Talk:1331: Frequency

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I have began the transcript. Should a table be embedded with all the statements?108.162.250.11 07:33, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

That would be apt. Dammit Randall, why couldn't you have made the comic one image so it'd be easy to put up here? Davidy²²[talk] 07:36, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
If I've calculated it correctly (from the core numbers of prime factors extracted from the set of millisecond cycles extracted below by the script), a single image that contained each and every cycle (exactly as they are individually, without fudging any of them to avoid awkward factors) before repeating from the start again would have a total duration of 8.74E+056ms. (That's around 2.77E+046 years!) I haven't worked out how many frames that would require (at approx 300kp, each, before compression)although I would hazard a guess that most (if not all of them) would probably sustain at a duration of no more than a single figure of milliseconds.
You might be able to make a more efficient and vastly smaller representation with the .swf format, but I've not used that for a while so might have forgotten some limitations that would apply in that event.
(Realistically, recreating the array of individual images is the best solution you have. Another case where Randall goes outside the 'traditional' single, simple image format, and messes with everyone's automated XKCD-strip-grabbing scripts, no doubt. At least this time round. ;) 141.101.99.41 02:02, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I have created a table but someone else has already updated the transcript in a different style; here is my attempt
<table>
  <tr>
    <th>Heartbeat</th>
    <th>One Birth</th>
    <th>One Death</th>
    <th>Someone Edits Wikipedia</th>
    <th>Someone Buys a Vibrator</th>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>China Builds a Car</td>
    <td>Japan Builds a Car</td>
    <td>Germany Builds a Car</td>
    <td>The US Builds a Car</td>
    <td>Someone Else Builds a Car</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>A European Union President Has Their First Kiss</td>
    <td>A US Fire Department Puts Out a Fire</td>
    <td>Someone Hits a Hole-In-One</td>
    <td>My Turn Signal Blinks</td>
    <td>The Turn Signal of the Car in Front of Me Blinks</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Earthquake (Magnitude 1)</td>
    <td>Earthquake (Magnitude 2)</td>
    <td>Earthquake (Magnitude 3)</td>
    <td>Earthquake (Magnitude 4)</td>
    <td>Member of the UK Parliament Flushes a Toilet</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>An Airline Flight Takes Off</td>
    <td>Someone Buys <em>To Kill A Mockingbird</em></td>
    <td>Someone's Pet Cat Kills a Mockingbird</td>
    <td>Someone in Pheonix Buys New Shoes</td>
    <td>Someone in Pheonix Puts on a Condom</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Someone Locks Their Keys in Their Car</td>
    <td>A Sagittarius Named Amelia Drinks a Soda</td>
    <td>A Dog Bites Someone in the US</td>
    <td>Someone Steals a Bicycle</td>
    <td>A Bald Eagle Catches a Fish</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>50,000 Plastic Bottles are Produced</td>
    <td>50,000 Plastic Bottles are Recycled</td>
    <td>A Bright Meteor is Visible Somewhere</td>
    <td>Old Faithful Erupts</td>
    <td>A fishing Boat Catches a Shark</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Someone in the US is Diagnosed With Cancer</td>
    <td>Someone in the US Dies from Cancer</td>
    <td>Someone Adopts a Dog from a Shelter</td>
    <td>Someone Adopts a Cat from a Shelter</td>
    <td>Someone gets Married</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Someone Registers a Domain</td>
    <td>Someone in the US Buys a House</td>
    <td>Someone in the US gets a Tattoo</td>
    <td>The Star <em>PSR J1748-2446AD Rotates 1,000 Times</em></td>
    <td>Someone Lies About their Age to Sign up for Facebook</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Someone Breaks an iPhone Screen</td>
    <td>A Little League Player Strikes Out</td>
    <td>Someone has Sex in North Dakota</td>
    <td>Justin Bieber Gains a Follower on Twitter</td>
    <td>Someone in Denver Orders a Pizza</td>
  </tr>
</table>
108.162.250.11 10:06, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I have replaced the transcript with this one as it is closer to the actual comic format. --173.245.53.152 10:24, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I would like to point out a few things: the title text refers to an experiment that shows a piece of tar, if I remember correctly, which looks like a solid material, dripping very very slowly. It takes a year or more for a drop to fall, and there should be a live stream of it somewhere, I think.

