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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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({{#expr: {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}} / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%) [[:Category:Incomplete articles|are incomplete]]. Help us finish them!
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({{#expr: {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete explanations|R}} / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%) [[:Category:Incomplete explanations|are incomplete]]. Help us finish them!
 
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== Latest comic ==
 
== Latest comic ==
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*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
 
*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
*[[List of all comics]] contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed [[:Category:Incomplete articles|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
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*[[List of all comics]] contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed [[:Category:Incomplete explanations|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  
 
*If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
 
*If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.

Revision as of 16:09, 21 November 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1462 xkcd comics, and only 14 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Go to this comic explanation

Altitude
"TURN OFF THE LASER GUIDE STAR" "WHY" "STAR CATS"
Title text: "TURN OFF THE LASER GUIDE STAR" "WHY" "STAR CATS"

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: '

In this comic, Randall is making fun of how oxygen deprivation can lead to reduced mental acuity. In this case, mental state of the researchers devolves as they approach the high altitude telescope, and reaches such a poor state when they arrive as to lead to juvenile (almost intoxicated) behavior. While "dizziness" and "lightheadedness" are common symptoms, the other behavior is not.

The title text refers to a device used to make artificial reference points in the sky for astronomical observation. The reference points are created by shooting a powerful laser into the sky. The concern of the astronomer in the comic is that an imagined "star cat" may be attracted to the laser in the same way cats on Earth playfully chase laser beams projected on surfaces.

Transcript

Commentary: Because of low oxygen, astronomers working at high altitude telescopes may need to write down their plans ahead of time while at sea level.
[Some astronomers are inside a sea-level research facility]
Astronomer #1: Ok, let's head up to the observatory.
[The astronomers drive uphill]
Astronomer #1: When we reach the summit, we'll check the iodine cell and do a general calibration.
Astronomer #2: Sounds good.
[The astronomers have reached the high-altitude observatory]
Astronomer #1: My head feels funny.
Astronomer #2: Look at those telescope domes. I hope they don't roll away.
Astronomer #3: Maybe we should tape them down.
[The astronomers are inside one of the domes]
Astronomer #1: Haha, look at this mirror! My face is huge!
Astronomer #2: I see your face in the telescope! I discovered you!
Astronomer #3: Let's make out!



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