The first and most commonly repeated verse is also the one alluded to by Jill in the comic as she almost says the first three lines:
The comic makes fun of how it's weird that they go up a hill to fetch water, because water is usually found in valleys rather than on top of hills. Natural water sources, like rivers and streams, flow down from hills, so it shouldn't be necessary to go up the hill to get the water. Similarly, if the water is coming from a well, then building the well at the top of a hill is an odd choice. The ground water table stays at about the same level over smaller areas, so building the well on a hill just means you have to dig further.
This version, which may explain why they went up the hill after water, connects the idea to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) methods for oil and gas extraction. In these methods, highly pressurized liquids are forced into a given ground stratum (or layer). With enough pressure, the stratum starts to deform and crack. This allows potential gas and oil to flow more freely. The liquid used for fracturing usually also contains materials like sand or ceramics which, once the liquid is removed, will help to maintain the newly formed cracks so as to further allow the desired free movement of oil and gas.
The third verse of the title text does not match the expected meter exactly -- it's missing a syllable because Randall used a short ending on the line instead of a long one (i.e. "water" has two syllables, with the stress going on the first, while "town" is one syllable, so there's no unstressed syllable tacked on at the end of the line). This is a common device in many forms of English verse to accommodate English stress patterns.
This is the second Wednesday in a row that Randall uses two children to make a reference to a serious environmental issue, the first being 1659: Tire Swing, about tire recycling.
I am surprised no one has mentioned the bad grammar "Me and Jack..." 188.8.131.52 07:37, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Often water in spring (up hill) has better quality than in stream or river (down in the valley) --JakubNarebski (talk) 14:23, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- The ground water table tends to be really close to ground on legs of a hill, so it's an ideal place to dig a well, in some places just a mand-made pond about a feet deep is all that is needed, in which case it's called a spring. 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
jack and Jill / went up the hill / to have a little fun / but silly Jill / forgot the pill / and now they have a son. 220.127.116.11 14:28, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
I'd always assumed that there was a well at the top of the hill, though I hadn't realised I'd made that assumption until now. And, come to think of it, the top of a hill's a pretty bad place to put a well. --jwanders 18.104.22.168 14:39, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
High water sources are ideal. Not only do they tend to be cleaner, but it also makes for easier transportation. Note that hills are often at the base of mountains. 22.214.171.124 14:49, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
It's been three weeks since Randall made a really complicated joke with 1653: United States Map (and a week before that also with 1649: Pipelines). Someone mentioned a possible school book project based on Thing Explainer as the reason for this. Personally I hope it is because he is saving up time to spend on the joke (on us all :-) this Friday with the next April fools' comic like 1350: Lorenz or 1506: xkcloud. Can't wait. --Kynde (talk) 15:12, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
I found the title text explanations to miss the obvious implication that earthquakes shake the ground causing people (and buildings) to literally fall down. I preface my comment with my ignorance, I have never experienced an earthquake first hand and I am not knowledgeable as to which magnitude is required to bring things to their knees. Perhaps to this date fracking has not been associated with earthquakes of sufficient magnitude to produce this result. Still, I think this was the intended meaning on its face and I added it to the explanation without removing the others as they did make some sense.--R0hrshach (talk) 15:24, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- Well someone has deleted both yours and my speculations. I still think that the idea that people who begin with fracking at first can be popular for the money they bring to the local economy, but then when all the problems related to this endeavor begin to be felt (and micro earthquakes are probably the least given how many dangerous chemicals are released into nature during the process) then maybe those who at first celebrated the project will bring you down, i.e. make you fall. (Maybe only financially be suing Jack) The deleted explanations can be seen here. If anyone else agrees that this may be the reason for the fall in the title text maybe it should be re-added? But else it will just be left as my thoughts here in the discussion page. --Kynde (talk) 20:12, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
The third line of the title text has an ambiguous trochaic foot with the word "oil". Some people (myself included) pronounce this word as almost two syllables (oy-el), while others make it a single syllable. 126.96.36.199 15:35, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
Why does that child say "me and Jack" instead of "Jack and I"? That seems such a glaring grammatical mistake that it must be intentional, right? 188.8.131.52 17:18, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- Because she's a child. Children often use incorrect grammar of that kind. 184.108.40.206 20:02, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- I think many kids will say it like that in spite them being told by their parents (repeatedly) to not name them selves first. But by letting Jill speak like this, he just let them be ordinary children. How many small kids do you actually hear say Jack and I will go up the hill, instead of Me and Jack will go up the hill? I think it would be more strange had he done it the other way, so yet I think it was on purpose, but only for the purpose or realism, not to hide any meaning... --Kynde (talk) 20:12, 30 March 2016 (UTC) (When first posting this it resulted in a posting conflict with the above comment, so won't change even though saying basically the same as it was a reply to the one above before the other one was posted.)
