Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics,
and only 1925
remain. Add yours while there's a chance!
Go to this comic explanation
Title text: While it may seem like trivia, it (causes huge headaches for software developers / is taken advantage of by high-speed traders / triggered the 2003 Northeast Blackout / has to be corrected for by GPS satellites / is now recognized as a major cause of World War I).
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by BLACKHAT / A BOBCAT / TIME TRAVEL / BAD CODE / A VELOCIRAPTOR / AN ANONYMOUS COWARD - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
Randall presents what appears to be a generator of 156,000 facts, about calendars, most of which are false or have little meaning. The facts are seeded by a mishmash of common tidbits about the time of year.
The formula for each generated fact goes as follows: "Did you know that [a recurring event] [occurs in an unusual manner] because of [a phenomenon or natural property]? Apparently [wild card statement]."
|| What it is
|| Relation to other entries
| Recurring Events
| The [Fall/Spring] Equinox
|| The time of year at which the Earth's axis is on a plane perpendicular to the line from the Earth to the Sun, and the time that the Sun is above the horizon is 12 hours across the globe.
|| Before the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1582, the equinoxes fell on earlier and earlier dates as the centuries went by, due to the Julian calendar year being 365.25 days on average compared to the tropical Earth year of 365.2422 days. Pope Gregory's decision to remove the leap days on years that were multiples of 100 but not 400 corrected the average length of the calendar year to 365.2425 days.
| The [Winter/Summer] Solstice
|| The winter and summer solstices are the time of year at which the Earth's axis is on the same plane as the line from the Earth to the Sun, and the days are the longest in the Northern or Southern hemisphere respectively.
|| Similar to the equinoxes, the solstices were also falling on earlier dates every year before the Gregorian Calendar.
| The [Winter/Summer] Olympics
|| The Winter and Summer Olympics are the Olympic Games in two different seasons.
|| The Olympics do not have any set dates, and seem to have been included simply because they are also something that alternate occurring in the winter and summer.
| Unusual manners in which the events occur
| happens [earlier/later/at the wrong time] every year
|| The solstices and equinoxes happened earlier every year before the decree by Pope Gregory in 1582. The earliest sunrise happens one hour later than it "should" happen due to daylight saving time having turned the clocks forward one hour.
| Phenomena or political decisions
| the zone legislation in [Indiana/Arizona/Russia]
|| Some states or provinces have time zone legislation that sets the standard time to something other than what the natural latitude of that location would suggest.
|| * The state of Arizona generally does not observe daylight saving time, keeping their clocks on UTC-7:00 Mountain Standard Time year round. However, the Navajo nation inside Arizona does observe it, causing the two regions to have different times in the summer and the same time in the winter.
- Time zones in Russia are all one hour behind what their latitude would suggest.
- Indiana is a joke.
| Title Text
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
Title: -Calendar Facts-
Shown is a branching flow chart of sorts that begins at the phrase "Did you know that", then flows through various paths to build up a sentence. (Note that the "→" arrow symbol is used below to indicate a new branch with no intermediate text from a previous branch.)
- Did you know that:
- the ( Fall | Spring ) Equinox
- the ( Winter | Summer ) ( Solstice | Olympics )
- the ( Earliest | Latest ) ( Sunrise | Sunset )
- Daylight ( Saving | Savings ) Time
- Leap ( Day | Year )
- the ( Harvest | Super | Blood ) Moon
- Toyota Truck Month
- Shark Week
- happens ( earlier | later | at the wrong time ) every year
- drifts out of sync with the
- ( Gregorian | Mayan | Lunar | iPhone ) Calendar
- atomic clock in Colorado
- might ( not happen | happen twice ) this year
- because of
- time zone legislation in ( Indiana | Arizona | Russia )
- a decree by the pope in the 1500s
- ( precession | libration | nutation | libation | eccentricity | obliquity ) of the
- Earth's axis
- prime meridian
- ( international date | mason-dixon ) line
- magnetic field reversal
- an arbitrary decision by ( Benjamin Franklin | Isaac Newton | FDR )
- it causes a predictable increase in car accidents.
- that's why we have leap seconds.
- scientists are really worried.
- it was even more extreme during the
- Bronze Age.
- Ice Age.
- there's a proposal to fix it, but it
- will never happen.
- actually makes things worse.
- is stalled in congress.
- might be unconstitutional.
- it's getting worse and no one knows why.
Is this out of date? .
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.
- List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.
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, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.