Today's xkcd (Height)

First off: Link
This one is covered in awesome sauce!

I especially liked the absurdity of having the Hat Guy dropping a cat off the 45 billion light year mark.

What I was hoping was that some smart Dopers would be able to help me with the in-jokes that I’m not getting from this:

First at the same height as Discovery from 2001 there’s a streamlined space ship, with the tag, “Hey, a heaping bowl of salt!” WHAT is that from?

Then, beyond the edge of the galaxy there appears to be a cat on a keyboard. Is that from anything in particular?

It’s Futurama’s Planet Express Ship but the line threw for a few moments until I remembered the episode where Bender served a bowl of salt.

Not as far as I know.

Thanks, Just Some Guy!

I was assuming the reference was to the “Great Salt Vampire” episode of Star Trek TOS. Thanks for the correction.

I like the Human Altitude Record.

First Place: Apollo 13

Second Place: Snoop Dogg

Apparently a weird internet meme - try googling Catonakeyboardinspace :smiley:

(I never heard of that before today - somebody mentioned it on the xkcd forum.)

Bender made the slug, with salt. The salt level was 10% less than lethal.

Fry: That’s the saltiest thing I’ve ever eaten! And I once at a heaping bowl of salt!

There’s so much awesome there that I am compelled to ask: Is there anything like this in a higher-quality format, suitable for hanging on a wall? (In other words, not a quickly-drawn cartoon, but a nice graphic, using actual images of galaxies, etc.)

And if not, who do we encourage to make one?

There is a forum for xkcd in which a number of people are asking Randall Munroe (the cartoonist/creator) for a door-sized poster of the cartoon. I just checked the xkcd Store section and about 3/4 way down I see that he has a 28” poster available for US$15.

Wow! Talk about a quick response from the artist.

Now that that bit of business is out of the way, some of the in-jokes I’ve noticed.

Near Betelgeuse is the name Ford Prefect, a main character from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who was from a planet circling that star.

A bit below that, near the star Arcturus, is listed “Missing WMDs.” I guess they have to be somewhere.

A little above Neptune is a reference to Discordia which I do not follow but many people do and will understand.

Just to the left of Saturn are asteroids along with the spaceship from the video game of the same name.

There are a few more that I can’t quite recall the reference, such as the spaceship(?) between the GPS satellites and the International Space Station.

Yeah, a great comic in awesome sauce.

This picture is similar but not cartoony.

It’s Discordianism added to the dwarf planet Eris. Hail Eris!

I’m meh over this. I appreciate the brainpower and the in-jokes, but perhaps the disconnect I feel is that 1) it’s simply not funny to insert references everywhere and 2) it must be the same feeling that some lurkers get when they don’t post here because of any in-jokes.

Oh yes. 3) Hi Opal.

Did you guys read the alt text? “Interestingly, on a true vertical log plot, I think the Eiffel Tower’s sides really would be straight lines.”

Anyone know if that’s true?

Can’t be. For that to be true, it would have to be infinitely wide at ground level. On a true log plot, zero is infinitely far off the bottom of the plot.


What is “In retrospect, they shouldn’t have sent a poet…I have no idea how to land” referring to? “They should have sent a poet” appears to be a Carl Sagan quote that was referenced in Contact, but I don’t really get the joke there.

Also the guy saying “Woo Python!” What does this refer to?

And what’re the dotted ovalesque lines around Mars and Venus about? I tried to make it fit some Men…Women, thing, but I’m stumped.

It’s not deep or anything. Yes, it’s from Contact, but all the comic strip is saying is they shouldn’t have sent a poet because a poet isn’t trained in operating a spacecraft like, say, an astronaut is.

This has little actual relevance to Contact, but there it is.

I would guess they represent the the relationship of the orbits of those planets to their distance from Earth. They’re close enough in astronomical terms that the variation in distance is relatively significant. The pointy part at the bottom would represent the closest approach to Earth.

Probably this strip, which greatly amuses me. :slight_smile: