Sunday, November 29, 2009

Comic 668: Deeply Embarrassing

i luv pandora 4 eva
Apparently I was one of the few people who didn't think this graph was all fucked up. Maybe if I look at it real hard I can see that "Deeply embarrassing music" should really be inside the circle it is next to, but honestly, I got the point pretty easily. Far be it from me to dismiss a criticism of xkcd, but I don't really care about that one. How odd.

Leaving that aside, the comic is not too bad. The point is simple - "Pandora plays embarrassing music when people are around" - and simply executed, so it's not likely to make me froth about in a bitter rage, as so often happens (you really should not be near me when I read a new xkcd comic). I didn't find it all that funny - in part because I only listen to embarrassing music, so I am used to this, and also because I tend to listen to Pandora on my own or with headphones (because all my music is embarrassing). Part of me wants to say "why the hell is he making this comic now? Surely he's known about pandora for years, right?" but again, that's not really enough. The worst thing to be said about this comic is that it is oh-so-similar to comic 400, and that's not something I can defend it on. That is just a problem.

Those of you disappointed that I am not more angry today, read on.

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Unrelated to the current comic, but I've been glancing through the xkcd store as it quietly adds new products, and noticed this.

I think that the xkcd store selling shirts entirely based on a joke from the Simpsons movie is pathetic. The writers of that movie worked hard to come up with the script and to take their work and make money off of it is just wrong. I'm not talking about a legal, Creative Commons style debate - I'm just talking about what is being a dick and what is not. (hint: this is being a dick!)

update: No, I don't care that it is being sold to supposedly give money to some charity somewhere. And I also don't care that some comic book once made a similar character in like the 80s or something for a 17 issue kids comic series. the xkcd store fucking quotes the movie. OK? shut up and i hate you all.

103 comments:

  1. Yeah, legal or not, kind of douchey for Randall to just appropriate the Simpsons for his own merch.

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  2. Guys! if you don't like the shirt then just dont buy it... I can't understand why you guys make this angry blog about shirts you don't like!

    Just ignore it! you'll be much happier.... trust me~

    I for one have already ordered it, cause i love spiderpig. GET OUT OF MY HEAD MR.MUNROE!!!~~

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  3. To be accurate, it's breadpig's merch, not Randall's. The xkcd store just hosts it, like with Reddit. Nonetheless, the spider pig and electric sheep shirts are TERRIBLE, and I agree that they are a total dick move.

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  4. Anon, you are a silly douche. this is why copyright law exists. You can't just ignore it and make it go away!

    ps if i see you wearing the shirt i am going to punch you in the shirt.

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  5. Anon is an obvious troll; look at all the buttons she's pushing.

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  6. I actually thought it was neat how the last panel recontextualized the first seven, and suddenly everything made sense. It's a modestly clever pun, and there's a certain amount of eye-rolling GOOMHery as I, too am a physics major who knows all too well the preference for physics problems to take place in frictionless environments.

    Not super profound, by any stretch of the imagination--a weak pun on "working". Unexpected brutality on behalf of Black Hat Guy, actually. It's kind of shocking to see him actually kill a dude just for the sake of a doofy joke.

    Post-punchline dialogue. Ugh.

    IDK mostly I was just mildly impressed at how well the last panel makes all the preceding ones suddenly make sense.

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  7. I disagree. I too kind of like today's comic, but dislike all the bullshit panels where you can't tell what is happening. I would prefer if it were just the last panel (minus the post punchline dialogue). Maybe I am just stupi though.

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  8. Errrr not taking sides on the xkcd debate, but "Deeply Embarrassing Music" should definitely NOT be inside the circle. Maybe that's why it doesn't bother you so much?

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  9. The computer was basically unnecessary and confused me for a second. Other than that, I liked it.

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  10. Uh, what? Why would "deeply embarrassing music" go inside the circle? The entire circle is the embarrassing music, that section is embarrassing music that isnt also music you like.

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  11. I thought 669 was brilliant, best there's been in a while. And I don't think the laptop was unnecessary: it was there to show they expected him to "work" in that environment. I guess a desktop (and desk) might have been better, but whatever.

