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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|Lots of people]] contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
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*If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
  
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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!
  
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== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
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Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
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Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
  
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Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1494 xkcd comics, and only 16 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Insurance
LIFEHACKS: You can just take all the luggage off the airport conveyer belt and leave with it. They don't check that it's yours at the door!
Title text: LIFEHACKS: You can just take all the luggage off the airport conveyer belt and leave with it. They don't check that it's yours at the door!

Explanation

Cueball in this comic, as is often the case, is some sort of programmer or at least logically minded person. He reads through the terms that are handed to him, and finds some sort of loophole. This is a play on the fact that programmers often find loopholes in programs and code, and exploiting them is nothing more than a "cool find" or an interesting idea. More importantly, programmers try to prevent loopholes, which is why it is important to be able to identify them.

The insurance agent foresees this, and explains that this "cool hack" is actually just an instance of insurance fraud, which is highly illegal. The comparison here is that exploiting a program's faults can be regarded as interesting or fun, while exploiting the faults in a legal document will often result in some sort of legal repercussions (however, sometimes legal loopholes are exploited by individuals or corporations in ways that are not illegal).

The insurance agent is also already prepared for the following question - how he knew Cueball would be looking for loopholes, and it's because many programmers visit him.

The title text provides another example: While airport luggage security certainly is exploitable, walking out with every piece of luggage from the conveyor belt would be easily noticeable and would result in being arrested for theft.

This relates to 1469: UV

Lifehacks vs. IT hacks

The term hacking in IT is ambiguous and goes from code development (in particular in the opensource community) to the fact of "using a hack". A hack would then refer to a tricky piece of code doing the intended job in a way that the framework or project in which it is inserted was not intended to. To the general public, 'hacking' a system would normally refer to some illegal way of acheiving a goal against the will of the original developers of the system, like getting a copy of all the data available or taking advantage of some unwanted behavior, but a more distinctive term for such an exploitation (maliciously or after an invitation to perform legitimate penetration testing) would be 'cracking'.

This comic is making fun of what IT hacks would look like in real world. Surely, taking many luggages from an airport is technically possible and probably not so difficult, but first, it looks weird, and second, it's also obviously illegal. The weirdness of such behavior is more obvious in real life than in IT.

It is worth noting that it is currently popular on social media sites to share small tricks to make one's life easier. This is called "life hacking", or "hacking your life".

Transcript

[Cueball is standing in front of a desk, which a man sits behind. The man is presumably an insurance agent, and is handing Cueball a paper.]
Insurance agent: Here's a page explaining the terms of your new fire insurance policy.
[Zoom in on Cueball as he reads the paper.]
[Cueball starts to ask the insurance agent a question when he hands Cueball yet another paper.]
Cueball: Hey, what if I -
Insurance agent: And here's a page explaining that the "cool hack" you just thought of is called "insurance fraud". We already know about it and it's a crime.
Cueball: Oh. Right. How did -
Insurance agent: I see a lot of programmers here.

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New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the 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 here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

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