1190: Time

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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(Day 42, Sunday, May 5, 2013: add hash for 23:00)
(Day 43, Monday, May 6, 2013: entering hashes again. :-))
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Revision as of 06:09, 6 May 2013

Time
Wait for it.
Title text: Wait for it.

Contents

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect:
Please include the reason why this explanation is incomplete, like this: {{incomplete|
reason}}
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

The comic is an illustration of passing time. Each image is relatively meaningless to the viewer by itself; the only way to perceive time is to "wait for it" and see how things evolve. Thus, time is in the viewer's perception, not in each individual frame. It is not entirely clear if the "wait for it" title text references the viewer having to wait for the next frame of the comic, or whether it refers in some way to the content of the comic itself (e.g. the characters waiting for something).

Format

This comic is actually a series of images which play as a rough animation (the image on this page is an animated compilation of the images). The images are in the process of being revealed slowly over the course of time. As of April 29, 2013, the comic has been running for more than 800 hours (over 36 days), and more than 900 frames have been revealed.

For the first 120 hours, a new frame replaced the previous frame every 30 minutes, at :00 and :30 of each hour; the remaining frames have since been revealed every hour, on the hour. The updating is done server-side, with the server redirecting the image link (time.png) to a different image every hour. The source images have very long random-character names, making it virtually impossible to access future frames. There is no apparent way to view past frames on the official XKCD website, and only the current frame is posted there at any given time. Given the unique nature of this comic, several websites have been dedicated to tracking it, and its full run can be viewed at some of these sites (see below).

At 850 hours (36 days 10 hours) the first "scene" of the comic ended at frame 971 with a fade to white, ushering in a second scene from frame 972. Normalized pictures are also available here.

Plot

Scene 1

Megan and Cueball are alone on a sandy beach near the sea. As the story unfolds, Megan and Cueball begin to build a sand castle on the beach. The two continue to expand the castle back from the beach as the scene zooms out. Briefly they have fun launching small objects at the castle with a trebuchet before continuing the build.

Each of Cueball and Megan leave the scene for extended periods at times but always return to continue building. They add what appears to be scaffolding and ladders to expand the castle skyward. All the while, Cueball and Megan wax philosophically about the nature of the sea, the feeding river, the rising tides, and what else lies in the world. In the end, the two decide to go off and explore the world as the sea begins to erode the castle and the scene fades to white.

One other character appears in the comic as of the end of Scene 1: A girl with a beret, similar to Beret Guy, briefly appears to view the castle, and then leaves. She returns in the last couple of frames, as the fade to white completes, dragging something.

Scene 2

Cueball and Megan are walking with bags across a relatively level surface. They stop for a drink. Megan indicates she has never been so far "this way". At frame 997, they sit down and in frame 998, the scene shifts from a front view to a profile view. The terrain looks like frame 1, albeit from a wider angle, showing they are walking along the coast. They begin to stand in frame 1001 and the scene returns to a front view.

They begin walking again and reach a river they haven't seen before. They sit on the river bank and Cueball slips in and loses his bottle. The two try to lasso the bottle but are unsuccessful. Cueball contemplates swimming out to get it, but Megan says it is too dangerous.

After a small talk both did agree to find a "ford". But while they still did not get a way to the other side they found that the "other side" was merely an island, and the river was wider than they realized.

Viewing the comic's history

Faster, navigable versions of the comic are available at:

There is also a wiki dedicated to this particular comic and the related forum thread, at xkcd-time.wikia.com/. There is also a physics simulation of the trebuchet written in JavaScript/HTML5, available at thred.github.io/xkcd-time-catapult/. The code is hosted on GitHub, too. There is an Android app which notifies users when a new image is posted and lets them view the image from within the app, available on Google Play. The code for the app is hosted on GitHub and encourages contribution of new features or enhancements. An hourly updated graph of the rising water level is available at [1]

Linux users can do the following to create an automatically-updating window of the comic in their workspace: install feh then

feh -x -R 3600 -g 300x215  http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/time.png &

... then, can make this sticky; always-on-top; etc...

