1037: Umwelt

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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| date      = April 1, 2012
 
| date      = April 1, 2012
 
| title    = Umwelt
 
| title    = Umwelt
 +
| before    = [[#Explanation|↓ Skip to explanation ↓]]
 
| image    = umwelt.png
 
| image    = umwelt.png
 
| imagesize =  
 
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Revision as of 20:36, 8 March 2013

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect:
Please include the reason why this explanation is incomplete, like this: {{incomplete|reason}}

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Umwelt
↓ Skip to explanation ↓
Umwelt is the idea that because their senses pick up on different things, different animals in the same ecosystem actually live in very different worlds. Everything about you shapes the world you inhabit--from your ideology to your glasses prescription to your web browser.
Title text: Umwelt is the idea that because their senses pick up on different things, different animals in the same ecosystem actually live in very different worlds. Everything about you shapes the world you inhabit--from your ideology to your glasses prescription to your web browser.

Contents


Explanation

An umwelt, as the image text explains, is the idea that ones entire way of thinking is dependent on their surroundings. Thus, this April Fools comic changes based on the browser, location, or referrer. Thus, what the viewer is viewing the comic on, where they live, or where they came from determines which comic they actually see. As a result, there are actually multiple comics that went up on April Fools' Day (although only one is seen).

Aurora

The joke here may or may not be that the characters of xkcd cannot see anything other than the normal black and white of the comic, i.e. they are colorblind.

Snake

The joke here is the extreme length of snakes. The world's longest snake is the python, the longest ever being 33 feet. The red and blue circles refer to the hit game Portal. There is also a reference to the book "The Little Prince" in the second panel.

Black Hat

An analyst attempts to psychoanalyze Black Hat's classhole tendencies. The joke here is that the turtle has actually been turned over and neither sees helping it as a priority. It's a reference to the Voight-Kampff test used in the movie Blade Runner (1982) to identify replicants.

Too Quiet

A reference to Jurassic Park which has been constantly referred to before in this comic.

Also referencing the film 2 Fast 2 Furious, an entertaining, yet intellectually unprovoking sequel in a popular film franchise, which is aimed at teenagers and young adults, prompting the blunt response from the stickman. The fact that Steve would use such a cliché noughties movie term in such a intense moment, and the subsequent curse, is the joke in this comic.

Galaxies

This is a joke on Megan's normally existentialist attitude. Whereas normally, she might be freaked out by the vastness of space, in this case, she can actually see the galaxies in question, and is furthermore weirded out by the fact that they seem to have a grudge against Cueball.

xkcd Gold

This is probably a reference to the 4chan Gold Account, a implementation on 4chan that does not actually exist, and is usually used to trick newcomers into revealing their credit card numbers. The joke is that "Gold Account" users can supposedly block other users from viewing images they have posted. The fifth panel is a possible reference to a post on 4chan's /x/ board, which proclaimed that "if this post [number] gets triples, /b/ gets flying dicks on their board" (which it did).

Germany

This comic references the Berlin Airlift, a relief measure for citizens in West Berlin (surrounded by East Germany) instituted by the Allies after World War. In reality, the Allies flew a grand total of 500,000 tons of food over the Soviet blockade in planes. Randall puts a twist on this event by making it more fun: dropping supplies from a grand chairlift. The play on words is that "chairlift" rhymes with "airlift" and thus makes an easy substitution.

Trivia

  • Reddit user SomePostMan created a post that collected all of the Umwelt comics and added explanations.

Transcript

[Two people...]

(..wait.. <scrolls through a listing of everything> oh goddammit Randall. Thanks a bunch, dude. I better get a raise for typing out all this)

{Note to courageous readers- The transcript has been reordered in the order in which the comics appear in the picture and appropriate names have been given}

The void

[An epic void with a bright light shining right on you]

Aurora

[Person heading out past another person comfortably sitting in front of a desk]

Person 1: Apparently there's a solar flare that's causing some Great Aurorae. CBC says they may even be visible here! Wanna drive out to see?

Person 2: Hockey's on.

