Talk:1190: Time

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Pretty sure we're just getting trolled with this one 04:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Can't tell if this is emo xkcd or trolling xkcd. Alpha (talk) 04:53, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Something seems a little fishy because the image url is different than normal. Bugefun (talk) 04:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Maybe the comic slowly changes throughout the day. Alpha (talk) 04:56, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh god, it does. Alpha (talk) 04:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
When uploading different versions of the image, use the naming convention time[iterationNumber].png. We'll compile all the images into one and display them as per Traffic Lights. Davidy²²[talk] 05:05, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, so the comic appears to be switching between two states here: between this and this. If nothing new happens, I'll get to clipping the comics together. Davidy²²[talk] 05:28, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Whoop, nope, this just came up. Is there more to come? Davidy²²[talk] 05:34, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, so a new one is posted every half-hour. Whoopee. Davidy²²[talk] 06:06, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
And there's a new one! Megan leaning back and looking up...
Well, the image changed, who has the time to make a script to catch the new images and compile them into a gif? Statharas.903 (talk) 07:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC) 05:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)It could be a reference to the old proverb " time and tide wait for none" Cueball and the girl could be waiting for the tide in the beach! (Just a guess) 05:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

This could be a cinematic custom to change scenes or to show the passage of time: fade to black (white) on Act I, come up on Act II. Get some popcorn during the intermission. -- Gerry (talk) 11:38, 29 April 2013 (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The picture does chance with time. The URL includes a changing timestamp that I can't decipher. Compare these two URLS (which have slightly different images:

Perhaps there is a way to hack the URL to view future images. 05:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I would also like to add that knowing randall, these are not the only images. For all we know, the image will still be changing in 5 years while a tree grows in front of them. My point is: Are the URLs hackable, or did he encrypt them? 05:33, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Likely there is a way to hack the URLs; they look like some sort of hash, probably a hashed timestamp. Of course, he could easily have added some salt to the hash, making it significantly *harder* to hack. But they're strings of a specific length, so it should be pretty easy to bruteforce it, fetch all the images, and then (maybe) reverse-engineer the sequence. *That* all depends on how many of them there are. 05:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Good god, do you see how many digits are *in* that hash? The sun'll have burned out by the time we've tested every possible combination of digits. Davidy²²[talk] 05:47, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The URLs are 64 hex characters. If he doesnt want us to find these pictures ahead of time, he would have made them completely random data, not a hash of anything. There are 16 possibilites for hex characters so 16^64 combinations or 1.7x10^308 combinations. If we made a supercomputer to try a billion links per second, and if there are 10,000 images total, it would take 4×10^277 × 13.77 billion years, which is a number with 277 zeros times the age of the universe to find just the first additional image. The sun will expand into a red giant and engulf the earth or at least come close enough to boil off all the water in the oceans in a mere 5.4 billion years, less than even one additional age of the universe. It will even be after the last star to ever be born has burned out, and all life in the universe has died before we could find even one. 19:11, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

It seems that the image is updated every 1/2 hour. 06:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Given that the images switch back and forth between other images already seen, and that the comic should be viewable in the future, it seems unlikely that it's any thing like a simple sha256 of part of the timestamp. I think it's more likely a function of half-hours and minutes (assuming we continue to get a new possible image every half-hour). 06:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The images do cycle, yes. But for some reason I have never seen the img where Megan is looking behind her. Also wouldn't it be difficult to show a sequential story (like the rising tide) if the previous images keep cycling ?

Hash appears to be SHA-256. I tried some obvious hashes ("1", "11901", "1190_1", "1190.1") to no avail. Maybe this is HMAC-SHA256? Also, I would suggest trying Unix timestamps. 06:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I've been trying to make educated guesses as to what's being hashed here: ... he could also be using hash(hash2(value)) which would be virtually impossible to crack. 06:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It's entirely possible that the "hash" is actually randomly generated. Just a thought. 07:03, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Regarding sha256. Its most likely some hash of a timestamp, but if he doesnt wants us to crack it, he would have prefixes a password.. sha256('secretcode17:30'). Im just saying, if he doesnt wants us to crack it, we most likely cant. I've tested all unixtimestamps from 1300000000 to 1364390334. Also "00:00" to "23:59", with and without the colon and a load of other formats. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Alright, this is probably not going to work, but I'm trying to exploit Randall's awesomeness here. Maybe he decided to take the time-stamps from the user? I don't know if that's even possible... That would then allow people in different time zones to obtain different images simultaneously. (What's the corollary of Godwin's law for a bunch of math-and-science nerds and relativity? Is there one?) Clicking the img src url on the comic's html page, give me this: : Never mind.. apparently others see the same image too.

Could he be doing this live? Monitoring the discussion on the net? Collaborative, crowdsourced comic-ing? Reminds me of those you-decide-what-the-character-does-next-and-flip-to-appropriate-page parallel plot novels. 07:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Let's just compare the two pictures and see how the bottom right changes, which I believe is water and they are indeed waiting for the tide. Statharas.903 (talk) 07:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm adding urls to pictures bellow, edit freely.
They change every 5 minutes, will try to keep track.

I have uploaded all the different images onto the wiki, in the order that they were revealed. To avoid needless duplication of effort, I'll put them up in the explanation page. Davidy²²[talk] 07:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It just went back to the second image... 07:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

And now changed to something new.
The images do look alike, but they're all different. Thanks David. Statharas.903 (talk) 08:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
No..I checked the random string. They're exactly the same. In fact, now it's gone back to the second image. Again. 08:07, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Just found this JavaScript code embedded in the comic HTML source (Update: Reformatted to prevent eye-bleeding):

I'm no programmer but this looks important to me...

Moved it to pastebin, so it doesn't clutter the page so much. 14:22, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't really help. The script basically changes the image when something happens (probably some time passes, although it's possible there is more hidden there). WHAT image then appears is not directed by the script, but by the site. Specifically, the image displayed as first is taken from, while the script asks for ... which is, if you get correct "r", probably some json containing the image url. So, even if you hack the script, you will not get all possible urls. -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
... actually, given that the script part doesn't seem to do anything just now, it's even possible it's for later (ie, starts producing images when the correct time come). Or maybe there is a bug somewhere in the code :-). -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:27, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining. Why hasn't anyone posted this before? Could "location.hash" possibly have anything to do with the method used to generate the image hash key? Also, why is this code so difficult to follow (Obfuscation?)? So many questions... Sorry if this is just a huge waste of Time.
location is the URI of the page. location.hash is the part of the uri after the # character. If you go to, you'll see some debugging output in your browser's debugging console (Firefox: Web Console or Firebug, Chrome: Development Tools). But nothing to decode the algorithm... :-( -- 10:01, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't know what's doing it, but there's definitely some script (probably this script) that's refreshing the image automatically. I left the comic open for an hour or so and noticed the image had changed. I refreshed with #verbose in Chrome right before the 30 minute mark and got the following in the console.
connecting to event source: time07.min.js:1
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"832a7f13ca0fadc46e93475bb617d78211e32c81c3af0e289a51f8f149707759.png"}", lastEventId: "e2992bf0-9557-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"} time07.min.js:1
waiting 0 seconds before displaying comic 832a7f13ca0fadc46e93475bb617d78211e32c81c3af0e289a51f8f149707759.png time07.min.js:1
Resource interpreted as Image but transferred with MIME type application/octet-stream: "". time07.min.js:1
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"847265673986f085460bf1a95b96f7171bcd9a4f1f0a598b2188307d03bcfaa3.png"}", lastEventId: "79580fe8-9558-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"} time07.min.js:1
waiting 4 seconds before displaying comic 847265673986f085460bf1a95b96f7171bcd9a4f1f0a598b2188307d03bcfaa3.png time07.min.js:1
connection error i {type: "error"} time07.min.js:1
Resource interpreted as Image but transferred with MIME type application/octet-stream: "".
The script seems to poll the server every minute or two. It's different from before, where the image server itself redirected to the correct image. The auto refresh was probably always intended, but not quite ready when the comic went live. It may have turned out to be necessary too, so the image server doesn't have to do all the work. 14:45, 25 March 2013 (UTC) 09:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Moved to pastebin. 14:34, 28 March 2013 (UTC) --Johnsmith (talk) 22:51, 25 March 2013 (UTC) --Johnsmith (talk) 23:10, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me or or did Randall manage to make all of us perform a Denial of Service on, and ? seems much slower, and I keep getting "500 Internal server error" when accessing this site ( I guess that's the effect of having everybody hit F5 every few minutes :) 11:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Earlier today, the server handled all the image redirections. The script you see above went through several mutations (currently at #8), with each mutation it seems that Randall is adding more servers and trying to split the load between them. This is basically how a bot-net works - we all run code written by some evil genius, and he's changing the code as time passes to serve some hidden purpose. 15:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

If he is using us as a botnet, then maybe the next comic will be something alluding to that.
Probably like this:

When I saw this comic last night and that there was no explanation up, I thought to myself "How zen." I figured that Randall was going through a calm streak before throwing us the utterly ridiculous April 1st comic. Did it come early, or does he have something even bigger planned for us? 07:05, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, did you miss the bit where this comic updates every 30 minutes and all the server error messages being caused by the massive traffic to both the wiki and the main xkcd website? Davidy²²[talk] 07:08, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, when I said "last night" and "no explanation", I implied that I wasn't aware of that at the time, which is why I thought what I did. Of course, it is now "now" and there is an explanation, so that should answer your question. Also, since it's not April 1st, and Randall has consistently released something major on that day, the jury is still out, leaving my question quite open (though I was really only asking for opinions). 07:20, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

wanted to add an image to the list above, but didn't know at what timestamp to add it, got 69085b480cb82911b19fe8f114909756989eed89b0d227db0f59c1843de7ba24.png at 2013-03-26 09:47 CET (UTC+0100) /Puggan

The hours denote the time since the initial release of the comic. The page is still a work in progress, we're going to bring that all into one image file soon. Davidy²²[talk] 09:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

This site should seriously consider cloudflare, it's perfect at times like this and takes minutes to set up. I run all my sites through it and it saves a lot of page huts and bandwidth. Pyle

Or at least make the main page a static page that refreshes every so often. I'm guessing that most of the traffic is going to the front page with not as much traffic to the actual comic page Odysseus654 (talk) 15:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Some of the images on the wiki (looks like time38.png through time48.png) are slightly different than what is on the main site. The lines are slightly thicker, as though someone did them based on screen captures. Royce (talk) 14:37, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, at least we have the hashes so they can be re-retrieved, so nothing is really lost, right? Should we add links to the original? Odysseus654 (talk) 15:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I uploaded two of the "thicker" images and one of the "regular" ones, and I did the same thing for all of them: right-click->save-as. Given that the "thick" ones are all clustered together, I think the files on the xkcd site changed. Druid816 (talk) 18:21, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Story so far: linky Odysseus654 (talk) 19:30, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

I guess we shall find out in ~10 minutes if Randall is trolling us. 04:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

... so that's it?