Transcript

Scene 1

+00:00 [Megan and Cueball sitting on a sandy beach near a body of water.]
+01:00 [Megan looks back.]
+02:00 [Cueball looks back.]
+03:00 [Megan looks up.]
+04:00 [Megan reclines. Cueball looks at her.]
+06:00 [Cueball gets up and inspects the water.]
+07:30 [Cueball "puts a toe in the water".]
+09:00 [Cueball returns to sit next to the still reclining Megan.]
+09:30 [Megan sits up.]
+12:00 [Megan and Cueball start to build a sandcastle.]
+25:30
Cueball: Later
Megan: Bye
[Cueball leaves, Megan continues to build the sandcastle.]
+37:00 [Cueball returns and both continue to build.]
+43:30 [Megan leaves, Cueball continues to build.]
+51:00 [Cueball accidentally slips and destroys part of the castle.]
+61:30 [Cueball completes the sandcastle and leaves.]
+73:00 [Cartoon zooms out, showing more construction has been taking place off-screen to the left.]
+81:00 [Megan plants flags on original sandcastle.]
+83:00 [Megan sits down at the beach.]
+83:30 [Cueball finished sandcastle on the left and moves to Megan at the beach.]
+84:30
Megan: Wanna swim?
Cueball: Yeah.
[They both enter the water and exit the picture.]
+86:00 [Castle at far left begins to crumble.]
+87:00 [Megan back on the beach, Cueball off screen.]
Megan: Pffthh
Megan: *cough*
Cueball: You OK?
Megan: Just got some in my mouth.
+91:00 [Cueball takes down two flags and makes the two sandcastles into one large sandcastle.]
+106:30 [A rock, fired by Megan with a small trebuchet, smashes part of the castle Cueball just finished.]
+107:30 [Megan partially re-enters the scene from stage right.]
+108:00 [Megan has fully re-entered the scene, pulling the small trebuchet into the scene with her.]
+109:00 [Megan launches an object towards the sandcastle.]
+110:00 [The object launched by Megan hits the sandcastle, Cueball looks upset.]
+111:30 [Cueball joins Megan at the trebuchet and launches one himself. They alternate launching projectiles.]
+114:30 [Cueball launches an object straight up into the air.]
+115:30 [They run as the object falls back down. Cueball leaves a few frames later, Megan stays and works on building a large mound in the destroyed center of the castle.]
+186:00 [Cueball returns, Megan is working on top of a large mound she's built, as she turns around and stands up to see Cueball, she slips down the side of the mound. Cueball rushes in and helps her rebuild it and flatten out the top.]
+199:00 [Building the mound]
Megan: Any idea where the river is now?
Cueball: Still pretty far out. It's actually retreated a little this week.
+248:00 [Cueball begins constructing a miniature version of the sand structure]
+263:00 [Megan walks in and notices]
+280:00 [Megan re-enters with miniature trebuchet]
+281:00 [Megan shoots the miniature sand structure with the miniature trebuchet]
+287:00
Megan: I don't understand what the sea is doing.
+293:00
Cueball: I don't think we can build it much taller than this. It's been fun, though!
+296:00 [Cueball leaves. Megan turns and examines the structure]
+300:00 [Megan brings in a rod, and puts it down]
+329:00 [Megan begin construction using the various supplies she has delivered]
+342:00 [Cueball returns and begins to help with the construction]
+362:00 [Megan leaves]
+365:00 [Cueball "sip"s the water]
+366:00 [Cueball spits]
Cueball: Pfffth
+367:00
Cueball: Pthuh!
Cueball: Yuck.
+369:00
Cueball: I've had worse.
+377:00 [Megan returns and starts making a levee]
+410:00 [Cueball and Megan have stranded themselves on top of their new construction by building over their ladder.]