The second is the turning signal being out of sync with the other car. Randall made a comic about that one already. It's a recurring thing.Dulcis (talk) 07:57, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

A year? It took 12 years for the last drop to fall... 108.162.249.114 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
About turning signals, see XKCD #165--KoundelitchNico (talk) 09:32, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I thought of that one too. I have added this in the explanations column of the table I created, feel free to add more / edit if you feel the need to do so. --173.245.53.152 10:24, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I found a simple tool that calculates the duration of GIF files on github: https://raw.github.com/alimony/gifduration/master/gifduration.py Slightly edited, this is the output:

amelia.gif: 7790 ms (7.79 seconds)
bieber.gif: 4730 ms (4.73 seconds)
bike.gif: 24930 ms (24.93 seconds)
birth.gif: 240 ms (0.24 seconds)
book_mockingbird.gif: 42050 ms (42.05 seconds)
bottles.gif: 1270 ms (1.27 seconds)
car_china.gif: 1890 ms (1.89 seconds)
car_elsewhere.gif: 1030 ms (1.03 seconds)
car_germany.gif: 5800 ms (5.80 seconds)
car_japan.gif: 4010 ms (4.01 seconds)
car_us.gif: 6950 ms (6.95 seconds)
cat.gif: 21300 ms (21.30 seconds)
cat_mockingbird.gif: 1820 ms (1.82 seconds)
death.gif: 560 ms (0.56 seconds)
denverpizza.gif: 1270 ms (1.27 seconds)
dogbite.gif: 7010 ms (7.01 seconds)
dog.gif: 15600 ms (15.60 seconds)
domain.gif: 640 ms (0.64 seconds)
eagle.gif: 2690 ms (2.69 seconds)
earthquake1.gif: 2430 ms (2.43 seconds)
earthquake2.gif: 24260 ms (24.26 seconds)
earthquake3.gif: 242600 ms (242.60 seconds)
earthquake4.gif: 2426000 ms (2426.00 seconds)
facebook.gif: 4320 ms (4.32 seconds)
fire_dept.gif: 23000 ms (23.00 seconds)
flight.gif: 930 ms (0.93 seconds)
heartbeat.gif: 860 ms (0.86 seconds)
holeinone.gif: 180000 ms (180.00 seconds)
house.gif: 6220 ms (6.22 seconds)
iphone.gif: 930 ms (0.93 seconds)
keys.gif: 2430 ms (2.43 seconds)
kiss.gif: 5530 ms (5.53 seconds)
littleleague.gif: 1230 ms (1.23 seconds)
meteor.gif: 1150 ms (1.15 seconds)
ndsex.gif: 1380 ms (1.38 seconds)
oldfaithful.gif: 5640000 ms (5640.00 seconds)
parliament_toilet.gif: 10060 ms (10.06 seconds)
phoenix.gif: 2050 ms (2.05 seconds)
phoenixshoes.gif: 1080 ms (1.08 seconds)
pulsar.gif: 1400 ms (1.40 seconds)
recycled.gif: 4640 ms (4.64 seconds)
shark.gif: 830 ms (0.83 seconds)
tattoo.gif: 2060 ms (2.06 seconds)
turnsignal1.gif: 940 ms (0.94 seconds)
turnsignal2.gif: 900 ms (0.90 seconds)
us_cancer_death.gif: 54340 ms (54.34 seconds)
us_cancer.gif: 18990 ms (18.99 seconds)
vibrator.gif: 2990 ms (2.99 seconds)
wedding.gif: 750 ms (0.75 seconds)
wikipedia.gif: 670 ms (0.67 seconds)

This could be useful in creating some kind of table in the Explanation. 108.162.231.109 09:25, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, I'm working on an explanation right now. --173.245.53.152 09:57, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, I'll leave it at this - the conversions to events per minute don't make sense for all of the tiles and some of them can use more explanation but I'll leave that for someone else to pick up - need to go back to work :-) --173.245.53.152 10:12, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
The edits on Wikipedia doesn't seem very accurate: 0.67s are 3.9M edits per month, while [1] has only edit counts around 3M for the last available months for English Wikipedia. --108.162.254.160 11:17, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Is that why the explaination is currently locked? I was going to add a few things to the comment column, but I'm aparently not allowed to at the moment. Smperron (talk) 16:11, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion: grid like coordinates to refer to other flashing text? (think E4, B6, D5, ...) sirKitKat 173.245.53.173 11:19, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Someone from the UK parliment flushed the toilet while someone in Phoenix used a condom, while a bald eagle caught a fish... (I know, it's just the frequency, not the exact time it is shown to occur) 141.101.98.131 11:28, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Shouldn't the North Dakota one have been "two people"? Djbrasier (talk) 11:57, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