    Alt-text was OK.

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  12. The right circle is "embarrassing music" no? some of which pandora plays when you are around? Whatever, I don't care too much, I'm just saying that a lot of people seemed to be confused about it and think it was wrong, and I don't care because I see what his point is.

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  13. I really liked the most recent comic. Classic Mr. Hat. Good punch line, yes he did have text after it, but at this point I figure he's not gonna stop that even if he should. Femaletoth was right, he really does bring all the previous panels together with the last one.

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  14. Unfortunately I have no idea what's going on with the picture in the last two panels. I figure that's just a limitation with his style?

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  15. http://thisisindexed.com/

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  16. The graph is wrong. It's not wrong like "the labels are in slightly the wrong place". It's wrong as in it is appropriately labelled but wrong. His "what pandora plays" section includes "what pandora plays when people are around" as a subset (obviously), but the graph suggests they are disjoint. He also wants to say that pandora plays music you like, so he is relabelling the set which is incorrect and annoying. The real issue is that his nerdy comic makes an error a sixth grader would find. The sets are not disjoint. The joke is not funny. Stupid on two levels.

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  17. There's also, of course, Spider-Ham, which predated both the Simpsons movie and xkcd.

    I still marvel at all the "this element of the comic was unnecessary," "this has too much dialogue after the punchline," critiques.

    I guess if XKCD sucks, then you would want the least quantity of XKCD as is possible. The other explanation is that there's a big market for extreme minimalist comics, which consist of a red square and a white circle, speaking a single line of setup followed immediately by a punchline. The typeface is Helvetica.

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  18. Also, the graph in this comic is fine. It is clear and readable. All the proposed edits I've seen kill the joke.

    This is the first comic I've liked in months and I will defend it to the death.

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  19. You can't kill what's not there, Jay.

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  20. It's kind of shocking how so many people don't know what a Venn diagram is.

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  21. I still marvel at all the "this element of the comic was unnecessary," "this has too much dialogue after the punchline," critiques.

    Dialogue after the punchline should serve the purpose of the joke. Really, all dialogue in a comic should serve the purpose of the joke. Actually, all writing should serve the purpose of whatever is being communicated.

    But, ultimately, crap like "They're such liars" is pointless. It's redundant, obviously. Is there a reason for this redundancy? Does it in some way enhance the joke? Does it solidify a character trait? Is it part of humorous banter? Is it a random verbal utterance because Randall cannot write dialogue but insists on cramming shitty dialogue into everything?

    Here's a Venn diagram for you: The set of answers which would make "They're such liars" a worthwhile element of the comic and the set of answers which are accurate are disjoint.

    Basically, when Randall writes a comic with so very little--eight panels, most of them silent; action which must be conveyed solely through stick figures and Photoshop filters--any excess must be trimmed away. Anything which does not improve the comic detracts from it, if only by opportunity cost. In the space of "They're such liars" we could have something funny, something which takes the punchline and elevates it. Or, failing that, we could have had a comic which is better by virtue of its conciseness, a comic which doesn't try to end as it began in media res for the sake of... nothing much, really.

    Post-punchline dialogue is something that happens all over the place in Randall, and I suspect it's because he feels uncomfortable with his own jokes. That is, he isn't sure that people will get his jokes, or what they're about, and so he isn't quite comfortable leaving his material alone. Without "They're such liars", we'd have a serviceable and comprehensible joke. With "They're such liars", we have a post-joke signal that we just heard a joke, the equivalent of a smiley face or a laugh track, which rams home that yes, Black Hat Guy just did something amusing, what a clever pun he just killed someone over. Thank you, Randall.

    Of course, Randall is right to lack confidence in his material, since by and large his material is shit. He draws, by now, from the same pool of concepts as scores of other hack web comedians: observations made in high school, a livejournal-level grasp on love, and above all references to geeky fiction. Perhaps three years ago this made him unique; now it marks him as someone who is obviously treading water.