Person 1: Ok. Later.

[An expansive, marvelous image of emerald green northern lights, floating down through the sky]

Person 2: See anything?

Person 1: No, just clouds.

Person 2: Not surprised.

Snake

[Two people standing next to each other. One is holding the head end of a snake. Depending on the width of your browser, the snake is: three frames, the third of which has a little bit of a bump; the first frame has a human-size bump, the second has a third person looking at the snake, and the third has the snake going though two Portals; a squirrel and the human-size bump in the first frame, a ring next to the third person in the second frame, and Beret Guy riding the snake in front of the portal; or The squirrel, a fourth person within the snake being coiled, and the human bump in the first frame, the ring, a fifth person in love, and the third person in the second frame, Beret Guy and the portal in the third frame, and the same two people in the fourth frame.]

Person holding snake head: I found a snake, but then I forgot to stop.

Black hat

[Two people sitting at a desk. One is Black Hat Guy. The other is an analyst. Black Hat Guy has a number of terminals attached to his head]

Analyst: You come across a tortoise in the desert. You flip it over. It struggles to right itself. You watch. You're not helping. Why is that?

Black Hat Guy: It *knows* what it did.

[View of the entire scene, with said turtle off in the distance on its back and trying to right itself.

Too quiet

[A group of four scale down a wall into a field in the middle of the night. They walk off single-file]

Person 1: It's quiet.

Person 3: Yeah - *Too* quiet.

[A Velociraptor is off in the distance, following the group]

Person 4: Yeah - too *too* quiet.

Person 2: Yeah - 2quiet2furious.

Person 1: Fuck off, Steve.

Pond

[A landscape showing a pond, some reeds, and a set of mountains off in the distance]

Galaxies

[A trio of galaxies]

Galaxy 1: He's not looking!

Galaxy 3: Let's get him!

[Lines draw in illustrating the eye-line of one of a pair of people]

Person 1: So he said he didn't get the text, but c'mon, he *never* misses texts. Right? ..hello?

Person 2: I'm just staring at your head freaked out by th efact that there are millions of galaxies *directly behind it*.

xkcd Gold/Beehive part 1

[Person holding bat]

Person: Sorry, but this comic

[Person starts to wind up]

requires

[Person prepares to strike with bat]

XKCD

[Person swings at a beehive]

GOLD

Beehive part 2

[Penis Bees fly out of the beehive]

Yo mamma

[Person yells at another person]

Person 1;Oh yeah? Well you mama's so *cynical*, her only dog ballast is a *leash*!

(This comic takes place in a dystopian future where the government is afraid dogs can hover, so it requires them to wear weights at all times, and some people privately doubt the government, but not enough to stop buying dog weights)

Reddit

Five seconds ago:

[You sitting in front of a desk, reading a reddit thread]

You: Oh, hey, reddit has a link to some XKCD april fools comic.

Now: [An image of this very page]

Five seconds from now:

You: ..hey

30 seconds from now:

[DANCE PARTY!]

Buns and Hotdogs

Person: What I wanna know is why do hot dogs come in packages of six while buns come in these huge sacks of ash and blood from which "Ave Maria" is faintly audible?

[Chanting sacks of gore in the background]

Twitter

[A Twitter account page with the following: Many tweets, fewer following, even fewer followers, A bunch of assholes in the suggested follow box, trending topics partitioned into: Word Games, Misogyny, and Bieber, stuff your eyes automatically ignore, A really pleasant blue. and the timeline: Something about a podcast, Someone confused because the description doesn't match the link, The link you clicked on to get to this comic, Rob Delaney, Passive Aggression, and horse_ebooks.]

Wikipedia

[There's no comic here because instead of drawing one, I spent the last hour reading every news story cited in the Wikipedia article on "The Mile High Club"]

Google Chrome

[A Chrome plugin error page]

Chrome: This plugin requires Sergey Brin's permission to run. Please wait while he is woken.

Chrome/Firefox

[Two people; one is sitting at a desk in front of a laptop.]

Person 1: Man, chrome's hardware acceleration really sucks.