Did I just miss something or we've all been epically trolled for 48 hours? 04:22, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Motherofgod, no, he's *still* going! Davidy²²[talk] 05:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

What makes you think he's done? 04:25, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm still waiting for the water level to drop precipitously... and then for red spiders to run over everything Odysseus654 (talk) 04:28, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, strip 1191 is up so I assumed it was over. I guess it's not. Until April's Fools maybe? 04:32, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

It is not over -- the image is still updating, at least it did for me Spongebog (talk)
Yes, it's not over. Last frame shows just a minimal movement of Cueball's head, but no doubt it's still ongoing. 04:49, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Given the fact the strips for the last 2 weeks have been comparatively simple, I expect Randall has been planning this for at least that long. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Considering the common theme with "today's" strip, anyone wanna guess that he's sending us a hex-encoded file over a really slow modem link, slated to complete April 1? Anyone wanna run "magic" over the hashes and see if they come up with a compression codec or something? Odysseus654 (talk) 04:45, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I liked this idea and crunched the hex data for 00:00 to 51:00 into a binary file ( Can't see anything resembling a file header, but that doesn't really say much. If this is compressed header-less data there wouldn't likely be any easily discernible patterns. Haven't really tried running the data through anything, zlib was one that came to mind but haven't tried it. I'm pretty shure it's not the seaside, but a lake - the water level is not changing at all.

Its probably going to loop back on itself, eventually, and repeat this way forever. 07:12, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

For those wondering about the Javascript behind this: I posted my analysis of the Javascript on the xkcd forums, and further de-obfuscated and annotated the code over on GitHub. Here's a quick summary though: it holds open a connection to xkcd's servers and listens for instructions and follows them. Those instructions are either "load a new image" or "reload the page". So, you don't have to mash F5, it will automatically update the image when they're available. We have no way to control how fast the images come or when they do, and it's quite possible for them to update forever. --Fiveofoh (talk) 06:41, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

This is a series of animation frames. I suspect they will only ever be shown once (based on the fact you can only get the current image, not previous or future images -- this is in keeping with the title, "Time", which passes and which you can't ever get back]. The filenames are UUIDs too long to guess, so somebody needs to start collecting the filenames here so that a proper flipbook can be assembled. Here's the latest URL: Go here to collect URLs:

We've kinda already been doing that. They're the big long filenames next to each timestamp. Davidy²²[talk] 09:06, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh my god it's game of thrones played out in 2D Evan Pyle

Is it just me, or do the last two frames look like someone just threw a rock at the castle? 14:20, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I believe it is the cannon ball that I have been expecting since they first started building castles. ChrisPUT (talk) 16:34, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Here's a bit of JavaScript to execute in your browser's JavaScript console. (Cmd+Alt+K on Firefox for Mac, for example.)

/* Collect all frame image URLs */
var images = [];'a[href*="/time"][href$=".png"]')).forEach(function (a) {

/* Create an image in the top-right corner of the screen */
var img = document.body.appendChild(document.createElement('img'));
img.setAttribute('style', 'position: fixed; top: 1em; right: 1em;');

/* Allow removing the image by clicking */
img.onclick = function () {

var texts = [0,51,169,174,322];
var delays = [0,1000,1000,1500,4000];

/* Cycle through the frames */
img.onload = function () {
	/* Pause a bit longer for the text frames */
	var idx = texts.indexOf(img.i);
	var delay = ( idx > 0 ) ? delays[idx] : 50;
	setTimeout(function () {
		img.src = images[++img.i % images.length];
	}, delay);

/* Start with the first frame */
img.i = 0;
img.src = images[img.i];

Jan! 09:22, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

---Thanks for the script!. Ctrl+Shift+J on Windows Chrome Shine (talk) 13:11, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

- updated script 'coz there are three text panels now. User schnitz 19:00, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

- updated script with another text panel 21:00, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

The one for the prior half hour (5AM - 5:30AM EST, 27 March 2013) is located at 09:26, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

And the one for the following half hour is located at 09:31, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Call me a paranoid, but I think this strip is all about 9/11:

  • If you read the strip number (1190) backwards, you get 09/11
  • This subject is recurrent on xkcd
  • As far as we have seen, there is a destroyed tower and they are rebuilding it
  • The next strip, following 1190 (or 09/11), mentions war against countries with large oil reserves but low military capacity. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I feel like that's kind of a stretch, I'm pretty sure it's just a story about a day at the beach.

If a new strip goes up every 30 minutes our time, and if each strip comprises of, let's say for the sake of simplicity, one minute in their time; to build the sand castle [frames 24-117 = 93 frames] so far it's taken almost 2 days our time, which would be about an hour and a half their time if each frame is a minute. Using my scale, an hour our time is 2 minutes their time, a day is 48 minutes, and our month is their 24 hour day. If we assume Randall plans to give us a 24 hour period from that world's time, and we use the minute-per-frame rate I made up, than we'd probably be looking at a month of images our time. I guess we'll just have to see how long he's got it planned to go on. -boB

Has it ended? All that's left is the sandcastle, and there doesn't seem to have been anything else changed on it for a few hours.

It's zooming out! When look at the gifs showing the frames in succession, the last 3 show the castle getting slightly smaller each time!

It's true! The most recent also shows the edge of another castle, leading me to believe it's part of some kind of sand castle contest, probably including some of xkcd's other recurring characters!
Weird, now it's not showing that, Randall must have put something up too soon.

A controllable version of the same comic is available at - slow/fast movement, pause, control back and forth. It also has the image # on the top left. Auto updating. 20:56, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Can you add on-screen buttons, so it's usable on phones and tablets without hardware keyboard? -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

looky here: 23:14, 27 March 2013 (UTC) That was a glitch on the server that revealed a future frame, but it has been corrected and that link is now a 404 not found. I guess if we want to see it in context we'll just have to "Wait for it." -- Bugstomper (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Well now we're back to that picture as the present frame. Racerdude09 (talk) 03:14, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Is someone gonna update the transcript to note them building a sandcastle, as well as the dialogue so far (consisting of Megan and Cueball saying goodbye to each other at No. 52)?-- 00:38, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else think that they're roleplaying Dom and Mal in Limbo? Fry-kun (talk) 05:36, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I think they're bulding a sand replica of King's Landing for the Game Of Thrones season 3 premiere -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My first idea regarding the sand castle was also about Game of Thrones, but i dismissed it as being too biased.. -- 13:31, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I have modified the code "/* Collect all frame image URLs */" to see only images of the "Frame by Frame Breakdown" section :

/* Collect all frame image URLs */
var images = [];'#Frame_by_Frame_Breakdown').parentElement.nextElementSibling.nextElementSibling.querySelectorAll('a[href*="/wiki/images/"][href*="/time"][href$=".png"]')).forEach(function (a) {

(Sorry for my English... and the ugly code...) -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Anyone else think this is going to be related to Wed's cartoon? I'm half-expecting Black Hat to show up from the future, with advanced weaponry, to take oil from the sandcastle of the past. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Guys, i think we might have lost a few frames in between, no? When did he upload the first image? like, the exakt time... knowing this we could calculate the amount of images there should be and compare to what we have... Caranhyas (talk) 18:04, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

The four comics from 89:00 to 90:30 (most recent so far) look the same to me, but the PNG files have different CRCs for the image data blocks, though the metadata in the PNG files are all the same. I wonder if there might be something subtle hidden in the images, or the way they're compressed. 22:54, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

There is a very minor difference in the water level on those images, even though the water level has been static in most of the other images. 02:05, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the title text is a reference to anything except for... wait for it... THE MONGOLS ;-) 23:00, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Unless the 99:30 image was misnamed, it's not included in the list of images. Does anyone know where this frame went? Bob 14:18, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Is that rain in two recent panels? Larry (talk) 14:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)r

Can someone identify for sure what Cueball is doing in 105:00? His arms seems to be crossed, and his holding something in his hand. mem (talk) 14:30, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Looks to me like he is shivering, which would allude to a cool down common with rain storms? Jeremy1026 (talk) 14:51 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Looks to me like he's brushing sand off himself; see the shower around him similar to her hair at 10:00? 03:07, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Megan just wheeled in a trebuchet! This is going to be fun! 16:34, 29 March 2013 (UTC) Now she's launching a rock. I wonder which tower it might hit. March 2013, at 17:08. Flew over the first two and might impact far right tower if it continues. 17:48

I think this is all an elaborate 'joke' which will keep running until Monday - April Fools' Day Joncaves (talk) 17:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Re explanation of hour 110:00. My first thought was "How can a person whose face is an empty ovoid look upset?". However, looking at the image again I can see how it does. Respects to Randall. Possibly an April Fool, but I will be even more impressed if it runs beyond Monday. I'm waiting for the tide to come in. jasq 23:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I googled some hashes. The first two seem to show up here, in a directory tellingly labeled "wait":

The "wait" folder there contains hashes that weren't found in the database and might or might not someday be discovered. They are probably there *because* someone was looking up hashes to see if they were common words. 23:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