He should have added a PNG saying "your screen's refresh rate"... --Kronf (talk) 12:06, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Technically possible

Technically you can create an animated GIF that will repeat every 10 years. The standard says that maximum interval between frames is 65535*0.01 seconds, so to create a 10-year video you'll need 31557600*10/655.35=481538 frames. Since GIF registers only changes pixels for each frame, most of these frames will be empty (I'm not sure about the size, but around 20 bytes), so the whole file would be around 9.6 megabytes. Please include this in the explanation (possibly correcting numbers). --Zverik (talk) 13:18, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

@Zverik; Any reason you not just adding that to the explanation yourself? Spongebog (talk) 20:31, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Update: Randall used some Adobe software to create highly redundant animated GIFs (with a color profile written to every frame). The thing is, frames are not equal, they gradually change brightness, so each frame is written anew and takes 3670 bytes (measured with oldfaithful.gif). So the estimate for 10-year animated GIF with that software would be 1.77 gigabytes (1.65 GiB). That would be too much indeed. --Zverik (talk) 13:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Still, there are only 166 shades of gray between black and the default gray. So all it would take is an additional 166 bigger (in terms of number of bytes) frames. That he uses inferior software is no excuse. --108.162.254.181 14:58, 17 February 2014 (UTC)


Is it possible that the comment Amelia is the most common US name [2] is made in good faith? 173.245.50.84 16:05, 17 February 2014 (UTC). It also said that Sagittarius is the most common star sign, which is false, so I deleted the comment. 173.245.50.84 16:16, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

In fact it appears the most common star sign in the US is going to be Leo or Virgo: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/7/1512.long . Being part way through the cycle, Sagitarius is probably about 1/12 of the population. 141.101.98.10 09:11, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Anybody understand why there are so many references to Phoenix ? Spongebog (talk) 20:31, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Because 2 references are not really "many". 173.245.50.84 20:40, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
high birthrate perhaps? people down there seem to have large families (in my experience), at least that may be what he is saying about the condoms.Ercannon (talk) 22:24, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I'll hazard a guess here by saying that multiple references to a common item using unrelated topics is a comedic element in itself! In addition, referring to the comment immediately below, unnecessary or impossible precision is also an element of comedy. ExternalMonolog (talk) 23:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC)ExternalMonolog
Excess precision

To 108.162.245.114 who said that all members of the UK parliament flush a toilet 3,136,938 times per year, please read False precision. 173.245.50.84 22:10, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

This should work for the heading, but it's a complete mess and messes up the entire layout. Could someone have a look at this monstrosity:

<table class cellspacing="5"
          style="background-color: #FFFFFF; border: 1px solid #AAAAAA; color: black; font-size: 88%; line-height: 1.5em;
                 margin: 0.5em 0 0.5em 1em; padding: 0.2em; text-align: center; width:98%; {{{bodystyle|}}}"><!--

   ### Navigation bar (previous, next...) ###

  --><tr><td><!--
    --><ul style="text-align: center; margin-bottom: 10px;" class="no-link-underline"><!--

      ### If there is an article for the comic prior to this one, create a "prev" ###

      -->{{#ifexist:{{#expr:1331 - 1}}<!--
       -->|<li style="background-color: #6E7B91;
                      border: 1.5px solid #333333; border-radius: 3px 3px 3px 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 5px 0 gray;
                      display: inline; font-size: 16px; font-variant: small-caps; font-weight: 600;
                      margin: 0 4px; padding: 1.5px 0;"><!--
          -->[[{{#expr:1331 - 1}}|<span style="color: #FFFFFF; padding: 0 12px;">< Prev</span>]]<!--
        --></li><!--
       -->|<li style="display: inline; font-size: 16px; margin: 0 4px; padding: 1.5px 12px;"><!--
          -->                <!--
        --></li><!--
      -->}}<!--