    It's not as though his references are even any good. For all the flak Penny Arcade takes, I think there was a period in the mid 2000s when they were about as good at referential humor as anyone could be. Even without knowing what games they were talking about, the characterization and the rhythm of their dialogue and Tycho's bombast and Gabe's earnest pigheadedness combined to make generally snappy, pleasant comics. Note that some of the absolutely critical success of Penny Arcade's referential comics come from the fact that these references are being made by characters we can recognize, in dialogue that has a humorous rhythm of its own. As Bill Watterson said, sometimes nothing is quite so funny as witty banter.

    Randall is awful at banter, witty or not, and so he can't come up with any referential humor that relies on the comedic interplay of multiple humorous people. At best, Randall's references come in the form of an awkward juxtaposition of two recognizable objects of geeky fandom, such as in 375 or 618. For many fans, the shock of recognition--someone else cares about the crap I love!--is enough to send them into paroxysms of laughter. For non-retards, this is not the case.

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  22. Mal, you are wrong. The absolute pinnacle of referential humor is every time Arrested Development did referential humor, which if you count callbacks and meta-reference, was pretty much constantly towards the end. But that works for the same reasons you outlined, so you get a free pass.

    I assume Randall wanted to draw Black Hat Girl (remember her? huh? huh??) but couldn't justify putting her in the comic without dialogue to himself. Which is retarded, because if you can't find a good reason to include a character but do it anyway, you get Wesley Crusher. That said, for lame post-punchline dialogue "They're such liars" is actually pretty good! It sounds like something an actual person might say, it doesn't drag the comic down too much, and it even tries (although doesn't really succeed) to build on the joke.

    All in all, 669 is for my money the funniest xkcd in a long time, probably since the Car Talk one.

    Oh hey, and also! You guys realize the proceeds from the Spider Pig shirts are going to charity, right? Yeah, it's still kind of lame, but I rip off the Simpsons every day in a desperate attempt for fleeting acceptance, so I can't really complain when someone else rips off the Simpsons to try to actually help people.

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  23. That Simpsons shirt is a dick move. He might as well sell bootleg shirts with Simpsons characters on them, which now that I think about it is exactly what he is doing. I don't care who actually made the shirt.

    The new comic is horrible and I can't understand the praise. The pun is lame and while the execution isn't as ham-handed as usual, it's still not great. Also there's PPD, and it's delivered by Mr. Hat's fucking awful girlfriend.

    I think she's the character from the XKCD canon I hate the most. She's responsible for finally neutering Mr. Hat, his awful overshot attempt at a comeback which turned him into a crazy psychopath, and being essentially exactly the same character as Mr. Hat. Granted, there aren't a lot of recurring characters in XKCD, but from the two that have a personality, she's the worst.

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  24. breadpig project: 100% of profits donated to The Mercy Corps to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by building strong communities that don't even need superheroes to protect them (Gotham, we're looking at you).

    -----

    So it's a dick move to have the profits of the shirt donated to a worthy cause.

    I know that this is dubious legally, but there's been bigger rip off shirts made before, and more to the point, I don't think the makers of The Simpsons, one of the longest running cartoons in the world, is starving to death over one lousy T-shirt.

    Hell, even their writers make damn good pay for the shitty content they've been putting out so far.

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  25. "So it's a dick move to have the profits of the shirt donated to a worthy cause."

    Yes, because that's exactly what I'm not saying at all. So next time you think you need to make another astute observation like that, maybe you can just shut the fuck up, and fuck off instead.

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  26. I love how Venn diagrams are considered geeky all of a sudden. Might as well consider the alphabet geeky, and paint-by-numbers, since we learned all of them in fucking preschool.

    People say Randall doesn't put effort into the comics, but I have to wonder what the hell does he do the rest of the time. We haven't seen jokes involving "math and science" beyond high school level for a while. Did he stop learning math and science? It sure feels that way. It feels like he's forgetting what he knew before.

    In fact, from the past hundred comics, it feels like he just spends his days reading superficial crap on the internet.

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  27. To be fair, if I could make a living churning out three mediocre stick figure comics a week, I'd spend all of my time reading superficial crap on the internet too.

