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1
"Barrel - Part 1"
"Barrel - Part 1"
"https://www.xkcd.com/1"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/barrel_cropped_(1).jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1:_Barrel_-_Part_1"
"[A boy sits in a barrel which is floating in an ocean.] Boy: i wonder where i'll float next? [A smaller frame with a zoom out of the boy in the barrel seen from afar. The barrel drifts into the distance. Nothing else can be seen.] "
"The comic shows a young boy floating in a barrel in an ocean that doesn't have a visible end. It comments on the unlikely optimism and perhaps naïveté people sometimes display. The boy is completely lost and seems hopelessly alone, without any plan or control of the situation. Yet, rather than afraid or worried, he is instead quietly curious: "I wonder where I'll float next?" Although not necessarily the situation in this comic, this is a behavior people often exhibit when there is nothing they can do about a problematic situation for a long time; they may have given up hope or developed a cavalier attitude as a coping mechanism. The title text expands on the philosophical content, with the boy representing the average human being: wandering through life with no real plan, quietly optimistic, always opportunistic and clueless as to what the future may hold. The isolation of the boy may also represent the way in which we often feel lost through life, never knowing quite where we are, believing that there is no one to whom to turn. This comic could also reflect on Randall's feelings towards creating xkcd in the first place; unsure of what direction the web comic would turn towards, but hopeful that it would eventually become the popular web comic that we know today. This is the first in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character that is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character is in a barrel. In 1110: Click and Drag there is a reference to this comic at 1 North, 48 East . After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series. The full series can be found here . They are listed below in the order Randall chose for the short story above: [A boy sits in a barrel which is floating in an ocean.] Boy: i wonder where i'll float next? [A smaller frame with a zoom out of the boy in the barrel seen from afar. The barrel drifts into the distance. Nothing else can be seen.] "
2
"Petit Trees (sketch)"
"Petit Trees (sketch)"
"https://www.xkcd.com/2"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/tree_cropped_(1).jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2:_Petit_Trees_(sketch)"
"[Two trees are growing on opposite sides of a sphere.] "
"This comic does not present a particular point; it is just a picture drawn by Randall . The Little Prince (in French Le Petit Prince) is a novella written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1943, about the titular Little Prince, who lives on an asteroid and visits other inhabited asteroids and eventually the Earth. The book is filled with drawings of the asteroid, the prince, and the travels they make. It is noted how, on occasion, baobab trees can begin to grow on these asteroids, and should they not be immediately uprooted, the growth of their roots would tear the asteroid apart. In this drawing, the roots are encircling the sphere, rather than piercing it, as Le Petit Prince describes. The Little Prince has later been referenced both in 618: Asteroid and in 1350: Lorenz at the end of the space trip branch. It was also referenced to in the What If article Leap Seconds . [Two trees are growing on opposite sides of a sphere.] "
3
"Island (sketch)"
"Island (sketch)"
"https://www.xkcd.com/3"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/island_color.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/3:_Island_(sketch)"
"[A color sketch of an island.] "
"This comic does not present a particular point; it is just a picture drawn by Randall . The title text may be a play on the classical "Hello, world!" program, traditionally a first program when learning a new programming language. [A color sketch of an island.] "
4
"Landscape (sketch)"
"Landscape (sketch)"
"https://www.xkcd.com/4"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/landscape_cropped_(1).jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/4:_Landscape_(sketch)"
"[A sketch of a landscape with sun on the horizon.] [There is text from the checkered paper at the top:] From Page No.__ "
"This comic does not present a particular point; it is just a picture drawn by Randall. There is a joke in the title text that a river, made of water, is flowing through the ocean, which is also made of water. It is also worth noting that the sketch, when flipped vertically, maintains the appearance of having the sea on the bottom and sky on top, although the setting sun is on the wrong part of the horizon. Similar to works of M. C. Escher , this picture takes visual components of a typical scene and combines then in ways that appear to work well on a small scale, but would never combine that way in real life and do not make sense in the larger context of the image. The clouds are casting shadows on the sky. [A sketch of a landscape with sun on the horizon.] [There is text from the checkered paper at the top:] From Page No.__ "
5
"Blown apart"
"Blown apart"
"https://www.xkcd.com/5"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/blownapart_color.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/5:_Blown_apart"
"[A black number 70 sees a red package. This small panel is partly overlaid on the next larger panel, which is shifted down.] 70 70: hey, a package! [The package explodes in a cloud of brown smoke. This panel is both behind the first in the top left corner, and below the last panel, which has been laid on top of that corner.] BOOM [There are a red 7, a green 5, and a blue 2 lying near a scorched mark on the floor.] 7 5 2 "
"This comic is a mathematical and technical joke involving prime numbers and primary colors. In the comic, an anthropomorphic black-colored number 70 sees a package, but it turns out to be a letter bomb that explodes when opened. The result is pieces of the number scattered about. The specific pieces are a red-colored 7 , a green-colored 5 , and a blue-colored 2 . The title text explains the logic for splitting 70 into 7, 5, and 2; as with many of the earlier comics, the title text explains the joke rather than adding to it. 7*5*2 is a prime factorization of the number 70. Prime numbers are numbers that cannot be divided by any number other than itself and 1. Factors of a number are numbers that can be multiplied together to produce that number (i.e. 2×5×7 = 70). 70 has other factors, including 1, 10, 14, 35, and 70, but 2, 5, and 7 are the only factors that are prime. All other factors of 70 can be formed by choosing zero, two, or three of the prime factors and multiplying them together. An implication of this comic is that prime numbers would be immune to explosions, as they are already their smallest parts. Although not explicitly called out, the colors of the numbers also seem to have been blown apart. Red, green, and blue are the primary colors in the additive color model. These colors mixed in pairs produce cyan, magenta, and yellow, which are primary colors in the subtractive color model. The removal of all additive primary colors, or conversely, the combination of all subtractive primary colors, produces black, which is the color of the original 70 (according to the official transcript , although it looks dark blue in the drawing). The comic is somewhat misleading in that red, green, and blue do not compose black in either color model, but the difference between the two models is not widely understood (most still view the additive primaries as red, yellow, and blue). [A black number 70 sees a red package. This small panel is partly overlaid on the next larger panel, which is shifted down.] 70 70: hey, a package! [The package explodes in a cloud of brown smoke. This panel is both behind the first in the top left corner, and below the last panel, which has been laid on top of that corner.] BOOM [There are a red 7, a green 5, and a blue 2 lying near a scorched mark on the floor.] 7 5 2 "
6
"Irony"
"Irony"
"https://www.xkcd.com/6"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/irony_color.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/6:_Irony"
"[A panel only with text. The last text is written below a line in all capital letters.] When self-reference, irony, and meta-humor go too far A CAUTIONARY TALE [Cueball talks to to his Cueball-like friend.] Cueball: This statement wouldn't be funny if not for irony! [Cueball laughs at his own joke in front of his friend.] Cueball: ha ha Friend: ha ha, I guess. [Again a panel only with text.] 20,000 years later... [A desolate brown badlands landscape with an imposing red sun in the dark blue sky.] "
"It must be part of the human condition that causes us to think that odd statements are sometimes more humorous than those supposed to be funny. Cueball makes a true statement, that his statement is not very funny. However, because he invoked irony and thus makes it self-referential, the sentence is now funny! The other guy (also a Cueball-like character), producing a fake laugh, is probably not so sure that it is actually funny. Now going meta: In 20,000 years, there might be no more humans on earth to find the irony funny anymore. How ironic ! Alternatively, the barren landscape would have occurred regardless of whether someone made the joke, so ironically, the cautionary tale is completely meaningless, although still funny. This is the first xkcd comic showing stick figure people, which eventually becomes a defining characteristic of the future comic series. It is thus also the first comic with Cueball (and the first with Multiple Cueballs ). Note however, that it was actually not the first comic Randall released using either of the above mentioned features, see the trivia below. The "too much perspective" line comes from the visit of Spın̈al Tap to the grave of Elvis Presley . In addition, the perspective theme also invokes the Total Perspective Vortex in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy . This is located on the desolate planet Frogstar B, possibly looking not unlike the final image in the comic. Self-references was already used again in 33: Self-reference , and again and again , but never more famously than in 688: Self-Description . [A panel only with text. The last text is written below a line in all capital letters.] When self-reference, irony, and meta-humor go too far A CAUTIONARY TALE [Cueball talks to to his Cueball-like friend.] Cueball: This statement wouldn't be funny if not for irony! [Cueball laughs at his own joke in front of his friend.] Cueball: ha ha Friend: ha ha, I guess. [Again a panel only with text.] 20,000 years later... [A desolate brown badlands landscape with an imposing red sun in the dark blue sky.] "
7
"Girl sleeping (Sketch -- 11th grade Spanish class)"
"Girl sleeping (Sketch -- 11th grade Spanish class)"
"https://www.xkcd.com/7"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/girl_sleeping_noline_(1).jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/7:_Girl_sleeping_(Sketch_--_11th_grade_Spanish_class)"
"[Girl sleeping on her side, facing away from view.] "
"This comic does not present a particular point; it is just a picture drawn by Randall. It is just what the title says - a sketch of a girl sleeping drawn during a Spanish class. According to the title text, she is also on the floor. [Girl sleeping on her side, facing away from view.] "
8
"Red spiders"
"Red spiders"
"https://www.xkcd.com/8"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/red_spiders_small.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/8:_Red_spiders"
"[Many six-legged red spiders standing on and hanging from cuboids. The cuboids hang in the air with no visible means of support. Some of the spiders have made a bridge out of themselves.] "
"The early comics often feature a style different to what would become the signature xkcd stick-figure style. This comic is the first in an arc of comics, spaced out over 3 years (so far), in which Red Spiders are seen attacking humans. Its objective is not to be funny, philosophical, or scientifically interesting; it just tells a story, in a Questionable Content -esque way. Interestingly, the red spiders actually more closely resemble opiliones, the order of arachnids that includes the Daddy Longlegs, and which are actually more closely related to mites than to spiders. Of course, the number of legs is incorrect. The full series of Red Spiders comics: [Many six-legged red spiders standing on and hanging from cuboids. The cuboids hang in the air with no visible means of support. Some of the spiders have made a bridge out of themselves.] "
9
"Serenity is coming out tomorrow"
"Serenity is coming out tomorrow"
"https://www.xkcd.com/9"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/firefly.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/9:_Serenity_is_coming_out_tomorrow"
"[Several stick figures stand side by side in a lineup. A forlorn male in a coat, a male with combed hair, a male with spiky hair and arms outstretched enthusiastically, a female with long hair and cornrows, a shorter female with stringy hair falling over her face, an enthusiastic female with arms raised in celebration with shorter hair, a male with short hair and a goatee and hands on hips, a female with curly hair wearing a dress, and a stern-looking man with flyaway hair.] "
"This comic is about the release of the movie Serenity , which was the followup to Joss Whedon 's TV show, Firefly , which was cancelled by Fox after only one season. Plus, three episodes were not shown on Fox but debuted on Sci Fi Channel in the UK. The show was followed by a devoted number of fans who were outraged by the cancellation of the show. High DVD sales and strong fan support allowed the follow up film Serenity to be created, which tied up many of the loose ends that Firefly left open, such as the cause of River 's abilities and the origins of the Reavers . The image shows the main characters of Firefly. From left to right: This is the first xkcd with adorned stick figures (e.g. hair, coats, etc.) to represent distinct characters, which later becomes a standard motif of the comic. Nathan Fillion , Summer Glau , and Jewel Staite , the actors who play Mal, River, and Kaylee respectively, show up later in Randall's series The Race . [Several stick figures stand side by side in a lineup. A forlorn male in a coat, a male with combed hair, a male with spiky hair and arms outstretched enthusiastically, a female with long hair and cornrows, a shorter female with stringy hair falling over her face, an enthusiastic female with arms raised in celebration with shorter hair, a male with short hair and a goatee and hands on hips, a female with curly hair wearing a dress, and a stern-looking man with flyaway hair.] "
10
"Pi Equals"
"Pi Equals"
"https://www.xkcd.com/10"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/pi.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/10:_Pi_Equals"
"[A huge π to the left, then a large equal-to sign, and then five rows of text.] π = 3.14159265 3589793help imtrappedin auniversefac tory7108914..."
"There are two possible references here. One is from the book Contact by Carl Sagan, where the existence of God was shown in the last chapter to be encoded in the digits of pi . The other is an old joke of a fortune cookie with a fortune that reads, "Help! I'm trapped in a fortune cookie factory!" Similar jokes are often repeated for any mass-manufactured personalized item, often implying that the worker who made the item is working in a sweatshop somewhere or is literally trapped inside a factory and calling for help via the items they produce. This joke is also referenced in 327: Exploits of a Mom 's title text, where Mrs. Roberts daughter 's name is "Help I'm trapped in a driver's license factory." The most literal interpretation of the joke would be that some being who helped to create the universe in a "universe factory" snuck a message into the digits of pi (a number that has an endlessly long decimal that never repeats) asking for help to get out. Mathematical concepts being manufactured in a factory is the main mental image here. One can't help but wonder if the primordial beings who labored on the universe to produce things like the gravitational constant and pi have a labor union. Judging by the fact that they're calling for help, it seems they don't. Since pi never ends and does not follow any sort of known pattern, if each number pair were assigned a letter from the alphabet, or if it was converted to base-26 (or preferably ASCII or some other form of text encoding, if you desire capitalization and punctuation), the entire works of Shakespeare, as well as any other expressible piece of information, including the message in this comic, could presumably be found (it is not really known that pi really has this property , but the absence of this property would in itself be an extraordinary coincidence); although the probability of finding any given string of numbers within a calculable range of digits of pi diminishes rapidly as the string length increases . In the novel Contact by Carl Sagan , he includes a "Signature of God" (There was a link here, but the page no longer exists). In brief, the signature consists of a very long string of 1s and 0s far out (after some 10^20 seemingly random numbers) in the base-11 expansion of pi that when arranged in a square of a specific size yields a clear drawing of a circle with a diameter of several hundred digits. The existence of this pattern was hinted to the protagonist by a member of an advanced alien civilization as being encoded in physics by an even more advanced civilization with the ability to create universes. Interestingly enough, this could also work for pictures: if you assign a set of nine numbers to equal an RGB hexadecimal color value, eventually you will find the Mona Lisa. In the title text, Randall notes that this became one of his most famous comics (at the time it was re-released on the new xkcd site on the 1st of January 2006.) He also notes that it was one of his first drawings for the site (it was the 11th posted originally). See trivia below. [A huge π to the left, then a large equal-to sign, and then five rows of text.] π = 3.14159265 3589793help imtrappedin auniversefac tory7108914..."
11
"Barrel - Part 2"
"Barrel - Part 2"
"https://www.xkcd.com/11"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/barrel_mommies.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/11:_Barrel_-_Part_2"
"[A boy sits in a barrel which is floating in an ocean.] Boy: none of the places i floated had mommies. "
"Like in the previous comic in the Barrel series, the boy is floating in the ocean in a barrel. The previous comic made a point about the uncertainty of life; here, the boy's lament at not finding a mother is pure sentimentality, as accentuated by the title text. According to Freud, the first stage of psycho-sexual development is the Oral Stage, which relates to a baby's relationship with its mother. The realization that 'mommy' cannot be found is the first point at which a person learns to stop trusting the world and realizes that the world is not always comforting and safe. This is the second in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character that is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character is in a barrel. After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series. The full series can be found here . But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection linked to above: [A boy sits in a barrel which is floating in an ocean.] Boy: none of the places i floated had mommies. "
12
"Poisson"
"Poisson"
"https://www.xkcd.com/12"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/poisson.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/12:_Poisson"
"[Cueball is talking to Black Hat. Cueball has his mouth wide open and has both of his arms up.] Cueball: I'm a poisson distribution! [Same scene, except Cueball has only one arm up.] Cueball: Still a Poisson distribution! Black Hat: what the hell, man. Why do you keep saying that? [Cueball's face is gone, and he is not holding any arms up.] Cueball: Because I'm totally a poisson distribution. Black Hat: I'm less than zero. [Cueball is gone. Black Hat is now whistling.] "
"Cueball expresses himself as a Poisson distribution . A Poisson distribution is a distribution that shows the probability of a given number of events occurring in a fixed interval of time or space. The X axis typically represents the "number of events" while the Y axis is a decimal representing the probability (i.e. 0.5 for 50% probability) a given number of events will occur in that fixed interval of time or space. It is commonly represented by a bar graph or a scatter graph (sometimes with a line connection to show a trend, even though there is no actual value for non-integers). What's important to note for this comic is that this distribution only has data points on non-negative integers and is not continuous through decimal numbers or (as the image text tells us) negative numbers because events can't occur 0.3 of a time, or −2 times. After implying that the concept of a person being a mathematical distribution is irrational, Black Hat suggests he is "less than zero". Since the Poisson distribution doesn't exist or has no value at negative values, Cueball either leaves or disappears magically. Hence, the punchline is the same as the title text: Cueball doesn't exist to Black Hat anymore, because he has a value less than zero. Another one of the early comics where Randall explains the joke in the title text. Also, because a Poisson point process is memoryless, the figure claiming to be the distribution may simply be repeating the fact as a reference to this. [Cueball is talking to Black Hat. Cueball has his mouth wide open and has both of his arms up.] Cueball: I'm a poisson distribution! [Same scene, except Cueball has only one arm up.] Cueball: Still a Poisson distribution! Black Hat: what the hell, man. Why do you keep saying that? [Cueball's face is gone, and he is not holding any arms up.] Cueball: Because I'm totally a poisson distribution. Black Hat: I'm less than zero. [Cueball is gone. Black Hat is now whistling.] "
13
"Canyon"
"Canyon"
"https://www.xkcd.com/13"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/canyon_small.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/13:_Canyon"
"[Two guys, both Cueball-like, are standing at a cliff's edge.] Friend: What time is it? [Cueball looks at his watch in silence.] [Cueball looks up.] Cueball: Now. [The full scene is shown: the two men (barely visible) are standing at the lip of a huge canyon in a rocky, barren landscape. A pock-marked moon and a ringed planet are visible in the burgundy-colored sky.] [The two guys are again seen standing at what is now known to be the lip of the canyon.] Friend: That's a pretty boring answer. [Same scene as before.] Cueball: Is not. [Same scene.] Cueball: It's the least boring answer imaginable. "
"This is one of the early comics that explores a theme xkcd returns to often: the wonder around us, if we would just look. Cueball and his friend (who also looks like Cueball) are having a discussion. After the friend asks Cueball what the time is, Cueball simply states that it is "now." Then there is a beat panel showing the two standing at the lip of a great canyon drawn in detail and color. The friend claims that "now" is a boring answer, since it's a tautology , a functionally useless answer, and a bad joke all at the same time. Cueball, however, asserts that "now" is the least boring answer he could give. It is typical for human beings to focus on mundane concerns, like a meeting they might be late for or a bus they have to catch, and take their familiar environment for granted, no matter how fabulous it might have been at first sight. The title text explains that they stand on the lip of the canyon, which may not be clear if you do not look very carefully at the color drawing. There are two tiny stick figures at the edge of the canyon, near the center of the panel. On the other six panels, there is just a ragged line, which thus obviously is this lip of the canyon. [Two guys, both Cueball-like, are standing at a cliff's edge.] Friend: What time is it? [Cueball looks at his watch in silence.] [Cueball looks up.] Cueball: Now. [The full scene is shown: the two men (barely visible) are standing at the lip of a huge canyon in a rocky, barren landscape. A pock-marked moon and a ringed planet are visible in the burgundy-colored sky.] [The two guys are again seen standing at what is now known to be the lip of the canyon.] Friend: That's a pretty boring answer. [Same scene as before.] Cueball: Is not. [Same scene.] Cueball: It's the least boring answer imaginable. "
14
"Copyright"
"Copyright"
"https://www.xkcd.com/14"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/copyright.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/14:_Copyright"
"[A colored drawing of a hilly, grassy landscape. Cueball is leaning against a tree.] Cueball: Sometimes I just can't get outraged over copyright law "
"Following the copyright wars can be tiring and irritating, but faced with the beauty of nature, the importance of such matters withers away. Copyright is a monopoly granted by governments to writers, artists, performers, or corporations to control the distribution, copying, and performance of their creative expression or the creative expression of artists under contract with them. Before the digital age, it allowed authors and publishers an opportunity to profit from their work without fear of someone making copies and selling them for their gain. In the digital age, when the cost and difficulty of copying has been reduced to near zero, it hasn't worked so well, especially for publishers of music and video. Industry trade organizations like the RIAA and MPAA have fought to preserve their old business models, lobbying for new laws to protect their income streams in an age where anyone can copy an MP3 file or a DVD quickly and cheaply. This has involved ordering web sites to take down "infringing" material (and many times material that wasn't infringing), media campaigns comparing file copiers to folks who commit murder on the high seas, and suing artists and writers who have used samples of music or movies in their own work. The RIAA has claimed that rampant illegal copying hurts the artists whose work is copied, as it cuts into the artists' royalty payments; many artists, on the other hand, complain that the RIAA's accounting practices have denied them their fair royalties for decades anyway, and that increased copying leads to increased fans and money through direct sales and is actually better for them than the RIAA. It's a vicious war. An early casualty in the copyright wars was Napster ; a later casualty was the concept of DRM (Digital Restrictions Malware) on recorded music and/or elsewhere. The wars have been going on since the early 1990s and show no sign of slowing down. Slashdot and Boing Boing are two news aggregation websites that cover (among other things) the copyright wars in detail, usually biased against the RIAA, MPAA, and similar organizations. [A colored drawing of a hilly, grassy landscape. Cueball is leaning against a tree.] Cueball: Sometimes I just can't get outraged over copyright law "
15
"Just Alerting You"
"Just Alerting You"
"https://www.xkcd.com/15"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/just_alerting_you.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/15:_Just_Alerting_You"
"[A man is standing on top of a green dinosaur and holding reins to the dinosaur's head.] Man: Before you talk to me, I should warn you: I am kind of strange "I bet she's cool. I mean, she has a dinosaur! I'm gonna update this MWF for a while and see how that works. " "
"Here, a man is seen riding on a Brontosaurus ? (This is according to the official transcript on xkcd, including the questionmark.) Later Randall would probably have called it an Apatosaurus , see the Category:Apatosaurus . The joke here is that this person feels the need to point out that they are "kind of strange," even though one might think that that would be clear from the fact that they are riding an extinct and potentially dangerous creature. In the title text the man continues by saying Just thought you should know . Just a service notice. In 650: Nowhere Megan is seen imagining herself riding an Apatosaurus. [A man is standing on top of a green dinosaur and holding reins to the dinosaur's head.] Man: Before you talk to me, I should warn you: I am kind of strange "I bet she's cool. I mean, she has a dinosaur! I'm gonna update this MWF for a while and see how that works. " "
16
"Monty Python -- Enough"
"Monty Python -- Enough"
"https://www.xkcd.com/16"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/monty_python.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/16:_Monty_Python_--_Enough"
"[The comic is drawn on blue-ruled graph paper.] [A Cueball with raised hands talks to two other Cueball-like characters and one Megan.] Cueball: We are the Knights who say... Ni!! Cueballs and Megan: hahaha [There is only text in the second panel] Does anyone else find it funny that decades later, people are still quoting --word-for-word-- a group loved for their mastery of shock, the unexpected, and defiance of convention? [Two Cueballs are looking at a hairy guy.] Hairy guy: We are the Knights who... oh, God, I'm so sorry [Close up of hairy guy.] Hairy guy: So sorry, the car just came too fast and [Words crumpled inside the panel, there's barely enough space for the hairy guy to the right and below the text. The last two words need to be to the right of him.] Hairy guy: She was right there and I saw her and then it was a blur and so much I ran to help didn't know what she wasn't moving I'm so sorry Hairy guy: so sorry [The two Cueballs are looking again at the hairy guy.] Hairy guy: Anyway, yeah, Knights who say "Ni." [The last panel is also almost only text. The text is centered. Below is a drawing that looks a flat infinity sign with two small lines at the center.] H on or Monty Python: promote surreal humor. "
"This comic refers to the classic British sketch comedy group Monty Python , active primarily during the 1970s and early 1980s but also partly reunified in 2014 , whose humor style was frequently based on surreal jokes that subverted sense and logic. Their sketches are so popular that, as noted in the comic, many fans can repeat the dialog word-for-word, and often do. This comic points out the inherent irony of repeating a surrealist sketch, as surrealist humor primarily depends on presenting something the audience does not expect. By repeating the sketch verbatim among those who have already seen it, the listeners know and expect the punchlines and jokes. This is akin to a common ironic concept of a teenager who wants to rebel against conformity by doing all the things their friends are also doing. The sketch in question here is the " Knights who say Ni " sketch from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail , about a group of knights who protect certain sacred words, including the word "Ni" (pronounced like the word "knee," but shortened and with more staccato). The comic suggests that readers continue in the surreal traditions of Monty Python, and provides an example: The character in panels 3-6 interrupts his retelling of the sketch with what appears to be a traumatic recalling of the time he saw someone run a woman over with their car and kill her, before returning to the sketch. The surreal humor is that the character dismisses the significant and serious comment he has just made by returning to the sketch as if nothing happened. The title text refers to how fans of Monty Python can go for long periods of time simply quoting the sketches, as one person quotes a sketch, another recognizes it and says another quote without context, assuming everyone will recognize it. Perhaps a more contemporary version of this might be The Simpsons or Family Guy quote frenzies. [The comic is drawn on blue-ruled graph paper.] [A Cueball with raised hands talks to two other Cueball-like characters and one Megan.] Cueball: We are the Knights who say... Ni!! Cueballs and Megan: hahaha [There is only text in the second panel] Does anyone else find it funny that decades later, people are still quoting --word-for-word-- a group loved for their mastery of shock, the unexpected, and defiance of convention? [Two Cueballs are looking at a hairy guy.] Hairy guy: We are the Knights who... oh, God, I'm so sorry [Close up of hairy guy.] Hairy guy: So sorry, the car just came too fast and [Words crumpled inside the panel, there's barely enough space for the hairy guy to the right and below the text. The last two words need to be to the right of him.] Hairy guy: She was right there and I saw her and then it was a blur and so much I ran to help didn't know what she wasn't moving I'm so sorry Hairy guy: so sorry [The two Cueballs are looking again at the hairy guy.] Hairy guy: Anyway, yeah, Knights who say "Ni." [The last panel is also almost only text. The text is centered. Below is a drawing that looks a flat infinity sign with two small lines at the center.] H on or Monty Python: promote surreal humor. "
17
"What If"
"What If"
"https://www.xkcd.com/17"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/what_if.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/17:_What_If"
"[A large black circle (drawn on grid paper) with white bubbles inside it, filled with hearts, question marks, and stick figure couples. The hearts are colored red.] [Bottom left circle - stick figure couple with a heart] [Top right circle - with couple:] what if this isn't everything it should be? [Two circles left of top-right:] i'm not even sure how i feel [One circle right of top-right:] what if i'm making a mistake? "One of my best friends just got engaged. I really, truly think they're going to be very happy together." The friends referred to are Scott and Sarah. "