      ### Create a centre button with comic number, date (if exists) and link ###

      --><li style="background-color: #6E7B91;
                    border: 1.5px solid #333333; border-radius: 3px 3px 3px 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 5px 0 gray;
                    display: inline; font-size: 16px; font-variant: small-caps; font-weight: 600;
                    margin: 0 4px; padding: 1.5px 0;"
             class="plainlinks"><!--
        -->[http://www.xkcd.com/1331/ <!--
         --><span style="color: #FFFFFF; padding: 0 12px;">Comic #1331 (February 17, 2014)</span>]<!--
      --></li><!--

      ### If there is an article for the comic following this one, create a "next" ###

      -->{{#ifexist:{{#expr:1331 + 1}}<!--
       -->|<li style="background-color: #6E7B91;
                      border: 1.5px solid #333333; border-radius: 3px 3px 3px 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 5px 0 gray;
                      display: inline; font-size: 16px; font-variant: small-caps; font-weight: 600;
                      margin: 0 4px; padding: 1.5px 0;"><!--
          -->[[{{#expr:1331 + 1}}|<span style="color: #FFFFFF; padding: 0 12px;">Next ></span>]]<!--
        --></li><!--
       -->|<li style="display: inline; font-size: 16px; margin: 0 4px; padding: 1.5px 12px;"><!--
          -->                <!--
        --></li><!--
      --><!--
    --></ul><!--
  --></td></tr><!--

   ### Comic title ###

  --><tr><td style="font-size: 20px; padding-bottom:10px"><!--
    -->Frequency<!--
  --></td></tr>}}<!--


   ### Comic image and title text ###

  --><tr><td><!--
   --><center><table><tr>
<td>[[File:heartbeat.gif]]</td>
<td>[[File:birth.gif]]</td>
<td>[[File:death.gif]]</td>
<td>[[File:wikipedia.gif]]</td>
<td>[[File:vibrator.gif]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:car china.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:car japan.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:car germany.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:car us.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:car elsewhere.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:kiss.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:fire dept.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:holeinone.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:turnsignal1.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:turnsignal2.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:earthquake1.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:earthquake2.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:earthquake3.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:earthquake4.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:parliament toilet.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:flight.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:book mockingbird.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:cat mockingbird.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:phoenixshoes.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:phoenix.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:keys.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:amelia.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:dogbite.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:bike.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:eagle.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:bottles.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:recycled.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:meteor.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:oldfaithful.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:shark.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:us cancer.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:us cancer death.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:dog.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:cat.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:wedding.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:domain.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:house.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:tattoo.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:pulsar.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:facebook.gif ]]</td>
</tr><tr>
<td>[[ File:iphone.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:littleleague.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:ndsex.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:bieber.gif ]]</td>
<td>[[ File:denverpizza.gif ]]</td>
</tr></table><!--
   --><br /><span style="{{{captionstyle|}}}"><span style="color:grey">Title text:</span> This comic shows estimated average frequency. I wanted to include the pitch drop experiment, but it turns out the gif format has some issues with decade-long loops.</span></td></tr></table></center>
173.245.53.184 22:31, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm currently adding the ability to put replace the image field with an optional custom field. Will keep you posted. Davidy²²[talk] 22:40, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
See Template:comic, in particular the last parameter and the last bullet point in the notes section. Added just for you. This'll be pretty useful for other comics that we've made in the past as well. Thanks for making me get off my butt and do something useful with my admin powers. Davidy²²[talk] 23:13, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Cool. Next up: click and drag :D 108.162.231.121 12:24, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
The awesome thing is, it might be possible for us to port Randall's code/enable javascript and duplicate that comic exactly as it appears on the main xkcd site. The custom field isn't limited to just images, so we can literally represent anything that can be rendered by mediawiki now. Davidy²²[talk] 08:28, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't understand this problem. The HTML-Code is just from the main page, it doesn't explain your problem. I did add all the GIF images yesterday, and for entering all that links in an easy way I changed this table layout to an easy WIKI-Table. In my opinion all the sortable tags should be removed, this is not increasing the depth at this explain. But this is still an open task here, yesterday I just did focus on all the missing GIFs here. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:53, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


Am i alone in thinking that there are many "references to other comics" which are not references at all, but merely about the same subject? "One birth" is supposedly a reference to 746, with presumably the only reason that they both handle the subject of concieving children. The only "correct" reference in my opinion is the reference to 165 (turn signals). 141.101.80.215 15:24, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

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