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  28. If you steal from the rich and give to the poor, you're still stealing from the rich.

    Argue as you want that their goal is a noble one, but in the end it's the same slippery-slope philosophy of 'the end justifies the means', and I think only few people actually stand for that.

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  29. So here we have black hat guy going from classhole to brutal murderer (again). What did he expect to happen, exactly? No shit sherlock (and you stay out of this, Sherlock Holmes), of course the professor is going to die horribly.

    The end joke appears to be "hey, what if all these theoretical zero-friction and vacuum thingies they talked about during theoretical experiements were REAL?! And black hat guy put a physics guy in there to compare it to the theoretical shit or something!1!!"

    This comic is bad on so many levels.

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  30. --"Unexpected brutality on behalf of Black Hat Guy, actually. It's kind of shocking to see him actually kill a dude just for the sake of a doofy joke."

    Hello? "Hey, have you seen my crossbow?"
    http://xkcd.com/190/

    BHG has never been averse to brutality.

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  31. With regards to the new shirt, it does seem like a bit of a dick move, but the issue more concerning me is where the profits from shipping costs go. ($21 to Australia FTW)

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  32. The latest strip is pretty nicely executed, and the work with stick figures is pretty impressive. But what is the humour supposed to be? Finding humour in the hat guy's murders is sort of similar to finding reward and reflection on Jigsaw's traps from the Saw series: superficially enjoyable, but completely hollow. It has already been established that he's cause tragedy and death for sheer, non-justified fun. If Randall is still milking that source, it's because the humour is to be found in the *justification*. And what is it this time? Misinterpreting common scientific concepts? Come on, Randall, grow up already: science can be fun WITHOUT turning it into a kindergarten battleground.

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  33. There was also the nerd sniping thing of course, where he tried to get people run over. I don't know, I still see the difference between violence for the sake of something humorous and violence because the violence is supposed to be humorous.

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  34. I agree completely with Fernie. It's the same reason I never liked Saturday morning cartoons. The way those characters treated each other was not only morally reprehensible, but finding humor in it is a character flaw.

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  35. I dare you sell "Citation Needed" shirts on this site. I'm sure Randall will understand.

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  36. I don't understand the purpose of laptop in the latest comic. It just sits there right in the middle without any justification for its existence. It's like Chekhov's gun that doesn't shoot. He could at least make its screen boil or something (I have no idea if that's what would happen, but Randall, being a former NASA employee should know a thing or two about behavior of laptops in vacuum).

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  37. "The way those characters treated each other was not only morally reprehensible, but finding humor in it is a character flaw."

    How did you read THAT in my post?

    I'm questioning whether the reason for the hat guy's prank is humourous (I think it isn't), or if the execution of the prank is in itself is humourous (it may be, but I think it's overdone). Stop reading only the things you WANT to read in other people's posts, just to justify your snark.

    The reasoning of the prank is stupid, wannabe geeky "science is funny" shit. And for moral questions, don't throw that shit on me: I'm a fan of Woody Woodpecker and of the coyote from Road Runner.

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  38. Why are you all so sure that the guy was murdered? Unless I'm missing something about frictionless vacuums, the guy could have been knocked out or just given up out of desperation.

    Also, didn't he misspell vacuums by adding an extra 'c'?

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  39. --"Unless I'm missing something about frictionless vacuums,"

    If you think anyone could survive in one without an airtight suit, you're missing something about frictionless vacuums.

    --"If Randall is still milking that source, it's because the humour is to be found in the *justification*. And what is it this time?"

    BHG's murder-humor has been derived from literal/over-the-top interpretations of common ideas. You wanna change the demographics, well, change the demographics! You wanna work in a frictionless vacuum, well, work in a frictionless vacuum! etc.

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  40. From Wikipedia:

    "Humans and animals exposed to vacuum will lose consciousness after a few seconds and die of hypoxia within minutes"

    "Animal experiments show that rapid and complete recovery is normal for exposures shorter than 90 seconds, while longer full-body exposures are fatal and resuscitation has never been successful. There is only a limited amount of data available from human accidents, but it is consistent with animal data."

