A Smarter Planet

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A Smarter Planet (Conservation)


A Smarter Planet (Prescriptions)


[edit] Explanation

Two special "A Smarter Planet" comics were created by Randal after a special request from IBM's blog A Smarter Planet. They are not part of the regular numbered series of comics for xkcd's home site.

They are found at http://xkcd.com/asmarterplanet/ on xkcd.com, as well as on the A-smarter-planet blog at http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2009/08/1998.html and http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2009/06/building-a-smarter-planet-for-squirrels.html.

[edit] Conservation

The first of these two strips references a commonly-cited statistic usually used to draw attention to deforestation, but Cueball misunderstands its true importance, (possibly deliberately) announcing his development of the Aerial Squirrel Transit Pod: An aircraft, presumably unmanned, designed to allow the modern squirrel the same range of not having to touch the ground. This is yet another instance of people announcing odd things or elaborately setting up a pun at conferences, a recurring theme in xkcd.

[edit] Prescriptions

The second strip is a reference to the stereotype of doctors' handwriting being illegible, which is a very bad thing when you need a very specific medication and your pharmacy clerk can't read the numbers. Cueball is eager for his doctor to start signing his prescription digitally, as it means less paperwork and faster response time, but his enthusiasm fades when the doctor somehow manages to type in illegible handwriting. This could theoretically be done with a bad handwriting font, though most computerized forms don't allow you to change their font. The prescription number is given as "THX1138", the first film directed by George Lucas.

[edit] Transcript

[edit] Conservation

They say that 400 years ago a squirrel could go from the Atlantic to the Mississippi without touching the ground.
[Cueball speaking to an audience, under a banner labeled "Conservation Society".]
Cueball [pointing to a diagram of a helicopter-like device carrying a squirrel]: Which is why I've developed the aerial squirrel transit pod.
Audience member: Okay, back up.

[edit] Prescriptions

Good news: Doctors are finally learning to use modern security tools.
Doctor: No need for phone verification. I've digitally signed it.
Bad news: They've somehow learned to type with terrible handwriting.
[The document given to the patient by the doctor]: Prescription THX1138 RSA fingerprint: [unintelligible characters]
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I'm not sure whether we want to keep this page or not, it *is* an xkcd comic, but it's also not linked anywhere and I don't know where the hell to put a link to this on the wiki. As a side note, a comic that stands outside the chronology of the regular xkcd comics violates a couple of the assumptions made by we who wrote the comic template, and I'll fix it in two weeks when I'm done with finals. Upload relevant comic images to the red links to make them show up. Davidy²²[talk] 21:47, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

This isn't really new, and it's not a real xkcd comic, but since Randall did mention it here xkcd.com/about it should be mentioned also at this wiki. Maybe a new entry "A Smarter Planet" at the left navigation panel. Nevertheless, the standard navigation at the top of this page must be removed. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:46, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

I added substantially to the explanation, but I'm not quite sure it's complete yet. --Alex (talk) 23:04, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

I'd say there's nothing more to add. The deforestation could use more of an explanation if a 5-year old was reading it. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
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