- This is actually an extremely common mistake, by native English speakers of all ages, such that it is frequently used in popular media (movies, TV, etc), often corrected by someone. And despite this correction frequently showing up, people still make this mistake, to the point where many people consider it "correct enough". I've seen this "me and him" grammatical mistake portrayed so often that I've even picked up a rule of thumb offered by some of these portrayals: Take the other person out, does it still make sense? "Me am going up the hill". This format is so common that it is less an error and more casual speaking, on par with words like "ain't", "gonna" and "gotta". In fact, saying the correct "Jack and I" can even sound odd, it's so rare. - NiceGuy1 220.127.116.11 02:32, 1 April 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 15:18, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
The poem doesn't necessarily indicate that the water or well was located atop a hill, merely that they had to scale a hill to reach it. It could simply mean that the water source is beyond the hill in question. 18.104.22.168 17:49, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- Interesting observation, but somewhat lateral. 22.214.171.124 20:02, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- Also, going up a hill to get to the other side would be "going over the the hill".126.96.36.199 22:55, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
- Yes, unfortunately "up" is vague and "over" would be an indication of beyond.188.8.131.52 16:36, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
It seems like there have been a lot of environmental related comics, both recently with this and the tire swing and in general, often about global warming, but also about risk of Nuclear war/or pollution. Should there be a category, and if so, what should it be called, and should it only be about environment, also about nukes, or even only about global warming (or should there be more)? --Kynde (talk) 20:12, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
Where does it say that the water is at the top of he hill? They go some distance up the hill, but not necessarily to the top. There maybe any number of reasons why they go there for water. Maybe there is a brook running down the hillside. Maybe there a well was dug there because that is where most people live. Maybe the water in the valley is poluted. Andso on and so forth. --184.108.40.206 06:38, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
There are Dew Ponds which are at the top of hills, more info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dew_pond 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Abe and Ali,
Went down the valley,
To fetch a pail of water.
When rain falls down,
Hilltops don't drown,
The rivers flow; or oughta!
18.104.22.168 01:31, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- What happened to Friday's comic
I know they don't happen at 00:00 GMT, but it's now 19:44 GMT/20:44 BST and no new comic.
Everything ok, Randall Hun? -- Kev (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
See the header on the site: "The xkcd April 1st comic is currently experiencing technical difficulties. / Please stand by!"
22.214.171.124 21:18, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
- Aww! I was so much looking forward to it, and now it's 10 minutes to midnight in Europe, so I won't even experience it during April 1st. Guess it will prove to be a very interesting comic along the lines of the last two years April 1st comics and his game when Thing Explainer came out. I hope those in the US gets that pleasure - also for Randall's sake. It would be a pity that an April fools' comics came out on April 2nd... Of course this feels like I have been made an April fool so I'll take that as an experience, maybe like the first Fool's comic from 2008. Havbe fun those of you who still have a chance to try it out today. ;-) --Kynde (talk) 21:54, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Additional updates have been posted...
- Status update: Please stand by.
- Status update: This is fine. Everything is fine.
- Status update: Everything is on fire.
- Status update: Searching for calendar systems in which Saturday is April 1st.
--126.96.36.199 02:20, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- Well then at least I did not miss anything... He still has 1½ hour where it is still April 1st in California... (But three more hours in Hawaii.) --Kynde (talk) 05:32, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- Too late for that as well. He still has almost two hours until April 1st ends in baker-island though... ;-) --Kynde (talk) 10:16, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- And it is officially too late, as the date has now changed past April 1st all over the globe. Sad on behalf of Randall. Hope he makes it work and the anticipation that this should be a really great comic is sky high now. I'm taking comfort in playing with Lorenz again ;-) --Kynde (talk) 12:04, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- New update Saturday afternoon (in the US):
- The Friday xkcd comic is currently experiencing technical difficulties
- [Editor's note: Everything is on fire]
- and has been delayed until Sunday night.
