485: Depth

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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The Planck length is another thousand or two pixels below the comic.
Title text: The Planck length is another thousand or two pixels below the comic.


The comic is a companion piece to 482: Height, which explored a logarithmic scale from the edge of the observable universe down to the Earth's surface. Depth continues the process, viewing logarithmically smaller scales from Earth's atmosphere down to the interior of a single proton. This combination is reminiscent of Charles and Ray Eames' 1977 short film Powers of Ten.

Starting from the Earth's surface, the view descends into a house, a tower PC, its CPU, and eventually a proton inside a silicon atom.

In the electron cloud, the squiggles made out of arrows are Feynman diagrams.

Brian Greene is a theoretical physicist and pop scientist who discusses the nature of the universe. The picture of him knitting is a pun on his book and PBS miniseries, The Fabric of the Cosmos.

The Planck length is the smallest theoretically measurable distance, due to the Uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. Planck length is vastly smaller than any known particle, and modern physics is a long way from being able investigate such a scale.

1162: Log Scale is another comic about the use of log scales.


Sizes Accurate on a vertical log scale
[Series of images of characters doing various things. The things they are doing are listed in left to right order]
Man and woman playing in a ball pen
Woman using witchcraft to ban vista "Out, Vista!"
Two girls play Rock Band
Man and woman are having "fun" on a shaking bed.
[Below this series of images, an image of a man on the computer]:
Man is on computer and the image expands as it goes down. Here are the labels from left to right, up to down:
North Bridge
Mouse (a physical mouse)
CPU Socket Pin
2,767 Angels Dancing (one more and they'd roll over and become 32,768 Devils), Rice, Torrent (a bug), CPU, upcoming segfault
dust mite
Data (a pixel on Rick Astley's shoulder), rust mite, fork();
Peter Norton fighting a baxteriophage
carbon nanotubes
space elevator
a line of silicon (Si), Electron Cloud, a man made out of arrows saying "sup?
Silicon nucleus
IPod femto
Brian Greene knitting furiously <<clank, clunk>>

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Discussion 01:39, 3 September 2013 (UTC) Is the bed actually shaking or are the people/person under the sheet just moving on their own? The squiggle lines doesn't show. PS Oh, yeeeaaah! That's what being the first poster feels like, especially on an old comic that hasn't been touched for five years. Until now: at 4:38 am and 50 seconds, 2013/03/09. (GMT).

Three bugs:

1. In the explanation, someone forgot to mention how many stories high the apartment building is. I'd say it's at least two stories tall; possibly more, but if so, the upper stories are all obscured by foreshortening.
2. Still in the explanation, I disagree that the person at the computer on the second floor (between the Guitar Hero players & the bed) is our protagonist Cueball; he's on the first floor, under the Guitar Hero folks, sitting at his computer.
3. In the transcript, that person at the computer on the second floor is omitted. 06:34, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

It looks like the comment on Brian Greene may also refer to Noam Chomsky's "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" -adamaustin (talk) 21:28, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

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