    Based on that it is possible that the professor survived (assuming that he was rescued fast enough), but given that the black hat guy / girl are just standing there watching, that seems unlikely.

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  41. Technically, he could just be unconcious. It depends on how much time has passed. If they repressurize within 20 seconds or so he'll still be okay. You don't die instantly in a vacuum.

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  42. What's with BHG's pranks being based on physical impossibilities (y'know, things that can't actually happen) these days? There was the silent hammer, and now he's capable of casually creating a perfect vacuum and a frictionless surface. For his next trick, he should wave his magic wand and turn somebody into a newt.

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  43. what the heck is a pandora?

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  44. Gee, I don't know. It's impossible to look up with a few seconds of searching, and there is next to no context to suggest what it might be. I mean, the comic seems to be about music, and it is specifically stated on two occasions that "Pandora plays music", but these enigmatic clues are too vague to hazard a guess at what Pandora could possibly be.

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  45. lol did you seriously write a whole blog about how you didn't like a free online comic that was completely optional for you to read? I mean, I get the 'I saw it and I didn't like it', but to go into such great detail about how much and why you didn't like it... doesn't that seem like a bit much for a media that you could choose to not read if you wanted to?

    Anyway, you're funny. Who does that? lol. Spaz down, man. It's the internet. People will make stick figure comics and some people will like them. No need to get all jealous and angry because he's successful.

    Or just keep being resentful and living in your little community of other angry masochistic (I can only think you are, since you continue reading a comic you hate so much... lol) trolls.

    How silly.

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  46. Wow, he's right, we could just stop reading it! It's so simple!

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  47. lol did you seriously write a whole post about how you didn't like a free online blog that was completely optional for you to read? I mean, I get the 'I saw it and I didn't like it', but to go into such great detail about how much and why you didn't like it... doesn't that seem like a bit much for a media that you could choose to not read if you wanted to?

    Anyway, you're funny. Who does that? lol. Spaz down, man. It's the internet. People will make crticisms of stick figure comics and some people will like them. No need to get all jealous and angry because he's successful.

    Or just keep being resentful and living in your little community of other angry masochistic (I can only think you are, since you continue reading a blog you hate so much... lol) trolls.

    How silly.

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  48. It's a minor thing, but if a guy in a frictionless environment falls over backwards, shouldn't he then slide backwards until he hits a wall and bounces?

    Also minor but while I'm on it, how he he manage to successfully stand up between the first and second panel? Or was he already on his feet while blacked out?

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  49. lol did you seriously write a whole post about how you didn't like a free online blog that was completely optional for you to read? I mean, I get the 'I saw it and I didn't like it', but to go into such great detail about how much and why you didn't like it... doesn't that seem like a bit much for a media that you could choose to not read if you wanted to?

    Anyway, you're funny. Who does that? lol. Spaz down, man. It's the internet. People will make crticisms of stick figure comics and some people will like them. No need to get all jealous and angry because he's successful.

    Or just keep being resentful and living in your little community of other angry masochistic (I can only think you are, since you continue reading a blog you hate so much... lol) trolls.

    How silly.

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  50. lol did you seriously write a whole post about how you didn't like a free online blog that was completely optional for you to read? I mean, I get the 'I saw it and I didn't like it', but to go into such great detail about how much and why you didn't like it... doesn't that seem like a bit much for a media that you could choose to not read if you wanted to?

    Anyway, you're funny. Who does that? lol. Spaz down, man. It's the internet. People will make crticisms of stick figure comics and some people will like them. No need to get all jealous and angry because he's successful.

    Or just keep being resentful and living in your little community of other angry masochistic (I can only think you are, since you continue reading a blog you hate so much... lol) trolls.

    How silly.

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  51. lol did you seriously write a whole post about how you didn't like a free online blog that was completely optional for you to read? I mean, I get the 'I saw it and I didn't like it', but to go into such great detail about how much and why you didn't like it... doesn't that seem like a bit much for a media that you could choose to not read if you wanted to?

    Anyway, you're funny. Who does that? lol. Spaz down, man. It's the internet. People will make crticisms of stick figure comics and some people will like them. No need to get all jealous and angry because he's successful.

