December 7, 2019

XKCD Web Comic #1080: Visual Field (described)

A web comic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

New: what-if.xkcd.com
This week: How long would humans last in a robot apocalypse?

Scene: A chart is divided into four quadrants and seven concentric circles. The circles become more widely spaced as they get bigger and are labeled “2 degrees,” “3 degrees,” “4 degrees,” “5 degrees,” then jump to “10 degrees,” “20 degrees,” and “30 degrees.”  At the top of the chart is a centered drawing of a rolled-up sheet of paper that equals about 55 total horizontal degrees of the chart. Above the drawing are instructions that read “Look at center with your eyes this far from the screen.” Arrows on either side of the print point at the ends of the drawing. Below the drawing, the instructions continue with “(you can roll up a piece of paper and cut it–or zoom the page–so it matches this image.)”

In the upper left quadrant, there are two very small circles, placed between the 5 and the 10 degree circles. The upper one is close to the 10 degree mark and is labeled “Moon.” The lower one is about halfway between the two degree markings and is labeled “Supermoon.”

A large title in the upper left of the quadrant reads “Your Central Visual Field.” Below the title, on the left, is a panel with a drawing labeled “How to View.” The drawing is a side view of a pony-tailed stick figure holding a rolled up piece of paper  like a straw and using it to space the distance between her forehead and a view screen displaying this XKCD comic. In the center of the quadrant, a caption reads “Color Vision: We don’t see much color outside the center of our vision–our brains keep track of what color things are and fill it in for us.

Beneath this caption are several drawings of the Red-Green-Blue circles (three circles clumped together like a molecule) coming out in a line to the left from the center. As each drawing gets farther from the center, it has less and less color until, by the time they get to the 20 degree circle, they are almost completely colorless, except for a faint bit of blue in one circle. A caption with arrows pointing to the drawings reads “Saturation indicates color receptor density.”

The lower left quadrant is divided into three rays of blue, red, and green radiating from the center. The blue ray is at the top of the quadrant and goes all the way to to the edge, but the red and the green rays stop before they get to the 10 degree circle. A caption pointing to the blue ray and the faint blue circles in the quadrant above reads “We have few blue-sensitive cone cells, but they’re found out to the edge of our vision.”

Within the ray of blue is a white squiggly spot labeled “Blue-Sky Sprites: These tiny, darting bright spots, visible against smooth blue backgrounds, are white cells moving in the blood vessels over the retina.”

Near the center of the chart are larger, faintly gray squiggles labeled “Floaters: Some types of Floaters are caused by breakdown of your eyeball goop as you age, but this type is some other kind of debris near the retina I don’t know what.”

In the upper right quadrant, a caption reads

“Detail

We only see at high resolution over a small area in the center of our vision where retinal cells are densest (the Fovea).

If you stare at the center of this chart, your eyes are seeing all these panels at roughly the same level of detail.”

Beneath the caption, seven copies of the same panel, a drawing of two stick figures standing close together, radiate out to the right. The panels, labeled “Normal Light,” start out tiny at the center and double in size at approximately each degree marking.

The Lower Right Quadrant has the same repeated drawing radiating to the right, but with a much darker background and labeled “Low Light.” These panels look almost black at the center and lighten as they get farther out.

A caption in the center of this quadrant reads “Night Vision

Cone cells (sharp, central color vision) don’t work in low light, but red cells (monochrome, low-res, non-central) do. This is why you can walk around in dim light, but not read. It’s also why you can spot fainter stars by looking next to them.”

On the line between the lower left and right quadrants, there is an inset of the center of the quadrants, captioned “Humans can see polarization–stare at a white area on an LCD display while rotating it (or your head) like this : (drawing of a LCD screen with double-headed arrows on either side pointing up and down)(fast). Polarization direction is shown by a faint central yellow/blue shape. (Also visible in deep blue skies.)

On the line between the upper and lower quadrants, midway between the center and the outer edges, are two dotted circles, one on the left and one on the right. The right one is labeled “Right Eye Blind Spot.” The left one is labeled “Left Eye Blind Spot” with an asterisk. At the bottom of the lower left quadrant is the asterisk referece which reads “Not Pictured: T-Boz Blind Spot, Chilli Blind Spot.”

Hover text: I recently learned something that solved a mystery that had bugged me since childhood–why, when I looked at an analog clock, the hand would sometimes seem to take a couple seconds to start ticking. Google “stopped clock illusion.”

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

XKCD Web Comic #1079: United Shapes (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

There’s a larger version of this map here! It’s also available as a poster.

New: what-if.xkcd.com: abusing science to answer hypothetical questions.
I’ll answer a new reader question every Tuesday.

