 20 hits shared between Bing and Yahoo, but none listed in the Google circle! It was gratifying to see that the site worked as designed, though not really expecting it to follow its own advice right away.

    And the magic word “VENN” even got a mention in the introduction. Gee, it is great when the old memory kicks in and (mostly) responds with a connection of years ago on a previous computer. I think it is still there.


  41. Matt B.

    Did you know that it’s possible to draw a Venn diagram of any number of dimensions?

    You start with a diagram where the universe is cut in half twice, with perpendicular lines, and a circle is centered on the intersection of those lines. That gives you three dimensions. You can then get a fourth dimension by adding a sort of peanut shape, aligned with the lobes going along one of the straight lines, making sure that it extends within and without the circle. This peanut is basically a square wave, something like r = 0.95(sin θ + 1), where the circle has a radius of 1.

    To add a dimension, just add a square wave with half the period of the last one you added, but with a slightly smaller amplitude. (It’s also good to round off the corners a bit, and you need to offset the starting angle so that the radial lines don’t coincide.) In fact, the straight lines are square waves: r = ∞*(sin θ + 1) and r = ∞*(cos θ + 1).


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