"This comic features a man and a woman in a romantic setting, surrounded by a fractal combination of love and doubts; an arrangement based on the Apollonian gasket construction. Three circles are drawn tangent to each other, then additional circles are added that are tangent to three existing circles (without overlapping), ad infinitum. Randall's character design wasn't yet fully settled. Considering that Megan arguably was introduced two comics ago, and that the man has some hair, the couple might or might not be interpreted as Cueball and Megan. Randall's later blog and book have the same name, what if? , though with very different meaning. [A large black circle (drawn on grid paper) with white bubbles inside it, filled with hearts, question marks, and stick figure couples. The hearts are colored red.] [Bottom left circle - stick figure couple with a heart] [Top right circle - with couple:] what if this isn't everything it should be? [Two circles left of top-right:] i'm not even sure how i feel [One circle right of top-right:] what if i'm making a mistake? "One of my best friends just got engaged. I really, truly think they're going to be very happy together." The friends referred to are Scott and Sarah. "
18
"Snapple"
"Snapple"
"https://www.xkcd.com/18"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/snapple.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/18:_Snapple"
"[Above the frame:] This one is entirely James' fault. [Two Cueball-like guys are standing and talking.] Cueball: Here, take a bite of this Snapple. Friend: food! [Cueball's friend takes a bite.] Friend: Ow! What is this? Clink [The panel switches to Cueball.] Cueball: It's an apple infused with tin. [Beat panel. A wide shot of the two.] [Same scene, except the panel is lightly shaded and the is a box above saying:] Those of you who know your periodic table should be laughing right about now. "
"Cueball hands another Cueball-like guy an apple calling it a snapple. When the guy bites into it, his teeth go clink against the apple's metal surface; Cueball has infused the apple with tin. The fourth panel is a silent wide shot, perhaps suggesting the joke was met with silence as a weak joke . As a meta-joke, the final panel might jokingly suggest that the silence is because those unfamiliar with the periodic table of elements don't get the joke. The joke in this comic is pretty self-explanatory, especially given that the title text continues the trend in early xkcd comics of explaining the joke. Tin is a metallic element whose abbreviation on the periodic table is "Sn" (as the Latin word for tin is "stannum"). Thus, the apple is a "Sn-apple." Snapple is a brand of beverages -- mostly bottled juices and teas -- whose name is based on a carbonated apple juice they once produced ("snappy apple"). James (in the caption) presumably once made a joke to Randall about tin or Snapple or both. [Above the frame:] This one is entirely James' fault. [Two Cueball-like guys are standing and talking.] Cueball: Here, take a bite of this Snapple. Friend: food! [Cueball's friend takes a bite.] Friend: Ow! What is this? Clink [The panel switches to Cueball.] Cueball: It's an apple infused with tin. [Beat panel. A wide shot of the two.] [Same scene, except the panel is lightly shaded and the is a box above saying:] Those of you who know your periodic table should be laughing right about now. "
19
"George Clinton"
"George Clinton"
"https://www.xkcd.com/19"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/george_clinton.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/19:_George_Clinton"
"[George Clinton uses a baton to point to the bottom of two equations on a blackboard. There is one more equation and a diagram on another blackboard to the right, which is cut off. There is text above:] I once tried to start the urban legend that George Clinton has a B.A. in mathematics [On the left blackboard there are two formulas:] L(F(t) = F(s) = ∫ ∞ 0 f(t)e -st dt L -1 (F(s)) = f(t) = ∫ ∞ 0 F(t)e st dt [On the right blackboard there is part of a formula and a diagram with an x-y scale and three other lines touching down to the base. Above these lines are some numbers that are partly indecipherable.] γ n = 2 n/12 K 0 2 3 ⌊⌊⌊⌊ [Below George and the blackboards is text:] ...but I wanted it to be true so badly that I started believing it myself."
"George Clinton is an American musician most famous for his funk music and wild hair style. His recorded music features themes of space, sci-fi, technology, and futurism. An example of his work most appropriate to this comic is the song "Mathematics" from the 1996 album T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The awesome power of a fully operational mothership). "I count the moments we're apart. And add them up mathematically and multiply them by the kisses supposedly I've been missing. Divided by the attention not to mention the affection. Subtract that from your gross potential and see I ain't missin' none. Cause any percentage of you is as good the whole pie. Any fractions thereof brings dividends of interest. Any percentage of you is as good as the whole pie. Any fractions thereof brings dividends of love. I take the square root and get boxed in every time. When I know the shortest distance between two points is in a straight line. I'ma go into you, I'ma come into you two times, and carry the fun over the one to where we equal one.” (Chorus 2x) As Randall says, he had attempted to spread around an urban legend that George Clinton had a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics. However, the more Randall thought about this rumor, the more he found himself believing it was true. This behavior is related to pseudologia fantastica , which is more commonly known as pathological or compulsive lying. This comic references the associated behavior that an "individual may be aware they are lying, or may believe they are telling the truth, being unaware that they are relating fantasies." These individuals may eventually stop the lie as demonstrated by the title text, which indicates that at some later time, the individual realized that the rumor was not true, but wishes it to be so. This may also be a reference to James Thurber's 13 clocks, in which a character called the Golux has the following exchange with the main character: "When I was young I told a tale of buried gold, and men from leagues around dug in the woods. I dug myself." "But why?" "I thought the tale of treasure might be true." "You said you made it up." "I know I did, but I didn't know I had. I forget things, too." The equations on the board are laplace transforms of functions. [George Clinton uses a baton to point to the bottom of two equations on a blackboard. There is one more equation and a diagram on another blackboard to the right, which is cut off. There is text above:] I once tried to start the urban legend that George Clinton has a B.A. in mathematics [On the left blackboard there are two formulas:] L(F(t) = F(s) = ∫ ∞ 0 f(t)e -st dt L -1 (F(s)) = f(t) = ∫ ∞ 0 F(t)e st dt [On the right blackboard there is part of a formula and a diagram with an x-y scale and three other lines touching down to the base. Above these lines are some numbers that are partly indecipherable.] γ n = 2 n/12 K 0 2 3 ⌊⌊⌊⌊ [Below George and the blackboards is text:] ...but I wanted it to be true so badly that I started believing it myself."
20
"Ferret"
"Ferret"
"https://www.xkcd.com/20"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/ferret.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/20:_Ferret"
"[A color drawing of a ferret with airplane wings and tail on it.] [Cueball and his Cueball-like friend (to the left) are talking.] Friend: Why on earth did you make those wings? You don't seriously think they could let your ferret fly, right? Cueball: I... of course not. [They continue to talk.] Cueball: That would be pretty dumb. It's just, uh... ...a Halloween costume. Friend: oh, okay. [They continue to talk. The head of the ferret can be seen to the far right on a table.] Friend: Besides, who would want a pet to fly anyway? Cueball: Yeah. Pretty lame, huh? [The friend leaves the frame while Cueball stays. The ferret cannot be seen.] Friend: Anyway, let's go play video games. [Cueball stands behind after his friend has left. He looks back towards his ferret.] [Cueball imagines his ferret flying over the ocean near the beach using his makeshift wings while holding his ferret.] "
"Cueball 's (Cueball-like) friend makes fun of his imagination that involves a flying ferret, and then suggests to go play video games instead. This shows the irony of his definition of "imagination." He makes fun of Cueball's creative fantasy while instead opting for a mass-produced fantasy. The fact that Cueball lies about his goal could be a commentary on abandoning dreams to avoid confronting societal expectations. The title text refers to the fact that Randall's brother in real life had such a pet ferret. Originally, Randall drew this comic while the ferret was still alive, and then it passed away in between his posting it on LiveJournal and reposting it with a title text on the new xkcd site. He now wishes that it will rest in peace. The ferret returns in 31: Barrel - Part 5 and did in this way become part of the Barrel series . This has also been canonized by Randall as can be seen on this web-archive version of xkcd: The Boy and his Barrel . The full series can be found here . But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection linked to above: [A color drawing of a ferret with airplane wings and tail on it.] [Cueball and his Cueball-like friend (to the left) are talking.] Friend: Why on earth did you make those wings? You don't seriously think they could let your ferret fly, right? Cueball: I... of course not. [They continue to talk.] Cueball: That would be pretty dumb. It's just, uh... ...a Halloween costume. Friend: oh, okay. [They continue to talk. The head of the ferret can be seen to the far right on a table.] Friend: Besides, who would want a pet to fly anyway? Cueball: Yeah. Pretty lame, huh? [The friend leaves the frame while Cueball stays. The ferret cannot be seen.] Friend: Anyway, let's go play video games. [Cueball stands behind after his friend has left. He looks back towards his ferret.] [Cueball imagines his ferret flying over the ocean near the beach using his makeshift wings while holding his ferret.] "
21
"Kepler"
"Kepler"
"https://www.xkcd.com/21"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/kepler.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/21:_Kepler"
"[Two Cueball-like guys stand in an aisle in a store.] Cueball: Nice store. How do you keep the floors so clean? Store manager: Oh, we hired this dude named Kepler, he's really good. Hard worker. Doesn't mind the monotony. Sweeps out the same area every night. "
"A Cueball-like guy asks Cueball , the store manager, how they keep the store so clean, and he is told that they have hired Kepler, a hard worker who doesn't mind the monotony and sweeps out the same area every night. Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer, best known for his laws of planetary motion. By using Tycho Brahe 's observations of our solar system (Brahe gave Kepler the job of observing and explaining the motion of the planet Mars), Kepler was able to deduce that planets in the system do not move in a circular orbit around the Sun, but rather in an elliptical one. In doing so, he directly contradicted Brahe's own conviction that the Earth was the centre of the universe. According to Kepler's Second Law , "A line joining a planet and the Sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time," somewhat akin to sweeping a broom over the floor. In the comic, the janitor Kepler also sweeps the same area, although in this case, "area" is used in the sense of "surface" (of floor) rather than in the purely mathematical sense. It is also very monotonous, like a planet's set orbit, but Kepler doesn't mind this. The comic could also be seen as a subtle reference to the Kepler space telescope that was searching for exoplanets (planets outside the Solar system) from March 2009 to August 2013, by looking at exactly the same spot in the night sky over and over again. Even though the telescope was not launched until 4 years after this comic was published, the details of Project Kepler had been disclosed by NASA press releases as early as 2001 . The title text assumes that the reader is scientifically illiterate and won't understand the joke, which is ironic, considering how xkcd came to be known for embracing STEM fields and nerdiness in general. [Two Cueball-like guys stand in an aisle in a store.] Cueball: Nice store. How do you keep the floors so clean? Store manager: Oh, we hired this dude named Kepler, he's really good. Hard worker. Doesn't mind the monotony. Sweeps out the same area every night. "
22
"Barrel - Part 3"
"Barrel - Part 3"
"https://www.xkcd.com/22"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/barrel_whirlpool.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/22:_Barrel_-_Part_3"
"[A large and deep vortex is in the center; spinning water covers the whole panel. A boy in a floating barrel is near the edge, apparently about to be sucked in.] Boy: wow! "
"In the first two comics in the Barrel series, the boy is floating in the ocean in a barrel, making fairly innocent points about life's uncertainty. In this comic, the view has zoomed out considerably, and the boy is seen to be on the edge of a gigantic whirlpool . Thus, there is now a palpably heightened sense of danger, though the boy's reaction continues to be innocent wonder. The comic's visual composition is reminiscent of a classic 1919 illustration by Harry Clarke , made for Edgar Allan Poe 's 1841 short story " A Descent into the Maelström ." In the short story, the main character escapes from drowning by using a barrel to escape The Maelström. This is the third in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character who is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character is in a barrel. After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series. The full series can be found here . But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection linked to above: [A large and deep vortex is in the center; spinning water covers the whole panel. A boy in a floating barrel is near the edge, apparently about to be sucked in.] Boy: wow! "
23
"T-shirts"
"T-shirts"
"https://www.xkcd.com/23"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/t-shirts.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/23:_T-shirts"
"[A collection of phrases on T-shirts. The first and the last on actual black T-shirts worn by the same person, whose facial expression is more sad on the last one.] I see dumb people As a matter of fact the world does revolve around me I can only please one person per day / today is not your day. You know what your problem is? You're stupid. Get a clue Do I look like a people person? Your village called / they want their idiot back Go away I hate you all Die. Help. Maybe if this T-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me. Oh God I'm so alone. "
"This comic satirizes the plethora of "snarky" phrase T-shirts that exist today. In the top-left, the character wears a typical (and real) snark shirt, "I see dumb people" (suggesting that the wearer thinks everyone else is dumb, while being a parody of the phrase "I see dead people" from the movie The Sixth Sense ). Other shirts shown also suggest that the wearer is better than everyone else, and perhaps the shirts increasingly suggest that the wearer is anti-social moving from top to bottom. Near the bottom of the screen, the T-shirts no longer attempt to be witty and simply have straightforward phrases like "go away" and "die". These are exaggerations of the message that the other more-realistic shirts broadcast. The final three shirts are also exaggerated shirts that suggest Randall 's view that people who wear snarky shirts are overcompensating for the fact that they are already alone or perhaps putting up a tough exterior to conceal their sadness that no one would talk to them anyway. Most notably "maybe if this T-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me" sums up what Randall thinks snarky shirts really say. There are shirts with this or a similar message, although it is unclear whether they were created before this comic or as a tribute to this comic. In the title text, Randall says that it's depressing how many of the shirts in the comic actually exist in real life, further underlining the point that these shirts are overly arrogant, to the point where one might believe that Randall made them up. This highlights the inadequacy of substance within these T-shirts and the terror they invoke in Randall's mind. [A collection of phrases on T-shirts. The first and the last on actual black T-shirts worn by the same person, whose facial expression is more sad on the last one.] I see dumb people As a matter of fact the world does revolve around me I can only please one person per day / today is not your day. You know what your problem is? You're stupid. Get a clue Do I look like a people person? Your village called / they want their idiot back Go away I hate you all Die. Help. Maybe if this T-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me. Oh God I'm so alone. "
24
"Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey"
"Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey"
"https://www.xkcd.com/24"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/godel_escher_kurthalsey.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/24:_Godel,_Escher,_Kurt_Halsey"
"Drawn during an unending NASA lecture [Two people are talking, one in a hat.] Cueball: it's just so hard to compare kids now with kids in the past. you can't help but to belong to one group or the other. Cueball: and of course every generation seems awful to the one before it. look at quotes from throughout history. Hatted: yeah, and it sure would be nice to have some historical perspective on some of this stuff. I just don't know what to make of it. [Circles are appearing--maybe snow?] Cueball: i guess you do what you can to help the people around you and hope it turns out okay. Cueball: in the end, what else can you do? Hatted: lead a crusade? [We can no longer see the people, just the circles.] it's presentism, man. the idea that historical context is irrelevant, that we understand it all that we need take no warnings from the follies of the past. that we're facing something new. socrates couldn't imagine the internet. but people don't change. [We can start to see a darker circle in the lower right corner.] (The borders between the three panels on this line are cracking.) have you seen those collections of historical pornography? talk about historical context. did you know the first porn photo was bestial in. [inside a circle:] nature? at least that stuff was out of the mainstream [each word in one circle:] no just in history (the three panels have merged into one on each row.) i don't know about you, but [circled] I [uncircled] never even once seen [The circles are highly variable in size now, and pressed up against a larger one on the right side.] [There is mass of circles of different sizes, with some dark fissures in between, against the side of a large circle which we can see part of in the right half of the panel. They look like cells. There's a tiny square in the center of the giant cell.] [We see only the tiny square, centered. It has a few marks inside it.] [Closer, the square is divided into rectangles of different sizes, each of which has text in it.] [Much closer, we can see fragments of the text. Some are sideways, some are cut off, some are too small to read.] machine language translated by principles of isomorphism it is a consequence of the Church-Turing thesis that ... but how do you select the channel you wish to se- thou ... shou ... palin ... stri ... it is a ... crab ... be obvious to one-s ... your great intellectual achievements ... Tortise. Why ... you give this old Tortise ... [Closer still, we can just see a huge sideways s and h.] [Those letters are faded and mixed with a faded version of the next panel.] girls take boys away ... never be further than a phone call and a goosebumped shiver away ... drove all night listening to mix tapes ... the past is just practice [There is a heart at the bottom and, in the lower left, the name Kurt.] [The same as the previous panel, but with the words blurred out to scribbles.] [Jagged, shaded shapes and strands start to fall. Faint panel borders appear again. There is a person on the far right.] (Back to three panels per row.) [Cueball and Megan are standing amid the fragments.] Cueball: There's too much. And so little feels important. [The jagged edge of the shaded area is encroaching on the sides of the panel.] What do you do? [We see them from farther away through a rough hole in the shaded area. Bits continue to fall around them.] [They are holding hands.] "One of a series of strips I drew during a long and boring NASA lecture. It careens wildly from intellectual to chaotic to Godel, Escher, Bach to Kurt Halsey to chaotic and sappy. The whole series is here . " "
"At the time xkcd was created, Randall was working on robotics at NASA 's Langley Center. This drawing was apparently made during that period, while attending a talk that he didn't like. The name of the comic is a portmanteau-like play on the following: The comic is drawn in the form of a storyboard and is clearly intended to be visualized as an animated sequence. In the first part of the comic, two people discuss the difficulty of comparing past and present generations, since the person making the comparison invariably belongs to one of the two groups. It's unclear whether the behatted guy is Black Hat , as Randall hadn't standardized his character designs yet, though the sarcastic comment suggests that it is. If it is, then this would be his first appearance. (He also appears in 12: Poisson , but that comic was released about 3 months later, but the numbering did not follow the release day on LiveJournal when the comics were transferred to xkcd - see the trivia for that comic.) Actually due to the order of release on LiveJournal, this, being number 6, was the first releases to use both stick figures, Cueball , Black Hat and Megan , as well as Multiple Cueballs ! See the trivia below. The assembly of text panels found in the middle of the strip is similar to 124: Blogofractal . The philosophy of Kurt Gödel is also a theme in 468: Fetishes . Drawn during an unending NASA lecture [Two people are talking, one in a hat.] Cueball: it's just so hard to compare kids now with kids in the past. you can't help but to belong to one group or the other. Cueball: and of course every generation seems awful to the one before it. look at quotes from throughout history. Hatted: yeah, and it sure would be nice to have some historical perspective on some of this stuff. I just don't know what to make of it. [Circles are appearing--maybe snow?] Cueball: i guess you do what you can to help the people around you and hope it turns out okay. Cueball: in the end, what else can you do? Hatted: lead a crusade? [We can no longer see the people, just the circles.] it's presentism, man. the idea that historical context is irrelevant, that we understand it all that we need take no warnings from the follies of the past. that we're facing something new. socrates couldn't imagine the internet. but people don't change. [We can start to see a darker circle in the lower right corner.] (The borders between the three panels on this line are cracking.) have you seen those collections of historical pornography? talk about historical context. did you know the first porn photo was bestial in. [inside a circle:] nature? at least that stuff was out of the mainstream [each word in one circle:] no just in history (the three panels have merged into one on each row.) i don't know about you, but [circled] I [uncircled] never even once seen [The circles are highly variable in size now, and pressed up against a larger one on the right side.] [There is mass of circles of different sizes, with some dark fissures in between, against the side of a large circle which we can see part of in the right half of the panel. They look like cells. There's a tiny square in the center of the giant cell.] [We see only the tiny square, centered. It has a few marks inside it.] [Closer, the square is divided into rectangles of different sizes, each of which has text in it.] [Much closer, we can see fragments of the text. Some are sideways, some are cut off, some are too small to read.] machine language translated by principles of isomorphism it is a consequence of the Church-Turing thesis that ... but how do you select the channel you wish to se- thou ... shou ... palin ... stri ... it is a ... crab ... be obvious to one-s ... your great intellectual achievements ... Tortise. Why ... you give this old Tortise ... [Closer still, we can just see a huge sideways s and h.] [Those letters are faded and mixed with a faded version of the next panel.] girls take boys away ... never be further than a phone call and a goosebumped shiver away ... drove all night listening to mix tapes ... the past is just practice [There is a heart at the bottom and, in the lower left, the name Kurt.] [The same as the previous panel, but with the words blurred out to scribbles.] [Jagged, shaded shapes and strands start to fall. Faint panel borders appear again. There is a person on the far right.] (Back to three panels per row.) [Cueball and Megan are standing amid the fragments.] Cueball: There's too much. And so little feels important. [The jagged edge of the shaded area is encroaching on the sides of the panel.] What do you do? [We see them from farther away through a rough hole in the shaded area. Bits continue to fall around them.] [They are holding hands.] "One of a series of strips I drew during a long and boring NASA lecture. It careens wildly from intellectual to chaotic to Godel, Escher, Bach to Kurt Halsey to chaotic and sappy. The whole series is here . " "
25
"Barrel - Part 4"
"Barrel - Part 4"
"https://www.xkcd.com/25"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/barrel_part_4.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/25:_Barrel_-_Part_4"
"[The barrel is shown on a grid paper background, floating sideways and empty in a choppy sea.] Barrel series By the way, here are all the barrel comics on a single (easily linked) page: http://www.xkcd.com/barrel.html [This is an archived version of the page. The original link is dead. This text is not included in the statement.] I cheated, and went back and lightened the gridlines in #2. It was just bothering me. I'll try not to do that much. But as I'm not destroying anyone's childhood, I don't feel like I'm really pulling a George Lucas. I mean, I'm not destroying more than one childhood. Oops. "
"In the first three comics of the series, the character explored the ocean in a barrel and then encountered a whirlpool, all with a reaction of innocent wonder. Here, the empty barrel floating adrift, plus the title text and a previous announcement by Randall that this would be the conclusion of barrel boy's story, imply that the character's encounter with the whirlpool separated him from the barrel, and he may have come to some harm. This is the fifth in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character who is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character was in the barrel in parts 1-3. After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series. The full series can be found here . But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection linked to above: [The barrel is shown on a grid paper background, floating sideways and empty in a choppy sea.] Barrel series By the way, here are all the barrel comics on a single (easily linked) page: http://www.xkcd.com/barrel.html [This is an archived version of the page. The original link is dead. This text is not included in the statement.] I cheated, and went back and lightened the gridlines in #2. It was just bothering me. I'll try not to do that much. But as I'm not destroying anyone's childhood, I don't feel like I'm really pulling a George Lucas. I mean, I'm not destroying more than one childhood. Oops. "
26
"Fourier"
"Fourier"
"https://www.xkcd.com/26"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/fourier.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/26:_Fourier"
"[Cueball talks on phone. A grotesque-looking cat with many sharp vertical points looks on.] Cueball: Hi, Dr. Elizabeth? Yeah, uh ... I accidentally took the Fourier transform of my cat... Cat: Meow! "
"A Fourier transform is a mathematical function transformation often used in physics and engineering. The theory is that any line graph can be represented as the sum of a bunch of sine waves of different frequencies and amplitudes. (The most obvious application is in analyzing a sound recording in terms of the different frequencies of sounds used.) So, for any line graph, you can produce another graph of the frequencies and their amplitudes. This can be done by evaluating an integral based on the function, which is referred to as "taking the Fourier transform" of the function. The form of the integral that needs to be taken is actually shown in the third line of the comic 55: Useless . Unfortunately, Cueball has applied this "transform" to his cat. Although it seems to still be alive and possibly even unharmed, it is clearly not in its familiar shape, and it is not clear if this condition is permanent or not. "Periodic components" in the title text refers to the spikes in the graph. Because sine waves repeat themselves as you go along, the presence of large amounts of one particular sine wave in the Fourier transform graph (each spike) shows that the overall result (the initial graph) is likely to have parts that also repeat themselves, like a periodic function . In other words, the cat has repeating parts. [Cueball talks on phone. A grotesque-looking cat with many sharp vertical points looks on.] Cueball: Hi, Dr. Elizabeth? Yeah, uh ... I accidentally took the Fourier transform of my cat... Cat: Meow! "
27
"Meat Cereals"
"Meat Cereals"
"https://www.xkcd.com/27"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/meat_cereals.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/27:_Meat_Cereals"
"[A collection of fictional meat based cereals in bright colors with nice pictures on them.] Pork Loops Mice Krispies Hammios Frosted Bacon Flakes Scrapple Jacks Hey, these don't taste like Scrapple! Honey Bunches of Goats "
"Randall parodies several real-world breakfast cereals (which typically consist solely of grains and sweet flavorings) by creating versions that contain meat (animal products). The cereals that appear to be parodied (clockwise from top-left) include Froot Loops, Rice Krispies, Honey Bunches of Oats, Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes, and Cheerios. There does not appear to be a deeper meaning to this comic than that. The Scrapple Jacks parody (the only slightly obscure reference) appears to be made with scrapple , which, according to Wikipedia, is a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. Real Apple Jacks ran an ad campaign in the 1980s and 1990s in which an adult or authority figure tasted the cereal and declared "these don't taste like apples!", thus missing the point of why kids liked the cereal. The slogan is parodied on the Scrapple Jacks box. Randall referenced this same slogan again in " 38: Apple Jacks ". The title text, reading, "Disgusting.", apparently reflects Randall's opinion of his own creation. [A collection of fictional meat based cereals in bright colors with nice pictures on them.] Pork Loops Mice Krispies Hammios Frosted Bacon Flakes Scrapple Jacks Hey, these don't taste like Scrapple! Honey Bunches of Goats "
28
"Elefino"
"Elefino"
"https://www.xkcd.com/28"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/elefino.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/28:_Elefino"
"Q: What do you get when you cross an Elephant with a Rhino? [Picture of elephant, mathematical addition symbol, picture of rhino, equals sign, large question mark.] A: I haven't a goddamn clue. Found it. Pepe and Seymour Elifino ... Totally worth the 🐇 hole. Iggynelix ( talk ) 15:45, 18 April 2020 (UTC) "
"The basis for this fairly simple xkcd comic is the subject riddle, which is properly answered, as given in the title text: "Hell if I know." When spoken, this "correct" answer sounds like "elephino" – a portmanteau of " eleph ant" and "rh ino ." This makes it again one of the early comics where Randall explains the comic via the title text. Instead of giving the punchline of the joke, Randall answers with the unexpected "I haven't a goddamn clue," which, while having the same meaning, ruins the joke. Q: What do you get when you cross an Elephant with a Rhino? [Picture of elephant, mathematical addition symbol, picture of rhino, equals sign, large question mark.] A: I haven't a goddamn clue. Found it. Pepe and Seymour Elifino ... Totally worth the 🐇 hole. Iggynelix ( talk ) 15:45, 18 April 2020 (UTC) "
29
"Hitler"
"Hitler"
"https://www.xkcd.com/29"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/hitler.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/29:_Hitler"
"[Black Hat and Cueball are talking together in the same position in all four panels.] Cueball: Learning about the Holocaust has really shaken my belief in God. Black Hat: You know, as a young man, Hitler was rejected from art school. Cueball: Yeah... shame he didn't get in. Black Hat: Well, have you seen any of his paintings? They're awful . Defy all rules of composition. Cueball: What are you suggesting? Black Hat: Maybe there is a god, but he's a real art lover. Cueball: This is why I don't go out in public with you. "
