343: 1337: Part 3

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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1337: Part 3
I once asked an NSA guy whether they'd broken RSA.  And I know I can trust him, because I asked if he was lying to me and he said no.
Title text: I once asked an NSA guy whether they'd broken RSA. And I know I can trust him, because I asked if he was lying to me and he said no.


Adrian Lamo is a hacker known for being a threat analyst and has penetrated many corporate networks. As far as we know, he has not penetrated any government networks, so helping Elaine physically break into the NSA would probably put him out.

RSA is an encryption algorithm that allows decryption using public keys

Lawrence Lessig is a political activist, and a founding board member of Creative Commons.

Steve Jobs was the two-time CEO of Apple Inc. In partnership with Steve Wozniak he founded Apple. He oversaw Apple's return from near bankruptcy, the introduction of the original Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. But in the 90s, most of this had not happened yet.

The final panel is a pun on the Riot grrrls - from Wikipedia Riot grrrl is an underground feminist punk rock movement. This metamophises in the hands of Randal into Riot Prrl - who presumably prefer to code in Perl. The real Riot Prrl are from Northampton and are into guerilla knitting.

The title text ("I asked if he was lying to me and he said no") refers to liar paradox.

All comics in "1337" series:

This series was released on 5 consecutive days(Monday-Friday) and not over the usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule.


[Outside, Adrian Lamo is helping Elaine Roberts over a barbed wire fence.]

Narrator: It was the late 90's. Elaine crisscrossed the country with Adrian Lamo, the 'Homeless Hacker', learning to gain entry into systems both virtual and physical.

Adrian Lamo: So you just throw a rug over the fence and ... say, what is this place anyway?

Roberts: Nowhere special.

Lamo: ...Elaine, is this NSA Headquarters?

Roberts: ...Look, I just want to see if they've broken RSA.

[Inside, Lawrence Lessig is sitting at a table, Roberts is standing across the table swinging a knife]

Narrator: She learned, from Lawrence Lessig, about the monstrosity that is U.S. Copyright Law.

Roberts: So, how do we fix the system? Stab bad guys?

Lessig: I'm starting something called "Creative Commons"


Elaine Roberts: I think we should stab bad guys...

[Steve Jobs is lying up in his bed, Roberts is balancing while crouched on the foot of Jobs' bed]

Narrator: She met with Steve Jobs to discuss the future of Apple.

Roberts: Compression and bandwidth are changing everything.

Jobs: Who are you? It's 3:00AM!

Roberts: Apple should make a portable music player.

Jobs: I'm calling the police.

Roberts: Hey, idea — integrate it with a cell phone!

[Scene has two of Elaine's activities. In one she is drumming, in the other she has an electric guitar on her shoulders, one hand on the frets. The other hand is holding a laptop by the touchpad.]

Narrator: She even, for a time, took up drumming, and helped start a movement among teen girls, a culture of self-taught female programmers and musicians, coding by day and rocking out by night—

Roberts: Riot Prrl.

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I can't narrow it down, but the "I think we should stab bad guys", coming from a possibly not psychologically 'normal' young girl, comes from something. Firefly? Not sure, and I've not seen all of the Sarah Connor Chronicles yet, either, to my shame. Too early a comic to be Parker from Leverage (right attitude, though, c.f. when she got horribly cold-read by the fake psychic and got told what he'd done to her). But it's that sort of character. 08:14, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

-Maybe the title text refers the Liar paradox, since under the paradox we can assume that all NSA people lie which would lead to the NSA man's saying no to lying = that he actually lied (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I noticed Randall released this comic under a license for Wikipedia. Where is it on Wikipedia? Benjaminikuta (talk) 18:45, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

Perching on the bedpost

This posture, and the whole composition of the scene, might refers to some classical representation of the devil inspiring the Devil's Trill to Giuseppe Tartini, a sonata considered as its masterpiece. 09:18, 2 November 2015 (UTC)