434: xkcd Goes to the Airport

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xkcd Goes to the Airport
Under three ounces, but it stains panties.
Title text: Under three ounces, but it stains panties.

[edit] Explanation

The various characters of xkcd cause problems at the airport due to their various quirks.

Panel 1: Beret Guy and Megan are lost, following each other in a loop. Beret Guy displays his obsession with baked goods as he also does in later comics: 442: xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel and 452: Mission.

Panel 2: Cueball tries to carry a lockpick set (a tool able to unlock doors without the original key) through security because of "this hacker girl" (spoofing the incidents where someone has been manipulated into carrying drugs or other contraband by a romantic interest they met on the Internet). The security guard tells Cueball to come with him but Cueball continues rambling on about the girl. It could be a reference to the Homeless Hacker from 343: 1337: Part 3 or another guy Elaine met during this period of her life.

Panel 3: On the plane, Cueball has been instructed to disable the wireless transmission functionality of his device. Many airports will disable Mobile phones on aircraft as well as devices that transmit information because they may disrupt communication to cellular towers on the ground. However, his laptop is running Linux and he doesn't know how to change the wireless settings; he's reading the manual for the program that controls the wireless radio. However, this is probably not the ideal situation, as the airplane is pressed to take off. Man page was also referenced in 293: RTFM. Much later a plane was again linked to a man page in 912: Manual Override.

Panel 4: Black Hat tries to carry a container of liquid through security. According to US law, the maximum amount of liquid in a container is three ounces, a security measure taken to prevent terrorists from taking explosives onto planes. When the guard has doubts about the amount of liquid in the vial, Black Hat reveals that the liquid is actually blood from a churchmouse (a fictional mouse created by Lewis Carroll [1]). The guard is visibly uncomfortable and clearly does not want to deal with the issue any further.

The title text continues off the final panel, saying that there are less than three ounces of blood in a churchmouse, but it "stains panties", an undesirable scenario. However, this undesirable scenario is paralleled by the implied undesirable scenario of a terrorist attack due to explosive liquids, the possibility of which caused the law. The title text seems to parody the prospect of an explosion with the relatively insignificant staining of panties, a term for women's underwear. (This may also be a menstruation joke.)

[edit] Transcript

[Standing outside the Airport. There is a sign saying "Airport" and a plane in the background.]
Megan: Okay, what airline?
Beret Guy: I'm following you.
Megan: ...I'm following you.
Beret Guy: I assumed we were walking to the bakery.
Megan: You always assume that!
[Presumably the security checkpoint.]
Security Guy: Lockpicks? These are... illegal, actually. Where did you get them?
Cueball: Oh man, it all started with this hacker girl.
Security Guy: You need to come with-
Cueball: Sure, sure. But man, let me tell you about her!
[On a plane.]
Announcement: If your device has a "Transmit" function, please disable it.
Cueball: Okay - hang on, I'm half way through the iwconfig man page.
[Security checkpoint.]
Security guy: Sir, is this container under three ounces?
Black Hat: Not sure, how much blood is there in a churchmouse?
Security guy: Why don't you just go.
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Discussion

I do not understand the "churchmouse" in this context? This needs an explain. Thanks.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:39, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

A churchmouse is a small rodent. Look it up on Wikipedia. Davidy²²[talk] 02:23, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
That's not true: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/church+mouse Xhfz (talk) 23:24, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Later, Converting to Metric informs us that a fieldmouse contains 3 mL of blood.--Rael (talk) 05:29, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Maybe I'm just dirty minded, but I thought the "stains panties" line had to do with simulating either defloration or menstruation.--67.243.62.50 17:16, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

I was under the impression that the "hacker girl" either gave him the set as a gift, or he just learned how to lock-pick from being around her so much that he acquired his own. It seems weird that it would have anything to do with smuggling. 76.106.251.87 01:12, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
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