- So nothing for this weekend. --Kynde (talk) 17:28, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- And if it is Sunday night then it is not in Europe. In half an hour it is midnight in central Europe... Maybe he is making a hoax on us that have been awaiting a new Lorenz? Quite dissapointed now and will go to bed ;-) --Kynde (talk) 21:26, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
Is it possible that the April joke is the banner and the absent comic? I propose a new wiki page is created for comic 1663 (April 1st), containing the banner and discussion about where the comic has gone.
188.8.131.52 14:02, 2 April 2016 (UTC)Wilhelm
- I have thought about it, but I think we should await the next comic on Monday before creating any pages. It could of course be, I would think it was a poor April fool's joke especially since it is still up on the 2nd of April. And he would let down his fans... But of course he has done one such meta comics before, but that was not in stead of another comic. And if this is the April joke, but the comic on Mond1ay is called 1663 then it would be stupid to have called this "one" 1663. I have some screen shots of the first status update and then as it looks now. These can be used either in the explanation when the comic comes up, or if there never will be a comic. --Kynde (talk) 14:27, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Update @ 5:37 PM EST (GMT -5:00, Randall lives in Boston, it's his timezone). Still the "everything's on fire" banner but no new comic. He should have it up within about 6 hours and 20 minutes maximum. Papayaman1000 (talk) 21:55, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
- Update: Time is up for GB and Germany respectively, would have been an amazing birthday for someone I know. ẞ qwertz (talk) 00:30, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Update @ 10:30 PM EST: Still no comic. Same banner. Same person reporting. Papayaman1000 (talk) 02:32, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
10:20 PM CDT and there is still no comic 184.108.40.206 03:19, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
11:30. Nothing. Randall, I HATE you. Papayaman1000 (talk) 03:29, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
12:07am, it's Monday in Boston now, everything is still on fire. Miamiclay (talk) 04:08, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
02:06am Monday, neither the Friday nor the Monday comic is up. Atill same banner as yesterday. Fuck. Papayaman1000 (talk) 06:07, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
- Despair not, betcha it'll be worth the wait! Miamiclay (talk) 07:49, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
- calm down! he still has 3 hours 45 minutes from Baker Island's perspective. ẞ qwertz (talk) 08:16, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Re: 'everything is on fire': Maybe Jack and Jill were trying to get water for that. 220.127.116.11 12:33, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
HOLYFUCKITSUP Papayaman1000 (talk) 08:43, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
- Finally Garden is up on xkcd
see Talk:1663:_Garden. -- Xorg (talk) 11:22, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
- Jeff's banner
This is off topic, but I noticed the banner from Jeff about 100 million views to the site! I followed the original explainxkcd site for about a year before the Wiki was created. If it's been going for 6 years then 100 million views would be an average of about 46,000 views per day and about 107,000 views per comic! Does anyone know when this Wiki was created?! I also know this average is misleading. Does anybody know what the current number of views per day is? Averaged over the last year for example?ExternalMonologue (talk) 00:53, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- (There's probably a better place to discuss this on the Community Portal link, but I haven't looked myself and your 'question' is here, so...)
- 100 million views may include a significant number of "Is the latest comic up yet?" or "Has someone replied to my Discussion Pane comment, yet?". I think a better 'metric' (less likely to be inflated by lurkers and other people bashing backwards and forwards over established pages, looking for changes for whatever reason) would be the number of edits made. Still some slight inflation by spammers and "Something is wrong on the Internet!"ers, but much more representative of the degree of community spirit. (Still, a milestone is a milestone!) 18.104.22.168 01:50, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
Am I the only one who got a sense of foreboding in the third panel and was expecting Megan to stop or dissuade the kids from this dangerous activity, rather than wondering about hydrology. I thought that was the joke here - most people would think of stopping the kids and saving them from broken crown and tumbling-related injuries, while Megan goes on a tangent about hydrology.. 22.214.171.124 02:51, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- I did not, she is not supposed to know the rhyme and would thus not know that they are supposed to fall down. --Kynde (talk) 05:32, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
- No, and I'm also surprised not to see it mentioned. that's exactly the reason for the blank third panel, to provide the pause for you to fill in your own punch-line (the bait) and then the final panel is the one where you're taken away at the tangent (the switch). The joke is funnier because of Megan's concern about the hydrology (which is funny by itself) distracting her from the obvious. 126.96.36.199IB
The poem only says that they go up the hill; it doesn't state that they had to reach the peak. The text seems to presume they had to go to the peak. 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)