Person 2: Oh - Theres' a great add-on that fixes it.

Person 1: Oh? What's it called?

Person 2: "Firefox".

Google Chrome-2

[A Chrome plugin error page with the characteristic jigsaw piece]

Chrome: Chrome is looking for this piece. Have you seen it? Chrome thinks it links up with a corner.

Mozilla Firefox Private Browsing

[Firefox error page]

Firefox: Well, this is embarrassing. You know how I'm not supposed to peek at your browsing in private mode? Firefox.. is sorry. Firefox will not blame you if you

[button with text]

click here to report this incident.

Internet Explorer

[IE error page]

IE: Error: Internet Explorer has given up.

Maxthon

Person: Maxthon? Hey, 2005 called. Didn't say anything. All I could hear was sobbing. This is getting harder. Anyway, yeah, Maxthon's still cool! Didn't know it was still around!

Netscape Navigator

[Person with tentacle arms]

Person: Netscape Navigator? Hey, the nineties called - drunk as usual. I hung up without saying anything. This is getting harder. Anyway - it's cool that you'e got netscape running.

Rockmelt

[Person running to laptop]

I ran to Rockmelt to hide my face

[Person sitting at laptop]

But Rockmelt cried out -

[Laptop shouting]

NO HIDING PLACE

[zoom out]

NO HIDING PLACE DOWN HERE

Google Chrome-4

[A chrome plugin error page]

Chrome: There does not exist --nor could there *ever* exist-- a plugin capable of displaying this content.

Microsoft/Amazon/The Times/Google - Chrome

[Chrome error page]

Chrome: This plugin requires clearance from the corporate press office in order to run. Remember, Microsoft/Amazon/The Times/Google is a team; individual employees should *never* speak for the company without authorization.

Military

[Person looking at two browser windows]

I know y'all know what you're doing. But if you're on a military machine and you're supposed to be watching for missiles or something, I hope you're keeping an eye on that in the background while you're reading comics. Also: Thanks.

T-Mobile

[Error page]

Data Error: T-Mobile was unable to establish a connection

AT&T/Verizon

[Error page] Error; You have exceeded your AT&T/Verizon monthly bandwidth cap. Mobile web browsing has been disabled.

France

[Two people; one of which is browsing using a laptop]

Person 1: Hey, you're French, right? Ever see what happens when you type "French Military Victories" into Google?

French person: Does it take you to an article on Napoleon?

French person: ..no? Strange, given how he kicked everyone's asses up and down europe for over a decade.

[beat]

Person 1: Touche.

French person: You know, that'd sound smarter if you didn't pronounce it like it rhymes with "douche".

Germany

[A person dropping food from an unorthodox high perch]

June 1948: In response to the Soviet blockade of East Germany, the western allies construct the Berlin Chairlift.

Person on chairlift: Food!

Israel

[Person on phone]

(Translation from Hebrew)

Person: Mom, I met a great guy! But he's not Jewish. ... Wait, what do you mean "neither are we"? I'm completely confused.

Carnot Cycle

[Person on a motorcycle with a heat-entropy graph on the side]

Person 1: Check out my new Carnot Cycle!

Person 2: Neat -- how fast does it go?

Person 1: Depends how cold it is outside.

Great Britain

[Illustration of the atlantic ocean]

American person: Sorry I don't have a comic poking fun at the UK here. I only had time to get to the most *important* US states.

British person: Hey -- At least we have free health care and real ale.

Earthquake-Blizzard

[Two people sitting at a desk, facing each other. The desk rattles.]

Person 1: Stop jiggling your leg.

Person 2: I'm not ji-.. oh!

Person 1: What!

Person 2: You'll get it..

[EVERYTHING RUMBLES]

Person 1: ..HOLY CRAP IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE!

Person 2: Just a little one. Happens all the time back in San Francisco.

Person 1: But this is {Options: "Alabama", "Boston", "Chicago", "Dallas", "Georgia", "Halifax", "Illinois", "Michigan", "Minnesota", "Missouri", "the Northeast", "Ohio", "Oklahoma", "Ottawa", 'Pennsylvania", "Philadelphia", "Texas", "Toronto", "Tennessee", "New York", "Wisconsin"}! That was huge!

