xkcd raises the bar for comics

Today’s xkcd raises the bar for what is already a superb “comic” (or should I call it graphic art?). I’ve put a screenshot below, but you really need to go to the original site, for the words flash lighter or darker at the frequency with which the event they depict takes place.

Check out the ninth one down in the fourth column—amazing.

Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 4.44.06 AM

h/t: Grania

40 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    amazing.

  2. Jonathan Dore
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    A beautifully random selection of metrics. “A member of the UK parliament flushes a toilet” is my favourite.

    • RickB
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      There are some interesting juxtapositions.
      Compare the rates in the first two columns in row seven about production and recycling of plastic bottles.

      The differences in columns two and three in the first row is also ominous.

      • RickB
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        Sorry, this was supposed to be a stand alone comment, it has nothing to do with Jonathan Dore’s copmment

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I find it amusing that the parliament flush follows the magnitude 4 earthquake in that row.

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    The difference between row 1 column 2 and row 1 column 3 is not sustainable.
    Likewise (row,type) 7,1 vs 7,2 ; 7,5.
    And quite why 5,5 compared with 10,3 ?
    Randall Monroe, if I recall his name correctly, has a history of doing weird stuff with his images. But this time he’s KISS-ed it : just a table filled with GIFs (a “jraphics interchange format”, to keep Matthews pants un-twisted, like a Moebius strip). And they have “issues” with decades-long loops.

  4. Ross
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I liked “Someone in Denver orders a pizza “. I wonder how that frequency has changed since the legalization of marijuana.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Hmm, contemplating existence on the stream beds of the Rookies with a tummy full of pizza and ganja eyes. There has to be a correlation.

  5. George
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Please post a warning at the top of this post – “Make sure you are not eating or drinking anything while reading this.”

    I just got done cleaning my breakfast off the computer.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Looks like plastic bottle recycling is about 1:3, which is better than I wouldda thought, anyway.

  7. Kevin
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    It would have been nice to have seen, “Someone becomes an atheist.” And is that really the average heartbeat…wow I beat that by a lot, of course I just woke up and coffee is not in my blood.

    My favorite xkcd, passwords: http://xkcd.com/936/. It will serve people well.

    • Philip.Elliott
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      And the password generator based on it:

      http://preshing.com/20110811/xkcd-password-generator/

      • Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Careful…trusting somebody else to generate your passwords for you is generally not such a bright idea.

        This should work on any reasonably Unix-like system.

        for i in `jot 4`; do perl -e 'srand; rand($.) < 1 && ($line = $_) while <>; print $line;' < /usr/share/dict/words; done

        Change the first integer to the number of words you want.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Philip.Elliott
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Good point, but then should I also trust your code? I feel a conundrum building.

    • John Taylor
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Another nice one.

      http://xkcd.com/388/

      • Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        That is a good one. I did not agree with the placement of everything there, but it was still brilliant.

        • John Taylor
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          I agree that some of the placements are a little off but it perfectly captures the essence of the grapefruit.

  8. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Millisecond pulsars, now comics stuff! Who would’a thought it?

    • js
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 3:28 am | Permalink

      When I hear or read about crap such as ghosts or homeopathy or any other nonsense I get solace from thinking about millisecond pulsars. In the spirit of Tim Minchim I think, ‘Isn’t THIS enough? Just.. this.. world? Just this.. beautiful, complex. Wonderfully unfathomable.. natural.. world?’.
      Alright, I couldn’t remember the exact quote so I looked it up but you get the idea.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Wow amazing. My heart beats twice as fast as that one though, especially now that I’m having coffee. :)

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Oh.

      For a second there, I thought you were saying your heart beats twice as fast as the pulsar mentioned in Torbjörn’s comment above yours. I expect that 716 Hz X 2 X 60 sec/min = 85,920 bpm would be too fast to be diagnosed as fibrillation.

      Someone has already updated the wiki page for PSR J1748-2446ad to include the xkcd reference.

      From Ben’s link below, we see that the viscosity of pitch is estimated as 100 billion times more viscous than water. More than 83 years for 9 drops to form.

      There is something very special about the mind of Randall Munroe.

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Those dog & cat adoptions need to go up!!

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Especially the cats! :(

      • Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        …and the spay and neuter rates….

        b&

    • js
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 3:34 am | Permalink

      How many cats can one own before being classed as a crazy cat person? I would love to have more than the two I have already adopted but as I travel for work occasionally it costs me $110 per week each for boarding and there is also the strain on them from not being at home.

  11. Richard Bond
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Randall Munroe: the only cartoonist who understands Bonferrroni’s correction: https://xkcd.com/882/ and https://xkcd.com/628/ .

  12. Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    The rollover message is mysterious. What is the ‘pitch drop experiment’?

  13. Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on CancerEvo.

  14. Marlon
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    It would have been funny if next to “A DOG BITES SOMEONE IN THE US” he had shown “A DOG BITES SOMEONE IN THE ASS”

    But maybe that’s just me.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      No you’re right, ass would’ve kicked it up a notch!

  15. Florian
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I was pretty sure that the ninth one down in the fourth column was going to be the adopt a cat one. But i was wrong. :)

    -Florian

  16. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    So each piece of text is a separate GIF with its own repeat frequency. Obvious when you know how. BUT – it takes some really cool thinking to come up with the idea.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      Really cool thinking is something Munroe has shown himself capable of, over and over again, including a facility for using coding in his images.

  17. js
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Not enough people are buying vibrators.


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