"Cueball speaks to an early version of Black Hat (with more of a top hat than his later "boater" hat style) about the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler . Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany beginning in 1933 and starting World War II in 1939 by attacking Poland. During that war, the Germans (under Hitler's leadership) killed millions of people; most of them were Jews, but other ethnic groups, homosexuals, and the mentally disabled were all targeted as well. This has come to be known as the Holocaust. Black Hat's comment that Hitler wanted to be a painter, but did not get into art school, is historically accurate. He applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts twice. In any event, Cueball implies in the second frame that had Hitler been accepted into art school, the course of history might have changed, and the Holocaust might never have occurred. Black Hat suggests that perhaps God intentionally prevented Hitler from becoming an artist because God is an "art lover" and Hitler's art was terrible. As with other early comics, the title text explains the comic for us: this implies that God would have preferred the Holocaust to have occurred rather than allow Hitler to make some bad paintings. Such a comment that God could be so callous would surely be offensive to many people. Cueball's reaction to this shocking statement is relatively mild and suggests that Black Hat has made such controversial statements before. He will make a similarly controversial and Nazi-related statement again in 984: Space Launch System . The title text also informs the reader that Black Hat is based on a character named Aram from a now-defunct comic strip entitled Men in Hats . In the original quote when this comic was posted on LiveJournal (see Trivia ) Randall directed the user to a specific Men in Hats comic about parenting . Like Black Hat, Aram seems to have frequently made judgmental, insulting, or controversial comments in a very emotionless manner. Aram wore a grey (perhaps intended to be black) suit with a red bowtie and a black top hat with a white strip above the brim. Black Hat's hat clearly evolved from the top hat design later in xkcd. This may be the comic where Black Hat truly comes into existence for the first time. He appears earlier in 12: Poisson , but that was actually first released more than a month later. Then there is also 24: Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey , released a good month earlier. But here Black Hat does not really resemble his later appearances. [Black Hat and Cueball are talking together in the same position in all four panels.] Cueball: Learning about the Holocaust has really shaken my belief in God. Black Hat: You know, as a young man, Hitler was rejected from art school. Cueball: Yeah... shame he didn't get in. Black Hat: Well, have you seen any of his paintings? They're awful . Defy all rules of composition. Cueball: What are you suggesting? Black Hat: Maybe there is a god, but he's a real art lover. Cueball: This is why I don't go out in public with you. "
30
"Donner"
"Donner"
"https://www.xkcd.com/30"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/donner.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/30:_Donner"
"[Three people stand outside a restaurant; Megan, a man with some hair and another shorter person, probably a woman. There is a sign above the door which says "Joe's" (presumably the name of the restaurant) and a menu next to it. Outside the door, there is a maître d' with a cap behind a lectern. There is a sign on the lectern which says "Eat in".] maître d': Donner, party of four? Man: Actually, never mind. Megan: We're full. "
"The title text explains to the reader that the Donner party was a group of pioneers who set out west along a new route that was supposed to be easier to travel, but ultimately proved slow and treacherous. They became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains and many died. Low on food, many of the pioneers resorted to cannibalism, eating the bodies of party members who had already died, it is believed. In this comic, three Donner party members arrive at Joe's restaurant, where they have ordered a table for four, as given by the fact that the maître d' knows they are the Donner party and calls for a party of four. The three decline the table since they are already full. This suggests that they just have eaten the fourth member (unknown to us) of their party after they placed the order for a table at the restaurant, but before they strolled over to it anyway. Of course, since they are not in a survival situation in this strip, cannibalism would be completely unnecessary. However, it may be possible that they are suffering from Wendigo Psychosis . Alternatively, the Donner Dinner Party may have resorted to cannibalism because it took so long to be seated at the restaurant. In the early days of xkcd (and days when Wikipedia was not quite in the mainstream consciousness), Randall didn't trust people to understand his comics or his references, and often explained the joke in the title text like here and for instance also in 38: Apple Jacks . [Three people stand outside a restaurant; Megan, a man with some hair and another shorter person, probably a woman. There is a sign above the door which says "Joe's" (presumably the name of the restaurant) and a menu next to it. Outside the door, there is a maître d' with a cap behind a lectern. There is a sign on the lectern which says "Eat in".] maître d': Donner, party of four? Man: Actually, never mind. Megan: We're full. "
31
"Barrel - Part 5"
"Barrel - Part 5"
"https://www.xkcd.com/31"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/barrel_part_5.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/31:_Barrel_-_Part_5"
"[A boy is grasping on to a piece of driftwood in an ocean.] [A zoomed out view of the boy still grasping on to a piece of driftwood in the ocean.] [A ferret with some airplane wings and an airplane tail flies above the ocean.] [A shot of the ocean, now empty.] [The flying ferret is carrying the boy to safety.] [The ferret carrying the boy is now in the distance with the sun on the horizon.] "
"This gives a happy ending to the Barrel series . The flying ferret is from 20: Ferret . The humor is derived from the juxtaposition of two unlike elements - in this case, the contemplative and even dark nature of the Barrel series being resolved through the timely intervention of a comical flying mammal. Said mammal could also be interpreted as a symbol of hope and following your dreams, seeing as in its original appearance, its powers of flight were just that: a dream. However, the dream becomes reality to save a child from an endless sea of hopelessness. The series is probably inspired by the novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry . Randall is well known to be a fan of this book. Somewhere between the release of the first ferret comic in October 2005 and the re-release of that comic (and all the other from LiveJournal in 2005) on New Year's Day 2006 on the new xkcd site, Randall's brother's ferret died - as given by the new RIP comment in the title text. The sad comment in the title text of 25: Barrel - Part 4 , ":(", possibly implying harm to the boy, along with this RIP comment, may imply that the boy has died and joined the ferret (in flying to Heaven). However, this line of reasoning only makes sense if the ferret actually died before the release of both the Part 4 comic at the end of October and this comic, which was released in the middle of November 2005, 1½ months before the new title text was made public. This is the last in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character who is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character was in a barrel in parts 1-3. After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series. The full series can be found here . But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection, linked to above: [A boy is grasping on to a piece of driftwood in an ocean.] [A zoomed out view of the boy still grasping on to a piece of driftwood in the ocean.] [A ferret with some airplane wings and an airplane tail flies above the ocean.] [A shot of the ocean, now empty.] [The flying ferret is carrying the boy to safety.] [The ferret carrying the boy is now in the distance with the sun on the horizon.] "
32
"Pillar"
"Pillar"
"https://www.xkcd.com/32"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/pillar.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/32:_Pillar"
"[At the top of the panel is a black frame with the following text:] This one is mostly by my little brother, Doug. [A Cueball-like guy stands on a the top of a tall pole and talks to his Cueball-like friend on the ground. The drawing is repeated three time in the same panel, once for each comment by the two guys.] Pole-guy: The sky is so blue, and all the leaves are green. Friend: Haven't you ever wondered if we really see the same colors as everyone else? It's all perception. Pole-guy: Well, you might as well call into question all of human experience. Who really knows what world someone else sees? Friend: Yeah, I guess. Pole-guy: Anyway, can you help me down from this pole? Friend: What pole? "Oops, I totally forgot to update yesterday afternoon. Well, I haven't slept, so I say it's still Friday. It's been a weird couple days and I was just thinking it was the weekend. Anyway, the first version of this strip was drawn by me and then written by Doug. I redrew/wrote it and now you are reading it! Cool, huh? Also, all the barrel strips are now here for easy linkage to people you think might like them." The link (now here above directing to a webarchive) used to direct to a collection of all six The Boy and his Barrel comics. It seems Randall had a long Friday back then. So long that he forgot to post this Friday comic before midnight. And although he still had not slept when he posted it, the time-stamp reads 7:55 AM on Saturday. This thus became the first comic to be released on a Saturday. This also happened to him the next Friday/Saturday. And then two times more before he closed LiveJournal. Since then it has not happened. "
"Two Cueball -like guys ponder the unanswerable philosophical question of whether all people observe the universe the same, or whether, for example, what one person sees as "red" might be what another see as "green". They muse that no one really knows how anyone else sees the world. The misdirection and punchline of the comic come when the pole-guy asks if his friend can help him down from this pole where he's been standing for the entire comic. The friend's reply indicates that he does not see a pole, proving that one person can observe the world differently than another, in this case, in a far more extreme and unexpected way than color differences. Another interpretation of the punchline is that the friend doesn't like pole-guy's idea of questioning all of human existence and mocks that philosophy by pretending not to see that he is standing on a pole. The concept of a philosopher on a pole is likely a reference to many " stylites " or "pillar-saints" of the late antiquity period, perhaps the first and most famous them being Simeon Stylites . Unlike most other xkcd comics, the "panels" of this comic are not divided and are drawn within a single frame. As noted at the title text, this comic is based on a comic drawn by Randall 's brother Doug, although Randall apparently redrew and rewrote it. [At the top of the panel is a black frame with the following text:] This one is mostly by my little brother, Doug. [A Cueball-like guy stands on a the top of a tall pole and talks to his Cueball-like friend on the ground. The drawing is repeated three time in the same panel, once for each comment by the two guys.] Pole-guy: The sky is so blue, and all the leaves are green. Friend: Haven't you ever wondered if we really see the same colors as everyone else? It's all perception. Pole-guy: Well, you might as well call into question all of human experience. Who really knows what world someone else sees? Friend: Yeah, I guess. Pole-guy: Anyway, can you help me down from this pole? Friend: What pole? "Oops, I totally forgot to update yesterday afternoon. Well, I haven't slept, so I say it's still Friday. It's been a weird couple days and I was just thinking it was the weekend. Anyway, the first version of this strip was drawn by me and then written by Doug. I redrew/wrote it and now you are reading it! Cool, huh? Also, all the barrel strips are now here for easy linkage to people you think might like them." The link (now here above directing to a webarchive) used to direct to a collection of all six The Boy and his Barrel comics. It seems Randall had a long Friday back then. So long that he forgot to post this Friday comic before midnight. And although he still had not slept when he posted it, the time-stamp reads 7:55 AM on Saturday. This thus became the first comic to be released on a Saturday. This also happened to him the next Friday/Saturday. And then two times more before he closed LiveJournal. Since then it has not happened. "
33
"Self-reference"
"Self-reference"
"https://www.xkcd.com/33"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/self-reference.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/33:_Self-reference"
"[Cueball is standing alone.] Cueball: I promise to never again squeeze humor out of self-reference. [Beat panel.] [Cueball is standing alone.] Cueball: God dammit."
"Self-reference is a situation where something (a comic, a drawing, a musical work, a novel, a mathematical theorem) refers to itself in some manner. This can be a powerful technique in art, music, mathematics, and computer science (it is the basis of recursion). In this comic, Cueball promises not to use self-reference for humor, and then realizes after a beat panel that, since this comic is referring to the series of comics he is part of, he is using self-reference, thus breaking his promise. Without the last panel, this comic wouldn't be funny, and therefore wouldn't break the promise about using self-reference for humor. But with it, and his realization that he is breaking his promise, it does break that promise. (Do you get it?) The title text is just another humorous self-reference. Self-references has been used most famously later in 688: Self-Description , but was already used in 6: Irony and also in other comics . [Cueball is standing alone.] Cueball: I promise to never again squeeze humor out of self-reference. [Beat panel.] [Cueball is standing alone.] Cueball: God dammit."
34
"Flowers"
"Flowers"
"https://www.xkcd.com/34"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/flowers.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/34:_Flowers"
"[A sketch of flowers, drawn in green, red, and yellow on a black background.] "Original drawing is pencil on graph paper . Bonus points if you can identify the flowers. 'cause I sure can't." "
"This is a drawing of flowers that Randall made. It seems the flowers are based on his imagination, rather than being a real species - see the original quote in the trivia section. The title text explains that Randall originally drew the flowers in pencil on normal paper; he did not paint them. Instead, he used the invert feature of a photo-editing program to reverse it from black-on-white to white-on-black. After that, he added color to the flowers. [A sketch of flowers, drawn in green, red, and yellow on a black background.] "Original drawing is pencil on graph paper . Bonus points if you can identify the flowers. 'cause I sure can't." "
35
"Sheep"
"Sheep"
"https://www.xkcd.com/35"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/sheep.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/35:_Sheep"
"[Caption in a black frame above the image written in normal letters not all caps:] Another from my high-school notebooks. [A sheep and a green saguaro cactus in a brown pot are linked by an arcing yellow electricity bolt.] In the comment to the original LiveJournal post there was a user called Scott who posted this original poem: I had a little cactus and I treasured it with pride, admiring its spines and dainty flowers. Until the day - oh tragic day! - when it was RAMIFIED, by a ram with strange psychokinetic powers. Baaing deep, this shaman sheep came whiffling through the brambles. It gazed upon my cactus and, with yellow flash and thudrous crash, with dashing, brash, and rash panache, it blew the plant to shambles. I was, I confess, horrified - I sat and cried my eyes out! Oh stupid sheep, satanic sheep, so wrong and rash and willful! I nursed the cactus best I could, till finally it came about. It grows apace now, once again, but all it blooms is steel wool! [And then in another post beneath this posted four minutes after the poem at 4:57 UTC (AM?) he finished with:] Oh God I need sleep! If this is the Scott who is a friend of Randall, it is not entirely clear.... Mary had a little lamb She tied it to a pylon Ten thousand volt went up its a** And turned its wool to nylon. "
"Due to Randall's vacation, he picked out comics from his old high-school notebooks. This is the second in a row. It was also released a day too late. It is a very weird drawing, especially with the title text proclaiming that it may be the sheep that is zapping the cactus. The comic 520: Cuttlefish may be a reference to this comic. It may also be a Pokémon reference, with the sheep being the Electric-type Mareep or its evolution Flaaffy, and the cactus being Cacnea or Cacturne. [Caption in a black frame above the image written in normal letters not all caps:] Another from my high-school notebooks. [A sheep and a green saguaro cactus in a brown pot are linked by an arcing yellow electricity bolt.] In the comment to the original LiveJournal post there was a user called Scott who posted this original poem: I had a little cactus and I treasured it with pride, admiring its spines and dainty flowers. Until the day - oh tragic day! - when it was RAMIFIED, by a ram with strange psychokinetic powers. Baaing deep, this shaman sheep came whiffling through the brambles. It gazed upon my cactus and, with yellow flash and thudrous crash, with dashing, brash, and rash panache, it blew the plant to shambles. I was, I confess, horrified - I sat and cried my eyes out! Oh stupid sheep, satanic sheep, so wrong and rash and willful! I nursed the cactus best I could, till finally it came about. It grows apace now, once again, but all it blooms is steel wool! [And then in another post beneath this posted four minutes after the poem at 4:57 UTC (AM?) he finished with:] Oh God I need sleep! If this is the Scott who is a friend of Randall, it is not entirely clear.... Mary had a little lamb She tied it to a pylon Ten thousand volt went up its a** And turned its wool to nylon. "
36
"Scientists"
"Scientists"
"https://www.xkcd.com/36"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/scientists.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/36:_Scientists"
"[Cueball is staring at an empty box on the floor.] Cueball: In what scientists are calling "pretty gay", I can't find my shoes. "
"This comic plays on the type of statement that news reports often use: "in what [group of experts] are calling '[quote]'," to add more weight and credibility to their stories. In this case, Cueball is using the phrase to attempt to add gravitas to the (relatively mundane) fact that his shoes are missing and he thinks it's "pretty gay" by assigning this opinion to scientists (rather than it being, presumably, his friend's or his own opinion). The same joke is at play in the image text where a leading expert thinks the situation is "retarded." There may be a second level to the joke: Randall was still working for NASA at the time the comic was posted, so his friends at that time would presumably include scientists and "leading experts." If his friends made fun of him for not being able to find his shoes, it would therefore be accurate to say that scientists had made those statements. However, since their being scientists is irrelevant to the legitimacy of their opinions about Randall's shoe problems, presenting their teasing as an expert opinion is humorously misleading; a similar joke is at play in 1206: Einstein . The phrases "pretty gay" and "retarded" are infantile and offensive slang for "foolish" or "contemptible," and so they are the opposite type of speech expected of experts on news reports. (These terms were not generally considered more than mildly offensive by most of the public at the time this comic was posted; the cultural mainstream is now typically much more critical of this type of language, and this comic would likely be heavily criticized if it were published today.) [Cueball is staring at an empty box on the floor.] Cueball: In what scientists are calling "pretty gay", I can't find my shoes. "
37
"Hyphen"
"Hyphen"
"https://www.xkcd.com/37"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/hyphen.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/37:_Hyphen"
"[Cueball (on the left) is talking to his Cueball-like friend (on the right) about a car (left to both of them) that resembles a Volkswagen Beetle. Above the drawing is a statement:] My hobby: whenever anyone calls something an [adjective]-ass [noun], I mentally move the hyphen one word to the right. Cueball: Man, that's a sweet ass-car. "
"This is the first " My Hobby " comic in xkcd . In these comics, Randall suggests an obscure activity or pastime he enjoys that he declares as his "hobby." In the premiere "My Hobby" comic, Randall's hobby is mentally re-interpreting what people mean when they say "[adjective]-ass [noun]" by moving the hyphen to after the word "ass" instead of before. The semi- scatological suffix "-ass" is used as an intensifier in informal US English speech, usually attached to an adjective directly modifying a noun, as in "big-ass car" or "funny-ass comedian." In this comic, Cueball is exploring the increased humor aspect of changing "-ass" from a suffix modifying the adjective, to "ass-", a prefix modifying the noun, yielding a "big ass-car" or a "funny ass-comedian," the former presumably being a large car for carrying buttocks, the latter being a humorous comedian specializing in jokes about lower backs. The prefix "ass-" may also have a negative connotation, indicating that something is disliked. An "ass-car" may be a very terrible car, for example. Another explanation would be that, since this suffix/prefix refers to an element of human anatomy, the car would be in the shape of said anatomical piece. Outside of North America, most English speakers use "arse" to mean the buttocks, so to them, it may sound as if Randall's talking about donkeys. [Cueball (on the left) is talking to his Cueball-like friend (on the right) about a car (left to both of them) that resembles a Volkswagen Beetle. Above the drawing is a statement:] My hobby: whenever anyone calls something an [adjective]-ass [noun], I mentally move the hyphen one word to the right. Cueball: Man, that's a sweet ass-car. "
38
"Apple Jacks"
"Apple Jacks"
"https://www.xkcd.com/38"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/apple_jacks.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/38:_Apple_Jacks"
"[Cueball is standing holding a bowl in his hand. His son is sitting on the floor playing video games.] Cueball: Hey, these don't taste like apples! Son: Fuck off, Dad. "
"Apple Jacks is a breakfast cereal produced by Kellogg's . As the title text begins to explain, there was an ad campaign for the cereal in the 1990s that focused on someone (usually someone in authority like a parent) pointing out that Apple Jacks doesn't taste like apples, and one or more kids pointing out that it doesn't matter and that "we eat what we like." However, instead of laughing off his dad's comment and correcting him, as in the campaign, this son responds by simply saying "fuck off, dad." This could be a commentary on today's youth being far less respectful, as the son is playing video games and seems annoyed at being interrupted, though this does not align with Randall’s public views. It may not be the first time the father has used the line, and the son is irritated by the repetition. It could also be saying that the response in the ads is unrealistic, and this is a much more realistic response. The same ad campaign was referenced previously in 27: Meat Cereals on a parody cereal labeled Scrapple Jacks. Cereal advertising was again referenced in 1470: Kix . The title text could be a reference to the fact that this comic requires explanation for those who don't know of the ad (the reason this webpage exists), or it is an addition to the joke. This is another of the early comics where Randall felt the need to explain the joke in the title text, see for instance 30: Donner . [Cueball is standing holding a bowl in his hand. His son is sitting on the floor playing video games.] Cueball: Hey, these don't taste like apples! Son: Fuck off, Dad. "
39
"Bowl"
"Bowl"
"https://www.xkcd.com/39"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/bowl.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/39:_Bowl"
"[A boy is glaring at a model sailing ship floating in a bowl of water.] Boy: Sooner or later, my friend, one of us will run out of time. "This is not the barrel boy. Current Mood: Final Exam-y " Announcement "What with winter break starting and the like, I'll probably be going off my regular update schedule. I'll try to post something here and there, and might end up doing more drawings than I expect, but won't stick to the MWF schedule. Thanks for the support! This has been and will continue to be a lot of fun." This may also be due to his examinations coming up. But probably he was using a lot of time preparing for the release of his new xkcd site after new year. "
"The comic roughly parodies a situation in which two characters are seeing who can wait longer to get the result they want. However, in the comic, the model sailing ship is not alive and doesn't experience time (except perhaps if it absorbs water and falls apart, or beaches once the water in the bowl evaporates). The comic compares the patience of a boy with that of an inanimate object. Also, it could imply that the boy has too much time on his hands. Like many of the earlier comics, some of this comic's humor comes from the surreality of the situation. The gravity of the boy's statement is juxtaposed with the insignificance of a child's toy floating in a bowl of water. On one level, the absurdity of this is funny in itself; on another level, the audience is invited to imagine what might possibly be going through the boy's mind to make him take this toy and bowl so seriously. Alternatively, the comic can be taken to recognize the mortality and ultimate fate of death/decay for both the boat and the boy, creating a grim moral. But, if one goes deeper into meaning, one could realize that the comic itself is humorous for trying to make a fatalistic statement using a boy and a toy boat, still making the comic ultimately humorous. In the original quote for this comic (see trivia ), Randall states that this is not the barrel boy . This is not only because they have a similar hairstyle. Since the Barrel Boy was floating on the water in a barrel, and this boy is looking into a bowl (not barrel) filled with water, it would be easy to draw some parallels. It was obviously important for Randall to make clear that there were no such connections. [A boy is glaring at a model sailing ship floating in a bowl of water.] Boy: Sooner or later, my friend, one of us will run out of time. "This is not the barrel boy. Current Mood: Final Exam-y " Announcement "What with winter break starting and the like, I'll probably be going off my regular update schedule. I'll try to post something here and there, and might end up doing more drawings than I expect, but won't stick to the MWF schedule. Thanks for the support! This has been and will continue to be a lot of fun." This may also be due to his examinations coming up. But probably he was using a lot of time preparing for the release of his new xkcd site after new year. "
40
"Light"
"Light"
"https://www.xkcd.com/40"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/light.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/40:_Light"
"[A crowd of figures stand around in the dark. A Megan is illuminated by a beam of light.] In a dark and confusing world, you burn brightly I never feel lost "
"Lighthouses were built on coasts to give ships a point of reference where land was, so that they could find where they were going, and to know where they should avoid during a storm. Megan fills this role for Cueball . She is his lighthouse to know where he can be safe. This also has a romantic notion, as Megan is lighting up the world for Cueball to find her. [A crowd of figures stand around in the dark. A Megan is illuminated by a beam of light.] In a dark and confusing world, you burn brightly I never feel lost "
41
"Old Drawing"
"Old Drawing"
"https://www.xkcd.com/41"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/unspeakable_pun.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/41:_Old_Drawing"
"[A tree holding a chainsaw over a recently cut-down tree. The first text is in a frame at the top of the panel.] I found this in one of my high-school notebooks. I think I drew it just to take revenge on people snooping through my stuff. Tree stump: Well, you stumped me... "
"This comic plays off the pun between stumped , meaning confused or at a loss, and a stump , which is the remnants of a tree that has been cut down. Anyone snooping into his journal would be punished by such a terrible pun. The pun is so terrible that even Randall does not want to talk about it, as he mentioned in the title text. [A tree holding a chainsaw over a recently cut-down tree. The first text is in a frame at the top of the panel.] I found this in one of my high-school notebooks. I think I drew it just to take revenge on people snooping through my stuff. Tree stump: Well, you stumped me... "
42
"Geico"
"Geico"
"https://www.xkcd.com/42"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/geico.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/42:_Geico"
"[Cueball holding a golf club.] Cueball: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by threatening my agent with a golf club. "
"This comic references a long-running ad campaign for Geico insurance in which a character (different in each commercial) lists a series of horrible events or news, but then caps it off with "but I've got good news: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico" – news that may be good, but is usually either trivial compared to the magnitude of the preceding bad news, or else is said to the person whom all of the preceding bad news applied to, giving them false hope that the good news was for them. It became a recognizable pop culture phrase. Geico's ad is also mentioned in 870: Advertising . In this one-panel comic, Cueball parodies the punchline by saving money on his car insurance by intimidation, instead of choosing the best provider. In the title text, Randall attributes this comic to the unknown friend David . He does the same in 51: Malaria and 100: Family Circus . We can assume (or rather, we can hope ) that "this" refers to the act of writing the comic, as opposed to the act of threatening his insurance agent. A golf club is also mentioned, and used for similarly socially unacceptable actions, in 81: Attention, shopper . [Cueball holding a golf club.] Cueball: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by threatening my agent with a golf club. "
43
"Red Spiders 2"
"Red Spiders 2"
"https://www.xkcd.com/43"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/red_spiders_2.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/43:_Red_Spiders_2"
"[Nine red spiders, with round appendages at the end of each of their six legs, are seen navigating an environment of blocks and other geometric constructions. The second-from-the-top spider appears to be holding a block down for the spider just below to climb on to help it up, or they might be lifting the block together. One is almost outside the frame at the top.] "
"This is the second published comic in the red spiders story arc, published just over 2 months after the first one . Like its predecessor, it is more of a sketch than a comic. The titular spiders appear to be ascending —or possibly building— a structure, probably to get into the window at the top of the picture. Two spiders at the top appear to be passing a block between them, implying that they are, at least, trying to change the structure. According to the title text, it was drawn years before the previous Red Spiders . The full series of Red Spiders comics: [Nine red spiders, with round appendages at the end of each of their six legs, are seen navigating an environment of blocks and other geometric constructions. The second-from-the-top spider appears to be holding a block down for the spider just below to climb on to help it up, or they might be lifting the block together. One is almost outside the frame at the top.] "
44
"Love"
"Love"
"https://www.xkcd.com/44"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/love.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/44:_Love"
"[Cueball and Megan stand facing one another.] Cueball: I love you! Megan: I love you! [Same scene as before.] Cueball: I love you more! Megan: Yeah. [Beat panel.] "
"This comic expresses the view of a love that is unbalanced and unequal. And how one form of love can be painful when closely examined. It is customary for people in a romantic relationship, when one makes a declaration of love or affection, for the other to make a matching declaration. However, instead of continuing Cueball 's escalation by saying the expected response "I love you more!", Megan stops and agrees with him: he does love her more than she loves him. This leads to an uncomfortable dynamic in the relationship. The final frame shows the couple standing in silence. In the title text, Randall expresses how this comic is shockingly stark in its portrayal of love. [Cueball and Megan stand facing one another.] Cueball: I love you! Megan: I love you! [Same scene as before.] Cueball: I love you more! Megan: Yeah. [Beat panel.] "
45
"Schrodinger"
"Schrodinger"
"https://www.xkcd.com/45"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/schrodinger.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/45:_Schrodinger"
"[Black Hat and Cueball are standing next to each other. Above them the text is written in a box with shades around it.] Schrödinger's Comic [Black Hat and Cueball are still standing next to each other, but Cueball has lifted his arms above his head. The text is again written in a box with shades around it.] The last panel of this comic is both funny and not funny at the same time. [Black Hat and Cueball are still standing next to each other, Cueball arms are down again. The text is again written in a box with shades around it.] Until you read it, there's no way to tell which it will end up being. [Black Hat and Cueball are still standing next to each other. Cueball has become smaller and smaller through the three frames after the first. Quite clearly here in the last panel. The text is again written in a box with shades around it.] Shit. "