    Or just keep being resentful and living in your little community of other angry masochistic (I can only think you are, since you continue reading a blog you hate so much... lol) trolls.

    How silly.

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  52. He's already up. The vacuum is created in the third panel: That's what the Fwoosh sound and the disappearing words in his speech bubble mean.

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  53. lol did you seriously write a whole post about how you didn't like a free online blog that was completely optional for you to read? I mean, I get the 'I saw it and I didn't like it', but to go into such great detail about how much and why you didn't like it... doesn't that seem like a bit much for a media that you could choose to not read if you wanted to?

    Anyway, you're funny. Who does that? lol. Spaz down, man. It's the internet. People will make crticisms of stick figure comics and some people will like them. No need to get all jealous and angry because he's successful.

    Or just keep being resentful and living in your little community of other angry masochistic (I can only think you are, since you continue reading a blog you hate so much... lol) trolls.

    How silly.

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  54. No Ken, That would violate conservation of momentum, noob.

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  55. Dont know if this was posted by someone, but spider pig wasnt created by people working on the simpsons movie. It was an actual comic, produced for kids, by Marvel. Although he was called Spider-Ham (Peter Porker) the idea is the same.

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  56. Carl, I think it's time to hush the cuddlefish. This is becoming annoying. Seriously.

    And to heck for those who think "this is unnecessary" is a stupid comment: the laptop and Ms. Hat are completely unnecessary. Seriously, why is that laptop even there? I admit, it distracted me.

    All in all, good comic, though made me a little uncomfortable... even more so when I consider the idea that the scientist is passing out in vacuum and then the air is restored, until he wakes up again... Critically, it's good that Randall is turning to the "show, don't tell" way of doing comics, and that's Black Hat Man after all, but I still say it's a bit disturbing.

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  57. "He's already up. The vacuum is created in the third panel."

    Sure, but the floors couldn't have been made frictionless by the whooshing. They would have had to already been so.


    "No Ken, That would violate conservation of momentum, noob."

    It's been a while since I took physics, but I think the other way around is true. He feel at an angle, so there was some horizontal momentum. Without friction, that momentum should have continued.

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  58. "why is that laptop even there?"

    So you can tell he isn't getting anywhere when he tries to run. Still, it is a clunky choice of how to show this.

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  59. "It's a minor thing, but if a guy in a frictionless environment falls over backwards, shouldn't he then slide backwards until he hits a wall and bounces?"

    It's a moment, innit? Or torque or whatever. His head goes back, but his feet go forward.

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  60. Ken, he started in a static position; any momentum he gains in one direction must be equally gained in the opposite direction.


    Hey, I liked this comic. It's a decent pun and pretty well done. The laptop and dialogue didn't bother me at all. Complaints of implausibility are pretty weak; vacuums are entirely plausible, and a near frictionless surface can be created.

    However, the dome shape really does seem wrong; the base seems to stop abruptly when it should be a perfect circle (unless it's some weird non-dome shape that I don't understand)

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  61. I like the latest science comic, perhaps because it's one of the only one's that I have actually experienced IRL

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  62. He can use gravity to his advantage. If he's on a frictionless slope, which way will he go? I'm with Ken on this one.

    Also, I expected to see some heads explode, but alas...

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  63. alex: What slope?

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  64. The simplest explanation of why he doesn't slide back I can think of (other than the conservation of momentum mentioned above) is that in order to move backwards he would need to generate force by pushing foward on the ground. There is no friction, so he can't generate that force.

    He falls back without generating a backwards momentum because his feet move fowards, balancing out the movement of his top half.

    This discussion is reminding me of the arguments over plane on a treadmill.

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  65. Seriously, someone figure out how he would be sliding backward without violating conservation of momentum.

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  66. Mal,

    He exhaled while trying to speak. The expulsion of gas would have propelled him backwards. Very slowly. He could also throw something.

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  67. in ADOM there is a frictionless level, and a potion called the potion of uselessness. you move by finding things to throw. if you throw the potion of uselessness to move your god rewards you for finding a use for it.

