Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Title text: I had some important research to do on proposed interstellar space missions, basketball statistics, canceled skyscrapers, and every article linked from "Women in warfare and the military in the 19th century."
Jet lag is a physiological condition widely attributed to the effect of changing one's longitude fast enough that one's "body clock" is unable to adapt to the official clock. (The actual causes are somewhat more complex, and may be influenced by the cramped conditions on the airplane. The effect of travel between the east coast of North America and the west coast of South America, which are at nearly the same longitude, and differ by only one hour in official clock time, is much more severe than the effects of setting clocks ahead an hour in the spring and behind an hour in the fall. Some White House staffers get jet lag when they travel on commercial flights but not when they travel on Air Force One.) Symptoms include a sleep cycle which does not match the solar cycle as it usually would.
Hairy, representing Randall, has just woken up at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and Ponytail mentions he must be still jet lagged (possibly from a recent trip). Hairy then accidentally public confesses that he has actually been up to some late-night Wikipedia browsing and reading about maritime disasters.
In the caption Randall confesses that he loves traveling, because he can then use jet lag as a nice excuse for what is actually his usual messed up sleep cycle.
In the title text, Randall states that he had to do some important research. But what he lists, are clearly also just topics he read in Wikipedia: proposed interstellar space missions, basketball statistics, canceled skyscrapers, and every article linked from "Women in warfare and the military in the 19th century." Randall has earlier illustrated this issue in 214: The Problem with Wikipedia.
Randall has previously discussed his oft-changing sleep cycle in 320: 28-Hour Day and 448: Good Morning, and has alluded to it more subtly in 68: Five Thirty, 92: Sunrise, and 776: Still No Sleep. We can thus see that this is a habit of Randall's that has persisted for more than a decade, as has his obsession with Wikipedia.
- [Hairy, with more messed up hair than usual, is rubbing his eyes while small "sleepy" bubbles form over his head, while walking towards Ponytail.]
- Hairy: Sorry, I just woke up.
- Ponytail: It's 3 PM! ...Oh, of course, you're still jet lagged.
- Hairy: I-yeah, that's it! I definitely didn't spend half the night reading Wikipedia articles about random maritime disasters.
- [Caption below the panel:]
- I love traveling, because my sleep schedule is as messed up as always, but suddenly I have an excuse.
- Randall was doing events in Great Britain the week before this comic was published, early October 2017.
- This is likely where he got the idea for this comic.
- 3 pm in the UK would equal 10 am in the eastern US where Randall lives.
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I am very, very disappointed that this space does not yet contain a list of all the wiki articles he could have been reading according to the title text.
Are we all still boggling at the list of cancelled skyscrapers? --Angel (talk) 13:52, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
(No exact match found)
(78 articles referenced. Have fun!)
I corrected "Jet Lag is a psychological condition" to "Jet Lag is a physiological condition". I'll assume that was a typo, as one's body suddenly finding itself on the wrong side of the planet is definitely not a psychosomatic illness.
184.108.40.206 23:54, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Also… is Hairy supposed to represent Randall here? Unless I'm confused, he was in the UK a couple of days ago [though he'd have been travelling in the wrong direction to be waking up at 3pm], so could justify jet-lag (and could be just my perception but it seems this comic was posted later than usual, as if he overslept) --Angel (talk) 14:45, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
"rare comic featuring Randall", really? Just about EVERY comic features Randall, LOL! Some to a greater degree than others, but come on! This is a rare comic where Randall isn't represented by Cueball, though. As a fellow night owl in the Eastern time zone, I have additional insight: England is 5 hours ahead of us, so if this is Randall in the U.K., this is 10am our time, which would be somewhat late by Normal People standards. The other way around means he's waking up at 8pm U.K. time, which seems like even more messed up than usual. :) What's funny to me is that this weekend I've had to adjust to a normal schedule to accommodate attending events with normal people, and I've been waking up at 10am all weekend, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:04, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
- Agree. It is not him in the comic just because he refers to himself in the caption/title text, so removed this. --Kynde (talk) 13:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
- Oh, I feel this is most certainly Randall, but not that much more certainly than 99% of the comics, that it isn't explicitly declared, but very strongly implied. After all, we can very easily figure out Randall's inspiration for this one. I was questioning calling it "rare", it really isn't. And again, what IS rare is for him to have Hairy represent him instead of Cueball. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:43, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Randall's schedule in the UK
The trivia section says that Randall's last event in the UK was on 2nd October. It was actually later than this - I went to see him talking in Ely (near Cambridge) on 5th October: https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/events/ely/randall-murray-thing-explainer/. I don't know if he had further dates after this, or not. 220.127.116.11 10:16, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
- Correct the trivia based on this info. --Kynde (talk) 13:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Added the title text in the transcript. --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 12:20, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
- Is the title text really necessary in the transcript? Typically the transcript is used so that the hand written text of the comic is readable to search engines and other programs (such as programs that read text for the visually impaired). Additionally the title text is in a program readable text with the comic, and it's not typically included in the transcript. Therefore I'm going to remove it from the transcript for now. 18.104.22.168 16:59, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
- No. We never ever write the title text in the transcript. Can see it has already been deleted. --Kynde (talk) 13:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
I misread "Maritime" as "Marmite", and my mind boggled as to how there could be enough of these to warrant an article. Or even what one was... 22.214.171.124 11:44, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
- Not Marmite, but close... : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Molasses_Flood
- Do we have a list of all the cartoons in which Randall appears as himself?
I ask because this is the first time I've seen what could be a self-portrait?!? 126.96.36.199 20:13, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
- Yes we have, but this one should not be included, as this is no more Randall than so many other comics where he expresses his own opinion/experiences in the title text. The list is here: Comic featuring Randall. --Kynde (talk) 10:51, 12 October 2017 (UTC)