"This comic is a joke creating a humorously false synthesis, combining the principles of quantum superposition and the effects of reading a comic one panel at a time. Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment that illuminates the notion that a particle only resolves itself to its state upon observation, and until such observation is made, it is in all of its possible states simultaneously. In the thought experiment, a cat is both dead and alive until observation; likewise, in this comic, Black Hat and Cueball are likening the last panel to the box with the cat: until you read it, it is in a mixed state (a superposition) of both funny and unfunny. Finally, in the last panel, both of them say "Shit." The joke is that after reading the last panel, the comic is both funny (as it is unexpected) and not funny (as the last line was a non sequitur and therefore there is no climax) at the same time, thus proving Black Hat and Cueball wrong, hence them expressing discontent with the word "shit." The title text , which Randall here calls the alt-text, suggests that the alt text did not exist until the mouse over action occurred. This is another reference to Schrödinger's cat. You do not know if there is a title text until you mouse over, so before you mouse over, the title text could be missing or existent. Schrödinger's cat is a famous thought experiment proposed by Erwin Schrödinger to question the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Under the Copenhagen interpretation , any particle is described by a wave function that allows one to calculate the probability that it is any given state. A radioactive nucleus with a half-life of one hour, for instance, would have a wave-function that would split, showing two distinct states (decayed, undecayed) that change over time until some "observation" forced the wave-function into one state or another (called "collapsing the wave-function"). Before the wave-function is collapsed, it is incorrect to say that the atom has decayed or has not decayed; it is in a "superposition" of states, effectively both decayed and undecayed. Schrödinger thought that the Copenhagen interpretation was absurd, and devised the below thought experiment to show this. The experiment goes as follows: Put a cat in a box, he said, with a device triggered by the decay of an atom with a half-life of one hour that would release a poisonous gas if triggered. Then, after waiting an hour, the Copenhagen interpretation would say that the atom is in a superposition of decayed and undecayed states, and thus, by extension, the cat would be in a superposition of alive and dead states. Only when the box is opened would the wave-function for the cat collapse into either alive or dead states. This thought experiment is not meant to be taken literally, as every interaction of a particle with another constitutes an observation, and many particles must interact for a cat to die, but still his argument was that since it is absurd for a cat to be both alive and dead, it is absurd for an atom to be both decayed and undecayed. If this experiment were to be performed, the cat would not be both dead and alive. [Black Hat and Cueball are standing next to each other. Above them the text is written in a box with shades around it.] Schrödinger's Comic [Black Hat and Cueball are still standing next to each other, but Cueball has lifted his arms above his head. The text is again written in a box with shades around it.] The last panel of this comic is both funny and not funny at the same time. [Black Hat and Cueball are still standing next to each other, Cueball arms are down again. The text is again written in a box with shades around it.] Until you read it, there's no way to tell which it will end up being. [Black Hat and Cueball are still standing next to each other. Cueball has become smaller and smaller through the three frames after the first. Quite clearly here in the last panel. The text is again written in a box with shades around it.] Shit. "
46
"Secrets"
"Secrets"
"https://www.xkcd.com/46"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/secrets.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/46:_Secrets"
"[Drawing of a lonely girl staring down with almost closed eyes. The first line of text stands next to her to the left. The last part bottom, right.] I just want you to share in my secrets and not run away Kurt Halsey was also referenced in 24: Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey . "
"This comic addresses the issue of commitment-phobic partners who get into relationships but get cold feet when it starts to get serious. The girl wants someone who can see every part of who she is and still love her. In the title text, Randall mentions that he is a big fan of Kurt Halsey , a comic artist from Oregon. His style is similar to that in this comic. Many of his comics and paintings depict a couple and convey various emotions they go through, as does this comic. In the original Randall quote (see trivia ), he gives the above link to the official home page of Kurt Halsey. Then he mentions that if you had not realized he was a big fan already, you should reconsider clicking on the link because it's depressing how much better at this he is than me . [Drawing of a lonely girl staring down with almost closed eyes. The first line of text stands next to her to the left. The last part bottom, right.] I just want you to share in my secrets and not run away Kurt Halsey was also referenced in 24: Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey . "
47
"Counter-Red Spiders"
"Counter-Red Spiders"
"https://www.xkcd.com/47"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/counter-red-spiders.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/47:_Counter-Red_Spiders"
"[A stack of stick figures, standing on each others shoulders, extends from the bottom of the frame to the top. Cuboids hang in the air.] The counter-red-spider offensive begins... "
"In previous comics, red spiders are seen navigating similar landscapes. Here, humanoid stick figures are standing on top of each other to reach some place above the top of the comic, in a similar manner to how the red spiders navigate. These stick figures must be extremely light, or gravity must be really weak there, because it is extremely unlikely or even impossible to have a stack of humans that tall. The full series of Red Spiders comics: [A stack of stick figures, standing on each others shoulders, extends from the bottom of the frame to the top. Cuboids hang in the air.] The counter-red-spider offensive begins... "
48
"Found"
"Found"
"https://www.xkcd.com/48"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/found.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/48:_Found"
"[Cueball and Megan are standing on a white hill (presumably snow) with a grey sky covered with thick streaks of white, and small pink dots. All letters are written in lower case.] we are just two people who found each other "
"Cueball and Megan are standing together in the middle of a simple maze. As indicated by the words in the comic, they have simply found each other, implying that there is no relationship between them other than running into each other. As indicated in the title text, there is nothing else to say about how they met. [Cueball and Megan are standing on a white hill (presumably snow) with a grey sky covered with thick streaks of white, and small pink dots. All letters are written in lower case.] we are just two people who found each other "
49
"Want"
"Want"
"https://www.xkcd.com/49"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/want.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/49:_Want"
"[Cueball is standing talking in the same position in all four panels. In the second panel, Cueball seems to have hair.] Cueball: I want to be brave enough to tell you how I feel. Cueball: I want to say "I love you" before I hang up the phone for once. Cueball: I want to drive all night with you, listening to mix tapes, not caring where we end up. Cueball: Oh, and I also really want to get with your sister. Cueball: I mean, DAMN. "
"Cueball is making an honest profession of his feelings. This is often held up as a valuable thing in cementing a relationship. In the first three panels, he makes the kind of cliched poetic, romantic statements that would typically be expected. In the last panel, however, he undercuts all of this by crassly revealing that he also really wants to have sex with his paramour's sister. In the title text, he attempts to excuse his statement by reasoning that the sister is very attractive. [Cueball is standing talking in the same position in all four panels. In the second panel, Cueball seems to have hair.] Cueball: I want to be brave enough to tell you how I feel. Cueball: I want to say "I love you" before I hang up the phone for once. Cueball: I want to drive all night with you, listening to mix tapes, not caring where we end up. Cueball: Oh, and I also really want to get with your sister. Cueball: I mean, DAMN. "
50
"Penny Arcade"
"Penny Arcade"
"https://www.xkcd.com/50"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/penny_arcade.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/50:_Penny_Arcade"
"[A color drawing of Tycho, a man with wild brown hair in blue and cyan colored shirt. He has a big open mouth and holds one arm up while the other may be in his (unseen) pocket. He has two speech bubbles,] Tycho: You know what? If you've never played the 1995 SNES RPG " Seiken Densetsu ", don't even bother reading today's strip. Tycho: We don't need your kind here. "
"Penny Arcade is a popular web comic that focuses on video game culture. The character above is Tycho Brahe, one of the two main characters of Penny Arcade (the other being Jonathan "Gabe" Gabriel). Penny Arcade has a reputation for making obscure references to video games without explaining, expecting the reader to be as well-versed in gaming culture as they are, represented by the attitude shown in this comic. 'Seiken Densetsu,' as mentioned in the strip, probably refers to Seiken Densetsu 3 , an Action role-playing game (Action-RPG) released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in Japan in 1995. The game was neither released in the North American region nor officially translated to English for more than thirteen years after this strip. However, many North American game players might have recognized Seiken Densetsu 2 , the predecessor in the series, by its North American name: Secret of Mana . As the title text admits, they know they behave like this, and have this reputation, but they don't care, and even refer to it in their own comic. [A color drawing of Tycho, a man with wild brown hair in blue and cyan colored shirt. He has a big open mouth and holds one arm up while the other may be in his (unseen) pocket. He has two speech bubbles,] Tycho: You know what? If you've never played the 1995 SNES RPG " Seiken Densetsu ", don't even bother reading today's strip. Tycho: We don't need your kind here. "
51
"Malaria"
"Malaria"
"https://www.xkcd.com/51"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/malaria.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/51:_Malaria"
"[Four Cueball-like children wearing party hats, a discarded balloon is lying to the right. There is text above:] We had a malaria party [And there is text below:] but it turned out not to be very much fun. "
"This comic humorously considers pox parties as a means of preventing malaria. In these "parties," adults bring their children to deliberately expose them to a communicable disease to promote immunity . This is commonly done for a childhood disease like chickenpox and measles instead of vaccination. In this comic, we see four Cueball -like children in party hats with a balloon lying on the ground, suggesting a missing "celebrant." Some illnesses are more serious for adults than children. For example, chickenpox is far less severe contracted as a child than as an adult, the latter sometimes ending in sterility, brain damage, or worse. (Note that shingles is not adult-onset chickenpox, but a condition occasionally developed by older people who previously had chickenpox.) Having caught chickenpox once, a person's immune system has developed antibodies , reducing vulnerability to the virus. The antibodies create immunity for a significant period of time, possibly life. However, immunity through antibody creation is not usually an effective strategy against malaria. Contrarily, once one has suffered from malaria, it can recur on its own, even after apparent healing from symptoms. Thus, having a malaria party would not be a useful exercise, as many could suffer significant illness and die. The title text blames "David" for the party, referencing the idea of children blaming each other for an idea that turns out poorly. A malaria party is likely to have more severe consequences than, for instance, a group of 10 year olds building a ski ramp in the backyard. Also it could be a reference to the Bible: when King David has to choose between three Threads, he chooses a disease for the whole people, lasting 3 days. Malaria is a Mosquito-borne disease of humans and other animals caused by protists (a type of microorganism) of the genus Plasmodium . It begins with a bite from an infected female mosquito , which introduces the protists via its saliva into the circulatory system, and ultimately to the liver where they mature and reproduce. The disease causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death. At the end of the 1990s, a study reported what would turn out to be made-up health threats from MMR- vaccines , which created an MMR vaccine controversy and lower vaccination rates, even after they were exposed as false. This made pox parties more popular as the "natural alternative." However, even usually-"harmless" diseases like measles can (rarely) have complications and side-effects, up to and including death, which are by far more common and/or more severe than the actual health risks involved in vaccination. In the past 20 years, 2 Americans died from measles, both people with compromised immune systems. Also none, or late immunization, may create an immunization gap through which nearly extinct diseases can reenter a population (see e.g. Epidemiology of measles ). If this gap can be closed (or made small enough), it is possible to make a disease extinct. This was actually successfully done with smallpox , and is now attempted with the poliovirus (Causing poliomyelitis , also known as infantile paralysis). [Four Cueball-like children wearing party hats, a discarded balloon is lying to the right. There is text above:] We had a malaria party [And there is text below:] but it turned out not to be very much fun. "
52
"Secret Worlds"
"Secret Worlds"
"https://www.xkcd.com/52"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/secret_worlds.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/52:_Secret_Worlds"
"[A multitude of circles connected with several lines. Most of them are rather small and colored red, yellow, green and blue. Nine of them are white, six of these are larger than all the other circles, but one is the same size as the largest colored (green) circle, and the two smallest are smaller than a few of the colored circles. Pieces of text are written in all the white circles. Although it can be confusing at first, the reading order is still the normal one: left to right and top to bottom. Reading the circles in that order gives the following text:] "Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people in the whole world I mean everybody No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside Inside they've all got unimaginable magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing, worlds Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe." --Neil Gaiman Sandman "
"The quote written in the large white bubbles comes from The Sandman , a comic book series about dreams. Neil Gaiman is a science fiction and fantasy author who came to fame for writing The Sandman. The interconnected bubbles represent the secret worlds of different people and how they are connected. They may have the second meaning of the neurons in our brain. The title text indicates that Randall used the Four color theorem , which states that a graph drawn on a flat plane (like this one) requires at most four colors so that each region differs from all of its neighbors. The comic uses four colors (red, yellow, green, blue). This clearly does not include the white bubbles with text. Here is the quote, to those wondering how to read the comic: “Everybody has a secret world inside of them... All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” Neil Gaiman, A Game of You [A multitude of circles connected with several lines. Most of them are rather small and colored red, yellow, green and blue. Nine of them are white, six of these are larger than all the other circles, but one is the same size as the largest colored (green) circle, and the two smallest are smaller than a few of the colored circles. Pieces of text are written in all the white circles. Although it can be confusing at first, the reading order is still the normal one: left to right and top to bottom. Reading the circles in that order gives the following text:] "Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people in the whole world I mean everybody No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside Inside they've all got unimaginable magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing, worlds Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe." --Neil Gaiman Sandman "
53
"Hobby"
"Hobby"
"https://www.xkcd.com/53"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/hobby.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/53:_Hobby"
"[A person with hair lies on the ground in a pool of red blood. At the top of the panel there is a caption. Then a text. And above the person there is a score with small lines around to indicate that it has just appeared over the body.] My hobby: When the police bust drug hideouts, I sneak in and hide. Then I jump out and startle them into shooting me so they lose points. -100 "I'm reminded of Area 51 where you accidently kept shooting the cops in the back...over and over again. Brilliant." Randall made the following reply: "That was actually precisely the game I was thinking of. I remember my brother playing that game all day at the arcade when we were little. Fuckin' innocents." This comment is reflected in the title text on xkcd. "
"This is the second in the " My Hobby " series of xkcd comics. This comic humorously compares the rules of light gun cabinet arcade video games with real life. Randall suggests that his hobby is going to drug busts with the expressed purpose of getting shot as an innocent bystander, thereby causing the police to lose 100 points. Drug busts are events where police attempt to catch drug dealers, suppliers, and financiers in situations with enough evidence to convict them. In the style of arcade video games being examined, drug busts are usually depicted as chaotic events with villains, innocent bystanders, captives, and allies popping up like spring loaded targets at a shooting range in a setting with lots of places to hide. If you don't shoot a hostile target sufficiently quickly, you will be shot, so it is common to shoot the wrong targets. To add extra challenge, these games often deduct points — or worse, cause damage to the player character — if the player shoots the wrong target. This is often frustrating; not only does the player feel that they have failed to judge their target properly, but the wasted time can cause them to get shot by the real targets. Obviously, doing this in real life would be a really bad idea, as the hobbyist would quickly be killed. Whether this can even be a hobby is questionable because hobbies typically refer to actions that one does repeatedly, but if one was killed the first time, one would not be able to sneak into drug busts and startle police officers again. Also, if Randall actually did this, he would be dead and therefore unable to draw a comic about it. [ citation needed ] The title text refers to the game Area 51 , which was a popular shooter arcade game from 1995 (although a console/PC game of the same name was released in 2005). Area 51 was one of many cabinet arcade games that featured a light gun that allowed players to aim at the screen and shoot in a realistic control mechanic. The title text confirms that the comic is referring to these light gun cabinet games specifically. The title text of 188: Reload references this strip. [A person with hair lies on the ground in a pool of red blood. At the top of the panel there is a caption. Then a text. And above the person there is a score with small lines around to indicate that it has just appeared over the body.] My hobby: When the police bust drug hideouts, I sneak in and hide. Then I jump out and startle them into shooting me so they lose points. -100 "I'm reminded of Area 51 where you accidently kept shooting the cops in the back...over and over again. Brilliant." Randall made the following reply: "That was actually precisely the game I was thinking of. I remember my brother playing that game all day at the arcade when we were little. Fuckin' innocents." This comment is reflected in the title text on xkcd. "
54
"Science"
"Science"
"https://www.xkcd.com/54"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/science.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/54:_Science"
"[A graph with a curve that begins at zero, then peaks at a given frequency, indicated via a thin vertical line, and then fades down towards zero. It is possible to see the data points, which fit the curve perfectly. The y-axis is labelled. Along the x-axis, the zero point and the frequency where the peak has its maximum are labelled and close to the arrow the unit of this axis is written.] y-axis: Energy Density Along the x-axis: 0 160.4 GHz [Above the graph to the right is the following formula, with the last inner parentheses only included to make the formula clear, since in the drawing the fractions are written above and below horizontal lines:] I(f) = (2hf 3 /c 2 )(1/(e hf/kT -1)) [Below the graph is written the following:] Science. It works, bitches. "
"The solid line represents the theoretical radiation for a blackbody at 2.73 K according to Planck's Law (derived as early as 1900 by Max Planck ). The formula, almost as written in the graph, can be found here . The only changes are that on Wikipedia, the frequency f is represented by the Greek letter ν (nu) and the temperature T is included as an independent variable, so I ( f ) becomes I ( v , T ). However, I ( v , T ) still represents the spectral radiance (similar to energy density). In this formula, h is the Planck constant, c is the speed of light in a vacuum, and k is the Boltzmann constant. The frequency ( f or v ) along the x -axis is measured in gigahertz . The curve peaks at 160.4 GHz. There is no scale or unit on the energy density on the y -axis. The theory is that the blackbody in question was the universe at the point when it had cooled down enough to allow photons to escape , 0.38 million years into its 13.8 billion years history. The photons that reach us today are the ones that have been travelling to us at lightspeed since then. As the light from astronomical objects suffers from redshift due to the expansion of the universe, and this shift becomes more pronounced with distance from the observer, this light displays in the infrared range. The title text praises viewers who can identify where this equation and corresponding graph come from (without consulting this wiki, of course). This comic was made into a T-shirt, but is no longer available. On the xkcd store, there was both an explanation for the title: And specifically an explanation for the graph: The above is a direct copy paste, with errors. The current wiki page of the COBE mission can be found at Cosmic Background Explorer on Wikipedia . [A graph with a curve that begins at zero, then peaks at a given frequency, indicated via a thin vertical line, and then fades down towards zero. It is possible to see the data points, which fit the curve perfectly. The y-axis is labelled. Along the x-axis, the zero point and the frequency where the peak has its maximum are labelled and close to the arrow the unit of this axis is written.] y-axis: Energy Density Along the x-axis: 0 160.4 GHz [Above the graph to the right is the following formula, with the last inner parentheses only included to make the formula clear, since in the drawing the fractions are written above and below horizontal lines:] I(f) = (2hf 3 /c 2 )(1/(e hf/kT -1)) [Below the graph is written the following:] Science. It works, bitches. "
55
"Useless"
"Useless"
"https://www.xkcd.com/55"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/useless.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/55:_Useless"
"[Different mathematical equations, all with a heart on left side, and all ending up with question marks.] √♥ = ? cos ♥ = ? d/dx ♥ = ? [1 0]♥ = ? [0 1] F{♥} = 1/√2π ∫ ∞ -∞ f(t)e it♥ dt = ? [Caption below:] My normal approach is useless here. "
"Randall is attempting to apply mathematics to the concept of love to no avail. Specifically, he is attempting his "normal approach", which is a term used in mathematics for the method one typically uses to solve a certain type of problem. However, as love is not a well-defined mathematical entity, his normal approach is useless. Simply put: he's saying he has found no way of describing love using only the tools of mathematics. From the top, moving left to right, he tries the square root of love, the cosine of love, and the derivative of love with respect to x. He then attempts to left-multiply love by a 2x2 identity matrix , and finally he defines a function of love as a Fourier transform . These are all "normal approaches" to solving certain math problems. The message of the comic is that for someone who uses math to solve all their problems, defining love is impossible. It also indicates that love is not always a rational (or irrational) phenomenon. This comic has been made into a t-shirt in the xkcd store, with a Laplace transform in place of the bottom integral. Note: The Wikipedia links will provide far more detailed explanations of the mathematics. [Different mathematical equations, all with a heart on left side, and all ending up with question marks.] √♥ = ? cos ♥ = ? d/dx ♥ = ? [1 0]♥ = ? [0 1] F{♥} = 1/√2π ∫ ∞ -∞ f(t)e it♥ dt = ? [Caption below:] My normal approach is useless here. "
56
"The Cure"
"The Cure"
"https://www.xkcd.com/56"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/the_cure.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/56:_The_Cure"
"[A charcoal drawing of Robert Smith's head and face.] [Caption below:] Robert Smith should do a cover of Coldplay's Clocks, so when he sings "Am I part of the cure or am I part of the disease?" we can say, "Ooh, we know this one!" "
"The "real face" is that of Robert Smith , best known as the singer of the musical group The Cure , hence the title. The joke in this comic is very simple: When Robert would sing the above lines of Coldplay 's song " Clocks ", fans of his music would know the answer: he's part of The Cure. In the title text, Randall notes that he has not tried to draw a real face in years, as he mainly does stick drawings. In that way this comic also sticks out. [A charcoal drawing of Robert Smith's head and face.] [Caption below:] Robert Smith should do a cover of Coldplay's Clocks, so when he sings "Am I part of the cure or am I part of the disease?" we can say, "Ooh, we know this one!" "
57
"Wait For Me"
"Wait For Me"
"https://www.xkcd.com/57"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/wait_for_me.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/57:_Wait_For_Me"
"[Cueball and Megan stand facing one another.] Megan: Why didn't you wait for me? Cueball: I thought you were gone forever! [Megan throws out her arms, and Cueball is looking down.] Megan: I said I'd be back in a minute! Cueball: The... the seconds went fast at first, but then they started to drag on. Cueball: She was there for me. [Same scene as before, except Megan has her arms out less.] Megan: You had an affair in the 90 seconds I was gone?! Cueball: ...yes. [Cueball and Megan stand facing one another in a smaller panel.] Cueball: And we had a son. [Same scene as before.] Cueball: He'd be about your age now. "
"This comic juxtaposes a familiar exchange with a surreal outcome. Megan is returning after a short absence. Cueball reacts as if she had been gone for years, and admits to having an affair while waiting. In this comic, a familiar exchange occurs where one person asks the other why they did not wait. The humor lies in the improbability of him falling in love and having an affair within 90 seconds, the impossibility of him having a son in that time, and the ridiculous notion that the son would now be about Megan's current age. This is of course impossible, as it would imply that Cueball experienced twenty-ish years of life in what felt like 1.5 minutes for Megan. (He might conceivably have managed to have sex in that time span, which would fit with the experience of Cueball in 1068: Swiftkey ). Scott appears to be a friend of Randall . Comics 57 through 59 all have the title text Opening dialogue by Scott , forming a sort of informal mini-series inspired by him. They are: As there already was a comic released on Monday that week, the first of these three was released on Tuesday, then Wednesday and Friday. This may be related to the fact that this was the first week where the comics were not also released on LiveJournal . [Cueball and Megan stand facing one another.] Megan: Why didn't you wait for me? Cueball: I thought you were gone forever! [Megan throws out her arms, and Cueball is looking down.] Megan: I said I'd be back in a minute! Cueball: The... the seconds went fast at first, but then they started to drag on. Cueball: She was there for me. [Same scene as before, except Megan has her arms out less.] Megan: You had an affair in the 90 seconds I was gone?! Cueball: ...yes. [Cueball and Megan stand facing one another in a smaller panel.] Cueball: And we had a son. [Same scene as before.] Cueball: He'd be about your age now. "
58
"Why Do You Love Me?"
"Why Do You Love Me?"
"https://www.xkcd.com/58"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/why_do_you_love_me.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/58:_Why_Do_You_Love_Me%3F"
"[Cueball and Megan are having a conversation. The same scene is shown for all panels.] Cueball: Why do you love me? Megan: I don't know; my heart never gave me a choice. Cueball: Aww. [Beat panel.] Megan: I wish it had. "
"Cueball asks "Why do you love me?" to Megan , a fairly common question that couples ask each other. She responds by saying, "My heart never gave me a choice," a seemingly very sentimental, romantic answer. However, after a beat panel , she effectively kills the romance of the moment by adding, "I wish it had," indicating that she would rather not have loved Cueball. Scott appears to be a friend of Randall Munroe . Comics 57 through 59 all have the title text Opening dialogue by Scott , forming a sort of informal mini-series inspired by him. They are: As there already was a comic released on Monday that week, the first of these three was released on Tuesday, then Wednesday and Friday. This may be related to the fact that this was the first week were the comics were not also released on LiveJournal . [Cueball and Megan are having a conversation. The same scene is shown for all panels.] Cueball: Why do you love me? Megan: I don't know; my heart never gave me a choice. Cueball: Aww. [Beat panel.] Megan: I wish it had. "
59
"Graduation"
"Graduation"
"https://www.xkcd.com/59"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/graduation.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/59:_Graduation"
"[Megan and Blondie are talking.] Blondie: What do you want to do when you graduate? [Same scene as before.] Megan: I want to become a lighthouse operator. Blondie: Oh? Megan: Yeah. [Cut to scene of lighthouse with text overlaid.] Megan: Lighthouses are built on interesting pieces of coast, so I'll have an interesting place to walk and swim, and great views of all kinds of weather. I'd feel good about myself and my work every single day. [Cut back to Megan and Blondie. Megan has her arms up.] Megan: I'd get to be the girl in the tower, only I'd be the one rescuing people. [Megan now has her arms down.] Megan: Why, what do you want to do? Blondie: I'm going to grad school. I don't really know why. [Same scene as before.] Megan: Wanna come hang in my lighthouse over breaks? Blondie: ...yeah. "
"Megan and a young Blondie (in her first appearance) discuss their plans for life after college. Megan has taken the increasingly unusual choice of pursuing a career as a lighthouse operator , a path that has become increasingly less traveled, as lighthouses have become ever more automated and supplanted by other solutions. Before GPS technology, lighthouses were invaluable markers of where dangers to marine navigation, such as shallow reefs or coastal headlands, were located. Megan likes the idea of subverting the trope of the helpless maid in the tower who needs saving, by helping to save seafarers by operating a lighthouse that helps them to find their way safely back home. When it comes to her turn to answer her own question, Blondie answers that she plans to pursue postgraduate education , but admits that she has no purpose for doing so. After obtaining an undergraduate / bachelor's degree, graduate school is the next level of education, where students pursue a master's or doctoral degree . Augmenting one's education with post-graduate studies is a conventional career path, and would imply that the student has a definite plan for their career, yet some people may attend grad school only because it is conventional, without having any definite plan for their career. This appears to be the case for Blondie, contrasted with Megan's choice of a seemingly blue collar / unskilled career — one might expect such a career to indicate someone who has no specific career plan, yet Megan seems to know her exact purpose, unlike Blondie. The fact that Blondie then accepts an invitation to spend her breaks at Megan's lighthouse suggests that she finds this a more attractive prospect than her more conventional path. Other comics with a similar theme about finding or taking unexplored paths, instead of fitting into the mold, include 137: Dreams and 267: Choices: Part 4 . Scott appears to be a friend of Randall Munroe . Comics 57 through 59 all have the title text Opening dialogue by Scott , forming a sort of informal mini-series inspired by him. They are: As there already was a comic released on Monday that week, the first of these three was released on Tuesday, then Wednesday and Friday. This may be related to the fact that this was the first week where the comics were not also released on LiveJournal . [Megan and Blondie are talking.] Blondie: What do you want to do when you graduate? [Same scene as before.] Megan: I want to become a lighthouse operator. Blondie: Oh? Megan: Yeah. [Cut to scene of lighthouse with text overlaid.] Megan: Lighthouses are built on interesting pieces of coast, so I'll have an interesting place to walk and swim, and great views of all kinds of weather. I'd feel good about myself and my work every single day. [Cut back to Megan and Blondie. Megan has her arms up.] Megan: I'd get to be the girl in the tower, only I'd be the one rescuing people. [Megan now has her arms down.] Megan: Why, what do you want to do? Blondie: I'm going to grad school. I don't really know why. [Same scene as before.] Megan: Wanna come hang in my lighthouse over breaks? Blondie: ...yeah. "
60
"Super Bowl"
"Super Bowl"
"https://www.xkcd.com/60"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/super_bowl.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/60:_Super_Bowl"
"[A green car with text above and next to it.] My hobby: While everyone is watching the Super Bowl, feeling smugly superior because they're "Only watching for the ads," I steal cars. In a distant future (2015), Randall (or Cueball ) spends his time differently during the Super Bowl - see 1480: Super Bowl . (This was the second time that two xkcd comics have shared the exact same name .) In between this comic and the one nine years later, no other comics came out related to the Super Bowl. The year after (2016), there was a comic ( 1640 ) about the Super Bowl, and in 2018 a comic ( 1951 ) appeared about a Super Bowl watch party. "
"The third in the " My Hobby " series. The Super Bowl is the championship American football game of the National Football League , which is usually played each February, and the final game of the 2006 season, Super Bowl XL , was played on the evening of 2006-02-05, the day before this comic was released. As the game is one of the most watched television broadcasts in North America, advertising during the game has become increasingly expensive (among the most expensive advertising rates of any broadcast) to the point where corporations produce their best, most expensive advertisements to air during the game, to ensure that they would get value out of the expensive spots. The Super Bowl has thus become notorious for the "best" commercials, with some viewers purportedly tuning in solely to see the commercials, rather than the actual football game. News reports the next day often highlight the best and worst Super Bowl commercials, as do websites devoted to Super Bowl commercials. Realizing that the Super Bowl is viewed by a large percentage of the population, Randall , somewhat tongue-in-cheek, states that those people would be quite distracted during that time, and therefore it would be possible to steal cars without fear of being caught. The title text takes this even further, suggesting that the entire Super Bowl was invented entirely for the purpose of being a distraction for car thieves. Naturally, the addition of the ads would make this even more effective, as it would attract even more viewers and ensure that they stayed in front of the TV during commercial breaks as well as the game. The phrase "I steal cars" also provides a contrast to the fact that many viewers are only watching for the advertisements, making their smug sense of superiority seem petty compared to the fact that they but not Randall are not stealing cars and that they therefore are morally superior to Randall in this respect. This calls into question whether or not they really are significantly superior by comparing this marginal superiority to not being criminals. Alternatively, Randall may resent these people for feeling superior even though they aren't actually superior (at least in the eyes of Randall) and therefore steal their cars as punishment. Or Randall might be implying that they have no reason to being smug as they are being duped into having their cars stolen, and the thief is the one in the best position to be smug. Randall may have chosen to use a car as a reference to the large number of car commercials that play during the Super Bowl, in addition to the ease of stealing a car at that time. [A green car with text above and next to it.] My hobby: While everyone is watching the Super Bowl, feeling smugly superior because they're "Only watching for the ads," I steal cars. In a distant future (2015), Randall (or Cueball ) spends his time differently during the Super Bowl - see 1480: Super Bowl . (This was the second time that two xkcd comics have shared the exact same name .) In between this comic and the one nine years later, no other comics came out related to the Super Bowl. The year after (2016), there was a comic ( 1640 ) about the Super Bowl, and in 2018 a comic ( 1951 ) appeared about a Super Bowl watch party. "
61
"Stacey's Dad"
"Stacey's Dad"
"https://www.xkcd.com/61"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/staceys_dad.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/61:_Stacey%27s_Dad"
"[A hairy man.] Man: Look, I know you think that since I walked out she could use a guy like you. But trust me. That woman has got a lot going on, and you want none of it. Man: Get out while you still can. [Printed across the bottom of the panel.] Stacey's dad. "
"This comic refers to the song " Stacy's Mom " by Fountains of Wayne (See the music video on YouTube). As the background singers repeatedly say, "Stacy's mom has got it goin' on." Although Randall has used the wrong spelling of 'Stacy'. The song is from the perspective of a young teenage boy who has a crush on his best friend's mother — 'Stacy's Mom' — and has deluded himself into thinking that she might like him back. In one verse, he tells Stacy "I know that you think it's just a fantasy, but since your Dad walked out your Mom could use a guy like me," and this is the line the comic is referencing, with Stacy's Dad (drawn the same way as Hairy , making this his first appearance) directly echoing the line and explaining why he left Stacy's Mom, suggesting that the singer do the same. The line "Stacy's Mom has got it going on" is repeated throughout the song, and in context simply means that Stacy's Mom is very attractive. Here, however, Stacy's Dad changes it, saying that she "has a lot going on," which means that she has issues that would make a relationship difficult. The humor comes from the fact that, in the song, it is very clear that the singer does not actually have a chance with Stacy's Mom and is merely kidding himself, as he is still just a kid. But in the comic, Stacy's Dad appears to be taking the situation completely seriously, and is worried enough about the possibility of Stacy's Mom and the boy getting together that he feels the need to warn him away. The title text is referencing the second verse, which begins: "Stacy remember when I mowed your lawn." Mowing the lawn is the sort of chore that a kid might get paid to do for a friend's parent, and in the song, this is meant to emphasize that Stacy's Mom sees the singer as a child, not as a potential partner. But here, Stacy's Dad seems to be implying that mowing the lawn is something that Stacy's Mom made him — and possibly all her previous partners — do for her, and so her getting the boy to do it is actually a sign that she is interested in him. The song Stacy's Mom was again referenced in 575: Tag Combination . [A hairy man.] Man: Look, I know you think that since I walked out she could use a guy like you. But trust me. That woman has got a lot going on, and you want none of it. Man: Get out while you still can. [Printed across the bottom of the panel.] Stacey's dad. "
62
"Valentine - Karnaugh"
"Valentine - Karnaugh"
"https://www.xkcd.com/62"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/karnaugh.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/62:_Valentine_-_Karnaugh"
"[Squiggly heart design.] You make me feel so much it all runs together I wish I could tell you [Crisscrossing heart design. Cueball and Megan on opposite sides of big heart.] So few words for so many feelings crisscrossing my heart [Heart matrix design.] A matrix of desire Tangled relations I can't simplify [Karnaugh map of hearts.] I wish I could find the Karnaugh map for love. "
"A Karnaugh map is a Boolean algebra tool that is used to simplify expressions. The final picture, the one that looks like a crossword puzzle, is similar to the way that a Karnaugh map is used on a Boolean truth table, to identify areas that can be simplified. This PDF document shows how the process is used to simplify logic circuits. The lament of the Valentine is that feelings don't yield themselves to the same kind of analysis. This comic has four pictures with lines of text alongside them. The text can be used to understand the picture. The first three pictures show love to become more coherent and well-defined but yet complicated. The last picture and text alongside it show Cueball 's desire that there should be a way to simplify complications in love, just like Karnaugh maps for Boolean expressions. The first line means that love is such an overwhelming feeling that it is hard to understand it and even harder to explain. The picture alongside has incoherent lines depicting the feelings of someone in love and hearts represents the overwhelming love. The second picture and related text mean that the feelings are now identified to some extent but are numerous, and there are too few words to explain them. The picture depicts Cueball and Megan on separate side of his heart crisscrossed by many feelings. It shows that his inability to explain his feelings is like a barrier between them. The third picture shows that Cueball has a much better understanding of love and now sees it as a matrix of desires and tangled relations, but it is still very complex to fully understand love. The fourth picture shows a Karnaugh map that Cueball wishes he could find in the future to solve the matrix of desires and tangled relations that is love. [Squiggly heart design.] You make me feel so much it all runs together I wish I could tell you [Crisscrossing heart design. Cueball and Megan on opposite sides of big heart.] So few words for so many feelings crisscrossing my heart [Heart matrix design.] A matrix of desire Tangled relations I can't simplify [Karnaugh map of hearts.] I wish I could find the Karnaugh map for love. "
63
"Valentine - Heart"
"Valentine - Heart"
"https://www.xkcd.com/63"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/valentine.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/63:_Valentine_-_Heart"
"[A Valentine's Day heart bordered with wavy red lace-like pattern with text:] "
"The comic shows a Valentines card that starts off nicely, but then " escalates quickly " becoming very unromantic although probably very honest, that the only purpose of this card is getting the receiver into bed. It says that if this is not the case, if she (or he) doesn't want to go naked after receiving this card, then it is not really meant (i.e. their heart is not in it). The title text implies that this is being offered as a Valentine that someone might give and then "pretend" that they were kidding. Which seems to imply that they would not, in fact, be kidding, that this represents their real feelings. A funny thing is also that the text on the card implies that if the card indeed does get the receiver naked, that the action of giving it was truly meant. In that case, the giver would always deny that it was not meant and claim he/she is truly in love. Of course this cannot be true, since getting laid was the main motivation of appreciating the 'loved' one. "In it" could be an intentional sexual innuendo. [A Valentine's Day heart bordered with wavy red lace-like pattern with text:] "
64
"Solar Plexus"
"Solar Plexus"
"https://www.xkcd.com/64"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/solar_plexus.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/64:_Solar_Plexus"
"[Black Hat and Cueball are talking to each other.] Black Hat: Asolarplexussayswhat? Cueball: What? [Beat panel.] [Beat panel.] [Black Hat punches Cueball in the solar plexus.] "
"The solar plexus is a network of interconnecting nerves that is centered in the area of the abdomen near the stomach. A blow to this area is painful and the cause of the feeling called "getting the wind knocked out of you" and is prevalent in media. The trick "An[incomprehensible mumble]sayswhat" is a juvenile taunt that tricks a person into calling themselves a name. Black Hat resolves the solar plexus joke with a punch to Cueball in the solar plexus as opposed to a normal punch(line). The title text mentions truthfully that it hurts to be hit there. [Black Hat and Cueball are talking to each other.] Black Hat: Asolarplexussayswhat? Cueball: What? [Beat panel.] [Beat panel.] [Black Hat punches Cueball in the solar plexus.] "
65
"Banter"
"Banter"
"https://www.xkcd.com/65"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/banter.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/65:_Banter"
"[Two Cueball like characters have a discussion. They are drawn the same in all eight panels.] Guy: Man, she's hot Friend: Whatever, you are so gay. Guy: C'mon, everyone knows you're the gay one. Friend: Hey, your mom's pretty masculine, but sleeping with her doesn't make me gay. Guy: Fag. Friend: Ass pirate. Guy: Fudge packer Friend: Cock jockey Guy: Cum dumpster. [Beat panel.] Guy: Okay, seriously, are you gay? Because if you've been holding out on me, we're missing out. Friend: No, it's cool. Guy: OK, me neither. [Beat panel.] [Beat panel.] "
"Two guys are trash-talking each other with homophobic comments and your mom jokes . It goes somewhat astray and becomes awkward when the first guy makes a pass at the second guy and is rejected. Part of the element of the humor in this comic stems from a common assertion that the most-homophobic of men are the most likely to be a closeted homosexual . Another element is the incredible awkwardness of the end conversation. Fag , ass pirate , fudge packer , and cock jockey are all insults for a homosexual man. Cum dumpster can apply to both men and women (usually conveying sluttiness ). Randall's title text, that he mock-held this conversation with a friend in a TGIF restaurant, indicates how awkward this would be in real life. Even the waitress, a bystander, is put off by it. [Two Cueball like characters have a discussion. They are drawn the same in all eight panels.] Guy: Man, she's hot Friend: Whatever, you are so gay. Guy: C'mon, everyone knows you're the gay one. Friend: Hey, your mom's pretty masculine, but sleeping with her doesn't make me gay. Guy: Fag. Friend: Ass pirate. Guy: Fudge packer Friend: Cock jockey Guy: Cum dumpster. [Beat panel.] Guy: Okay, seriously, are you gay? Because if you've been holding out on me, we're missing out. Friend: No, it's cool. Guy: OK, me neither. [Beat panel.] [Beat panel.] "
66
"Abusive Astronomy"
"Abusive Astronomy"
"https://www.xkcd.com/66"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/abusive_astronomy.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/66:_Abusive_Astronomy"
"Identifying star clusters: [Image of a star cluster.] This is the Pleiades , asshole. Orion's Belt: [Image of Orion's Belt.] Only a moron couldn't find it. This is the Big Dipper : [Image of the Big Dipper.] What the hell is wrong with you? As noted in the title text, the drawing for this comic was originally done in pencil, then inverted. Here is a re-inverted version of the file, to show (approximately) what the original drawing looked like. Alternatively, Randall may be using sarcasm when saying that the medium is pencil on paper, since it would be incredibly impractical and nearly impossible to draw the uniform black background while leaving white gaps for stars (assuming it was not inverted). At the very bottom of the about page on xkcd, Randall answers the question What is your favorite astronomical entity? with The Pleiades . "
"An asterism is a pattern of stars that forms some sort of perceived shape in the night sky. Some of these are patterns used to name regions of the sky, as constellations. Modern astronomy organizes the sky into 88 constellations, but different cultures saw different patterns in the same night sky, going back at least as far as the Babylonians, and there are many other patterns and grouping of stars. The Pleiades (or Subaru ), Orion's belt , and the Big Dipper are among the most common asterisms that we recognize today and are among the first taught to people with an interest in astronomy. The Pleiades is an open star cluster in the constellation of Taurus. It is a group of stars that formed from the same nebula and are moving together. Orion's belt comprises three stars that appear close in the sky, but are in fact at great distance from each other. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major. It can be used to help find the north pole star Polaris , which is an aid to night-time navigation. During planetarium tours, the tour guide will point out popular constellations and stars; sometimes they will ask a question to get the audience involved in the presentation. Usually these people are big on showing the wonder of the galaxy and are all smiles, but people have bad days. The comic is presenting an especially aggressive way of introducing the night sky. When astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere are showing stars to people, there will frequently be someone who points to the Pleiades and says, "There's the Big Dipper!" (both appear as a trapezium of stars, with a handle, though the Pleiades is much smaller). This gets frustrating about the 100th time that you encounter this error. So, this comic could show someone releasing their frustration on the misinformed public by pointing out that what they just pointed at is actually the Pleiades, then, pointing out that you can always locate the Pleiades by following the line of the stars in the belt of Orion, then, pointing out the REAL Big Dipper. In the title text, Randall explains that he drew this comic as a line drawing on white paper, using only a pencil. The image was later inverted for publication. Identifying star clusters: [Image of a star cluster.] This is the Pleiades , asshole. Orion's Belt: [Image of Orion's Belt.] Only a moron couldn't find it. This is the Big Dipper : [Image of the Big Dipper.] What the hell is wrong with you? As noted in the title text, the drawing for this comic was originally done in pencil, then inverted. Here is a re-inverted version of the file, to show (approximately) what the original drawing looked like. Alternatively, Randall may be using sarcasm when saying that the medium is pencil on paper, since it would be incredibly impractical and nearly impossible to draw the uniform black background while leaving white gaps for stars (assuming it was not inverted). At the very bottom of the about page on xkcd, Randall answers the question What is your favorite astronomical entity? with The Pleiades . "
67
"Nerd Girls"
"Nerd Girls"
"https://www.xkcd.com/67"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/nerd_girls.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/67:_Nerd_Girls"
"[Girl with shoulder length brown hair and glasses, wearing a shirt which says "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons".] Girl: At least, thanks to your constant fawning, we have an excuse for our social ineptness. What's yours ? "
"The stereotypical nerd is socially inept and has an obsession with a non-mainstream hobby such as Dungeons and Dragons . Nerd males are also typically represented as treating all women (including female nerds) with reverence and awkward fawning due to their supposed inexperience and lack of female company in comparison to other males. In the comic, the nerd girl uses this as an excuse for her social ineptitude. The T-shirt the girl is wearing contains the text "Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons," which is an actual text used for T-shirts, continuing with "for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!" This text is a modified version of a quote from Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring : "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." To all the high schoolers who are at the stage when they begin to find dates, Randall is saying that it is nothing personal, i.e. he is not trying to insult them by pointing this situation out. [Girl with shoulder length brown hair and glasses, wearing a shirt which says "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons".] Girl: At least, thanks to your constant fawning, we have an excuse for our social ineptness. What's yours ? "
68
"Five Thirty"
"Five Thirty"
"https://www.xkcd.com/68"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/five_thirty.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/68:_Five_Thirty"
"Comics from 5:30 AM [A succession of unrelated and completely random panels.] Cueball: It's 80's night at the club. Wanna go? Friend: There is no Tuesday. Cueball: Jack the Ripper or Jack Black? [Cueball in this panel is holding a glinting sword.] Friend: You crashed my helicopter! Cueball: Verily! [A small figure is talking with a larger figure.] Figure 1: Basically, neither of us have shins. Figure 2: Over and out. [Two men are shown: one with three arms, and another with just two. All arms have round appendages at their ends.] Men: shitshitshitshitshitshitdaylightsavingsshitshitshitshitsh [Two figures with pumpkins (carved with faces) for heads.] Figure 1: You're out of ointment and out of time! [A diagram of a right-angled triangle, with a theta at the smallest angle.] FUCK THE COSINE Friend: Does being a mermaid for five minutes make you gay? Cueball: I hope so! [The friend is holding a gun to Cueball's head.] Friend: Barbershops are for pussies. Friend: My hair is bleeding. Cueball: √3 [Cueball seems to be walking on the ceiling.] Cueball: Bachelor party! [Warning sign with picture of an ant.] WARNING: STRETCHY DEATH "
"At 5:30 AM, one's sleep-deprived or prematurely-roused mind sometimes comes up with things that seem like nonsense later. None of the twelve panels in this comic seem to have any correlation with one another, each one being its own "story," and none of them really make any sense. It is unknown whether Randall really wrote this comic while awake at 5:30 in the morning, or if he wrote it while completely alert and is trying to pass off his rejected ideas by saying what one's mind may experience when trying to process information at an hour when the person is not used to being awake. The title text could actually refer to two different panels. If a person chooses to read the comic left-to-right, top-to-bottom (which is more likely given that this is the order in the official transcript), the eighth panel could be the one with where Cueball asks "Does being a mermaid for five minutes make you gay?" However, if a person chooses to read the comic top-to-bottom, left-to-right, the eighth panel will instead be the one with Cueball hanging upside down shouting "Bachelor party!" Comics from 5:30 AM [A succession of unrelated and completely random panels.] Cueball: It's 80's night at the club. Wanna go? Friend: There is no Tuesday. Cueball: Jack the Ripper or Jack Black? [Cueball in this panel is holding a glinting sword.] Friend: You crashed my helicopter! Cueball: Verily! [A small figure is talking with a larger figure.] Figure 1: Basically, neither of us have shins. Figure 2: Over and out. [Two men are shown: one with three arms, and another with just two. All arms have round appendages at their ends.] Men: shitshitshitshitshitshitdaylightsavingsshitshitshitshitsh [Two figures with pumpkins (carved with faces) for heads.] Figure 1: You're out of ointment and out of time! [A diagram of a right-angled triangle, with a theta at the smallest angle.] FUCK THE COSINE Friend: Does being a mermaid for five minutes make you gay? Cueball: I hope so! [The friend is holding a gun to Cueball's head.] Friend: Barbershops are for pussies. Friend: My hair is bleeding. Cueball: √3 [Cueball seems to be walking on the ceiling.] Cueball: Bachelor party! [Warning sign with picture of an ant.] WARNING: STRETCHY DEATH "
69
"Pillow Talk"
"Pillow Talk"
"https://www.xkcd.com/69"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/pillow_talk.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/69:_Pillow_Talk"
"Cueball: Staring at the ceiling, she asked me what I was thinking about. Cueball: I should have made something up. Cueball: The Bellman-Ford algorithm makes terrible pillow talk. "
"The Bellman-Ford algorithm is an algorithm that calculates the shortest path(s) through a weighted digraph or collection of connected nodes or vertices. The "Wexler" in the title text refers to Wexler's algorithm, which is used to deal with the inverse problem of electrical impedance tomography , or simply stated: the electrical conductivity of an (inhomogenous) object. Both of these would make terrible pillow talk . Pillow talk is the conversation made by lovers after they have had sex, and is usually relaxed and intimate instead of technical. Cueball: Staring at the ceiling, she asked me what I was thinking about. Cueball: I should have made something up. Cueball: The Bellman-Ford algorithm makes terrible pillow talk. "
70
"Guitar Hero"
"Guitar Hero"
"https://www.xkcd.com/70"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/guitar_hero.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/70:_Guitar_Hero"
"[On a stage, Megan is in the background as a singer holding a microphone. In the center is Hairy with an electric guitar. The catwalk has bumps to resemble the tracks of Guitar Hero.] [Caption above the stage]: When I'm in a rock band, I'm gonna do a cool, mellow song. Then in the middle I'll stop, announce "this part is just to be an asshole to people playing Guitar Hero," and then flail wildly on the strings for 30 seconds."
"Guitar Hero is a series of video games (originally a single game) distributed by Activision . In the game, players simulate playing the guitar on famous guitar songs using a plastic guitar-shaped controller with five color-coded buttons on the neck representing guitar frets and a rocker bar on the body simulating a strumming motion. The game now includes other instruments such as drums and vocals, although not at the time this comic was published. While the player plays the game, an animated band is shown on the upper half of the screen, and an extended guitar neck is shown vertically on the bottom half of the screen with horizontal frets, often called the "note highway." As the song progresses, coloured markers or "gems" indicating notes travel down the screen in time with the music; the note colours and positions match the five fret keys on the guitar controller. Once the notes reach the bottom, the player must play the indicated notes by holding down the correct fret buttons and hitting the strumming bar in order to score points. The image in the comic is similar to what is shown when playing Guitar Hero . In this comic, Randall suggests that, were he in a real rock band, he would perform a mellow song, but intentionally put a complicated guitar solo in, not for musical value, but solely to antagonize Guitar Hero players with an impossible solo. As the comic suggests, a random flailing would likely make for a very difficult passage to play in Guitar Hero . This is highlighted by the previous statement that the song would otherwise be mellow, lulling the player into a false sense that the song was easy to play and relaxing. Even worse for Guitar Hero players, if there was anyone who is good enough to play the solo, they would still have no fun playing the song if it is otherwise very mellow. Probably, the "impossible solo" proposed here would turn useless, as there are some songs where the artist actually flails the guitar, and the developers translated that in gameplay as a bonus where the players can freely spam their controller/guitar for extra points. The title text refers to a mechanic in Guitar Hero called "Star Power." Normally, when a player misses too many notes in a short time, their character is booed off the stage, and they have to restart. Using Star Power temporarily boosts the score from each note, so the player can clear a difficult section of the song even if they haven't hit most of the notes. So, when faced with Randall's impossible guitar solo, most players will immediately use Star Power to survive it. However, it takes time to build up Star Power, and it all gets expended at once, so if the song has a second stretch of wild flailing, the player won't be able to escape and will fail. (Also note that in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and many other titles of the series, a full meter of Star Power lasts for eight measures, so as long as the song is mildly fast (80BPM would more than suffice for a 4/4 or 12/8 time signature), 30 seconds would be enough already.) [On a stage, Megan is in the background as a singer holding a microphone. In the center is Hairy with an electric guitar. The catwalk has bumps to resemble the tracks of Guitar Hero.] [Caption above the stage]: When I'm in a rock band, I'm gonna do a cool, mellow song. Then in the middle I'll stop, announce "this part is just to be an asshole to people playing Guitar Hero," and then flail wildly on the strings for 30 seconds."
71
"In the Trees"
"In the Trees"
"https://www.xkcd.com/71"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/in_the_trees.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/71:_In_the_Trees"
"[Cueball is standing in a forest.] Cueball: We made it so far together but then I lost you in the trees. [A closer view of Cueball.] Cueball: Finally. "
"This comic focuses on dark humor. In the first panel, the viewer is led to believe that it is a comic lamenting on the loss of love, as it states, "We made it so far together, but then I lost you in the trees." However, when we read the second panel ("Finally"), it becomes clear that the joke is that the loss of this "love" is what he had been hoping for all along. The supposed pain that came from such losing a long relationship came not from lamenting the loss of something he put so much effort into, but instead into the fact that it took so long to get there. The title text just furthers this idea. There is a similar twist in comics 334: Wasteland and 1042: Never . [Cueball is standing in a forest.] Cueball: We made it so far together but then I lost you in the trees. [A closer view of Cueball.] Cueball: Finally. "
72
"Classhole"
"Classhole"
"https://www.xkcd.com/72"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/classhole.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/72:_Classhole"
"Cueball: How did you spend your morning? Black Hat: Feeding rocks to children in the park. Cueball: Your sociopathic abuse of random strangers staggers me. Black Hat: I aspire to have more creativity than the common asshole. Black Hat: I'm more of a classy asshole -- A class-hole, if you will. For example, I like poking tiny holes in styrofoam noodle cups at the grocery store -- Black Hat: Thanks to me, someone gets surprise boiling water in the lap. Cueball: I am in awe. Black Hat: It's even more fun to do to condoms. "
"The subject of this comic is Black Hat himself. He admits to being an asshole, a profanity that describes someone who does things that antagonize, irritate, or anger others (either intentionally or incidentally). While a common example might be someone who weaves in and out of traffic, or someone who parks across two parking spaces, Black Hat is "more creative." This also suggests that, while most people described as assholes are either ignorant or selfish, Black Hat seems to intentionally behave this way strictly to be an asshole and not for any self-benefit. He claims to be a "classy asshole," or as he coins the portmanteau , a "class-hole." He seems to equate creativity with class, although that seems like a leap. In any event, this is another early Black Hat strip that, for the first time, explicitly sets out that he goes out of his way to wreak havoc. Among his "pranks," he suggests poking holes in grocery noodle cups. These are pre-packaged cups filled with dried noodles and dried soup mix (either in a separate pouch, or loose in the cup) to which one adds boiling water, which both boils the pasta and dissolves the soup mix to become the soup/broth. By poking holes in the cup, Black Hat ensures that someone pouring boiling water in the cup would have it leak all over them, causing them great surprise and pain. He also suggests poking holes in condoms , which could cause even more serious consequences. This form of contraceptive sabotage is a way to cause unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease infection. Sabotage may be by someone acting maliciously at random (such as poking holes at the store pre-purchase) or by one of the participants to attempt to cause a pregnancy when the other partner does not want it, often occurring as part of reproductive abuse. [1] The 2013 movie The Priest's Children describes a similar campaign. The title text explains that the word was first introduced to Randall (and probably to the world) by a friend of his named Beth. Cueball: How did you spend your morning? Black Hat: Feeding rocks to children in the park. Cueball: Your sociopathic abuse of random strangers staggers me. Black Hat: I aspire to have more creativity than the common asshole. Black Hat: I'm more of a classy asshole -- A class-hole, if you will. For example, I like poking tiny holes in styrofoam noodle cups at the grocery store -- Black Hat: Thanks to me, someone gets surprise boiling water in the lap. Cueball: I am in awe. Black Hat: It's even more fun to do to condoms. "
73
"Zeppelin"
"Zeppelin"
"https://www.xkcd.com/73"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/zeppelin.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/73:_Zeppelin"
"Cueball: What time is it? [Picture of a Zeppelin style watch, indicating the time about 12:13 o'clock.] [Cueballs look up at the sky.] [A huge Zeppelin is visible in the sky.] "
"A Zeppelin is a type of rigid dirigible aircraft, used in the early part of the 20th century for commercial airline traffic. They were well known for being the most luxurious, comfortable air travel of the time. The Hindenburg disaster, as well as World War II, led to the end of their use as commercial airliners. Also associated with the Zeppelin name is a particular design of wristwatches, [1] notable for having the word "Zeppelin" at the top of the dial, at or under where the number 12 would be. In this comic, Randall implies that, since the hour hand of the watch is pointing to the word Zeppelin, it is time for a Zeppelin to appear in the sky. The title text refers to the webcomic Buttercup Festival , which, at the time of this comic, was defunct. It was later revived by the author then defuncted again in 2015 and revived, again, in 2019. As of 18/07/20, the comic is running its third series. It is a tribute to Buttercup festival in the way it interprets things in the world naïvely and literally to achieve humour, in a simple yet effective and uncontrived way. Cueball: What time is it? [Picture of a Zeppelin style watch, indicating the time about 12:13 o'clock.] [Cueballs look up at the sky.] [A huge Zeppelin is visible in the sky.] "