    FUN FACTS

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  68. Okay, sure. We can see he didn't throw anything, so if he moves backward at all, it's by the rocket propulsion of his own breath. Somehow, I don't think that's what the "yeah he'd TOTALLY start sliding around" people are saying.

    Another possibility is that the rapid expulsion of the air had some effect on his motion, but I'm not sure off the top of my head what effect that would be.

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  69. Rob -- I am totally going to get that game right now. Thank you for that.

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  70. ...fffff i just got it.

    The laptop's there because the scientist is supposed to be working.

    And what would a scientist work with? A laptop!

    ...bah. That element is badly executed. I liked the general joke, though.

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  71. @Ken:

    The momentum he had from falling was rotational momentum, which is a different beast from translational momentum. In terms of translational momentum, the top of him has backward momentum, the bottom of him has forward momentum, and on average he has no momentum (except downward, from gravity), so no, he would not slide, he would just have his top and bottom parts exchange momentum to be 0 everywhere again. Assuming he still has internal friction; otherwise he'll just disintegrate in an interesting fashion that I haven't thought through and don't really care to.

    @Femalethoth:

    Aside from breath rocket propulsion, it could also work if the floor was not perfectly level. At an angle gravity will obviously accelerate him, and on a curved or angle frictionless surface you can still propel yourself to some degree.

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  72. @Michael -- Yes, he'd definitely slide if the floor were not level. But this is all pretty much completely irrelevant to an appreciation of the comic. Come on.

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  73. I like to consider myself a reasonably intellegent person, but I cannot understand that graph for the life of me. Is it meant to be like a colour diagram ie (blue(green)yellow). It doesn't make any sense. My head hurts!

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  74. The diagram really isn't wrong, it's just awkward since the left circle is portraying two different categories. "Music you like" and "What Pandora plays". The awkwardness comes in when he's trying to convey that Pandora will only play the overlapping half (The embarassing songs you like) when someone is around.

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  75. @Ken: The most common occurrence of a frictionless surface is ice. It's not totally frictionless, but it's close enough, and it was used in more than a couple of my physics homework problems. If you know that you're on your ice, and tread carefully, you can stand and walk on it very easily. When the vacuum went off, I'd imagine he panicked and tried running somewhere, which is why he fell.

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  76. This comic sucks. Hard.

    Not only that it has already been stated a dozen million times, it is also completely irrelevant (it plays corny music at the wrong time... and so ? Is it that much important ? Is it something so big you have to point it out ? Who cares about that ?)

    And furthermore, I've really had enough of all these chart comics. It has been done so many times, in so many webcomics, it's not even funny anymore.

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  77. ITS ONLY DONE IN SO MANY WEBCOMICS BECAUSE XKCD STARTED IT SO ITS REALLY XKCDS UNIQUE STYYYYYYLE

    Anyway, Jay, I guess I only agree with you that the graph is good enough to get across the point that "Pandora plays embarrassing music when people are around" but the multiply-labelled sets and inconsistent formatting and stuff is just weird and I don't see how removing that isn't an improvement.

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  78. You learn Venn Diagrams in what, like 8th grade geometry? There's no excuse for Randall's sloppy labeling. THE UNIVERSE HAS TWO LABELS THAT ISN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN WHAT THE FUCK

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  79. First, it's not a graph, it's a goddamn fucking Venn Diagram.

    Second, there is no suggested disjoint - if there were a disjoint between what Pandora plays when people are around and what Pandora plays, then Pandora plays when people are around wouldn't be a fucking subset of what Pandora plays.

    Third, relabeling the set isn't wrong, because it's fucking accurate. He should never have labeled it twice to begin with, as if one is assuming that the reader knows what Pandora is (which Rnadall clearly is doing, although one could gather from inference I suppose) then it's fairly safe to say that the reader also knows how it works, and saying that the music it plays and the music you like are the same is redundant. (And if you don't know what Pandora is, and are too stupid to figure it out from the context clues, looking it up is an option - in which case you *still* figure out both what it is and what it does)

    All at Anonymous 10:35, the idiot.