To review, the first two are: 8eb156cce408df8bb83528382d6a2aa2ce6c74f3c573fd12b058cd1c56420672 1e349a579b5f9b5ed487ddf7e88244b70330941ddedac9c6abf6ed2e3f589b97 Googled the third one, but it only shows up on xkcd discussion forums :( Hashed some of the hashes, but didn't see the result in the list, so it dosen't look like a hash chain. Someone should google all the other hashes, and someone else should figure out what the guy in the "wait" directory (presuming it wasn't Randall) was hashing. --Venal dwarf (talk) 21:37, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Comparing all the filenames to the hashes on that page, I found a total of four that overlap. The first two, as mentioned. But also one from the middle of day 1, and one from the end of day 1.
00:30 - 01/00:30 - 8eb156cce408df8bb83528382d6a2aa2ce6c74f3c573fd12b058cd1c56420672.png
01:00 - 01/01:00 - 1e349a579b5f9b5ed487ddf7e88244b70330941ddedac9c6abf6ed2e3f589b97.png
12:00 - 01/12:00 - a3aa116efca3c01d8a64c0c7e79158dc8a62241aba767064e3a6c724cc5ade93.png
23:30 - 01/23:30 - 1da3859627430022485c53ad90e88e8771b2bec2d60e910b59ef332325bba29f.png
--Venal dwarf (talk) 22:36, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
There is a fifth one also, from 01:30 - e25be2dd49fe9f33c3543cdf640b67e0f2146cc576db5da007a135a278e524ee.png
I converted all 1153 hashes in the file to lower case and did a wget on them but it did not turn up any files from the future. Bugstomper (talk) 05:31, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Is Randall training us like Pavlov's dogs - every 30 minutes we are compelled to refresh the web-page? Joncaves (talk) 01:59, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone have an opinion on how we should continue naming the saved timeNN.png files if the updates do not continue on the half hour? Right now the link for the skipped update 242 got renamed to the nonexistent time242NA.png and the next update's link is time242.png. But what do we do if the updates are changing to once per hour? By the way it does look like the next half-hour update has been skipped too. -- Bugstomper (talk) 05:57, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

It does seem to have gone hourly as of midnight EDT. I stuck in "NA" as a placeholder since I wasn't sure what to do with the files, and wanted to make it clear that the half-hour updates were skipped in case it goes back or changes in some other way. Maybe start naming them by the time, instead of sequentially, e.g. "012200.png". If the pattern holds, the "no update" lines can be removed. (Or both might make more sense, like "time243-012200.png".) 06:08, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm partial to timestamping filenames for stuff like this. I have this zsh line running right now:
while { : } { wget -O "`date +"%Y-%m-%d %a %H%M%S"` Time .png" ; sleep 30m } 
(I was wishing for a convenient way to use the server-side timestamps, 'till i noticed that it's always 2013-04-12 Fri 09:05'38—which i'm guessing is the script's mtime.) 08:28, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else getting a 404 error with the latest image ( Joncaves (talk) 15:19, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Strange: As far as I know always redirects to the current frame. But if you visit the current one (133:00) at and check the displayed image, it says 'c6976fbb244af4fc2286ffe3ac2cf78d408c1f610ecd71e18b4a677a048f084d.png' while time.png redirects to '1d9ce7199935b1b629d6b8744e62c7700a3780357b2dc74bb70471db616ddadb.png'. If you take a md5 of both images, they appear to be the same.

I was confused by this as well, I'm grabbing the images myself via time.png and got the 1d9ce7 hash. How will these duplicates be displayed in the table?Lockyy (talk) 17:48, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm seeing some strange stuff now. I have a script that uses wget of time.png to get the redirected hash png like Lockyy is doing. And I can verify that when you go to the 1190 page in the browser you get a different hash. But the previous hour and this hour, unlike the ones before it, the two hash pngs are different. And when I refresh the screen in my browser at the 1190 page, first I see the image I get from time.png, then the image refreshes with the other one. I'm not sure what this means or what we are supposed to do with it. I added the time.png hashes to the table for the last two hours but we probably need a way of indicating the difference. -- Bugstomper (talk) 20:38, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

This latest hourly update did the same thing. If you are fast enough you can even get the first image in your browser by right click view image before it changes to the second one. I edited in something that shows that. It probably could stand some reformatting by someone with better graphic design sense, but at least right now all the information has been captured. - Bugstomper (talk) 21:18, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Looking at it some more, I see that wget of the page at gets you an img link to time.png and then there is the javascript that must after some delay get the different hash url image. That means that we had better be sure that we do not miss any manual checks of hourly updates because the scripts will never find that second image unless someone has a way of getting a script that runs the javascript as if it was a browser. As long as someone posts the hash of the image from the browser every hour, I can ensure that we have the hashes the scripts can get because I have a cron job checking for those updates every 15 minutes. -- Bugstomper (talk) 21:49, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
And with the update for day 06/18:00 it appears to be back to normal, one consistent image per update -- Bugstomper (talk) 22:22, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Just if somebody else wants this, i hacked a little bash script to download all images to the current listed here. It skips already downloaded images so it can be reused later when more images are here.

curl -s |
egrep -o  "/wiki/images/[0-9a-f]/[0-9a-f]{2}/time[0-9]*.png" | 
while read url; do
    imgname=$(basename $url)
    printf -v target "image%03d.png" ${id:-1}
    [[ -e $target ]] && continue
    echo $target
    curl -so $target$url

-- 18:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

To ease waiting times:

This is awesome. I love the internet. --Jeff (talk) 19:15, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I've offered up own explanation. The obvious metaphor is how time continues to flow and things change when you’re not watching. And how this could be a conceptual art project that could continue the rest of our lives... 19:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC) Lawrence Person

Correcting your link: my own explanation -- 20:49, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
This comics may not really continue forever unless Randall will put some sort of repetition into it. May not be simple loop but something more sophisticated, but still, images shown up to now doesn't show any kind of repetition yet. -- Hkmaly (talk) 12:28, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

anyone else notice the water is slowly rising? not unlike a tide (depending on the time scaling implemented? perhaps a flooding river (as might correspond to the mention of a river)? 18:08, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

I checked your claim that the water is rising, and I agree. Good catch! I measure the rate at about 1 pixel per 25 frames starting at about 100 hours. Though a more careful look could surely refine that estimate. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I measured the water level with a ruler. The water will take another 20 days before reaching the sand castle if rising at a constant rate. 01:27, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Oddly this contradicts the text, which says that the river is going down: "Any idea where the river is now?", Cueball replies "Still pretty far out. It actually retreated a little this week." --AH

"It's *still* pretty far out". I think this means that it's getting less far out. 07:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
"It actually retreated a little this week." ~~dang

This comic has been running and updating so long I think perhaps it is a sand castle creation/destruction program that autonomously lets the two indefinitely build, destroy and rebuild new sand castles all the time… 09:55, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe. We don't have enough data to say that for sure yet. We just need to "wait for it". 10:07, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I think numbers in "As of this writing, it is still updated after more than XXX hours - even after Y new, different comics were posted on the front page" at the top of the page should be calculated using {{#expr}}. I changed it for number of comics, but I have no idea how to calculate number of hours since it was posted.DiEvAl (talk) 11:15, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

When Megan coughed and Cueball asked if she was okay, did anyone else think of Lanes? Cueball explains that cancer treatment results are not known until much later, "and often the first sign is a cough or a bone pain. So you spend the next five or ten years trying not to worry . . . ." ~~wrybred

I don't want to be a downer but this is just my interpretation thus far. I hope it is a happier theme but if you are correct wrybred, my further explanation would be the following... I think that building sandcastles is an analogy for living their life. Going for a swim in the body of water and the cough could represent the start of the cancer or possibly some time where they had to go out and "wade" in the possibilities of what cancer could mean. Time passes and Cueball says "I don't think we can build it much taller than this. It's been fun, though" which represents that they believe they have done as well as they can with the lives they have been given. They comment on the river retreating even though we the audience observe a body of water on the right hand side rising could represent how we can be fooled into believing things are going alright when in reality they are not. The reference to not understanding what the river is doing also fits this explanation well as someone with cancer may occasionally feel confused about their illness. Presently while I write this they are possibly preparing for a flood which represents the return of the cancer. If I were to guess what is next I might guess that they will watch as the flood comes in and destroys some of what they built but it is better than not having made the sandcastle in the first place. I could be way off, but Randall has given us a lot of TIME to think about what this is all about and your mind wanders. I also would note that this may not be about a particular cancer story, just any cancer story. Nhoel (talk) 13:51, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Could Cueball and Megan be building a European city, as it evolved, was damaged and remodelled where 1 day of strips is 100 years? Maybe Cueball is curretly remodelling Notre Dame de Paris or Westminster??? If so, it should get interesting around day 17 17:34, 4 April 2013 (UTC)rbnm


# Assumes you have a complete set of numbered PNG images in a
# directory called "./images". (See the script above) Makes a
# directory called "./cropped" containing N images that are 1 pixel
# wide by 395 pixels tall, each of which contains the second to last
# column of one of the input images.  Finally, concatenates all those
# images into montage.png, which will be Nx395 pixels and can be read
# as a graph of water depth over time.

mkdir -p cropped
rm cropped/*.png
for i in images/*.png
    f=`basename $i .png`
    convert -crop 1x395+550+0 $i cropped/${f}_cropped.png
    echo $f

montage cropped/*.png -geometry 1x395+0+0 -tile x1 montage.png

echo Wrote result to montage.png
Codegardener (talk) 21:00, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

He's making a mini-version of the whole sandcastle on top of the mound! You can see the two turrets on the left and the mound in the center!

They're inside an hourglass! ;) - Filippo

i believe that he made a fractal version of the scene atop the middle sandcastle... are we going to have an infinite zoom for a bit (or maybe forever?) - ck

Maybe it's some sort of reference to Model Rail where Cueball ends up with multiple model railways in his basement...-- 13:14, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Since it hasn't been brought up yet; reference to 878, this is Nesting, and there are FOUR visible layers.
- "It's the second rule of 'model train layouts': No Nesting." (Strike and replace with the building sandcastles.)
- "Whats the first rule?", "Do not talk about ... That rule was actually voted in by our friends and families.", "Philistines"
Drifter 19:26, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Actually did bring it up, which is why I believe they're building a large trebuchet. Bdemirci (talk) 22:09, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you Bdemirici &, sorry for the duplicatation. Now which came first... the coment or or the comic, 77...'s reference came before the center structure gained its malformed parapets. Drifter 10:38, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Whoa -- big change in scale, zoom in on Megan holding a mini trebuchet at about 5 pm central time Friday the 5th.-- 22:20, 5 April 2013 (UTC)--~~

A tiny trebuchet for use on the tiny turrets? Megan is kinda awesome. --Druid816 (talk) 22:32, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

