­xkcd thread

Why is there a countdown timer at the top of the xkcd page?

JWT hitting L2?

Time to first light for JWST?

I believe it’s the time until the Yellowstone supervolcano blows. It looks like he left the years off, but it’s probably fine.

For real, it’s counting down to 1/31/2022 10:00 am EST, which is a very specific time for something science-related like a JWST milestone. So I’d guess some announcement about a book or new effort.

That will happen on the 23rd, so not that.

I wouldn’t expect that that early, but could be. Googling did not produce an expected date.

Just like \hbar is a tribute to Max Planck’s insatiable hunger for pairs of pies.

As we’ve discussed before, many of us played with blobs of mercury when we were children.

Some of us still do

Any guesses what he’s counting down to? Looks to be the end of the month, and what previously was just a diagonal line in the box now looks like an airliner vertical stabilizer.

It’s more than just a countdown. There is something “emerging” within that box as well.

Someone (of course) is compiling the set of images as it changes.


I’m still going with a book or content announcement. The images used by the countdown are in a folder whose name starts with “wi”, so maybe something connected to his What If columns. Podcast? YouTube series?

Anybody else think it now looks like an airplane wing?

I think more of an airplane tail, but it’s hard to say with just a couple of lines. Depends on how it is oriented and what the perspective is.

It looks like an airplane tail if you assume that we’re seeing most of it, but we don’t know how far it extends beyond the bottom of the frame. If it’s much longer, a wing would be a better fit.

Shark. Laser will show up next. Too easy.