    (Also, might just be me, but I can't seem to get two spaces in a row, or to be able to navigate within the text box here using the arrow keys - just me, or is it a widespread and/or known issue?

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  80. Fred: I think you mean bootleg shirts with *Marvel* characters on them.

    Femalethoth: Lots of comics have "dialogue after the punchline." Most of them do it better, I will gladly acknowledge. I just find it odd to see people demand spare minimalism in their entertainment. Wouldn't that naturally lead to comics about people with no eyes or mouths? That would be pretty lame.

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  81. The Spiderpig shirt is a shirt by XKCD's publisher Breadpig and has nothing to do with XKCD as a comic. The Breadpig store is hosted on the XKCD store site. In fact, it's likely that Alexis Ohanian, of Breadpig and founder of reddit.com, designed the shirt.

    Other than that, pretty lame shirt.

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  82. Femalethoth: Lots of comics have "dialogue after the punchline." Most of them do it better, I will gladly acknowledge. I just find it odd to see people demand spare minimalism in their entertainment. Wouldn't that naturally lead to comics about people with no eyes or mouths? That would be pretty lame.

    Ugh. Ugh. What a misunderstanding. We are not advocating absolute minimalism. We are discouraging wasteful excess. Surely you can tell the difference?

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  83. I don't see the "They're such liars" comment as wasteful excess...

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  84. That's because you're an idiot. Shut up, Math Mage. Yes, this is an ad hominem attack, in case anyone wasn't 100% clear.

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  85. The ad hominem fallacy only applies if you use the slander against the individual in question as a logical foundation for refuting their argument. Calling someone a fuckwad is not a logical fallacy or an ad hominem in and of itself.

    In related news, Math_Mage is a fuckwad.

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  86. Mal can't formulate a proper Ad Hominem attack. Therefore, he must be wrong and Math Mage must be right.


    ps is there a lamer kind of mage than a math mage? NO.

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  87. The xkcdomancer. He just summons xkcd strips

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  88. ewwwwwww.

    Necrocomicon, which kills all your favorite comics (nooooo PBF! why did you have to die?? WHY COULDN'T GOD TAKE ME INSTEAD????)

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  89. Math mage is awesome.

    On related news, Zelda is awesome! Has anyone played legend of Zelda? OF COURSE I am so hyped

    So this guy in green runs around stabbing jellies and bats and dogs and then he goes back in time WHOOOOOOSH then he's young. Woah! He can do no shit anymore so it's harder! Then you fight all these bosses and collect disembodied hearts (gross? ITS AWESOME!) and beat this... um pig-guy and you win.

    I love being anonymous. It pisses people off that they don't know me, I might be a regular commenter on this blog or not, and they have to go like "hey anon 78:4, you are a silly douchebag" Can also someone tell me how that number system works? I really wanna know

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  90. Whoever says fuckwad is a fuckwad. DAMMIT

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  91. So have you guys ever played I Wanna Be The Guy? Basically you're a kid with a cape and a gun who's trying to be The Guy. There's also these giant cherry/apple things called delicious fruit. It's a pretty awesome game you should play it.

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  92. IWBtG is an amusing joke about old-school games that people took way too seriously.

    Captcha: quangst - the smallest possible unit of angst

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  93. About the shirt. That's not in the XKCD store, that's god knows where, but store.xkcd.com does not offer that for sale. what the hell have you been smoking?

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  94. maybe I am smoking DRUGS!

    here, i'll show you the URL:

    http://store.xkcd.com/breadpig/#spiderpigtshirtspiderpigglowsinthedark

    Do you see that first part? The part that says "store.xkcd.com" ? That is the part where you know that store.xkcd.com is selling the shirt. If you have a question about it, you e-mail orders@xkcd.com. Would you care to elaborate on your contention that the xkcd store is not selling a spiderpig shirt?

    Unless you weren't talking to me, in which case I apologize, and offer only the following feeble excuse: I thought you were talking to me.

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  95. Wow... this is the only xkcd comic that i would have agreed with you if you said it sucked. You are full of surprises.

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