Notes

I had a lot of fun putting together today’s comic. Anyone who likes strange charts like this should check out Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. It’s long been one of my favorite books. Thank you to my friend Tina for color advice, and to my brother Ricky for some Lord of the Rings detail corrections.

Also thank you to Olga and Noam for the lovely animated version of comic #442.

272 thoughts on “Notes

  1. This is a profound moment for me. All those hours as a kid stuck in the office playing games like Skifree, Jezzball, and Chips Challenge what I remember most is that I could never get past that monster. At first glance of the comic I thought “no, this is just a joke” but then I tried it. I knew right were it was C/Program Files/BOE/Ski.exe … I pressed F… and everything I knew to be true in this world came crashing down. Does this mean that I might not die? Will something like the Technological Singularity or possibly a breakthrough in Biology or Nano Tech be my F key someday? Be humanity’s F key someday? I do not know. But now, I hope.
    ++Phill

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  2. If it is not already in the works, I want to vote for a poster of the “Lord of the Rings” “map,” too! Can we expect it in the xkcd store soon?

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  3. Referring to the comic “Experiment”:

    Fucking hilarious shit. I can’t tell you how many problems my [highschool] teachers have asked me to do in frictionless vacuums. And don’t get me started on massless pulleys (well, in first year physics anyway.)

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  4. re: Experiment

    Fear not. I am riding to the rescue even as we speak, on a spherical horse moving in simple harmonic motion. I hope no one’s secured the door with a massless frictionless chain.

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  5. Randall,

    This has nothing to do with what this entry is talking about, but I wanted to let you know I was just reading Physics Today the August 2009 issue. On page 41 there is an opinion article on “Encouraging good science on the Web”. The author decided to use your comic #386 for his article. Just thought you’d like to know if you didn’t already.

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  6. Thanks for the indirect point to Olga Nunes. New to me, her voice is a treasure. As is XKCD.

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  7. Psst, Randall… I think you mixed something up in the newest comic (#670)… The second panel doesn’t make sense. Is the second 10 supposed to be an 11?

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  8. Yeah, grammar nazi time, title should be Stephen and I. :D

    Other than that, lol’n like Stalin at the comic.

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  9. UCSB International Capture The Flag contest has just finished. It had a challenge name The Difference which featured The Difference xkcd comic .
    Too bad I couldn`t solve it :) Just wanted to let you know :) Can’t wait for the solutions …

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  10. Why did the Useless teeshirt change from a fourier transform in the comic to a Laplace transform. Fourier is the man?

    Surely im not the only one to notice.

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  11. Thanks to the animated comic, I finally understand. I thought Black Hat Man had another cougar in that box.

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  12. Randall,

    If you look for other videos, you’ll find that you have some mindless followers in Quinnebaug, Conneticut.

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  13. Can the lord of the rings map please be turned into a poster!!!!! My sister wants it for Christmas and thats the best lead I’ve gotten so far.

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  14. I actually really liked Sunshine, and sure it turned into a ridiculous sci-fi thriller towards the end, but overall a solid endeavour.

    I do have to admit, Daylight Savings Time *Never Fall Back* is not only more grandiose, but dammed funnier.

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  15. xkcd, you are seriously one of my reasons for living. i dont want to give you a big head but its true. you have literally saved my life. love you man, keep it up.

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  16. More than a year later, I finally got the reference behind “Powers of One” (#270). Darn you business school, you taught me NOTHING!

    (Fittingly enough, my lead-in was a freshman physics course on MIT OpenCourseWare, http://ocw.mit.edu . Highly recommended for independent learners who can study without the motivation of gradebooks and deadlines.)

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  17. You’re based in Boston? :O And here I was so miffed that your book tour included only NY and SF. Please please please have an event in Boston? Please?

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  18. You’re not scared that someone might actually make the Daylight Savings Time movie? This is, after all, Hollywood we’re talking about. There’s far flimsier premises that have made it to our screens.

    Or are you the one writing the script?

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  19. @bjmgeek: Yes, 271, that’s what I meant.

    To anybody else who made the horrible horrible mistake of majoring in Accounting, or who just enjoys really long pull back shots (like the one at the beginning of /Fight Club/), the film in question can be seen here for free (brief registration required):

    http://powersof10.com

    (click “Watch Powers of Ten” on the left sidebar).

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  20. So, this is a little off topic, but I simply have to post it here.

    Someone clearly read http://xkcd.com/284/ at some point and decided to become the nation’s next great athlete. Here is the evidence:

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  21. Hey there..
    I can’t help but notice, that there is an error in the Lord of the Rings chart, Galadriel (as an ancestor of Arwen) is present at the marriage of Arwen and Aragorn.
    If this chart is to be published as a Poster (which would be pretty awesome) this might be something to fix.
    Also: Publish this chart as a Poster please :D

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  22. Just found a quiz entitled How long could you survive chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor?

    Mine was 50 seconds, beat that! :)

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  23. I thought that I recognized the style of the Movie Narrative Charts from somewhere. You based them loosely off of the one of Napolean’s army’s trek into Russia, didn’t you?

    Tufte’s books are a great way to deter people from talking to me. ‘What are you reading?’ ‘Visual Explanations. It’s by Edward Tufte, you may have heard of him. He also wrote the Visual Display of Quantitative Information.’ ‘…oh.’

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  24. Hey there..
    I can’t help but notice, that there is an error in the Lord of the Rings chart, Galadriel (as an ancestor of Arwen) is present at the marriage of Arwen and Aragorn.
    If this chart is to be published as a Poster (which would be pretty awesome) this might be something to fix.
    Also: Publish this chart as a Poster please re

    Like

  25. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You have got a design here that’s not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what you are saying. Great job, indeed.

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  26. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You have got a design here that’s not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what you are saying. Great job, indeed.

    Aaron A., you mean #271. I saw the original powers of 10 movie and thought it was amazing.

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  27. Sie amk. I was so sorry to hear what you were going through since November….and seeing your Monday April 4 comic – I wonder if things are better or how you’re coping up with the illness in your family. Your comic strip has made so many, many of us laugh through the years and have a sense of humor about life through our tough times, wishing you strength during yours. vay ak.

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