74
"Su Doku"
"Su Doku"
"https://www.xkcd.com/74"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/su_doku.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/74:_Su_Doku"
"[A square divided into 2×2 squares, the top-right one has an 1 in it, the bottom-right one has a 0, the two left ones are empty.] Binary Su Doku "
"Su Doku (Japanese for "single number," and now usually written as "sudoku") is a type of number puzzle, in which the player must place digits in a matrix field in the correct arrangement, such that they do not repeat within given domains. The most common arrangement is a 9×9 grid subdivided into nine 3×3 grids, into which the nine non-zero digits of the normal decimal counting system must be inserted, with no digit being allowed to appear twice in a horizontal or vertical row or in each individual 3×3 grid. The number and combination of pre-filled squares determines the difficulty of the puzzle. However, Randall presents a 2x2 binary sudoku puzzle which isn't subdivided. The joke is that the binary system has only two digits (0 and 1), and as a result binary sudoku puzzles would be trivially easy and thus pointless. The puzzle in the comic would be completed by filling 0 in the top-left and 1 in the bottom-left empty box. The only other possible grid would have the 0s and 1s swapped. This fulfills the criterion of having no repeated digits in any row, column or cell. The title text appears to reference a series of published sudoku puzzle books called "Martial Arts Sudoku". The difficulty of each book is denoted by a martial arts belt color, with each color representing a certain skill level. A red belt is a rather high level, second only to the black belt. When applied to binary sudokus, a sudoku with one number given would be the most difficult one (though still trivial) and thus be a black belt. This sudoku has two numbers given, hence the medium red belt level. [A square divided into 2×2 squares, the top-right one has an 1 in it, the bottom-right one has a 0, the two left ones are empty.] Binary Su Doku "
75
"Curse Levels"
"Curse Levels"
"https://www.xkcd.com/75"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/curse_levels.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/75:_Curse_Levels"
"My hobby: mixing curse levels Cueball: What a gosh-darned cunt. "
"In this fourth " My Hobby " strip, the hobby is mixing curse levels. Curse words (aka: swear words/profanities) are disrespectful words that are typically impolite to use in public. As noted in the strip, there are "levels" of curse words ranging from those "mild" words that are more acceptable to use, to those "severe" words that are considered very impolite (the milder curse words can be used on network television in the US, for example, while severe ones can not). Although they cannot be exactly defined, they roughly fit into "safe"(heck, gosh, dang, etc.),"mild"(d*mn, s**t, h*ll and so forth) and "severe"(those that refer to more suggestive things than the others, as well as racial slurs and such). One usually uses milder cursing ("safe") because either they personally don't feel comfortable using the more severe words, or because it would not be appropriate in the context (such as on network television, in the presence of children, etc.) Thus, mixing mild and severe curses in one usage does not usually occur, as the effect achieved by keeping the one curse word mild is negated by using another that is severe. In a mild curse, "gosh-darned" is typically used as a minced oath of "God-damned" when the latter would be inappropriate. This is mixed with " cunt " — a vulgar term for the female genitalia, considered the most offensive swear word in many English-speaking countries. My hobby: mixing curse levels Cueball: What a gosh-darned cunt. "
76
"Familiar"
"Familiar"
"https://www.xkcd.com/76"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/familiar.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/76:_Familiar"
"[Hairy and Megan are talking] Megan: I worry that I'm just with you because it's familiar. Of course no one else compares. I've known you for so long that I'd have to spend years with someone to build up this kind of connection and I daren't let you go of you long enough to let that happen. Megan: But I guess this is really all I can ask for. I'm happy with you; I should stop worrying. [Megan takes Hairy's hand.] Hairy: This is probably a bad time to bring this up, but I don't actually like you. "
"Megan tells her boyfriend ( Hairy ) her reservations about their relationship: she's happy with him, she thinks he doesn't compare to anyone else, and they have a strong connection built up over the course of years, but she's worried that all this is just because they've been dating so long that she hasn't had the opportunity to experience potentially better relationships. However, she recognizes that what she has should be enough, and resolves to stop worrying. Hairy responds to this by saying that he doesn't even like her, recognizing that it's relatively poor timing to say so after her expression of love (albeit a rather ambivalent one). The title text is a sad-face emoticon, representing either Megan's sadness about his dislike of her, his (possibly disingenuous) sympathy for her, or the narrator's recognition that he's depicted a sad situation. [Hairy and Megan are talking] Megan: I worry that I'm just with you because it's familiar. Of course no one else compares. I've known you for so long that I'd have to spend years with someone to build up this kind of connection and I daren't let you go of you long enough to let that happen. Megan: But I guess this is really all I can ask for. I'm happy with you; I should stop worrying. [Megan takes Hairy's hand.] Hairy: This is probably a bad time to bring this up, but I don't actually like you. "
77
"Bored with the Internet"
"Bored with the Internet"
"https://www.xkcd.com/77"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/bored_with_the_internet.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/77:_Bored_with_the_Internet"
"[Black Hat and Not-Hairy are talking in a room with a computer on.] Not-Hairy: I feel like I'm wasting my life on the internet. Let's walk around the world. Black Hat: Sounds good. [The two men are shown walking through trees.] [The two men are shown walking on flat stretch, with mountains in the distance.] [The two men are shown in a magnificent canyon. They stand, silently looking at the scene.] Not-Hairy: And yet all I can think is, "This will make for a great LiveJournal entry." "
"A character who has hair (not to be confused with Hairy ) suggests to Black Hat that he is wasting his life on the Internet, and they should go explore the world. They appear to walk a great distance, through what appears to be a swamp or perhaps a forest in winter, across a plain, and down to a river valley. Despite traveling so far and through such varied landscapes, in the last panel, Not-Hairy admits that all he can think about is what a great Livejournal post their trip would make. It appears that the plan to get the Internet off their mind has failed. Livejournal is a website on which users can make accounts and, effectively, blog, although the site is designed around the premise that the blogs ought to be used as personal journals, with the ability to privatize the journal or only let certain friends see certain entries. Livejournal was an early social network and an early blog platform, and was a good way for people to let others know what was going on in their lives. As of 2020, Livejournal still exists, although sites like Facebook and Twitter have become far more powerful and popular sites for sharing one's daily life. Unlike most of his appearances (especially later ones), Black Hat does not exhibit any of his signature Classhole tendencies. The title text suggests that Randall has overcome a tendency to think about how he will document what he has been doing, rather than concentrate on the thing itself. [Black Hat and Not-Hairy are talking in a room with a computer on.] Not-Hairy: I feel like I'm wasting my life on the internet. Let's walk around the world. Black Hat: Sounds good. [The two men are shown walking through trees.] [The two men are shown walking on flat stretch, with mountains in the distance.] [The two men are shown in a magnificent canyon. They stand, silently looking at the scene.] Not-Hairy: And yet all I can think is, "This will make for a great LiveJournal entry." "
78
"Garfield"
"Garfield"
"https://www.xkcd.com/78"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/garfield.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/78:_Garfield"
"I want to see something unexpected in comics. Just one strip could make up for it all. [Garfield is standing on hind legs facing and looking directly at the camera. But is off-center in the frame, about 1/3 from the left, rotated very slightly clockwise.] [Zoom in on Garfield, still to the left, now rotated slightly counterclockwise.] [Zoom in again on Garfield, now the frame clips off the left side of his face.] Garfield thought bubble: The world is burning. [Final zoom in, the frame is ripped like a page, offset, and Garfield's eyes are half closed on the right half.] Garfield thought bubble: Run. Jim Davis, throw off your commercial shackles. Challenge us. Go out in a blaze of Dadaist glory. There is still time. "
"The newspaper comic strip Garfield , which features an orange cat as the main character, has increasingly been known for repetitive, quality-lacking strips. In the past, this was because the creator, Jim Davis , prefers to explore the same subjects he is comfortable with but in different ways — or from a less charitable view, because the strip is intended for a wide audience and thus becomes homogenized and inoffensive by nature. This attitude has only become more pronounced in the 21st century, as the aging Davis becomes less and less interested in the franchise. Regardless of the reason, these strips are now ghost written with little input from Davis and rarely explore the unconventional. The comic is challenging Davis to do something unexpected and surprise us all. The comic also accuses Davis of being a "sell out", sticking to bourgeois/commercial logic, something that dadaist artists challenged. Dadaism was an artistic movement in the early 20th century marked primarily by chaos, irrationality, and surrealism. Some of the artists believed that the bourgeois logic made human beings unhappy and therefore led to war. Randall leads by example by featuring a strip that parodies the style of Garfield, with multiple colors (xkcd usually contains only black and white, with some few containing an additional color like red or yellow) and a character that is not a stick figure breaking the normal xkcd pattern. Another dadaist aspect is the fact that while Garfield is smiling, he is communicating something that could be considered terrifying. The title text explains that xkcd is exercising legal use of Davis's intellectual property, namely the title character of his comic. The Supreme Court case mentioned, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music , confirmed that parody is legal even when there is commercial gain as a result, and also referenced the Copyright Act of 1976 , 17 U.S.C. § 107, for the same reason. While this is normally understood by most anyone who questions such matters, Randall includes it as a reference to the lessening of strict copyright law, which many comics also mention, usually in the context of open-source software and those who promote it, like at the comics featuring Richard Stallman . I want to see something unexpected in comics. Just one strip could make up for it all. [Garfield is standing on hind legs facing and looking directly at the camera. But is off-center in the frame, about 1/3 from the left, rotated very slightly clockwise.] [Zoom in on Garfield, still to the left, now rotated slightly counterclockwise.] [Zoom in again on Garfield, now the frame clips off the left side of his face.] Garfield thought bubble: The world is burning. [Final zoom in, the frame is ripped like a page, offset, and Garfield's eyes are half closed on the right half.] Garfield thought bubble: Run. Jim Davis, throw off your commercial shackles. Challenge us. Go out in a blaze of Dadaist glory. There is still time. "
79
"Iambic Pentameter"
"Iambic Pentameter"
"https://www.xkcd.com/79"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/iambic_pentameter.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/79:_Iambic_Pentameter"
"[Two identical Cueballs are having a conversation. The latter is identified as Cueball, since he represents Randall who has the Hobby.] Friend: What time can you pick Michael up? Cueball: Well, I can meet the plane at ten of six. Friend: Do you know where to find him? Cueball: I'll meet him at the stairs before the gate. [Below the two Cueballs are the following text:] My hobby: answering casual questions in iambic pentameter. Iambs and other types of poetry " feet " are the subject of 1383: Magic Words . "
"In this part of the My Hobby series, the hobby is responding to casual questions using iambic pentameter . Iambic pentameter is a form of poetic verse defined by the number of syllables per line. In this form, a line contains exactly five (penta means five in Greek) " iambs " per line. An iamb is a unit of two syllables with the stress falling on the second. The actual breakup of the words is unimportant; the definition is based solely on the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. One line of strict iambic pentameter will have ten syllables, with the stress falling on the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and last. In this comic, Cueball (i.e. Randall - the one with the hobby) is replying to his friend's questions. (The friend also looks like Cueball, but are here differentiated by who has the hobby.) Cueball's responses are each one line of iambic pentameter, just visually broken into two lines for space reasons. They read (adding the emphasis): "Well, I can meet the plane at ten of six " and "I'll meet him at the stairs be fore the gate " with a sort of bouncing rhythm. Shakespeare was one of the most famed users of iambic pentameter in his plays. This is the "strict form" of iambic pentameter. In practice, poets often strayed from the strict count of iambs as the image text suggests. Wikipedia offers two Shakespearian examples being "Now is the winter of our discontent," in which the first iamb is reversed ("Now" is stressed rather than "is"), and "To be or not to be, that is the question," which adds an extra unstressed syllable at the end. As the comic suggests in the title text, without such exceptions, it can be very difficult to stick to strict iambic pentameter for every sentence. [Two identical Cueballs are having a conversation. The latter is identified as Cueball, since he represents Randall who has the Hobby.] Friend: What time can you pick Michael up? Cueball: Well, I can meet the plane at ten of six. Friend: Do you know where to find him? Cueball: I'll meet him at the stairs before the gate. [Below the two Cueballs are the following text:] My hobby: answering casual questions in iambic pentameter. Iambs and other types of poetry " feet " are the subject of 1383: Magic Words . "
80
"My Other Car"
"My Other Car"
"https://www.xkcd.com/80"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/other_car.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/80:_My_Other_Car"
"[The back of a blue Mitsubishi with a spoiler is shown.] Bumper sticker: This IS my other car. "
"This comic refers to a popular form of bumper sticker that follows the template "my other car is a ____." Sometimes the blank is a fancy vehicle like a Porsche or a Ferrari ; sometimes it's related to the person's job (e.g. "My other car is a fire truck"); sometimes it's an even more expensive form of transportation like a " yacht " or " private jet ," or even something joking or in fiction (like a " TARDIS "). The premise was to jokingly imply that someone driving in a less fancy vehicle was wealthier than they looked, as they could afford a fancy car (they simply chose to drive the clunker that day). The designer of the first stickers might even have intended them for serious use by wealthy drivers. The form of sticker ultimately became so well known that the phrase entered the pop-culture lexicon. Due to their popularity, these stickers also have been parodied in various ways, like the one Randall has invented here. Randall's sticker is a more "honest" sticker that admits "this IS my other car;" in other words, this is the nicer of the two cars. This sticker could probably be used on an expensive car to mirror the traditional sticker's use on a cheaper car. However, the car in the strip is a Mitsubishi, which is not a particularly expensive brand, though the presence of a spoiler indicates it may be one of the top-range models, or at least has had a little extra paid for some sports 'extras'. Thus it appears that Randall is using the sticker for contrasting purposes: while others would drive a modest car but joke that they have a really nice one at home, Randall's car is the one you see, and, as he noted in the title text, his other one is much worse than this one. It's also possible that this is a play on meta-levels; by definition, the car that you're driving can't be your other car, as it's your car you're driving now. Your other car is the one sitting at home. [The back of a blue Mitsubishi with a spoiler is shown.] Bumper sticker: This IS my other car. "
81
"Attention, shopper"
"Attention, shopper"
"https://www.xkcd.com/81"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/attention_shopper.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/81:_Attention,_shopper"
"[Black Hat is holding a golf club and speaking into a P.A. system.] Black Hat: Attention, Black Hat: To the owner of a Dodge Viper SRT-10 with license plate "MYTOY," your lights are on and your windshield was just smashed with a golf club. "
"A common trope (often referenced in TV and film) is a loudspeaker announcement in which a store employee (or anyone else in charge somewhere where people gather, like church or a school) announces that a certain colour and model of car has its lights on, or is blocking another car, or is about to be towed, or similar. A licence plate is sometimes included to allow the owner to identify that it is specifically their car that is involved. In this case, Black Hat is up to his old ways as, in addition to announcing that an SRT-10 has its lights on, he also announces that it has had its windshield smashed with a golf club. Black Hat is, of course, holding a golf club, frustrated at the owner’s revolting arrogance. The lights are probably on because the attack triggered the car's alarm system. The Dodge Viper SRT-10 was a version of the Dodge Viper available on the third and fourth generations of Viper from 2003-2010. It was a very expensive sports car. The two license plates in the comic are personalized license plates. The one in the comic-proper is clearly "My Toy"; the plate in the title text is most likely "Dad's Money," which Randall suggests is a real plate on a car outside his building, suggesting that the driver's father paid for the car, bragging about how rich their family is. This car will likely also soon earn Black Hat’s wrath. [Black Hat is holding a golf club and speaking into a P.A. system.] Black Hat: Attention, Black Hat: To the owner of a Dodge Viper SRT-10 with license plate "MYTOY," your lights are on and your windshield was just smashed with a golf club. "
82
"Frame"
"Frame"
"https://www.xkcd.com/82"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/frame.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/82:_Frame"
"[Cueball stands alone in the center of this almost normally framed panel. But there are four small indentations two both left and right and maybe also one top right.] [Tendrils from the frame develop and grow inwards while breaking the outer frame down. The tendrils comes close to Cueball. There are 13, three from three of the four sides and four from the right.] [The tendrils have now completely broken the outer frame down and 11 have reached Cueball and these begins to wind themselves around him. There are tendrils around his forehead, neck, cheek, left arm, left wrist, left hand, right wrist, right hand, lower torso, left leg and right leg. Those around his legs spiraling almost up to his crotch. 14 other tendrils have not reached him yet. All those reaching him was among the 13 from the previous panel. Only the two from the bottom right corner did not make contact. The other 12 not reaching him where new.] [Finally the 11 tendrils that have reached Cueball retract along with the other 14 tendrils back to the frame, tearing Cueball apart in 9 pieces, leaving one central piece (his upper torso with a part of each arm) floating in the center without tendrils on it. His head has been split in two by three tendrils, that keep the parts close together. The left arm with one tendril has been split from the hand with two tendrils, whereas the two holding the wrist and hand kept their part of the arm in one piece. The two legs have been separated from the lower torso at the crotch, and they as well as the lower torso is all being pulled away by one tendril. The other tendrils have almost reached the frame, three of them are already gone leaving 11 near the frame. The frame has also nearly reformed it self again.] "
"Cueball is standing in the middle of the first square panel, but then the panel's frame starts warping away from being square and starts to form into tendrils that move toward him, then slowly wrap themselves around him, and finally retract, reforming the frame again, but pulling him apart in the process, in a rather macabre comic. Typically, the frame on a cartoon is used to separate different periods of the action. Here, this has been subverted by the frame becoming a character, the main protagonist, and sole survivor of the strip. There is some indication that Cueball is also just part of a drawing, since his upper torso, with parts of each arm, is left hanging in the air without any tendrils touching it. If it was not stuck in the center of the image, it would fall down, but more importantly, even if all tendrils pulled very fast at the same time, it is highly unlikely that they could pull so precisely that the body would split in four pieces around this remaining body cross, and one of the tendrils should have pulled this part along with either an arm, the head, or the lower torso. This could be some comfort for those who think that this is too much. Of course, it could also just be something that Randall did not think was important in such a surreal comic. Comics often use artifacts on the frame to add mood to the comic. This comic then makes those artifacts a major feature of the comic, like a Chekhov's gun ("If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.") The use of creative panel layouts and effects was first made possible in newspaper comics at the insistence of Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes (which it is known that Randall has been influenced by), requiring lengthy negotiations due to the printing technology of the time. The creative use of panel layout and effects is thus part of the artistic legacy of Calvin and Hobbes. xkcd, among others, has continued along that path of pushing the boundaries of the medium. The title text "..." could indicate that Randall wasn't being very serious about this comic. But perhaps it was an idea to creatively use parts of the comic nobody thought about, and it spoke for itself and needed no extra comment. The three dots also indicate that something more will happen soon. The reader may visualize the final result and empty square panel, ready for the next unfortunate person to walk into this trap. Alternatively, it could mean that Randall found the comic so bizarre, even he couldn't comment on it (see Trivia section ). [Cueball stands alone in the center of this almost normally framed panel. But there are four small indentations two both left and right and maybe also one top right.] [Tendrils from the frame develop and grow inwards while breaking the outer frame down. The tendrils comes close to Cueball. There are 13, three from three of the four sides and four from the right.] [The tendrils have now completely broken the outer frame down and 11 have reached Cueball and these begins to wind themselves around him. There are tendrils around his forehead, neck, cheek, left arm, left wrist, left hand, right wrist, right hand, lower torso, left leg and right leg. Those around his legs spiraling almost up to his crotch. 14 other tendrils have not reached him yet. All those reaching him was among the 13 from the previous panel. Only the two from the bottom right corner did not make contact. The other 12 not reaching him where new.] [Finally the 11 tendrils that have reached Cueball retract along with the other 14 tendrils back to the frame, tearing Cueball apart in 9 pieces, leaving one central piece (his upper torso with a part of each arm) floating in the center without tendrils on it. His head has been split in two by three tendrils, that keep the parts close together. The left arm with one tendril has been split from the hand with two tendrils, whereas the two holding the wrist and hand kept their part of the arm in one piece. The two legs have been separated from the lower torso at the crotch, and they as well as the lower torso is all being pulled away by one tendril. The other tendrils have almost reached the frame, three of them are already gone leaving 11 near the frame. The frame has also nearly reformed it self again.] "
83
"Katamari"
"Katamari"
"https://www.xkcd.com/83"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/katamari.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/83:_Katamari"
"[Megan stands on the left. Cueball is sitting on the floor with a game controller in his hand. He is looking at a TV on the floor connected to a game console, also on the floor.] Megan: Can you pause for a moment and help me with something? Cueball: You know, our love is like a katamari. We travel along, rolling up more and more of the world into our shared experience, taking it and making it our own. Megan: I, you... wow. Geekiness aside, that was actually incredibly sweet. Cueball: The clutter of everyday life, with a simple core to tie it together, eventually becomes something grand as the world itself. [A rainbow extends outward from the TV, with "ROYAL RAINBOW!" above it. Cueball raises his hands in victory.] Megan: Okay, also sweet, but now I'm wondering if you could possibly get any gayer. Katamari Damacy is also a subject of 161: Accident and 851: Na . "
"Katamari Damacy is a Japanese game in which the player must roll around an infinitely sticky katamari ball, cottoning up objects and terrain to increase the ball's size. In this comic, Cueball uses the katamari as an analogy for his love for Megan , pushing it to such embarrassing extremes that Megan feels the need to remark whether he could "possibly get any gayer." At this point, Cueball wins the level he is playing and is transported by a "Royal Rainbow," an in-game occurrence at the completion of each level. The rainbow is a symbol of gay pride, in addition to being just a generally happy (i.e. gay) idea. Cueball also only takes up such a stand after Megan requests that he help her. This is possibly a criticism of male selfishness (perhaps Randall's self-criticism), in that males do not discuss romantic ideas, except as a way out. The King of All Cosmos , mentioned in the title text, is an instructive character in all of the Katamari games. The title text points out that perhaps we either like or love video games not because they are fun, but because they let us forget our problems and retreat into someone else or an intricate fantasy. [Megan stands on the left. Cueball is sitting on the floor with a game controller in his hand. He is looking at a TV on the floor connected to a game console, also on the floor.] Megan: Can you pause for a moment and help me with something? Cueball: You know, our love is like a katamari. We travel along, rolling up more and more of the world into our shared experience, taking it and making it our own. Megan: I, you... wow. Geekiness aside, that was actually incredibly sweet. Cueball: The clutter of everyday life, with a simple core to tie it together, eventually becomes something grand as the world itself. [A rainbow extends outward from the TV, with "ROYAL RAINBOW!" above it. Cueball raises his hands in victory.] Megan: Okay, also sweet, but now I'm wondering if you could possibly get any gayer. Katamari Damacy is also a subject of 161: Accident and 851: Na . "
84
"National Language"
"National Language"
"https://www.xkcd.com/84"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/national_language.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/84:_National_Language"
"[Caption on top:] This happened to my friend: [Three men and two women are standing in a row.] Cueball: English should be the national language. These immigrants should have to learn English when they come here. Megan: Yeah. Cueball: When you go to live somewhere, you learn the language they speak there. Cueball: English is the language of the land. Ponytail: Excuse me, but osio Sarah dawado. Cueball: What the hell was that? Ponytail: Cherokee. "
"This comic is about the concept of nativism , which is the view that those who are native to a place should have more rights than immigrants. A frequently expressed view in the U.S. (and in other countries) is that immigrants should learn English, which is the primary language in the United States. In the comic, one character is arrogantly arguing the nativist position. However, the woman next to him interrupts him and says a phrase in the Cherokee language - "Hello, my name is Sarah" - which is an Iroquoian language used by the Cherokee Native American people. Although Cherokee seems to be a relatively young culture , it is much more native to America than any European culture, such as English. The woman is therefore effectively suggesting a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" argument, that if the Europeans did not have to learn the native language, why should current immigrants learn English? She points out that even the English speakers are immigrants who did not learn the native language. Alternatively, she is saying that the term "national language" has no clear meaning, especially in the United States, where there is no official language; therefore, the "language they speak there" can be any of the languages spoken in the country: English, Spanish, German, Cantonese, or Cherokee, to name a few. The title text reveals that Ponytail is in fact Randall's friend; in the comic it is unclear who his friend is. [Caption on top:] This happened to my friend: [Three men and two women are standing in a row.] Cueball: English should be the national language. These immigrants should have to learn English when they come here. Megan: Yeah. Cueball: When you go to live somewhere, you learn the language they speak there. Cueball: English is the language of the land. Ponytail: Excuse me, but osio Sarah dawado. Cueball: What the hell was that? Ponytail: Cherokee. "
85
"Paths"
"Paths"
"https://www.xkcd.com/85"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/paths.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/85:_Paths"
"[Blueprint of a campus. Two buildings in the upper and lower left corners, respectively, and a rectangular lawn. A road encloses the lawn, another road traverses horizontally through the center of the lawn. The character is in the lower left and the upper right corner, where it says "my apartment".] [Dashed line 1, from the lower-left along the road to the top-left corner, then to the top-right corner.] 60 seconds [Dashed line 2, from the lower-left along the road up to the center crossroads, then diagonally over the lawn to the top-right corner.] 48 seconds (80%) [Dashed line 3, diagonally from the lower-left to the top-right corner.] 44.7 seconds (74%) My apartment 1=t 2=(t*(1+√2))/3 3=(t*√5)/3 When I'm walking, I worry a lot about the efficiency of my path. "
"This comic centers around the consideration of what is the shortest path available to a person traveling by foot. Cueball has to travel across a rectangular distance, which has an established path around the periphery. When Cueball follows these paths, he has to walk for 60 seconds. He realizes that by ignoring the paths and taking the desire lines from corner to corner, his route will be shorter, and he calculates that he could cut up to 26% of his time. As a result, every time he has to travel this rectangle, he worries about the extra time taken as a result of following the path. There are downfalls to this plan, however. This is convenient for Cueball but probably not for the building owner, as many rectangular lawns have delicate decorations such as flowers on them. [Blueprint of a campus. Two buildings in the upper and lower left corners, respectively, and a rectangular lawn. A road encloses the lawn, another road traverses horizontally through the center of the lawn. The character is in the lower left and the upper right corner, where it says "my apartment".] [Dashed line 1, from the lower-left along the road to the top-left corner, then to the top-right corner.] 60 seconds [Dashed line 2, from the lower-left along the road up to the center crossroads, then diagonally over the lawn to the top-right corner.] 48 seconds (80%) [Dashed line 3, diagonally from the lower-left to the top-right corner.] 44.7 seconds (74%) My apartment 1=t 2=(t*(1+√2))/3 3=(t*√5)/3 When I'm walking, I worry a lot about the efficiency of my path. "
86
"Digital Rights Management"
"Digital Rights Management"
"https://www.xkcd.com/86"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/sony_microsoft_mpaa_riaa_apple.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/86:_Digital_Rights_Management"
"[Black Hat is standing on an advancing glacier] Black Hat: Dear Sony, Microsoft, the MPAA, the RIAA, and Apple: Let's make a deal. You stop trying to tell me where, when, and how I play my movies and music, and I won't crush your homes under my inexorably advancing wall of ice. There appears to be a larger version of Black Hat, drawn in pencil and erased, behind him. The smaller figure makes the inexorably advancing wall of ice appear correspondingly larger. "