I think she should "outgrow these toys and focus on something practical" ;-) DiEvAl (talk) 22:59, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Looks like they are re-enacting the trebuchet incident on the mini-castle. AH -- 23:53, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Meta-physical time again: "I don't understand what the sea is doing" - wasn't it a river earlier? Is it a different sea? The river of time maybe? Where is Randall leading us? Joncaves (talk) 03:09, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm thinking it may have to do with the title text from this comic.
I think it's obvious. They're not on a beach. They're on a recently exposed portion of the river bed. In time the river will come back and engulf the whole area. 10:16, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I have redownloaded the 199:00 image based upon the hash here and it does still say "river", so Randall hasn't adjusted the "past" to fit the "present"... Mark Hurd (talk) 05:50, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
I've read somewhere that they are not on the beach. They are on some sort of a boat covered with sand. First they were in the river, and now they reached the sea. DiEvAl (talk) 14:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
So if they are on a boat then it isn't the river/sea that is rising it is the boat that is sinking (or having more weight added to it). Joncaves (talk) 18:35, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
It's pretty obvious to me. They're on a beach with a river running through it. Yes, beaches sometimes have rivers in them. And also, rivers that run through beaches tend to be very unstable and to move their bed all the time, because of the fact that it's running water through loose sand. That's why they talk about the river moving. 08:04, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
This comic. -- Zuffelnok (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
xkcd Time Catapult done correctly -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Man, you have just too much... wait for it... time! Caranhyas (talk) 16:34, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Just so it doesn't get lost, these are the last 2 hashes I've seen: e3e8169439be717a5661dba80cca623330516d87749f5c5bd83d4a4aae19b89a.png, a2c0f3ed4be680f5b794f0137a55af8704598a2105e1eff5fce750b07800c19b.png

Are they building a giant trebuchet? Another zoom out maybe? Bdemirci (talk) 05:13, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I love how Randall is reacting to the discussion here. Is it a sea? Or a river? Let's have Cueball drink from it to clarify ;) Blue Charizard (talk) 09:42, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

It could be brackish water ... and I have seen some fresh water rivers I definitely wouldn't want to drink from Joncaves (talk) 15:10, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
So this tells us 3 things:
1) It's likely a sea.
2) This comic, or at least a script (not in a programming sense) for it was very likely made by a human. So it's not randomly generated. We already knew this, but now it's confirmed once again.
3) Randall is still working on this comic, or at least he was some time after he started releasing it.
DiEvAl (talk) 16:51, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I think by tasting the water Cueball was preparing himself for the inevitable - the water is going to continue to rise and nothing they can do will stop it: they are going to drown. This strip is about the slow, inextirpable, approach of Death - and this isn't the Death from a Terry Pratchett novel. Joncaves (talk) 20:29, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Between the 376th and the 81st strip it can be noted how much the water has rised. And I've noted how there's no wind in the beach (river's mouth?), the flags don't move and the sea has no waves. Don't know if there's a meaning there. --Yinosanchez (talk) 21:18, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
I think you shouldn't compare it to frames before about 220, because that's where zoom changed last time. Also it looks like it will reach the castle in a day and a half from now.DiEvAl (talk) 22:17, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
The likely implication of the lack waves etc is that they are in an estuarine environment, where the rising tide may not have a bore at all. This might explain a few things, like the reference to a river, the strange behaviour of the sea, and perhaps might explain Cueball tasting the water (to see if he could determine the saltwater content). Eeijevs (talk) 22:34, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
Megan's reaction to getting the water in her mouth (cough, pffthh) and Cueball's are pretty similar ... call me crazy but I think there's something weird about the water beyond its salt content ... -- 04:20, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
And 2 hours after I said that, Megan built something right next to the water. I wonder if this was a coincidence... DiEvAl (talk) 09:34, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
It is, of course, a damm to buy them some time. :-) -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
It wouldn't work as a dam in a 3D universe. It would have to extend infinitely in z to act as a dam. Then again, there's also no good way to support a platform with two posts. 20:24, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Can someone please move the list of images and their hashes to another page? Randal is showing no signs that the images will stop anytime soon. 22:32, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I understand the sentiment, and considered at least commenting out the future tables, but this page does not need to be changed when the latest frames are uploaded, only when the hashes are added, and those of us still keeping the live XKCD page open do find it easier to just open the last few frames missed when looking away or sleeping.
I do wonder if the wall of text is worth reducing by actually making the hashes a link with something like "Direct link" as the text. Is anyone still attempting to generate the hashes? Mark Hurd (talk) 05:10, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I went ahead and made all the tables collapsed by default. If the comic continues beyond another couple of weeks, I vote for moving them to another page. --Druid816 (talk) 06:44, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
If the comic ever comes to an end, we could clear out the archived hashes and put all the image links into a multi-column table. The hashes are only really useful to editors trying to upload new images, they don't really add that much to understanding the comic. Davidy²²[talk] 10:29, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Just a theory. On Friday, April 19th at 00:00 there will be 1200 images in the comic, at the same time the strip 1201 of xkcd should be posted on the site. I'm guessing that will end it. (UPDATE: Math is wrong, was still counting half an hour updates. Sorry about that. The numbers will match on May 2nd at 6 in the morning, nothing special there.)--Yinosanchez (talk) 18:27, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps it is about global climate change? "The sea is rising." and now they are building a very tall structure to cope with this ?AH -- 01:54, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Actually, looks like they're building a boat!!! 10:04, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
This is in no way close to a boat, look at any shipyard, that's not how you build a boat! -- 10:25, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
It is how you build an observation deck, though, or an airport control tower. And if you have the lumber to build such a structure, you could much more easily build a raft. So it's not like they're in any real danger of drowning when the tide gets higher. - 20:40, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

It could be a raptor-proof tower .... not seen any of those in XKCD for a while -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Looks like that small tower that Megan added in 500-502 is acting like a levee. The water outside it is higher now (569) than the water inside it. I can't imagine it'll help much, though. --Mlv (talk) 20:40, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Graph of water level over time Codegardener (talk) 22:10, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

It appears that a couple of frames (4 and 427) get revisited a couple of frames later:

md5sum -b * | sort | uniq -w32 -D 04:16, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Has it slowed to once every 2 hours for new frames? -- 14:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

For some reason, over the fast few hours the image wasn't automatically updating, and I had to refresh the page to see it. Now it looks like the image and static data XKCD servers are down... at least for me. 03:50, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Looks like everything's back to normal. Fortunately, the aubronwood animation page has correctly captured the frames that I missed (although it had a few duplicates during XKCD's weirdness, it's fixed now). 15:20, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I haven't been able to retrieve anything since 23:40 EDT. Larry (talk) 06:05, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone else considered the relationship of this comic to John Cage's musical composition "As Slow As Possible?" Taibhse (talk) 07:08, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I did, in upstream link. (talk) 00:34, 17 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
It surely can't be a coincidence that the comic released the day after this comment was all about John Cage, can it? DarthCrap (talk) 10:15, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed that. So who is trolling whom here? This group, or Randall? I would love it if he set up a foundation to keep this cartoon updating for the next N years, where N is the time backwards from this year to some particular early machine, ENIAC or Babbage's Analytical Engine or the Jacquard loom or the abacus, or whatever. (Refer to how the foundation sponsoring the Cage piece got their 639 years.) Taibhse (talk) 08:02, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Another intergenerational project at Taibhse (talk) 08:59, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Just wondering, could the river/sea conundrum have anything to do with and the original accompanying text "Don't ask me why there's a river running through the ocean. Please."? Blue Charizard (talk) 17:45, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Notice the last couple of frames have begun to show waves in the rising sea. (Frames 627-628) Taibhse (talk) 07:32, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

How could a small hill of sand stopped the entire sea. The world might be two dimensional, or Randall might have wanted to gain some time but it doesn't make much sense. (talk) 12:06, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Seriously? Ok - time to review the physics of hydrostatic fluids, folks. Depth is the only variable in calculating fluid pressure. Whether its a bucket or the ocean, the pressure at any given depth in a fluid is the same. A small hill of sand can stop the entire sea. Waves, however, are another matter... Uglystick (talk) 14:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
A small hill can stop the sea if it extends infinitely in the Z axis, otherwise the sea will simply flow around it. The other alternative is to encircle the castle with it, forming a moat, but then we wouldn't be able to see the inside. So this can't be a normal 3D universe. Lending some weight to the 2D or nearly 2D nature is that the first platform they put up was installed on only two posts. But the platform itself had width. Maybe they're stuck between two panes of glass like an ant farm. 15:15, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
A 2D world would also explain why the structure they're on can stand. It's an imperfectly 2D world though; it's been mentioned below that a pole should in theory stop the water easy. I guess it has some 3D realities to it, i.e., a wall should stop water, but a pole shouldn't. (talk) 19:18, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Water depth is increasing quadratically? (Probably not, but it looks nice on the graph so far. My current guess is that it's a sine wave that will peak out at 103 pixels.) Codegardener (talk) 15:18, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

I think in the end it's about what you build up during life and how "the time" washes all of it away, eventually (talk) 16:05, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

If this were a 2D universe, wouldn't the best course of action be to bury one of the poles directly at the water's edge? That way, like the small sand hill, the sea would have to rise to the very top of the pole before it would flood the remaining sand structures. (talk) 16:33, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Just a remark: Frame 458 (time458.png on this page, or hour 337:00) is corrupt, i.e. it deviates from the original that can be retrieved via the hash address. Probabely it was a screencap rather than a direct copy - someone should reupload it.. Oh and the structure on the poles is definitely the mighty Randall's Arc (though it doesn't rain)... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Now they are 'building castles in the air' - dreaming of a future that will never come to pass? Joncaves (talk) 11:43, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Why should building castles in the air be harder that building farm in clouds? -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:37, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

The bucket on the pulley used to be carrying just sand. Now, if I read the situation correctly, it's carrying something that's heavier than Megan, so she can't use the pulley (or, possibly, anything else) to pull it up. Lead? Depleted uranium? Dwarf star remnant? 15:06, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Seems to me like she was trying to raise herself up in the bucket, then lost her balance and collapsed part of the middle castle when she fell. - Acrisius (talk) 15:39, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
That probably makes a little more sense than "dwarf star remnant". 16:09, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Especially considering that dwarf star remnant loosely placed on ground would fall through it. Even if the ground would be armor-plated. Unless it explode first. Hmmm ... this may be good question for the what-if - what will happen if you put dwarf star remnant with size of apple on ground somewhere on earth? Or neutronium? (What happens with black hole was already explained when LHC started.) -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:20, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

My favorite episode from the Batman TV series was one where the Riddler gave Batman a nonsense clue which contained a surveillance microphone. He'd then eavesdrop on what Batman “deducted” his next coup would be, and he made it happen. Seeing how the discussion here does seem to affect the events in the comic, I wonder if Randall is pulling a Riddler on us. Just as an experiment, I thought I'd mention that it's odd there are no seagulls at the beach ;-) 16:49, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I like the way that the sea/river/metaphor is now slowly eroding the base of the tower on the right. Also, where are the fish ;-) Eeijevs (talk) 21:15, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
I like how the erosion of the castle is accurate [1].--Deplicator (talk) 11:11, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Aquaman?--Druid816 (talk) 23:06, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Still no seagulls! Taibhse (talk) 09:09, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