Cueball: Guess one of us should climb down.
Megan: Yeah.
+416:00
Megan: The sea is rising.
+417:00
Cueball: Yeah.
+421:00 [Megan shimmies down a support column to re-position the ladder]
+426:00 [Water level reaches lowest point of castle. Megan's levee restrains it from here on out.]
+441:00
Cueball: Sea level rises and falls, right? It's changed before.
Megan: Not this fast.
+442:00
Cueball: The river hasn't even reached the sea yet.
Megan: The river is small
The sea is big.
+443:00
Cueball: How big?
Megan: I don't know.
+516:00
Megan: Does it rain on the sea?
Cueball: I don't know.
+517:00
Cueball: If it does, it seems like a waste.
+519:00
Cueball: It rains in the hills where the river comes from, right?
Megan: Sure.
+520:00
Cueball: Are there other rivers?
+521:00
Megan: I don't know.
+538:00
Cueball: There must be other rivers.
Otherwise the sea would dry up.
+539:00
Megan: Maybe it's coming out of the ground.
Cueball: Does that happen?
Megan: I don't know.
+540:00
Megan: I don't know how the sea works.
Cueball: I don't know how anything works.
+541:00 [The levee finally starts to give way.]
+543:00 [Megan and Cueball get down and look at the water, where the levee is now submerged.]
+547:00 [Megan begins transferring sand to Cueball via a pulley and bucket system.]
+552:00 [Megan attempts to hoist herself up using said pulley and bucket system.]
+554:00 [Megan loses her balance and falls off.]
+555:00 [Megan lands heavily on sandcastle. She holds her head in pain. Cueball looks on in horror.]
+557:00 [Cueball goes to check if Megan is okay. Megan gets up.]
+559:00 [Megan starts rebuilding the part of the sandcastle she damaged when she fell. Cueball returns to building. The water level has reached the tower on the right and begins to erode it.]
+565:00 [Megan finishes repairing the damage and heads up the ladder to help Cueball build his sandcastle on top of the platform.]
+604:00 [Cueball exits.]
+671:00 [Megan, having finished work on the platform-castle, takes a nap on the platform.]
+678:00 [A girl in a beret enters the frame, looks at the sandcastle and leaves.]
+697:00 [Megan begins turning lowest castle into a new, higher levee.]
+707:00 [Megan brings Cueball back.]
+711:00
Megan: I don't think it's going to stop.
+712:00
Cueball: The sea can't just make more of itself forever.
Megan: It can do whatever it wants. It's the sea.
+713:00
Cueball: There must be a reason. There's a reason for everything.
Megan: Yeah.
+714:00
Megan: But it's not always a good reason.
+717:00
Cueball: There must be other rivers. Maybe something is wrong with them.
+734:00
Megan: I like our castle.
+735:00
Cueball: I think it's going to go away.
+736:00
Megan: Yeah.
+738:00
Megan: Do you think there are other rivers?
Cueball: Something is adding water to the sea.
+739:00
Megan: Does it have to be water? Maybe something is adding more land somewhere. And it's making the sea overflow.
+740:00
Cueball: Or maybe it's just raining somewhere. We have no idea what's out there.
+741:00
Megan: Yeah.
+743:00
Megan: Want to find out?
Cueball: Yes.
+744:00
Megan: I'll get some bags.
+760:00
Megan: bye.
+761:00 [Megan exits.]
+775:00 [The entire scene begins a slow fade to white. The 'tide' continues to rise and the castle on the right continues to be subsumed.]
+830:00 [Beret Girl drops in for one frame. The fade and tide continue.]
+847:00 [Beret Girl drops in again, dragging something. The fade and tide continue.] (In fact, this detail was not visible without an aid to undo the fade.)
+850:00 [The entire scene is white.]