"Digital rights management (DRM) is a class of methods for controlling digital files, such as by preventing media from playing on any device besides the device from which the purchase is made. It is used by several major companies, as it makes it more difficult to pirate media, which they claim cuts into their profits. Those companies typically also lobby for laws forbidding circumvention of DRM techniques, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). However, DRM is usually disliked by consumers, as it makes it difficult to use their purchased media. For example, if they buy a new computer, there's no guarantee that their DRM-covered media will be usable on the new computer. Thus, Black Hat is suggesting to the pro-DRM organizations Sony , Microsoft , the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and Apple that they stop their DRM-fiddling and lobbying, and he'll stop his inexorable ice-wall. The title text refers readers to law professor Lawrence Lessig 's book Free Culture . [Black Hat is standing on an advancing glacier] Black Hat: Dear Sony, Microsoft, the MPAA, the RIAA, and Apple: Let's make a deal. You stop trying to tell me where, when, and how I play my movies and music, and I won't crush your homes under my inexorably advancing wall of ice. There appears to be a larger version of Black Hat, drawn in pencil and erased, behind him. The smaller figure makes the inexorably advancing wall of ice appear correspondingly larger. "
87
"Velociraptors"
"Velociraptors"
"https://www.xkcd.com/87"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/velociraptors.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/87:_Velociraptors"
"[Picture of a suburban house, with lines pointing to various aspects.] High bathroom window: probably secure. Outer door: secure. Picture window: VELOCIRAPTOR ENTRY POINT! It's been over a decade since Jurassic Park opened, and I still size up buildings for their potential as shelter against Velociraptor attacks. This comic marks the first reference in xkcd to Jurassic Park , and specifically to Randall 's fear of velociraptors . The fear will continue to be a subject of future comics and running jokes. "
"This comic refers to the film Jurassic Park , a 1993 movie based on the 1990 novel by Michael Crichton . The film depicts a billionaire who buys an island and opens a zoo/theme park for dinosaurs cloned from DNA recovered from blood found in fossilized mosquitoes. Naturally, everything goes haywire, and several of the creatures, among which are the velociraptors subject of this comic, try to devour every human in the theme park. Velociraptors (often shortened as " raptors ") are a species of relatively small, carnivorous dinosaur that play a central role in the original film and its sequels. In the film, packs of Velociraptors attack the main characters at various points, even entering buildings; they play a large role in the climax of the film. According to Wikipedia, the velociraptors in the film were erroneously based on Deinonychus . The movie depicts the velociraptors as having scaly reptilian skin, though dinosaurs of this type are now theorized to have been feathered. As we see in this comic, and will see in future comics, even though it had been approximately thirteen years since he presumably first saw the film, Randall apparently has lived in perpetual fear of a real raptor attack. Specifically, in this comic, he worries how a building would stand up against the creatures. The main risk posed by the house depicted comes by the large window in the living room, through which a Velociraptor could break-and-enter (believing that the bathroom window is too high for them to reach, and the door too secure to break through). The image text points out what he presumes is the reader's disbelief that Jurassic Park had (as of 2006) been released so long ago (thirteen years prior). This is another classic xkcd premise that will later be the subject of 891: Movie Ages five years later, which includes Jurassic Park again. This is the first in a long line of comments and comics Randall has made about how realizing the release dates of things in popular culture can make us feel old. [Picture of a suburban house, with lines pointing to various aspects.] High bathroom window: probably secure. Outer door: secure. Picture window: VELOCIRAPTOR ENTRY POINT! It's been over a decade since Jurassic Park opened, and I still size up buildings for their potential as shelter against Velociraptor attacks. This comic marks the first reference in xkcd to Jurassic Park , and specifically to Randall 's fear of velociraptors . The fear will continue to be a subject of future comics and running jokes. "
88
"Escher Bracelet"
"Escher Bracelet"
"https://www.xkcd.com/88"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/escher_wristband.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/88:_Escher_Bracelet"
"[A Livestrong-type bracelet is featured, but with an Escher twist in it. The band is a Mobius strip. The band has the letters "WWED" printed on it.] What Would Escher Do? "
"This image parodies "WWJD" bracelets, which is an acronym for "What Would Jesus Do?". Christians (primarily) wear such bracelets (or other "WWJD" paraphernalia) as a reminder to act in a way that Jesus would act, which presumably is the "Christian" way to act. It is not entirely clear, but this particular bracelet appears to be the rubber type most famously popularized by the yellow ones of cyclist Lance Armstrong's Livestrong charity, which later became a popular fad for all sorts of charitable and non-charitable causes. In this comic, the "J" has been replaced by an "E" for M. C. Escher , a Dutch graphic artist (1898–1972) best known for art containing imagery that would be impossible in the real world (often referred to as impossible constructions or optical illusions). Among his most famous works are " Drawing Hands " – two hands drawing each other on paper; " Relativity ", in which a series of staircases and arches come from the floor, ceiling, and the walls in all directions, each with people standing on them as if each direction is "down"; and " Ascending and Descending " – a building with a staircase on its roof that is a closed square that appears to ascend or descend infinitely, depending on the direction that is walked. In keeping with Escher's art, the WWED bracelet has a single half-twist in it, creating what is known as a Mobius strip . Although this is not an impossible construction, it is still an apparently confusing structure that Escher used in his art. Most notably, his work "Mobius Strip II" depicts ants crawling around a Mobius strip. One can create this shape simply by taking a strip of paper (or any bendable material), making a half twist, and attaching the ends together. If you draw a single continuous line starting down the centre of the bracelet from the middle of the "W" going left, you will end up drawing from the "WWED", going around again on the "inside" of the bracelet, before coming back around to the front again and ending up at the "D". In other words, the surface of the bracelet has only one side (the front and the back are the same side). The phrase "the only downside" in the image-text may be a pun referencing this one-sidedness. As the title text suggests, the twist in the bracelet might make it uncomfortable to wear. [A Livestrong-type bracelet is featured, but with an Escher twist in it. The band is a Mobius strip. The band has the letters "WWED" printed on it.] What Would Escher Do? "
89
"Gravitational Mass"
"Gravitational Mass"
"https://www.xkcd.com/89"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/gravitational_mass.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/89:_Gravitational_Mass"
"[Black Hat standing.] Black Hat: Gravitational mass is identical to inertial mass. That is, the amount of inertia something has and the amount of gravity it has are effectively the same. What's interesting is that there doesn't seem to be any reason this should be true. One could imagine an extremely large object with lots of resistance to force and no gravity (or vice versa), but this is never observed. [Black Hat still standing. The panel is now shorter.] Black Hat: You know what? I'm just gonna skip the rest of the buildup and say it: Yo mama's fat."
"Black Hat launches into what appears to be an in-depth exposition about the relativity of gravity and inertia. However, it transpires that this is just a convoluted build-up to a Yo' Momma joke along the lines of "she's fat and not that attractive." Black Hat then can't be bothered with, or can't figure out, the lengthy route to his punchline, so just goes for a straightforward insult instead. A well known joke format goes: "Yo' momma's so fat, when she X, she Y." For example: "Yo' momma's so fat, when she sits around the house, she sits around the house!" Variations play with the format, for example: "Yo' momma's so fat, she fell in the Grand Canyon and got stuck!" A "Yo' Momma" joke also appears in comic 681: Gravity Wells to the right of Jupiter. The title text is a play on the law of gravitational attraction, which diminishes as the square of the distance, so if the distance between two objects doubles, the attraction is reduced to a quarter, and if the distance is halved, the attraction quadruples. Black Hat is saying that the attraction goes up as the cube, so if the distance is halved, the attraction increases eight-fold, and decreases eight-fold when the distance doubles. This implies that "your momma is so fat, she breaks the laws of physics (and does so in a way that she isn't as attractive as physics would dictate, given enough distance)." The title text is slightly ambiguous; it seems to say that as distance increases, the attraction increases, but it doesn't explicitly state whether the distance is increasing or decreasing. Note: Contrary to Black Hat's explanation, and as per Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity , the reason that objects have equal gravitational and inertial mass is that anything with mass or energy causes a warping of space-time that causes all other objects (including such objects that classically shouldn't be affected, like photons) to experience the same gravitational acceleration. [Black Hat standing.] Black Hat: Gravitational mass is identical to inertial mass. That is, the amount of inertia something has and the amount of gravity it has are effectively the same. What's interesting is that there doesn't seem to be any reason this should be true. One could imagine an extremely large object with lots of resistance to force and no gravity (or vice versa), but this is never observed. [Black Hat still standing. The panel is now shorter.] Black Hat: You know what? I'm just gonna skip the rest of the buildup and say it: Yo mama's fat."
90
"Jacket"
"Jacket"
"https://www.xkcd.com/90"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/jacket.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/90:_Jacket"
"[Two men stand and talk to one another.] Cueball: Where's my fucking jacket? [Friend indicates something behind him.] Friend: Over there, next to your regular one. Cueball: My what? Friend: Never mind. This comic is the second comic to use an all-caps lettering, the first being 78: Garfield , where the all-caps lettering may have been based off of the lettering in the actual comic strip. "
"Cueball clearly means to use fucking as an intensifier. However, the friend (likely intentionally in response to the unnecessary swearing) takes fucking to be an identifier of which jacket is being discussed, and gives a smart-aleck response. His counterpart gets confused by the sarcasm, and the topic is dismissed. The title text states that this often occurs in Cueball/Randall's apartment. [Two men stand and talk to one another.] Cueball: Where's my fucking jacket? [Friend indicates something behind him.] Friend: Over there, next to your regular one. Cueball: My what? Friend: Never mind. This comic is the second comic to use an all-caps lettering, the first being 78: Garfield , where the all-caps lettering may have been based off of the lettering in the actual comic strip. "
91
"Pwned"
"Pwned"
"https://www.xkcd.com/91"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/pwned.png"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/91:_Pwned"
"Welcome to text-only Counterstrike. You are in a dark, outdoor map. > GO NORTH You have been pwned by a grue. "
"In the days of early personal computers, such as the IBM-XT, Atari, or C64, games were largely text-based adventure games . Those games were based on an interactive story, and the player had to solve a puzzle on this by communicating to the application using only a keyboard or, later, a mouse. Play was turn-based (like chess): the computer displayed some textual context, you entered a command (GO <direction>, TAKE <object>, KILL <person>, LOOK AT <object>, etc.), and the computer responded by giving the outcome of your command. This sparse context arose from the fact that games in the 1970s and 1980s needed to run on limited memory and microprocessor capacity, and on basic displays. Over the following 20 years, technical advances allowed games to run in a real-time graphical context. Adventure games were largely displaced by other genres, including Role Playing Games (RPG) , where the player navigates a character through a graphical environment to achieve goals or gain in abilities, often involving a combat component. While the broad structure of these has a lot of similarity to adventure games, the experience is very different. Zork is a classic example of a text-adventure game franchise. In the Zork games, players have to evade predators known as grues, which fear light, but love to devour adventurers entering the dark. Therefore, you cannot win the game without owning some light source. "Counterstrike" is a reference to the Half-Life mod Counter-Strike and its subsequent sequel. In the Counter-Strike series, you are either a terrorist or a counter-terrorist operative, and your goal is to stop the other from completing their objective. On a dark map, players would generally use night vision goggles, which don't produce light that would give away their position to the enemy. Randall imagines a version of Counterstrike played in the text-context of Zork. Ironically, the outcome is not so different to what might be a typical experience of Counterstrike gameplay, particularly for inexperienced players: on starting the game, the player moves to another room and is immediately " pwned " (a typical online gaming term meaning beaten, killed, or trapped/tricked) by an enemy. In the title text, Randall suggests that a comparison of the genres, analyzing the reasons why RPGs have proved more popular, would make an interesting study. His imagined example suggests that what has been gained in immersive environments may have been lost in complexity of story and gameplay. Welcome to text-only Counterstrike. You are in a dark, outdoor map. > GO NORTH You have been pwned by a grue. "
92
"Sunrise"
"Sunrise"
"https://www.xkcd.com/92"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/sunrise.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/92:_Sunrise"
"[Hairy is on the street. Behind him is a house with a lawn.] Hairy (thinking): I love the time just before sunrise. It's quiet; no one is ever just walking about. Hairy (thinking): It's like a secret Hairy (thinking): I always hope that I'll find someone else quietly hiding from sleep, and we'll see each other and sit and talk. Hairy (thinking): I guess this is a bad place to meet people. Hairy (thinking): I wish it weren't. [Hairy goes into the house, brushes his teeth, shaves his head (?), and leaves the house again.] [Hairy is at a club, disco balls in the ceiling and a giant woofer. Many people are dancing around him.] "
"This comic is about the desire for an intimate connection with another, and the compromises we make to not be alone. Hairy finds a certain beauty in the way the world looks without billions of humans crawling around on it. He thinks of this as a secret place that thrills him. He is excited about the remote chance of finding someone like him who appreciates its beauty. But he realizes that it's the very thing that makes this time beautiful to him that makes his imagined chance encounter exceedingly unlikely. Reconciled to the fact that he will not find a kindred spirit outside this morning, he heads back home. At the house, he gets ready and drives to a club to meet people. The club is drawn using an inverted color scheme (white people, black background) to emphasize that it is the opposite of the 4am outside world. The club is dark and full of people, who are the lightest things present, where outside, the natural beauty shines without interruption by human forms. Hairy is seen alone in the middle of the crowd. The title text is a reference to a common music video scene (sometimes country music videos) where people play the guitar on parking garages as the sun rises. [Hairy is on the street. Behind him is a house with a lawn.] Hairy (thinking): I love the time just before sunrise. It's quiet; no one is ever just walking about. Hairy (thinking): It's like a secret Hairy (thinking): I always hope that I'll find someone else quietly hiding from sleep, and we'll see each other and sit and talk. Hairy (thinking): I guess this is a bad place to meet people. Hairy (thinking): I wish it weren't. [Hairy goes into the house, brushes his teeth, shaves his head (?), and leaves the house again.] [Hairy is at a club, disco balls in the ceiling and a giant woofer. Many people are dancing around him.] "
93
"Jeremy Irons"
"Jeremy Irons"
"https://www.xkcd.com/93"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/jeremy_irons.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/93:_Jeremy_Irons"
"[Cueball points at Megan with his mouth open. Jeremy Irons stands behind him.] Jeremy Irons: But as THICK as you are, pay attention Jeremy Irons: My words are a matter of PRIDE! My goal: To make enough money to hire Jeremy Irons, the voice of Scar from The Lion King , to follow me around and do my dialogue. "
"Similar to the " My Hobby " series, this comic depicts one of Randall 's goals in life: He wants to hire Academy-Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons to deliver all of Randall's dialogue in life (while Randall, perhaps, lip syncs it). He is apparently basing this desire on the fact that Irons, a classically trained English actor, portrayed Scar, the main antagonist in the 1994 Disney animated feature The Lion King . The line spoken in the comic is from the song " Be Prepared ", which Scar sings in the film. Thus, it's not entirely clear whether Randall enjoys Irons's deep, rumbling British-accented voice, or whether it's Scar's dialogue in the film that Randall truly would like to be speaking. The title text suggests that Randall knows the dialogue of The Lion King from memory; it also suggests that there are others he knows as well. He is around the appropriate age to have been in the target market for the film (he would have been around 10 at the time) and probably saw it many times. [Cueball points at Megan with his mouth open. Jeremy Irons stands behind him.] Jeremy Irons: But as THICK as you are, pay attention Jeremy Irons: My words are a matter of PRIDE! My goal: To make enough money to hire Jeremy Irons, the voice of Scar from The Lion King , to follow me around and do my dialogue. "
94
"Profile Creation Flowchart"
"Profile Creation Flowchart"
"https://www.xkcd.com/94"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/profile_flowchart.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/94:_Profile_Creation_Flowchart"
"[A flowchart is shown.] Have Friends? → No → Link to your LiveJournal Have Friends? → Yes, and want to alienate everyone else → Inside jokes! Have Friends? → Yes → Have Boyfriend/ Girlfriend? → No → Angsty about it? → Yes → Link to your LiveJournal No → Yes you are → Angsty about it? Yes → A profile tribute is the greatest possible expression of love. "
"AIM (short for AOL Instant Messenger, now defunct) offered its users profile pages to share info about themselves or their friends. Randall notes that these pages fall into one of three categories: Both AIM and LiveJournal were known for their teenage user base, as shown by the title text's fictional AIM screen name. The title text seems to reference the kind of behavior someone with a tribute page would display, but is actually an example of an inside joke, for cartoonists. The text comes from Natalie Dee Comic 956, from January 8, 2006 , a few months before this XKCD comic was published on April 26 of the same year. [A flowchart is shown.] Have Friends? → No → Link to your LiveJournal Have Friends? → Yes, and want to alienate everyone else → Inside jokes! Have Friends? → Yes → Have Boyfriend/ Girlfriend? → No → Angsty about it? → Yes → Link to your LiveJournal No → Yes you are → Angsty about it? Yes → A profile tribute is the greatest possible expression of love. "
95
"The Sierpinski Penis Game"
"The Sierpinski Penis Game"
"https://www.xkcd.com/95"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/the_sierpinski_penis_game.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/95:_The_Sierpinski_Penis_Game"
"[A large triangle, point down, is shown, with many smaller triangles inside all pointing up. There is one large triangle in the middle, with 3 medium triangles on either side and three triangles on either of their sides as well, for a total of 9. This trend then continues three more times, with 27 around the nine and 81 around those. Finally, there were supposed to be 243 (3x81) very small filling out all the space outside the larger triangles, but staying inside the original triangle. But there seem to be missing three of these near the top. Two of those are on either side of the first (top left) of the nine triangles of size 3, as well as one to the left of the top of the top right second largest triangle. But there is also one extra triangle just below the P in the bottom triangle with a sentence. That would have been the first of the next level of 3*243=729 triangles in level 7. But it is the only one. So 240 small triangles plus 1 even tinier for a total of 362 inside the largest framing triangle.] [There is a word inside the largest of the triangles and a sentence in the largest triangle below that triangle.] Penis! Haha, penis. "
"The Chaos Game is a method of generating a fractal by repeatedly applying randomly-chosen transformation functions to a point and plotting the position of the new point each time. The transformation functions are randomly chosen from a small, predefined list. The surprising result of this is that, even though the functions are picked randomly, a distinctly non-random fractal image emerges. The exact nature of this image depends on the list of transformation functions used. One such fractal that can be produced by the Chaos Game is the Sierpinski Triangle , which is the fractal pictured in this comic. See details in this video . The Penis Game, on the other hand, is a childish activity where people (usually schoolchildren) compete to shout "Penis!" increasingly loudly in the presence of an authority figure (usually a teacher) without getting in trouble. The two games could be said to be similar in that they both involve iterations of transformations; in the Chaos Game, a point's position is transformed (moving it closer and closer to the attractor set of the transformations); in the Penis game, the volume of the phrase "Penis!" is transformed (becoming louder and louder). The difference is that the Chaos Game works by negative feedback (eventually settling down into a well-defined image) whereas the Penis Game involves positive feedback (at some point, the cry of "Penis!" will become loud enough that the culprit will get in trouble and the game will end). Nonetheless, they could be vaguely considered inverses of each other, and Randall appears to be conflating the two in this comic. The title text mentions two inappropriate places to play the Penis Game. A baby shower is supposed to be a celebration of childbirth or pregnancy, so it would be an inappropriate place for such crude humor. A terrorist attack is typically a time in which lives are lost, so it would be very immature to play such a crude game. The title text may also be calling attention to the fact that a mathematical object such as a fractal is also an inappropriate place in which to be playing the Penis Game. [A large triangle, point down, is shown, with many smaller triangles inside all pointing up. There is one large triangle in the middle, with 3 medium triangles on either side and three triangles on either of their sides as well, for a total of 9. This trend then continues three more times, with 27 around the nine and 81 around those. Finally, there were supposed to be 243 (3x81) very small filling out all the space outside the larger triangles, but staying inside the original triangle. But there seem to be missing three of these near the top. Two of those are on either side of the first (top left) of the nine triangles of size 3, as well as one to the left of the top of the top right second largest triangle. But there is also one extra triangle just below the P in the bottom triangle with a sentence. That would have been the first of the next level of 3*243=729 triangles in level 7. But it is the only one. So 240 small triangles plus 1 even tinier for a total of 362 inside the largest framing triangle.] [There is a word inside the largest of the triangles and a sentence in the largest triangle below that triangle.] Penis! Haha, penis. "
96
"Mail"
"Mail"
"https://www.xkcd.com/96"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/mail.png"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/96:_Mail"
"[Cueball is talking to someone through a phone.] Phone: Do you think I could mail a running chainsaw to someone? Cueball: I doubt it Phone: What about a baby's first word? Cueball: Look, your obsession with sending strange things through the mail is getting out of hand. Phone: Can you mail a blank stare? Phone: A dizzying height? Phone: Pi? Cueball: ... Phone: Well, did you at least get that package of time I sent you? Cueball: I... you... no, I didn't. Phone: Well, there was a lot of it, so it will probably take a while "
"Cueball 's interlocutor is working their way through a list of increasingly impractical or impossible suggestions for things to send through postal mail. The pay-off is that they have already somehow sent a package of time through the mail, and this is taking a while to arrive, presumably because the amount of time it will take to reach the recipient is equal to the amount of time being sent. By the time it reaches Cueball, the time will have passed, and therefore not be of much use. The reference to a 'package of time' could refer to quantizing time ("discrete packets of time") - a theory that time is not continuous as particles in the quantum mechanics . It could be one of the big mistakes in modern science, but feels as if there's more to it, in the world of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. A no-fly list is a list of people who are not allowed to use commercial airlines for travel. In the United States, it is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center . According to the title text, the person sending strange objects through mail is on a no-fly list for the United States Postal Service (USPS). While the USPS has a list of items banned from being shipped in the mail, which includes most consumer electronics with lithium batteries, it does not have such a list for people. This could suggest that this person has attempted to send so many strange items that USPS will no longer accept mail from him, or it could imply that they attempted, at one point, to send themselves via air mail, and have been banned from doing so again. This comic might be related to W. Reginald Bray , an Englishman from the turn of the 20th century, who was famous for mailing unusual objects (including himself) to experiment with the postal system. A list of the things: [Cueball is talking to someone through a phone.] Phone: Do you think I could mail a running chainsaw to someone? Cueball: I doubt it Phone: What about a baby's first word? Cueball: Look, your obsession with sending strange things through the mail is getting out of hand. Phone: Can you mail a blank stare? Phone: A dizzying height? Phone: Pi? Cueball: ... Phone: Well, did you at least get that package of time I sent you? Cueball: I... you... no, I didn't. Phone: Well, there was a lot of it, so it will probably take a while "
97
"A Simple Plan"
"A Simple Plan"
"https://www.xkcd.com/97"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/a_simple_plan.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/97:_A_Simple_Plan"
"[Cueball, standing in front of stool with a radio on it.] Radio: You don't know what it's like to be me! [Caption below the panel:] At first, I loved A Simple Plan . Then I realized, with creeping horror, that they were serious. "
"The song on the radio is " Welcome to My Life " by Simple Plan (not A Simple Plan), which was released in 2004 as a first single from the band's second album " Still Not Getting Any... " The lyrics of the song mainly deal with the frustration of adolescence and the stress of newfound independence. Many, if not all, adolescents go through a phase where the ongoing realization of becoming fully responsible for their body, mind, and personality frightens them. Simple Plan's lyrics seem particularly inappropriate and ridiculous, given that the members of the band are all in their 30s. The absurdity of middle-aged men expressing teen angst could be interpreted as a spoof or parody, which Cueball mistakenly believes to be the truth. In the comic, Cueball slowly comes to the horrifying realization that the members of the band are actually seriously whining about the typical life of a spoiled teenager, rather than parodying them. In the title text, Randall states that this was his own reaction to the song, and that he now considers it ridiculous. [Cueball, standing in front of stool with a radio on it.] Radio: You don't know what it's like to be me! [Caption below the panel:] At first, I loved A Simple Plan . Then I realized, with creeping horror, that they were serious. "
98
"Fall Apart"
"Fall Apart"
"https://www.xkcd.com/98"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/fall_apart.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/98:_Fall_Apart"
"[Various people struggle as the comic disintegrates. Toward the top, people are standing calmly, some holding hands. As the parts of the comic break apart, people try to reach for each other, hold parts together, or curl up into a ball. By the bottom, a Cueball is falling, surrounded by pieces of the comic.] "
"Despite Randall being enthusiastic about receiving ink pens, his first experiment with them has resulted in a rather bleak comic. Instead of multiple panels, the entire comic is a single drawing, with an apparent passage of time as we travel down the page. The frame, which represents the world of the characters, gradually disintegrates and leaves them falling helplessly. At the top, we see some people standing alone, apparently happy enough, and a couple. As we descend the page, we see examples of a couple split by a narrow chasm, someone huddled isolated and alone on their own world fragment, a couple desperately trying to hang on to each other, and a single figure falling chaotically and without control. The comic seems to be expressing what it feels like to someone when a relationship breaks up — their world falls apart, and one of the implications is that the process cannot easily be reversed. In short, it is catastrophic. The identity of '#pugglewumper Tashari,' the supplier of the pens, is not known. Judging by the use of the hash sign, it is someone with whom Randall communicates in IRC . In fact, 'pugglewump' appears to be an IRC channel. Although hashtags later came to be strongly associated with Twitter , this was not true at the time the comic was drawn. [Various people struggle as the comic disintegrates. Toward the top, people are standing calmly, some holding hands. As the parts of the comic break apart, people try to reach for each other, hold parts together, or curl up into a ball. By the bottom, a Cueball is falling, surrounded by pieces of the comic.] "
99
"Binary Heart"
"Binary Heart"
"https://www.xkcd.com/99"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/binary_heart.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/99:_Binary_Heart"
"[All the numbers are black except for a heart-shaped red section in the middle.] "
"An array of zeros and ones is depicted, 21 across by 23 down. Some of the zeros and ones are red instead of black to form the shape of a Valentine heart. The digits themselves are an ASCII bit stream reading: The final octet is incomplete, but the three bits that are present are consistent with the start of an "e". The mixture of upper-case and lower-case "O"s is presumed intentional to avoid a repeating pattern. [All the numbers are black except for a heart-shaped red section in the middle.] "
100
"Family Circus"
"Family Circus"
"https://www.xkcd.com/100"
"https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/family_circus.jpg"
"https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/100:_Family_Circus"
"[Picture shows a pathway winding through trees to a sink inside a house, out to some swings and back to the sink, out to a ball and back to the sink, then on into the house.] Jeffy's ongoing struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder "
"The Family Circus is a comic characterized by single-panel round comics with a caption below the comic. Jeffy is a character in Family Circus , and dotted lines representing his wanderings are a frequent theme of Family Circus comics. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that compels the sufferer to perform repetitive actions. Common symptoms include, but are not restricted to, excessive hand washing and repeated opening and closing of a door. The comic depicts the character Jeffy as having Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and traces his movements over a period of time. The dotted line that depicts his movements returns frequently to the kitchen sink, presumably to repeatedly wash his hands. In the title text, Randall attributes this idea to the unknown friend David . He did the same in 42: Geico and 51: Malaria . [Picture shows a pathway winding through trees to a sink inside a house, out to some swings and back to the sink, out to a ball and back to the sink, then on into the house.] Jeffy's ongoing struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder "
End of preview (truncated to 100 rows)

