Odd Temporal Milestones

The first Star Trek episode aired closer in time to the ratification of the 19th Amendment—guaranteeing women in the US the right to vote—than to today.

363 thoughts on “Odd Temporal Milestones

  1. @Steve Singer: Your definition is a little off. A train is a locomotive, with or without cars, displaying markers. So, we assume markers of insignificant mass on the rear of the locomotive, and all’s well.

  2. Much more significant than the mass of the marker lights (which are usually built into a locomotive if it’s the last vehicle in the train) is that a GE Genesis P42DC locomotive is about 122t, not 12t. A current US freight locomotive like a GE Evolution Series tips the scales at about 190t each, so you need a few more BBs than stopping a passenger loco like a Genesis.

  3. Maaaaybe? I mean, I’m thinking, “Unstoppable”-type momentum here.

    Besides, which, some part of me still wonders about all those folks shooting BBs from, like, on the tracks or near enough, right in front of said train. If we don’t magically whisk them away, they would A) make a significant contribution to the train’s deceleration (compared with the BBs they were firing, at least); and B) offer amazing possibilities for additional xkcd artwork, up there with hurricane driven alligators+refinery-fueled swamp fires.

    Randall?

  4. Super Mario 64′s release date was closer to the release date of the original Super Mario Bros than it is to present day.

  5. Stock charts should be mandated by law to have their y axis start at zero. Their penchant for magnifying recent changes makes it overly dramatic. Similarly, weather forecasts should be in Kelvin, although in that case it would just highlight the fragility of human life.

  6. ferhich, some part of me still wonders about all those folks shooting BBs from, like, on the tracks or near enough, right in front of said train. If we don’t magically whisk them away, they would A) make a significant contribution to the train’s deceleration (compared with tfre.

  7. ferferlike, on the tracks or near enough, right in front of said train. If we don’t magically whisk them away, they would A) make a significant contribution to the train’s deceleration (compared with the BBs they were firing, at least); and B) offer amazing possibilities for additional xkcd artwork, up there with hurricane driven alligators+refinery-fueled swamferfe.

  8. rthtotive if it’s the last vehicle in the train) is that a GE Genesis P42DC locomotive is about 122t, not 12t. A current US freight locomotive like a GE Evolution Series tips the scales at aerfg.

  9. You know, in 2014, we will be closer in time to the setting of The Jetsons, then to its first airing.

  10. In response to Kristin, that if they married, Kirk would lose an officer is might be one of the few non-sexist elements. I believe that up until nearly the Next generation period, it was Starfleet policy that married couples could not serve on the same vessel, something that is often seen in modern militaries, as having your spouse on board may present conflicts of interest – i.e.; there is a warp core breach, your beloved is running towards the blast doors, do you seal them off and let them die or do you hesitate and kill everyone?

  11. This is probably not the place to put this, but I was wondering about the stats behind today’s comic (1140). Did you count (and yes I realize that you did a search of “English-Language” books) references to “Cinco de Mayo” as being equivalent to “May 5th” in the research? I was just a little surprised by the relative smallness of the “5″ as the English Speaking world talks about the “Cinco de Mayo” a LOT more than the spanish speaking world does. (I’ve been to the place where Cinco de Mayo happened and they don’t even celebrate it THERE)…

    Just wondering, if you counted those references or not… :)

  12. Regarding the lack of references to the 11th of months other than 9/11, I’m disappointed that it is true for November 11, Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans’ Day. While horribly tragic and deserving of remembrance, 9/11 pales next to the Allied losses of WW I that Armistice Day originally commemorated, much less the millions of US Veterans that 11/11 now honors. I’m not belittling 9/11, but we need to keep some perspective.

  13. @ Exxos – I think what Kristin might have been getting at is — assuming your interpretation of a ban on married couples serving together is correct, which sounds reasonable to me — that if Scotty and his girlfriend (was this Carolyn Palamas, or Mira Romaine that they were saying this about?) got married, then the Enterprise would lose _two_ officers, since she was also an officer. By saying that they’d just lose “_an_ officer” if the two got married, while emphasizing how much they’d miss Scotty, they’re implicitly devaluing the female officer’s service and status as an officer.