Scene 2

+851:00 [New scene: ground.]
+852:00 [Megan and Cueball walking with bags.]
+858:00 [Cueball pauses and Megan looks back at him.]
+864:00 [Still walking.]
Cueball: Have you ever been this far?
Megan: Not this way.
+867:00 [Megan and Cueball stop and have a drink from flasks in their bags.]
+870:00 [Megan continues walking.]
+871:00 [Cueball continues walking.]
+875:00 [They stop, sit and eat. The perspective changes showing they're in a landscape similar to time +0:00.]
+879:00 (frame 1000) [Megan reclines.]
+880:00 [They prepare to continue.]
+881:00 [They continue walking. The perspective returns to "parallel to the beach".]
+883:00 [Still walking.]
Megan: Maybe the sea doesn't end.
+884:00
Cueball: We haven't walked very far.
+885:00
Megan: Yeah.
Megan: But that's what the first part of not ending looks like.
+897:00 [Still walking.]
Megan: If we don't find something today, we'll have to start using the steam bottle.
Cueball: Ugh!
+902:00 [They stop, having come to another body of water.]
+903:00
Megan: Yes.
Cueball: Yes what?
+904:00 [The scene zooms out briefly, showing the opposite shore.]
Megan: There are other rivers.
+908:00 [Cueball, having sat on the bank to drink, falls into the river when the bank beneath him crumbles. Megan manages to grab him and pull him back to dry land, but he loses his water bottle in the process.]
+914:00 [Megan pulls out a lasso. Cueball and her both use it to try and grab the bottle. They fail.]
+920:00
Cueball: The river isn't moving that fast. Maybe I could-
Megan: Too dangerous.
Cueball: Yeah.
+921:00
Megan: It's ok. It was an accident.
+923:00 [The bottle slips below the surface.]
Megan: You're right, though.
Cueball: About what?
+924:00
Megan: The river's not moving very fast.
+928:00
Megan: It can't be flowing much faster than we walk.
Megan: Even if it's as deep as it is wide, I don't think it's enough water.
+929:00
Cueball: Yeah
+931:00
Cueball: And this river doesn't look broken.
Megan: Yeah.
+932:00
Cueball: It's pretty neat, though.
Megan: Yeah.
+935:00 [Cueball grabs Megan's hand and gently pulls her back from the edge.]
+937:00
Cueball: Sorry.
Megan: No, right. Forgot.
+941:00 [Megan exits. Cueball begins digging into the ground.]
+943:00 [Cueball fills in the hole he created.]
+945:00 [Megan is back after checking the sea level.]
Megan: It's still rising.
+946:00
Cueball: It's strange - Rivers flow to meet the sea - Maybe the sea couldn't wait.
+948:00
Megan: Walk upriver to find a ford, or turn back?
+950:00
Cueball: We can't go back. We don't understand everything yet.
+951:00
Megan: "Everything" is a little ambitious. We barely understand anything.
Cueball: Yeah.
+952:00
Cueball: But that's what the first part of understanding everything looks like.
+972:00
Cueball: If nothing else, I'm glad we found this river. It's not much farther from home than ours at its driest.
+975:00
Megan: Oh. This river is even bigger than it looked.
+976:00 [The scene zooms out to show the opposite bank again. It continues to zoom out slowly, revealing that the "opposite bank" is actually just an island in the much, much larger river. Cueball and Megan continue to walk away from the viewer.]
+990:00 [Megan and Cueball finally pass the end of the island. The scene zooms out even farther once more to show the far bank.]
+1001:00 [The scene returns to original zoom, with Megan and Cueball looking out over the river.]
+1002:00
Megan: Maybe it is big enough to fill the sea.

Frame by Frame Breakdown

Below is the list of all the frames of the comic, in the order that they were revealed. The given times denote the time since the comic was initially released on midnight, March 25, 2013, Eastern Daylight Savings Time (UTC - 0400).

Day 1, Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 2, Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 3, Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 4, Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 5, Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 6, Saturday, March 30, 2013

The comic starts updating hourly from here.

Day 7, Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 8, Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 9, Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 10, Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 11, Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 12, Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 13, Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 14, Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 15, Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 16, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 17, Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 18, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day 19, Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 20, Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 21, Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day 22, Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 23, Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 24, Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 25, Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 26, Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 27, Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day 28, Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day 29, Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 30, Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 31, Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 32, Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 33, Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 34, Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 35, Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day 36, Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 36, Monday, April 29, 2013, normalized

The following images show the faded images from day 36 with the fade removed.

Day 37, Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 38, Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 39, Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day 40, Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 41, Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day 42, Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 43, Monday, May 6, 2013

Where's the discussion block?

It was getting kinda large, so the discussion block has been moved. You can still discuss this comic here: Talk:1190: Time

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