 

Scene: A map of the United States of America. Each state is filled with an object that is approximately the same shape as the state. Washington State has a whale with the head and body forming the eastern and middle portion and the tale flipping up to form Puget Sound. Oregon has a train, California has an old-style bag vacuum cleaner (possibly a Eureka?), with the handle pointing down toward Mexico. Idaho is a seated lawn gnome, with his hat forming the high skinny part and his boots the eastern part. Nevada is a steam iron pointing down toward Arizona, which is a deli case on its side, a couple of baskets of bread sitting on top forming the squiggly bits on the western border. Montana is half of a muffin on its side, Wyoming is a square white envelope sealed with red wax with a heart and Randall Munroe’s signature in the lower left corner, and Utah is a stove with the door facing east and the control panel across the back creating the sticking-up bit.

Colorado is this Wikipedia entry:

Article

Colorado

Colorado (Pronounced ['e:ija,fiatlajce:kyt!] is a US State encompassing portions of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. The region has been inhabited since at least 11,000 BCE, and some archaeological evidence suggest the state–with roughtly its curent borders–has literally always existed. Colorado is separated from Wyoming by a 28-mile demilitarized zone, and has at times exercised substantial regional power vi the installation of puppet governments in neighboring states.

Geographically, Colorado is eleven-dimensional, though seven of those dimensions are tightly compacted and difficult to detect in most areas of the state. Colorado is home to the nation’s oldest continually-operated wormhole and two of President Lincoln’s horcruxes.

The wildlife in Colorado is commonly characterized as “erratic,” particularly in the radiation zones around Longmont. The state’s timber wolf population is largely bipedal; the Park Service has expressed “concern” at their attempts to enroll in…

The rest is off the “page.” In a box in the bottom left of the “Wikipedia page” is the title “State of Colorado,” with the state flag and seal below. Under is the Motto: “Si parare possis, vivere septem.” translated as (With preparation, survival is possible for over a week.)

New Mexico is an upside down canister of toxic waste with a label that reads “This end up!! Property of White Sands Missile Range. Contains White Sand. FLAMMABLE. Warning: This product contains chemicals known only to the state of Nevada. Contents under pressure from parents. If swallowed, induce labor. 56 fluid ounces and 14 other ounces.”

North and South Dakota together are filled with a large stereo speaker, the kind with the top half slanting back, and Nebraska is a van headed east with large, mattress-like items sticking out of the back. Kansas is a spinet style piano. Oklahoma is a pot boiling over, with the handle in, naturally, the panhandle. Texas is a large, sideways dog, with one ear forming Big Bend, a large nose filling the panhandle, and the tail down around Houston. A bowl at the dog’s feet forms the eastern border.

Minnesota is filled with a bundle of cash on end, the band around the middle causing the bundle to bow, the top ends of the bills flaring out to fill the wide part at the top. Iowa is a side view of a really nice-looking  roast beef sandwich with thick bread, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Missouri is filled with the shape of the state of Georgia, which is labeled “Georgia” with a drawing of two peaches on a branch. Arkansas is a glass measuring cup. Louisiana is a boot with gum stuck to the sole.

Wisconsin has a human skull, looking east. Illinois has an upside-down gangster holding a violin case. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is an eagle with outspread wings, the other part is, of course, a mitten. Illinois is the head of an artist’s paintbrush, bristles down, and Kentucky is a fluffy white cloud. Tennessee is an uneven stack of books: Where’s Waldo, The Wreck of the Zephyr, The Way Things Work, Free Fall, Paddle-to-the-Sea,What It Feels Like to Be a Building, Tintin and The Crab with the Golden Claws. Mississippi and Alabama are back-to-back Easter Island statues.

Ohio is a pair of tightie-whities, West Virginia is a top-view of a tree frog, Virginia is a stegosaurus, North Carolina is a horizontal bouquet of dogwood flowers, South Carolina is a piece of pepperoni pizza, and Alabama is filled with the shape of the state of Missouri, labeled “Missouri” with a drawing of the St. Louis Arch.

Florida is an eggplant.

Maryland is an upside-down wolf howling at half a moon, with a star at its back marking D.C. Delaware is a meerkat on its hindlegs. New Jersey is an elderly man with his head thrust forward towards the west, Pennsylvania is an end-on view of a large tome, New York is a complicated piece of machinery on its side, filled with lots of gears. Connecticut is a conductor’s cap with the bill to the west, Rhode island is a wooden ship sailing south, and Massachusetts is a guy riding a tea barge with an elephant for a figurehead.

Vermont is an upside-down microscope, New Hampshire is a factory building with smoke coming out the top and Maine is a hand performing the Vulcan Live-long-and-prosper salute.