Dataset Card for "XKCD"

Dataset Summary

XKCD is an export of all XKCD comics with their transcript and explanation scrapped from https://explainxkcd.com.

Dataset Structure

Data Instances

  • id: 1
  • title: Barrel - Part 1
  • image_title: Barrel - Part 1
  • url: https://www.xkcd.com/1
  • image_url: https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/barrel_cropped_(1).jpg
  • explained_url: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1:_Barrel_-_Part_1
  • transcript: [A boy sits in a barrel which is floating in an ocean.] Boy: i wonder where i'll float next? [A smaller frame with a zoom out of the boy in the barrel seen from afar. The barrel drifts into the distance. Nothing else can be seen.]
  • explanation: The comic shows a young boy floating in a barrel in an ocean that doesn't have a visible end. It comments on the unlikely optimism and perhaps naïveté people sometimes display. The boy is completely lost and seems hopelessly alone, without any plan or control of the situation. Yet, rather than afraid or worried, he is instead quietly curious: "I wonder where I'll float next?" Although not necessarily the situation in this comic, this is a behavior people often exhibit when there is nothing they can do about a problematic situation for a long time; they may have given up hope or developed a cavalier attitude as a coping mechanism. The title text expands on the philosophical content, with the boy representing the average human being: wandering through life with no real plan, quietly optimistic, always opportunistic and clueless as to what the future may hold. The isolation of the boy may also represent the way in which we often feel lost through life, never knowing quite where we are, believing that there is no one to whom to turn. This comic could also reflect on Randall's feelings towards creating xkcd in the first place; unsure of what direction the web comic would turn towards, but hopeful that it would eventually become the popular web comic that we know today. This is the first in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character that is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character is in a barrel. In 1110: Click and Drag there is a reference to this comic at 1 North, 48 East . After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series. The full series can be found here . They are listed below in the order Randall chose for the short story above:

Data Fields

  • id
  • title
  • url: xkcd.com URL
  • image_url
  • explained_url: explainxkcd.com URL
  • transcript: english text transcript of the comic
  • explanation: english explanation of the comic

Dataset Creation

The dataset was scrapped from both explainxkcd.com and xkcd.com. The dataset is therefore licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license for the transcript and explanation fields, while the image itself is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license.

See the Copyrights page from explainxkcd.com for more explanations.

Update

You can update the dataset by using the scrapper.py script. First install the dependencies:

pip install aiolimiter aiohttp beautifulsoup4 pandas

Then run the script:

python scrapper.py

Considerations for Using the Data

As the data was scrapped, it is entirely possible that some fields are missing part of the original data.

Additional Information

Licensing Information

The dataset is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license for the transcript and explanation fields, while the images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license.

Contributions

Thanks to @OlivierDehaene for adding this dataset.

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