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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
 
  
We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-10}}''' xkcd comics]],
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font><br>
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We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
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== Latest comic ==
 
== Latest comic ==
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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>
 
<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>
  
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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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.
  
* 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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*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.
  
* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
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*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the [[explain xkcd:Community portal|Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The missing explanations are listed [[List of unexplained comics|here]]. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
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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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*We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go [[explain xkcd:Advertise Here|here]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
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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.
  
 
If you need assistance from an [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
 
If you need assistance from an [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
  
 
[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 2 xkcd comics, and only 21 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Newton's Trajectories
With just one extra line, he could have anticipated the 2003 film The Core, but some things are too audacious for even the greatest visionaries.
Title text: With just one extra line, he could have anticipated the 2003 film The Core, but some things are too audacious for even the greatest visionaries.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a cannonball - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
1669780A-D3EE-43E7-BD94-DD34B224BFF4.gif

The comic shows the Earth, with three apparent rockets on separate trajectories. One is released with sufficient velocity to attain a stable orbit, while the other two fall towards the Earth. This is a slight modification of Newton's cannonball, a thought experiment demonstrating the planetary effects of gravity.

Here, Newton's cannonball is used both to observe humanity’s technological future (interplanetary travel, availability of advanced technology to the masses, and constant scientific improvement; or nuclear desolation and the extinction of our species) and to underscore that argument by pointing out the inherent metaphor in the experiment: the cannonball can only escape the atmosphere by achieving high velocity (i.e. escape velocity). One might imagine that similarly, technological progress might only deliver us from nuclear extinction if it happens quickly; that otherwise, mankind will destroy itself. Of course, that threat only exists because of quick technological progress in the first place.

The phrase "slip the bonds of Earth" comes from the sonnet "High Flight" written in 1941 by John Gillespie Magee Jr., an American pilot in the Second World War. Portions of this poem appear on the headstones of many interred in Arlington National Cemetery, particularly aviators and astronauts; it was also quoted in President Reagan's speech after the Challenger disaster.

The title text alludes to the unfortunate film The Core, involving drilling to the center of the Earth to restart the stopped rotation of the magnetic core. If there had been one more line that returned to Earth much more quickly than the others, its trajectory would point toward the center of the earth. Apparently, not even Newton would predict such a disaster.

Transcript

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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.