We seem to be missing time 561 from Wednesday? Jillysky (talk) 13:20, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

And at the moment 599:00 and 600:00 are duplicates. I don't know if something happened (or didn't happen) then, or if the above issue is still being processed. Mark Hurd (talk) 18:00, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Fiiixed Davidy²²[talk] 00:47, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

In the frame-by-frame breakdown, the "Image" field simply gives the time in hours, while the "Time" field gives the time in days+hours. It would be helpful if the "Image" field instead gave an ordinal number indicating the number of frames (e.g., this would help to correlate the Transcript on this page with the frame numbers here. The current "Image" field need not be deleted (I personally prefer time in hours to time in days+hours), but it might be relabeled as "Time in Hours". Implementing this would require some use of scripts, and would be best if adopted by the person updating the frame-by-frame breakdown in the first place. 16:42, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

If it's helpful to you guys this text file gets created automatically [2]. I admit it had some problems in the beginning but I think they're all worked out now; it's been adding for days now without any problems. I know you cannot see line numbers in the browser, but if you copy and paste the whole lot into an editor the line numbers are 1 higher than the corresponding png frame.--Deplicator (talk) 01:44, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

When the server had a problem one image was 100 minutes late, and another was 50 minutes late. Because of this there was a file between time682 and time683 that wasn't posted here (time683 should have been time684), and many files after that are displayed here an hour before they should have been displayed, with the wrong filename. It also affects as I had got many of the files on there from here. I am currently trying to correct this. Patzer (talk) 03:01, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I think it's now fixed. Patzer (talk) 03:59, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Anyone have the slightest prediction on how many frames this Time series will last? 07:44, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Sure, it will be exactly 42π! ... or rather e42? Hmmmm… Trofobi (talk) 08:52, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
5,601,594 images if he follows the John Cage time frame, and maintains hourly changes; plus/minus one or two depending on the fence-posts. -- Taibhse (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think we have seen the profile of various famous castles come and go, but nobody has identified any of them. 17:51, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't see anything obvious, but the second castle (revealed by the zoom) looks a lot like
and now the castle she is working on begins to resemble the Taj Mahal...Taibhse (talk) 20:00, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, not so much, now. Taibhse (talk) 20:50, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
It looks like Hogwarts.-- 21:36, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I wonder if this could be building up to an all black panel for April 22. 09:07, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

I just setup an own cronjob which checks the image hash periodly and writes them to a list when its changed: It checks every 10 minutes so it also should notice if the interval changes --Stummi (talk) 09:12, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

The castle on the top appears to be the Disneyland Paris castle ( Galois (talk) 21:46, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

...which is a rip-off of Neuschwanstein castle: - still both don't exactly resemble the one in the comic.. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm guessing that the water will keep rising indefinitely, and we'll be left with an upward-moving strip that occasionally zooms out as the bottom layers are very slowly filled in with black "water." One thing that would make this interesting is the varying heights of the constructed structures (sandcastle turrets, platform, etc.) which would make the process of "overflow" from the right-hand side interesting to watch. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Oh the symbolism of it: Cueball leaves, Megan finishes building their castle, rests and lets her guard down. The next thing to happen is, a cute girl walks in, sees what the two have built together and leaves. The very next frame, the castle starts to fall apart.

I'm expecting the lower level-castle to be swept away by the water, while the high-level castle will remain intact. This is quite reasonable, assuming Cueball and Megan knows how high the flood will come and thus they built the platform to an appropriate height. It may be interpreted as the lower-level castle being the work of our life, which is inevitable finite, and will be eventually overtaken by death. Recognizing this, some choose to build a castle for the "after-life". Life-death reflections have been common on xkcd in the past as well. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The pace at which the water is rising has begun to slow. I think it's just a regular tide, and it only has a few more pixels to go before it begins to ebb. Codegardener (talk) 14:49, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

I call cancer. The tide slowly increasing, the castle threatened, the upper castle... I don't know, it just all gives me that impression. -- 09:02, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I have to hand it to him though. He has entirely captivated all of us. I can't help but check every day (as opposed to every MWF) to see how the story unfolds. Many thanks to geekwagon for keeping me up to date! Puck0687 (talk) 14:26, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me, or are the last 4 images missing? I don't know how often this gets updated, if it's still manual at all, I may have did bad calculations with timezones, but at least the current image isn't there. 19:39, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure this page is updated manually, so you'll have to wait for someone to update it. Nothing has been missed though. If you want to keep up to date, I suggest using one of the links under Explanation>Related Stuff, especially the aubronwood link. Those update automatically. 20:54, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

For me, this is clearly about cancer and the impacts it has on a relationship over time. Randall's now wife was diagnosed and treated for cancer recently and through this comic, he's trying to portray the anxious wait they faced through treatment and remission. He has put us into his shoes by keeping us waiting in suspense to see how things end up. The passing of time represents their life together. At first it's just them relaxing together, probably the dating phase. Soon they start building a life together, represented by the sand castle. The castle evolves over time, much like their life has. Difficulties and gaffes in their relationship are depicted, for example when cueball trips and breaks down part of the wall. Eventually all efforts are diverted and put into defending against the approaching sea, which represents the cancer. The wall, the platform, all represent the steps taken to prevent and/or prepare for it's impending progress. The river represents the cure for cancer, which is still pretty far out, as cueball mentioned. There are many many more clues I see and explanations I can give to support this idea (castle in the sky, the rain, progress with research, etc.), but this is just starting point. I'm excited to see where the comic will end up, but I guess we just need to "wait for it". --Nick (talk) 21:25, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

You make a good case, and much of the dialog supports that interpretation. Many of us must have been thinking along the same lines. A couple of points...there doesn't have to be only one meaning for the symbolism. Also, there doesn't have to be an "end."
The John Cage connection also seems obvious.
I have been struck by the similarity (and difference) to the Engineers in "A Mote in God's Eye." Innate engineering ability combined with naivete.
I am confident that Randall knows there are literally thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds?) of fans out there giving them moral support and good wishes. Hmm...I wonder if readers are personified by the little girl? Probably not. Taibhse (talk) 22:50, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

The cancer metaphors are quite intriguing, but my take is environmental, possibly pollution and global warming. The French girl (beret) could be a nod to the Disneyland Paris castle. If so it’s our first interactive feedback with Randall on the 1190 strip.Galois (talk) 22:42, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Environmental pollution is tied to cancer incidence. Taibhse (talk) 00:18, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Global warming was suggested by
Cueball: Sea level rises and falls, right? It's changed before.
Megan: Not this fast.
I don't know about the beret; Beret Guy has been a recurring theme. Just search xkcd for "beret." But never on a little girl? Taibhse (talk) 23:26, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm taking it that "sea" is a phonetic substitute for "c," "meaning "cancer." For better or worse, this kind of phoenetic clue was used in the Batman movie: Batman: Pretty fishy what happened to me on that ladder. Gordon: You mean, where there's a fish, there could be a Penguin. Robin: But wait! It happened at sea! See? "C" for Catwoman! Sigh. I wish I knew what "river" and "rain" represented. Medicine, maybe? 23:03, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Medicine isn't supposed to make the "C" grow. Just the opposite.
And on that note, back when I was working in "Muppet Labs" there was a great little book of cartoons circulating in the lab titled "CDC." Sample: "CDC?" "ICDC. DUCDC?" "O,ICDC2!" Skiasaurus (talk) 05:06, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Nothing at all to do with the zombie comics from the actual CDC. But there's the disease theme again -- the CDC.
And what programmer could miss the reference to "C." It gets tangled, which is the best way to do symbolism. Quantum-alphabetic entanglement. Taibhse (talk) 00:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Well, I don't know if the intention here is that the "river" is making the "sea" grow. My point is that the dialogue is so nonsensical at points that it seems to be code. I'm taking every noun as a metaphor for something. "Sea" being "cancer" seems to fit ("The cancer can't make more of itself forever, can it?") I guess go back through the dialogue and see what other words could substitute for what they're saying. Like I said, I don't know what "river" or "rain" or "ground" could be in this metaphor. 00:56, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Or "sand." This sand has some rather remarkable, not to say marvelous, properties! Taibhse (talk) 03:08, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

If it's true this represents their struggle with cancer, this strip might very well continue into the future, updating alongside her real-time cancer progress, possibly for years, hopefully not for mere months. Randall knows how this will end no more than we do. 23:49, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Guys, if a new frame comes out and it's not uploaded yet, please consider uploading it yourself in the correct time slot. I'm trying to keep up, but there's always 8-hour gaps in our archives every time I go to bed. Davidy²²[talk] 00:33, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I automatically download all frames as a base for my tide measuring script and I've closed lots of the 8-hour gaps every day. Now at least someone else is doing it, too and I currently can't see any gaps at all. Thanks alot for the collevtive effort! --TreibAir (talk) 07:41, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe a baby on the way? Waiting for the unknown tide to roll in (in 9 months)? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think this is the last day. It's been exactly a month, they seem pretty done with it, and tomorrow's friday....On top of that, the most recent comic was the flipping of a switch on a time machine, in which, something happened, but we don't yet know may be that the "Time" comic is being refreshed. ...Just a thought.... 03:20, 26 April 2013 (UTC)Luke Wah

The time machine, once switched on, reversed time to the point at which it was switched on, thus switching itself off. It doesn't seem to be connected to this. ~ Anariston

I'm still hoping they'll suddenly ride in on a tidal wave and smash the entire structure. You know, for closure. ~Pixie

I expect that from now on (Friday April 26th 2013) there will be no more story and the sea will erode the castle until nothing is left (most likely software generated). Maybe Cueball and Megan will return someday, walk to the shore, sit down and, after a while, start building a castle... Jacx 11:56, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Starting at frame 895 the black started fading to white, I think. 12:03, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Yup, You're right, it's clear when you turn on the difference feature on geekwagon 18:02, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any fading to white -- we're on frame 905 now and everything looks as black-and-white as usual. O.o --Therrufying 21:06, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Ah, ETA: I see fading now, but only after frame 910 in the Aubronwood animation. I guess it just wasn't visible on my old computer screen until now. --Therrufying 16:36, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree - the water has started eroding the castle to the right, and it makes sense for the erosion to potentially loop the comic back to frame 1. That said, the title text was "wait for it". This could be a euphamism suggesting "keep waiting, this comic changes", but it does have an implication that there is a "finale" to the comic that you should wait for. Hard to tell as it's vague. TheHYPO (talk) 13:54, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