Person 2: Seriously? That's the worst this place can do? Wow. I guess we grow up tougher in California.

Person 1: Oh *really*... Six Months Later..

[Both people are trudging through a massive blizzard]

Person 2: In pictures, snow always looked so nice and sof -- AAAA! MY NECK! How do people live here?!

Person 1: Come on - it's only three more miles.

Earthquake-Tornado

[Two people sitting at a desk, facing each other. The desk rattles.]

Person 1: Stop jiggling your leg.

Person 2: I'm not ji-.. oh!

Person 1: What! Person 2: You'll get it..

[EVERYTHING RUMBLES]

Person 1: ..HOLY CRAP IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE!

Person 2: Just a little one. Happens all the time back in San Francisco.

Person 1: But this is {Options: "Alabama", "Dallas", "Illinois", "The Midwest", "Missouri", "Ohio", "Oklahoma", "Ottawa", "Tennessee", "Texas"}!

That was huge!

Person 2: Seriously? That's the worst this place can do? Wow. I guess we grow up tougher in California.

Person 1: Oh *really*...

Six Months Later..

[Both people are in a shelter in a prairie with a rapidly-approaching tornado]

Person 2: AAAA CLOSE THE SHELTER DOOR!

Person 1: Say the magic words...

Person 2: THIS PLACE IS THE WORST!

Person 1: Thank you.

Lake Diver Killer

[TV Field Reporter in front of a cordoned-off lake]

Police divers searching the bay say they have recovered thebody of another victim of the "Lake Diver Killer" During the search, three more divers were reported missing.

Washington

[The Lincoln Monument]

In this Marble Prison As in the nightmares of the nation they tried to devour The nanobots that constituted Abraham Lincoln Are entombed forever.

Alaska

[A snowy Alaskan field]

Person: Some people hunt wolves from helicopters. I hunt helicopters from a wolf.

Life in lab

[Newspaper headline]

Scientists/UMass Amherst students/RIT students create life in lab

[caption under picture of scientists]

"The trick was fuckin'"

American Revolution

Robot Paul Revere: Remember: Zero if by land, One if by sea.

MIT

[Two people in front of a group of students]

Person 1: I've hired a team of MIT students to count cards for us.

Person 2: We'll be rich!

[Person 2 deals some cards while the students watch]

[The gears turn..]

Student: Five. There are five cards.

Person 1: I see their admission standards have been slipping.

Person 2: Yeah - there are actually four.

MIT Course 15c

[Two people in front of a group of students]

Person 1: I've hired a team of MIT students to count cards for us.

Person 2: We'll be rich!

[Person 2 deals some cards while the students watch]

[The gears turn..]

Student: Five. There are five cards.

Person 1: I *knew* we shouldn't have picked course 15s.

Person 2: Yeah - there are actually four.

Smith/Wellesley

[Two people in front of a group of students]

Person 1: I've hired a team of Smith/Wellesley students to count cards for us.

Person 2: We'll be rich!

[Person 2 deals some cards while the students watch]

[The gears turn..]

Student: Five. There are five cards.

Person 1: We should've gone with Wellesley/Smith.

Person 2: Yeah - there are actually four.

CNU

[Person unsuspectingly strolls under a giant box trap controlled by a Trible.]

I worry that CNU only invited me back as a ruse because they realized I never turned in my final paper and want my diploma back. But if it turns out it's for real, I'll see you Wednesday at the Ferguson!

Dana Farber

[Cueball, pointing towards head]

Cueball: Check it out - In support of people going through chemo, i shaved my head.

Lots of love to everyone reading this at Dana Farber. Cancer sucks. If you are new to DCFI, there's a great little garden on the third floor of the yawkey if you need somewhere quiet to just sit for a little bit and breathe.

Earthquake-Hurricane

[Two people sitting at a desk, facing each other. The desk rattles.]

Person 1: Stop jiggling your leg.