    Personally, I think TOS wasn’t so bad when it comes to sexism, especially when you contrast it with a lot of other media in the period. I mean, it did have female officers who were intelligent, competent, and at times crucial in the ship’s operations. There was, of course, room for improvement, but on the whole, it wasn’t too bad.

    Also, I can’t believe there isn’t something on here about the best part of the show — Captain Kirk sans shirt. When he walks down the hall half-clothed in “The Corbomite Maneuver”… Positively swoon-worthy.

  14. Hey Randall, plus love of his life: Congratulations on your two year! To celebrate, how ’bout starting a new thread so ALL of us can chime in. We may be just words in the blogosphere, but you are definitely ‘family’ and we want to let you know.
    In fact, I will take this request higher:

    Sudo start a new thread.

  15. Second above. New thread.

    Randall, we have a saying on my swim team (as given to us by our late team captain), Cancer Sucks. There are many, many of us that may in some minor (or major) way relate to your experience and we are here.
    Congratulations on two years, they were big years.
    Congratulations on doing science and living life.

  16. Thanks for giving us a chance to participate in your hard times, and in your good news. Wishing you both many years of health, work, and joy.

  17. Just read 1141. So very happy for you. I remember when you took time off to deal with… something… then you were back. Figured it was something like this. So glad to see you’re doing well. Thanks for letting us know.

  18. Thank you for making the comics, happy and sad and all the stuff in between. Thank you for commenting on the goings-on in your life. While none of us know exactly what you’re going through, some of us can relate to some of the pieces. Yay for two-year biopsy-versaries!

  19. I can not tell you how happy this comic made me. Good on you and your wife, and a happy long life together!

  20. Randall, today’s comic is touching and uplifting. The entire internet is cheering you guys on. Thank you for doing what you do, and I wish all the best every day for you and your family.

  21. Definitely got a little happy teary eyed for you two after reading the latest comic :). So glad that she’s doing well and that you’ve gotten through it together. Here’s to many more cancer-free “biopsy-versaries” to come :)

  22. Thanks for doing the comic. Thanks for including all the personal tit-bits. Just thanks.

    And hugs too.

    EtF

  23. Randall, I just want to chime in with everybody and let you know what a blessing it is to hear your good news today. It looks like they were a full two years and you made the most of them. I pray that will you continue to live the rest of your lives in that same fullness! But perhaps they can be big years for better reasons.

  24. Thanks very much for http://xkcd.com/1141/. It’s good to see you and your sweetie doing well and continuing to kick cancer’s big, ugly butt. I just had my third annual bone marrow biopsy yesterday (much better with the power drill than the old hammer & chisel method) and I really appreciate all the scientists continuing to work at figuring this stuff out.
    Looking forward to seeing you on JCCC3, biopsy results permitting!

  25. Dude….to use simple language, alot of stuff sucks. There’s alot of terrible stuff out there, and as a Marine I’ve seen quite abit of it. But seeing your comic about you and your wife was nothing short of excellent. You’re awesome. Keep it up man, and tell your wife she’s got alot of people out there rooting for her to keep kicking cancer’s ass!

  26. Two weeks ago on Saturday I lost my Uncle (like a grandpa to me and my family) to cancer. It’s not like we didn’t know it was going to happen– the writing on the wall was there for a looong time– but it still kicks you in the gut.

    You have no idea how much it means to me to see that someone is beating this shit– even if it’s a day-to-day battle, which I am sure it is.

    Keep fighting. and Thank You.

  27. Odd temporal milestone. The founding of Google is closer in time to Back to the Future than to today.

  28. Congratulations on beating cancer :) . Your partner is so strong and brave, and so are you! Wonderful comic. Brought tears to my eyes.

  29. A previous commenter’s “whole internet” might be an exaggeration, but not by much. I wish you and your wife the best of luck going forward. My partner is awaiting the results of her second year biopsy after the recurrence (after 5 years) of the original cancer, so I can relate. Thanks for bringing a smile to many a day for many people; as the romans used to say, “Vale”.

  30. Congratulations to both you and your wife. Thank you for sharing something so personal with so many of us. May you have many many more biopsy-versaries.

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