The most recent event is Megan walking in, saying "bye!" in *lower case*, and leaving. From the lower case, which is different from the rest of the comic, I infer that she was talking to *us*, not (eg) herself or the sandcastle! I reckon it's just going to fill up with water until the page is a static black rectangle. Especially since she and Cueball just talked about going off and exploring, grabbed their bags, and left. -cosmogoblin 13:57, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

I suspect the small text was to show a "small voice" - talking quietly and sadly perhaps? It does look like this could be the end of the story though - the last few frames don't seem to have done much after the "fade" in frame 895 - Hippyjim 15:15, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the small voice. The sea level is still rising, and interestingly, the sand barrier on the far right is eroding on *both sides* -- not just the seaward side, as previously. Changed properties of the sand or the sea, or both? I think the comic from here on is just going to be erosion. Entropy always wins. :( ~Therrufying 18:02, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
The "both-sides" erosion is normal and realistic. If you haven't noticed, the water is on the left side of the embankment for some time already, look at the smooth horizontal line of black pixels between the rightmost castle tower and the embankment. The water just seeped through the sandy embankment and soaked it and starts to erode it. 01:25, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
The large pile of sand never did form a barrier to the sea. Taibhse (talk) 06:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes it did; Megan's first barrier worked like that, the one she built after Cueball tasted the water. It didn't let in the sea until it overflowed. That was around frame 660-663 (in the Aubronwood animation). --Therrufying 16:36, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Um...that's what I said. The /large/ pile of sand didn't ever act like the /small/ barrier.  :) Taibhse (talk) 18:29, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, it may have been what you /thought/, but it wasn't very clear from what you /wrote/ that you were actually agreeing with me and not with the previous commenter. Sorry for misunderstanding. --Therrufying 13:31, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

14:00, 26 April 2013 EDT image is Kaori Emora (talk) 18:39, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

It's just about over: the picture is fading out now. 22:47, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe it's just that a large moon is finally rising. That could affect the sea (and the light.) Taibhse (talk) 06:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me, or did the sea/river started to rise faster since the picture started fading to white? -- 14:58, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the time between frames is constant. Some consecutive frames, like the ones featuring the trebuchet (212-214), are less than a second apart.-- 18:51, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Does the ladder and railing look like the axis for a graph? Is this a graph of people or area affected by water rise due to global warming - as a function of time? 15:58, 27 April 2013 (UTC) rbnm

That's...a bit of a stretch. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Alpha (talk) 17:44, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I've logged the fade panels (8-bit r=g=b) by image #, where image# 895=hour 774. 895-0,896-2,901-4,906-4,907-8,908-8,909-10,910-10,911-12,912-12,913-15,915-15,916-17, 917-18,918-20,919-20,920-21,921-23,922-23,923-24,924-26,925-29,926-30,927-31,928-34,929-37 The fade appears to be accelerating. Galois (talk) 20:47, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Someone should extract alpha channel from pics, make graph from it, and try to find functon that approximates it 21:26, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
I did add a line feed to the numbers because I do not like horizontal scrollbars.--Dgbrt (talk) 13:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't have a web page to share plots, but here's the poly fit. Starting with time 774 as x=0: it's [3.6647e-4 x^3 + 2.4545e-3 x^2 + 0.5396 x + 0.4184] up to time 810. Galois (talk) 22:36, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Time 811 - the black color stayed the same at 41 (r=g=b), 812-46, 813-48, the poly is now [4.4605E-004 x^3 - 1.5824E-003 x^2 + 0.59043 x + 0.33353]Galois (talk)

It's fading to white a lot faster now than the sea is rising. Unless something else happens, I'd say it's all white by tomorrow. So, maybe if one source of entropy doesn't get you, another will. 12:54, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

The fade rate poly is now [7.912739E-004 x^3 - 0.018842 x^2 + 0.794901 x + 0.09838], and is still on the same progression. At this rate, the panel hits 255 (full white) at 09:00 UTC, 4/29/13. Wait for it. Galois (talk) 14:24, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Do you know what the frame number will be when it hits white? Randall's pretty close to an even 1000, I'm wondering if he's engineered it to turn white for either 1000 or 1024. --Mynotoar (talk) 20:20, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I believe it'll be filed as time966.png.--Druid816 (talk) 20:52, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Beret Girl at 950! Bdemirci (talk) 18:18, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Just wanted to let you guys know (since you are the most hard core of 1190 fans), you can do this now (talk) 19:32, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Updated projection: fade to white (rgb 255) at image # 967 (10:00 UTC) Galois (talk) 23:18, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Just an afterthought, a meteor hit directly on the sand castle would let Randall go out in a blaze of glory. I hope beret girl is OK.Galois (talk) 23:27, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Seems like the story is not going to stop with total fadeout: image is still readable, as what was black is going to be 100% transparent (and probably still black), and white is still opaque. Maybe geekwagon page owner (or someone) could add a feature of removing alpha channel? --Electrichk (talk) 08:47, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

The early 80s song Fade to Grey from the band Visage comes to my mind. Memories of what happened start to fade over time and get more and more pale. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Again, if you're awake and the frame for the current hour hasn't been uploaded yet, please upload it yourself. I am doing the brunt of the work right now, and I am not available 24/7 to get the latest frame up. Davidy²²[talk] 10:37, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

969 (+848) is completely blank on my LCD. I also cannot see Beret Girl in (967 or) 968 corresponding to +847 that User:'s edit suggests. I can see Beret Girl using's Paint with Black and White trick. This does include 969 which is otherwise actually monotone on my LCD, even on a great angle. Mark Hurd (talk) 13:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Try viewing the comic from an extreme angle. I was able to see the Beret girl in 967+968 by tilting my screen forward on my laptop. You can't really see it otherwise. If that fails, use Photoshop or look at the diff functionality here. 969 is completely blank to me. 13:20, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Wait, I got those numbers mixed up, I think. 968 and 969 have Beret Girl in it, you just need to view at an extreme angle to see it. 970 (+849) looks blank to me, but there's still something there. The scene uses RGB 254,254,254, which is why it doesn't appear at all on my screen. You can reveal it using the diff or a smart selection tool in Photoshop or the like. 13:28, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, using the diff function on is probably the easiest way to see it. She seems to be dragging something (looks like a canvas?) into the scene. But I can't see frame 969 (let alone 970) on geekwagon, the last frame there seems to be 968, and it appears completely white on my monitor without the diff view. -- 13:46, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Just copy the image to Paint and set the image property to Black & White. All non-white (255,255,255) pixels are set to black (0,0,0) and the image is revealed. 13:35, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
NB With Chrome, copying the image from xkcd [3] or here File:time970.png (+849) with right-click -> Copy image looses the detail. You need to get the .png into Paint for it to work. Copy image URL and Paint's File > Open will do it. Mark Hurd (talk) 14:10, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

OK, *now* it's completely white (as of day 36 10:00) Larry (talk) 14:08, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

And [4] (972 +851:00 36/11:00) was missing for a couple of minutes... Mark Hurd (talk) 15:07, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

And now there is an image again (frame 971/972)! Looks like slightly uneven black ground under a white sky. Wow, I really thought that was it when it faded to white. Cool cool cool. --Therrufying 15:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Hmm... we gonna see a guy floating in a barrel?? -z64dan 15:56, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

And now we're off to see the wizard!! This is great! A comic within a comic! Taibhse (talk) 17:23, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't see this as a comic in a comic -- I see it more as act 2 (after the fadeout of act 1, with the stage crew jumping the gun and being caught on camera heading on stage to change the set). Theoretically, this second act can be as long as the first one -- The Quest for the Source of the River/Sea. (Hmmm, that reminds me of the song "River in the Sea" from the musical Ten November, a 2 minute sample available at Meteoricshipyards (talk) 18:18, 29 April 2013 (UTC) Tom A.

By "comic within a comic" I meant that not only do we await a new xkcd installment several times a week, but now we also have a single panel (1190) with an ongoing story. This is even better than Click and Drag! Taibhse (talk) 19:10, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Just wanted to say: I don't think the beret girl is a girl at all. It's a boy with an old-fashioned navy-style cap. Popular with boys at the beach (in the old days). See images here ( and here ( I also like the fact that, just before the castle completely fades away, you can barely see the little boy bringing more materials (maybe another support beam?) to continue the work. I like the continuity of letting the beret boy (not girl)

Wether it's a navy cap or not may be open to interpretation (though I'd still bet it's a beret - it surely looks a lot more like the one the beret guy wears, and I think Randall would have put a little more effort into that detail if he wanted it to pass off as a navy cap). As for it being a boy, no. It's definitely a girl, you can clearly see it has a longer hair, and come to think of it, Randall rarely draws any hair at all for male characters anyway. -- 23:36, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I am hoping that this "Time" somehow connects to the "Click and Drag" comic i.e. when the camera zoom out far enough, we'll see that they are actually in the "Click and Drag" world. -- 23:59, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me, or should there be a category to contain both this and "Click and Drag"? Should the categories "Interactive" and "Dynamic" be merged into something like "Epic" or "Nerd Sniping"? 14:30, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Odd, it looks like +861, +862, and +863 are out of order, judging by the ground not changing at all and the characters not walking continuously. I wonder if that was an accidental mistake in XKCD server's delivery of the images or if there's an actual meaning to it. 02:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

During the last glacial period the sea level was more than 100 meters lower than it is nowadays, so coastal structures looked very different and the continents exposed much more land. I believe the first act of this comic references medieval ages in Europe where people would witness (over the scope of hundreds of years or longer) losing land and coastal towns to the sea but not understanding the process, as Megan states. I'm expecting the second act, and possibly further acts, to reference the abundance of scientifical discoveries made during the last few centuries. 12:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

I could hack a little bash script on my server which uploads the current image every hour. However for this i need uploads by URL from API allowed ($wgAllowCopyUploads in LocalSettings.php). --Stummi (talk) 12:25, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Would be great if at the end of the walk, there's a band playing "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons.