Person 2: I'm not ji-.. oh!

Person 1: What! Person 2: You'll get it..

[EVERYTHING RUMBLES]

Person 1: ..HOLY CRAP IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE!

Person 2: Just a little one. Happens all the time back in San Francisco.

Person 1: But this is {Options: "D.C", "Florida", "Houston", "Miami", "New Jersey", "North Carolina", "South Carolina", "Virgina"}! That was huge!

Person 2: Seriously? That's the worst this place can do? Wow. I guess we grow up tougher in California.

Person 1: Oh *really*...

Six Months Later..

[Both are in the middle of a hurricane. Person 2 is grabbing onto a signpost to avoid being swept away]

Person 2: AAAAA WHAT THE SHIIIIT!

Person 1: Calm down - this is barely a category 2.

Corporate

[Error page]

Error: This plugin requires clearance from the corporate press office in order to run. Remember, we work as a team; individual employees should *never* speak for the company without authorization.

Microsoft/Amazon - Firefox

[Firefox error page]

Chrome: This plugin requires clearance from the corporate press office in order to run. Remember, Microsoft/Amazon is a team; individual employees should *never* speak for the company without authorization.

Microsoft/The Times

[Error page]

Error: This plugin requires clearance from the corporate press office in order to run. Remember, Microsoft/The Times is a team; individual employees should *never* speak for the company without authorization.

Aurora-US

[Person heading out past another person comfortably sitting in front of a desk]

Person 1: Apparently there's a solar storm causing northern lights over Canada. CNN say they might even be visible {Options: "As Far South As Us", "Here in Boston", "Maine", "Ohio", "Oregon", "New York"}! Wanna drive out to see? Person 2: It's cold out. Person 1: Ok. Later.

[An expansive, marvelous image of emerald green northern lights, floating down through the sky]

Person 2: See anything?

Person 1: No, just clouds.

Person 2: Not surprised.

Comment.png add a comment!

Discussion

Normally I understand xkcd. But this one hurts my head. lcarsos (talk) 20:35, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

I sorted all of them out. Phew!!! That was some work. The ones at the end have no appropriate picture in the image part. Atleast the hurricane one should be added. Please do so. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 11:09, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I live in one of Umwelt's "hurricane areas", and that's the one I see. How do we add it? Ekedolphin (talk) 06:06, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

There is a fixed image used if your browser does not support javascript, which is missing. Additionally, the alt text varies at times. Divad27182 (talk) 20:16, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


I can't see any of them neither in Firefox nor in IE :( --Kronf (talk) 11:32, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

This has got to be one of my favourite xkcd's! That amount of ingenuity in one edition! Dean (talk) 22:33, 01 January 2013 (UTC)

There is now also a category page for Jurassic Park, but I'm not sure how to work that into the explanation. Kaa-ching (talk) 09:04, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

I can't resist noting that Chrome is sadly mistaken in thinking that its puzzle piece links up to a corner piece - it would have to be an edge piece to do that. Firefox would never have that kind of issue... Natf (talk)

Supposedly, if there were a puzzle with inner corners, such as one with a plus cut out of it, this could link up as shown. ... I wanna make a puzzle like that now. 99.44.200.140 08:00, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

It would be difficult to compile, but I think this page would benefit from having the conditions along with the image (for instance, "Displays when running Netscape:") 24.41.66.114 03:27, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Hey, um, I think there is an Animaniacs reference. Namely, the question about hot dogs resembles Yakko's question to the Wally Llama except it dealt with packages of eight and packages of ten. (I forget which is which) 71.166.47.84 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)


I came here to seek informartion about how each strip was seen. Disappointed... Especially after seeing there is a hebrew one!?!?!?!? (number 29) Is it real? Because I assume it should be visible from Israel and I can't see it 141.101.99.228 22:26, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Added two location references to the 2Fast2Furious and Snake comics, with browser references. Anyone know why I got those results? 173.245.50.77 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I don't, especially since I live in the UK (not Texas) and yet I see the Snake comic? Enchantedsleeper (talk) 14:14, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
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