Alaska is a western-facing bear wearing a jetpack and pointing a ray gun and the Hawaiian Islands are formed by clumps of snow.

Hover text: That eggplant is in something of a flaccid state.

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

XKCD Web Comic #1078: Knights (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

New: what-if.xkcd.com: abusing science to answer hypothetical questions. I’ll answer a new reader question every Tuesday.

 

Scene: A chessboard set up with white on the left and black on the right. All of the black pawns are armed with bows and arrows. Both of the white knights have been moved out of their starting positions and are lying on the board with arrows sticking out of them. A few random arrows stick up out of the chessboard nearby.

Caption

The Agincourt Gambit

Hover text: 1. Nf3 … ↘↘↘ 2. Nc3 … ↘↘↘ 0-1

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

XKCD Web Comic #1077: Home Organization (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

 

New: what-if.xkcd.com: abusing science to answer hypothetical questions.
I’ll answer a new reader question every Tuesday.

 

 

Scene: A large empty room. Seated on the floor on the left side, a stick figure is typing on a laptop. On the opposite wall, a modem and a wireless router are also on the floor, plugged into an outlet on the wall. In the center of the room is an enormous box, piled high with lamps. tables, chairs, a bookcase, a broom, etc.  The side of the box is marked with large letters that read: MISC

Caption

Home Organization Tip: Just give up.

Hover text: Lifehacking!

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

XKCD Web Comic #1076: Groundhog Day (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

New: what-if.xkcd.com: abusing science to answer hypothetical questions.
I’ll answer a new reader question every Tuesday.

 

Panel One: Drawing of a couple in a bed, under the covers. Lines around the bed indicate that it is shaking.

Caption

Groundhog Day didn’t really end that way.

When Bill Murray finally slept with Rita, it didn’t break the loop.

Panel Two: Drawing of three identical shaking beds in a row.

Caption

They just kept having sex, night after night, February 2nd after February 2nd. . .

Drawing of a never-ending queue of Feb 2 calendar pages

. . .Forever

Panel Three

But nothing is forever.

Not even forever.

Panel Four: A calendar page for Feb 3

And the day after that sexual infinity was February 3rd.

Panel Five: A bright white light on a black background

Caption

264 days later (the length of a pregnancy) was October 23rd–

Bishop Ussher’s date for the birth of our world.

Hover text: If you closely examine the cosmic background radiation, you can pick up lingering echoes of “I Got You Babe.”

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

XKCD Web Comic #1075: Warning (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

 

Scene: A yellow American diamond-shaped highway warning sign.

Sign: You’re in a box on wheels hurtling along several times faster than evolution could possibly have prepared you to go.

Next 5 miles.

Hover text: Also possibly several miles beyond that.

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

XKCD Web Comic #1074: Moon Landing (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panel One: Drawing of a stick figure seated at a table with a laptop, facing right. A voice comes from off-panel left.

Person 1: Hah–Neil DeGrasse Tyson has a great reply to people who doubt astronauts went to the moon.

Person 2, Off-panel: Oh?

Person 1: “Atop 3,000 tons of rocket fuel, where else do you think they were headed?”

Panel Two:  A stick figure with long dark hair, talking to Person 1, who is now off-panel.

Person 2: Cute. – But it overlooks an even simpler argument.

Person 1, Off-panel: Which is?

Panel Three: Person 1 and Person 2 are both in the panel. Person 1 is standing on the left and Person 2  has turned the chair to look at Person 2.

Person 2:  If NASA were willing to fake great accomplishments, they’d have a second one by now.

Person 1: Ouch.

Person 2: …Too mean?

Person 1:  That burn was so harsh I think you deorbited.

Hover text:  Ok, so Spirit and Opportunity are pretty awesome. And Kepler. And New Horizons, Cassini, Curiosity, TiME, and Project M. But c’mon, if the Earth were a basketball, in 40 years no human’s been more than half an inch from the surface.

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

 

 

XKCD Web Comic #1073: Weekend (described)

A web comic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panel One: Side view of a stick figure standing behind a podium on a high stage. A sea of people are below.

Person 1: We all hate Mondays. We’re all working for the weekend – But our chains exist only in our minds.

Panel Two: Closer, three-quarters view of the stick figure behind a podium, with one hand raised.

Person 1: Calendars are just social consensus. – Nature doesn’t know the day of the week.

Panel Three: Closer still, head on view of stick figure behind podium.

Person 1: My friends–we can make today Saturday.

Panel Four: Even closer, white-on-black, head on view of stick figure.

Person 1: We can make it Saturday FOREVER.

Hover text: Of the two Garfields, you wouldn’t think the cat would turn out to be the more compelling presidential speechwriter, but there you go.

 

Warning: This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).