It will end with image 1190, of course. 16:54, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Well, they've made it back to the beach. I think it will end either at 1000 or 1024, and the only reason it might go to 1024 is allow some dialog and zooming in. :-) --Divad27182 (talk) 18:01, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

I thought that too initially - the terrain features certainly seems identical (to scale) to the one at the start of the story. But something's bothering me; it's about the frame before we see they are back on a beach - they are already seated, so it's fair to assume they haven't moved, yet the terrain is different. By looking at the terrain, you could guess that maybe the terrain is inverted, which would then indicate that the frame with the beach in view is from a different angle than the previous frame. But for that to be the case, Cueball would have to be behind Megan on the previous frame, yet, their positions are unchanged on these frames. So, I don't know... I'll stop rambling now, and just wait and see, I guess... --Fernandofig (talk) 18:27, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, guess it's not ending just yet :-) . The duo packed up again and they're getting out of the beach (whichever it is). --Fernandofig (talk) 22:06, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Wait, what? It looks like they are suddenly back at a beach that looks the same as the first one, just zoomed out. But before when the scene was presumably inverted, the terrain didn't look quite like that. If the scene really did get inverted, maybe they aren't actually on a beach right now, but the sea will eventually expand until it reaches them. Then again, we don't know if this is the same plane of space that the original beach was either. They were just walking to the right. The concept of space in this comic is confusing me right now. I wonder if this will make sense later. 18:41, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

But what about their knapsacks? I guess they are not going to throw them to the sea... Hope this won't end up with loop right now, it would be too disappointing --Electrichk (talk) 19:07, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

It appears that the camera perspective has changed. 1 - 970 are all perpendicular to the shoreline, with the water on the right, camera looking down the shore. 971-996 are shown parallel to the shore line, with the camera position apparently out over the water or standing at the shore, looking back toward land. (If the camera had maintained the original position, the characters would have simply gotten smaller as the walked away, but instead we got to see the walk across the frame while presumably following the shore.) In 997, the camera perspective just comes back around to be a profile shot again, looking down the shoreline, water once again on the right. -- 19:40, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Near the end of the transcript, it says that at +847 Beret Girl drops in again, dragging something. I used Photoshop to lower the brightness, and can see about half of her head facing away from the sandcastle. She's not dragging anything. Here's my evidence: [5] 22:24, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Try frame +848, that's where you can see her dragging something ~Pixie

I added a section for normalized versions of the first 10 hours of day 36. If anyone wants me to add more, e.g. go back to where the fade started, I would. BTW, I used something like 'pngtopnm $i | pnmnorm | pnmtopng > $j' inside a loop. Those commands are from the NetPBM package. Larry (talk) 23:33, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

You can also use Paint ^_^ 17:17, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

If Randall decides to go into a loop, let's not forget he can change any single frame or create a parallel storyline from any frame he likes. Blue Charizard (talk) 07:16, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

He guys, what was with the grey on I think 1008-1011? And what happened to it? It disappeared on everything.-- 16:23, 1 May 2013 (UTC) Don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but from frame 998 to 1001 (sitting, side-on view), the 'water' level continues to rise.

Not sure if it has ever been brought up but has anyone noticed it says "BTC 1NEPgrUmed3VyXpqbYZom7YVJ8MozYrNWx We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus. This is not the algorithm. This is close." at the bottom of every page. i could not find this algorithm anywhere else 18:58, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

That is on every comic, it has nothing to do with this one. look at this page on it. -- Zuffelnok (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Just a thought - In panel 1018 (time 897), Megan states "If we don't find something today, we'll have to start using the steam bottle." If that means they're out of water... the last update has both of them drinking water at the edge of the river. No one spit it out this time. If they refilled their water bottle at the river, it's not the source of the pollution. Galois (talk) 23:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't think there's pollution going on; the body of water they started at was an ocean, so it was salt water. They have come to a river, so they can now drink the fresh water. 00:48, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

FWIW, you can get the normalized (non-faded) portion of the fading scene very easily with imagemagick. Assuming you have the named like image00000.png image00001.png etc.. you can get a nice animated gif from "bye" to beret girl with:

convert image008[89]?.png image009[0123456]?.png image00970.png -shave 2x2 -auto-level norm.gif

HTH 00:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Is this now a choose your own adventure? I choose 'Walk Up River'! 16:27, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Are there efforts underway to make 3D representations of the landscape? 18:14, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone considered connections to this already? Greyhoundc (talk) 12:38, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

...And there we got as far as frame 1190, which several people have called as the end, and the story does not appear to be resolved at all. How long can this go on? --Therrufying 17:07, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Okay, so it didn't end with 1190. Must have misread the prophecies. 00:51, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

"How long can this go on? I would say a very long time. Currently, each day is filled mostly with a very few backgrounds used over several comics with only the characters moving -- not that difficult to produce -- and maybe a few lines of dialog, which also allows for the repetition of the background. He can probably keep this pace for months. It would be a bit disappointing, but possible. The strip certainly doesn't seem to be approaching any sort of conclusion. But, I think, like certain kinds of art, its the presentation that important. And he is presenting Time. -Tom A. "Time is a local condition." - wish I could remember who said that. Meteoricshipyards (talk) 15:12, 9 May 2013 (UTC)


Can I please not be one of the only three people on this wiki uploading frames? I live a busy life, I miss some of the time slots. If you see that the frame for the current hour hasn't been uploaded yet, try clicking on the red link and uploading it yourself. Davidy²²[talk] 08:39, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I did sign in right now and will try to help.--Dgbrt (talk) 13:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I'd really like to do so, but everytime I look, I can't find the missing ones in my cache esp due to filenames - Is there a script or sth how I can save the original .PNGs automatically to another folder when they update? Trofobi (talk) 09:39, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Here's the quick hack I run every 10 minutes. I don't know what an "sth" is. Larry (talk) 13:11, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

j=$(TZ=EST5EDT date +%j)
h=$(TZ=EST5EDT date +%H)
m=$(TZ=EST5EDT date +%M)
d=$(printf %.2d $((j-83)))
if [ ! -f $fakef ]; then m=$fakem; fi
oldf=$(ls Time* | tail -1)
{ echo -n "$d/$h:$m "; wget -O $f |& grep following | tr "/ " "\012\012" | grep png; } >
cmp -s $f $oldf && mv $f /tmp
oldhash=$(tail -1 hash | cut -d' ' -f2)
newhash=$(cat | cut -d' ' -f2)
[ "$oldhash" = "$newhash" ] || cat >> hash
mv /tmp

Thank you! "sth" just reads "something" :) Trofobi (talk) 21:31, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

All frames and hashes are automatically saved to Patzer (talk) 12:53, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

WOW, that's great! Trofobi (talk) 21:31, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Animated gif

hey, can we upgrade the animated gif to a picture with a sliding bar? maybe with a play/pause button as well? this way you can jump to whatever frame you're interested in, and pause for however long you like on frames with text and such... 11:40, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Some kind soul has already made that here - - not sure how well it'd drop into this wiki though Hippyjim (talk) 13:05, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't seem to be working for me :( 00:53, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Talk too long

The Discussion block is pretty huge and I thing it should be removed from the main page. Maybe a link and a hint to the link at the tab on top of this article. What do you think? --Dgbrt (talk) 15:12, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I, for one, wholeheartedly endorse this. Consensus?--Druid816 (talk) 22:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Hippyjim (talk) 08:45, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
And done. If any admins disagree, please revert Hippyjim (talk) 09:05, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
It looks great, site is loading much faster.--Dgbrt (talk) 15:03, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you! After all, that's why there are talk pages in MediaWiki. -- 16:44, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Image updates

Is Randall playing with me? My script is collecting at 00,05,20,35,50 each hour but many times now I got this:

969:00 41/09:00 f8a6414c334a71481e16428691fe8465098b2bae956e44727d0482c7632a84ff.png

I still could get the correct update, but I have to check all downloads so far.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:41, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm seeing that, too. For myself, I'm going to filter them into a separate directory. Larry (talk) 22:45, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm getting ...a84ff from, but the main gives the current image. Galois (talk) 23:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC) The 00:00 UTC (8 pm EDT) update worked. Galois (talk) 00:02, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone noticed that the exact same identical image was re-used several times recently? If you go to and tell it to show differences from frame 1090, and then start clicking forward, the following frames are all exactly the same: 1094, 1097, 1101, 1103, 1107. Looking at you can then see that 1111 and 1113 are also the same. The rapid perspective change makes the animation appear to strobe. Could this be some strange attempt to illustrate something like an earthquake, or are they just re-using frames to avoid having to draw so many? 02:38, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

As you may have read above, the server did deliver one image repeatedly, so some sites may show this image multiple times. -- 08:24, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

You can see it in the log for geekwagon, do an in page search (ctrl+f) for f8a6414c334a71481e16428691fe8465098b2bae956e44727d0482c7632a84ff. That image is collected multiple times and causes other images to be duplicated too because the script only checks to see if the current link is different than the previous.--Deplicator (talk) 13:15, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

I think what happened is that one of the three sites ( started giving the same result each time. Now, I think they are down for maintenance.... --Divad27182 (talk) 20:47, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Why are images 2816 and 2817 the same? 21:56, 16 July 2013 (UTC)


There seems to be a problem starting with today (Sunday, 2013-05-05): The first picture should be 984:00 and not 983:00. I'm not able to check if it's simply a bot (?) error writing down the hours or something more serious. -- 15:56, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Hour 983 on image 1104 Saturday (23:00 UTC) also appears on image 1105 Sunday (00:00 UTC). The image numbers are correct, but the hour count appears to be off by 1 hour now.Galois (talk) 16:34, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Holy shi... it's my failure. I am starting to correct this right now. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:36, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Not all images do map to the hash

I did run this great command posted here before on 13 April 2013:

md5sum -b * | sort | uniq -w32 -D

Then I did rename all duplicates to image???_.png. After that I did download the hashes from here to image???.png and run the check again.

First result is easy. Files are changed so md5sum for image002_ and image002 are different but content is the same. But 004 is wrong and I will update this one.

