Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Google Maps is a service provided by Google that offers a map of the world including satellite and aerial imagery for free. Using the scroll wheel, the user can zoom out to see a larger area. Lena River is a river in Russia, flowing into the Arctic Ocean (with a large delta).
Clicking on the comic leads to an online Google Maps page showing the satellite imagery of the Lena Delta.
It appears that Cueball is simply trying to explore the world without leaving his laptop or purchasing an expensive game.
Alternatively, he may be playing Mapcrunch, this 'game' randomizes a street view location with the goal of finding the airport.
The title text states that he apparently somewhat still treats it as a game and that he has been on it for at least a decade.
- [Cueball at a computer.]
- February 4th:
- Departed the mouth of the Lena River, heading south.
- It has been nearly half an hour and still no sign of civilization.
- The scroll wheel tempts me, but I will not cheat.
- Click click click
- My hobby: Getting lost on Google Maps satellite
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He should have written: ... than in any other game. --Kronf (talk) 06:50, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
- Not really. That would imply Google Maps is a game too. It's just a piece of software he uses as a game.
- Erm ... that's the point. --Kronf (talk) 13:40, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Someone should write a game for this. It would just use the google maps API. It starts by putting you at a random point and the zoom is disabled. Then you have to navigate to a city. 188.8.131.52 13:07, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
- Great idea! I’d definitely play it. --184.108.40.206 15:50, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
- There used to be a game (don't know if it is still played) called "Table Top Rallying". It involved a Rand McNally map of the USA (and it had the be the right Rand McNally map for the year). Participants would "drive" around the map, collecting clues and answering questions, and the like. 220.127.116.11 09:17, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
- My kids and I invented a similar game using google maps. It was called "Would you live?" and involved getting a sum of pretend money with which to pretend buy things on ebay, after which you would be dropped at a random point on the map. We used random.org to get the random location. You got more money for the next round if you survived, and bonus points for how quickly you could identify where you were on the map, starting from the mostzoomed in point. My son, then ten years old, scored a major coup by finding a giant barge on ebay for $800. Saved him many of the times he was dumped in the north pacific. --Tamara G.
I just tried out what Cueball suggests, and the first city I found was Yakutsk. Knowing well that downstream from Yakutsk there are at least some settlements, I made a quick Google/Wikipedia search for those and found 1710:Yakutsk:. 1560 Aldan River from the east. River tends northwest. 1373:Sangar: coal mines. 1560:Vilyuy River from the west. River tends north. 959:Arctic Circle. 939:Zhigansk,founded in 1632, 865:Agraphena Island. 545:Sikhtyakh. 385:Kyushur:regional center. 222:Lena Delta (Wikipedia; numbers are kilometers from the mouth).
Sangar’s here , Zhigansk’s a lot blurrier , Siktyakh (Wiki misspelled it and Google Maps shows it in the wrong point – it’s, of course, down by the river) is hardly to see , and if anyone can point me to the “regional center” Kyushur, I’d be infinitely thankful.
(In fact, I could not find Kyushur in any source except this Wikipedia site and a translation of a part of a Lithuanian report about Gulag life. Cyrillic script gave no results at all.) --18.104.22.168 15:50, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Kyusyur's Wikipedia page is here: http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D1%8E%D1%81%D1%8E%D1%80 .22.214.171.124 16:23, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
- I knew it must have been a typo! In fact, the Google Maps image of Kyusyur is a lot less blurred out than Zhigansk and Siktyakh:  --126.96.36.199 10:39, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Google Maps is Click and Drag on steroids. Alpha (talk) 00:49, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Should the explanation say what the Google Maps is showing? That ruins the game he's given us! 188.8.131.52 06:15, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
- Umm… it just shows “the mouth of the Lena River” exactly as the comic says in the first sentence! --Mormegil (talk) 16:32, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
No way to really tell, but it reminded me of Elevator. 184.108.40.206 13:26, 8 February 2013 (UTC)