878341ab1f710e5832aa7ed5cfa66ed7 *image002_.png
878341ab1f710e5832aa7ed5cfa66ed7 *image004_.png

I will check all carefully and post my updates at the bottom of this section. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:01, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Ok, how can I change that images? --Dgbrt (talk) 19:07, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

I found a way to updates the pictures, it's just a little bit tricky... --Dgbrt (talk) 19:25, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Next duplicate is also easy because files are still the same:

129721094a74fe94c723160991a1e704 *image427_.png
129721094a74fe94c723160991a1e704 *image429_.png
7be206b1c026b697de59e52c19f0a866 *image427.png
7be206b1c026b697de59e52c19f0a866 *image429.png

--Dgbrt (talk) 19:37, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

And new downloads from xkcd are still different on MD5 but this two files are also identical for a viewer:

6d3d9449d1df1f56547387da4259806c *image440_.png
6d3d9449d1df1f56547387da4259806c *image441_.png
827a569e5c806011f0d4d5564357e4d4 *image440.png
827a569e5c806011f0d4d5564357e4d4 *image441.png

--Dgbrt (talk) 19:41, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Same is this - only MD5 did change:

5de911984714c1ec7bf93149a5cca9b4 *image454.png
5de911984714c1ec7bf93149a5cca9b4 *image455.png
87d0de6b865fa94ab91902cddcc0af70 *image454_.png
87d0de6b865fa94ab91902cddcc0af70 *image455_.png

--Dgbrt (talk) 19:43, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

BUT NOW the problems start:

c6edf2a01b16d6df6751acdb00599054 *image704_.png
c6edf2a01b16d6df6751acdb00599054 *image705_.png
c6edf2a01b16d6df6751acdb00599054 *image705.png
db365290ce50176dad01c0087510f513 *image703.png
db365290ce50176dad01c0087510f513 *image704.png

I did rename 704 and 705 to 704_ and 705_ and download the hashes again to the 704 and 705 names.

My old 703 is same as my new 704 which does mean we have a glitch here!!!

--Dgbrt (talk) 19:54, 6 May 2013 (UTC)


image4 is changed (again)--Dgbrt (talk) 19:25, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

After downloading again the pictures around 700 everything looks fine. I can not find more duplicates.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:18, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Boy, that one gave me headaches. 1236 and 1237 seem to be the same. MediaWiki doesn't like multiple images that are the same... --SlashMe (talk) 20:15, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

I am not a boy, I am slightly older...
But in fact 1237 is same content as 1236 and MD5 hash is also the same (not the first one) but the link HASH is different. It is maybe a new hurdle for us. I will check. Stay tuned... --Dgbrt (talk) 20:28, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
It seems you could fix this. Files are just identical. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:33, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

I just uploaded a bunch of hashes and files, there have been some errors. The hashes are now correct, but could somebody please check that the files (1410 to 1420) match the hashes? --SlashMe (talk) 07:59, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Split the movie?

The page is becoming impossible to load.

I would suggest to split the movie into pieces, for instance by making a separate sub-page for each week (avoiding embarassing discussion on the most natural cutting point). Each week can have a separate description, seven-seconds animation, list of 7x24 pictures etc, and a link to the following and previous weeks.

Any objection / comment / suggestion ? Biem (talk) 05:16, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

My only suggestion would be give it larger segments. I don't think it needs to be as small as a week - after all, it loaded fine for a very long time. Maybe approx. half a scene each? Scene 1 is 971 frames long, so how about split at 500, at 971, and again at 1500 (when it gets there)? 08:12, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
It's one and a half megabytes. The biggest issue here probably is the anemic servers that managed to struggle and crash even when that animation was just a static png and the page itself was only a few lines long. When the image starts clocking in at ~4-5 megabytes, it'll probably get to be a proper problem for those on poor connections, but we're not quite there yet. Davidy²²[talk] 08:36, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I suggest pushing the hashes off onto their own page(s). That's 80% of the page's text right there. (Seriously. Click 'edit' on the main page and scroll.) At the very least, we could archive March and April. As more hashes are added, we archive the older ones. Maybe just constantly leave a week's worth of hashes on the main page? --Druid816 (talk) 15:18, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Examine explain xkcd:Community portal/Proposals#Time: The Table Davidy²²[talk] 15:22, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Here is a possible breackdown structure where sequences are ~130 pictures long : (number of frames / Start frame number))

Part 1 : Sand Castles

(127) 001:  First sand castle
(105) 128 : Second sand castle (180) and Catapulte
(090) 233 : Joining castles
(100) 323 : Miniature castle
(116) 423 : Scaffold
(131) 539 : Plattform
(132) 670 : Fourth castle
(173) 802 : Sea rising & fade out

Part 2 : Wildernesses

(150) 975 : Seashore
(100) 1125 : Rivershore
(115) 1225 – : Hills
(087) 1340 - 1363 – 1379 : Trees
(124) 1427 : Baobabs
1551 – 1581 Berries
1619 – Squirrel
1640 Berries

Suggestions that can be discussed :

  • Sequences should be 100-150 pictures long (with possible exceptions).
  • Even if the image is not that big, the length of the movie can be a problem when one wants to check for details : short sequences allow for a slower pace.
  • Good cutting points would be : two consecutive identical pictures, changes of scenery. Sequences with the same theme should on the contrary be kept together when possible.

Biem (talk) 09:13, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

What is the sea?

It doesn't have to be an "ocean." Consider the Aral Sea. The Dead Sea. Our "sea" doesn't have any surf, apparently. Frame 1187: "I wonder if it's possible to swim in." Our characters don't know whether you can swim in a river? Have they never seen fresh water deep enough for swimming? Taibhse (talk) 13:26, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

This is not real life. And they know it's not real life. Maybe they are in some sort of Matrix and know about it, or they are playing a video game. They've seen in developers' blog that devs are working on a lot of new features for version 0.19, such as improved sand physics, multiple rivers, rain, salty water, trebuchets, swimming, surf, etc. But then developers decided to release part of these features in version 0.19, and leave the rest for 0.20. When Cueball an Megan saw that version 0.19 is out, they immediately decided to try it out, without even looking at the changelog. So they don't know which features made it into this version, and which ones will be in the next one. So far they have played around with new sand physics and trebuchets, tried swimming in the sea, tried to drink sea water, found a new river. They haven't seen any surf, so they think it'll be in 0.20. They have yet to try swimming in a river, or see the rain. They have also found a bug that causes sea level to raise indefinitely. They think it could be caused either by rain, additional rivers, or just by a griefer who built a giant sand generator array to fill in the sea and flood everything. Oh, and they can't just create a new private world to see if the sea raises there, because of the DRM.
Did I miss anything? --DiEvAl (talk) 17:37, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes! I see it all now! Beret girl is the griefer! 01:01, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it was black hat. --DiEvAl (talk) 14:54, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
It looks like they've also added bird (sic). --DiEvAl (talk) 15:30, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Swimming in a river is dangerous if there's a strong current. Even slow moving water has a lot of power. The sea could be the ocean, connected to the ocean, or one of the large bodies of water referred to as a sea. Enjoy the comic and have fun second guessing Randall.Galois (talk) 18:17, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

We know: "The sea is big" and "The river is small".

But we also know about the sea: There are no waves. It's just rising. So it is not an ocean, it's just a lake. Many people say "sea" to a lake when they can not see the other side.

And we know their home river is small. But right now they explore a different bigger river.

We know it's not summer so maybe it is spring and the river is rising like every year?

Cueball and Megan will find out, but we have to Wait For It!

--Dgbrt (talk) 19:38, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Both characters have slept occasionally but never at the same time. There has been no depiction of night (unless the fade counts as one.) Hmm... Taibhse (talk) 20:21, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

It seems we are still at day one. Building castles in the morning and exploring their environment after that. But you are right, they have to sleep and I do fear about many DARK pictures...--Dgbrt (talk) 20:50, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone noticed that when the camera zooms out to show the other side of the river/see the middle island just becomes smaller, but the distance between Cueball / Magan and the middle island stays the same? --FG (talk) 15:0, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

It seems like the two river halves (or two rivers) merge as Megan and Cueball hike upstream. New point: I joined all the images covering their journey since image 1150 (last stop for water). it spans 18204 pixels. Assuming Cueball is 6 feet tall (wild guess + it's an even number), they have now hiked a total of 0.517 miles (83228.7 cm) from image 1150.Galois (talk) 13:32, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Considering the elaborate and fragile sand castles, the one- and two-person construction of the platform and its castle components, and maybe the latest antics at the top of the dunes, it appears that gravity is not Earth-normal. Or perhaps the law of gravitation is not our-universe-normal. (No reason it should be, of course.) Taibhse (talk) 03:11, 11 May 2013 (UTC)


Since this 1190 will never end, will it? I think we need some archive sites.

First could be "1190 Time Images 2013-03 March" (<- I am calling this human readable ISO) So, if you understand, each month of picture links and hashes on a separate page.

Next would be "1190 Time Images 2013-04 April"

And a few months from now we also have to do this for the "Transcript".

What do you think? --Dgbrt (talk) 20:46, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

If this comic goes on forever, maybe. For now, we could probably compact the page by grouping the frames from each month into wider tables and scrapping their hashes. The hashes are really only useful for checking that we got the images right, so they're kinda useless for the really old ones. Davidy²²[talk] 01:05, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Since we do not know if there is anything hidden in the hashes we still should save them here. But past months could be moved into a different page.--Dgbrt (talk) 10:27, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
They're hashes, I'm pretty sure there isn't anything hidden in the arrangement of letters and numbers. If there was, the xkcd forums would have been all over it long ago. Davidy²²[talk] 10:44, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Maybe you are right but they are still the original file names on xkcd.--Dgbrt (talk) 11:53, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
We don't carry the original Click and Drag filenames on this wiki; the filenames of parts of large comics don't carry anything of value to people visiting the wiki. They only really help with cross-checking images with the originals to make sure we didn't mess up anywhere, and we've already done that to death for the earlier images - so the hashes for earlier images no longer hold much value. Davidy²²[talk] 14:02, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Don't shout at me. I am just thinking about archiving past months to different pages. The current month should stay on the main page. I am new here and so I am doing not that edit until I get some agreements. But we should save ALL here.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:22, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't shouting, there is no need to bring ad hominem into this discussion. There are a number of solutions available here; we could tabulate frames per month as per this neglected post, offload prior months to other pages, or scrap old hashes to cut a large portion of the article's body text. Each solution will lead to degradation of the explanation, splitting the article will force multiple page loads while removing the hash values will be destroying part of the metadata around the comic. Ideally, we wouldn't have to make the split at all, but speed considerations mean that we eventually will have to do it. In that eventuality, all we can do is the thing that degrades the explanation for the average visitor the least. What do visitors care more about, faster load times/having all the frames on one page or having 1000-odd incomprehensible and meaningless hash values? We don't display the individual filenames for Click and Drag even though they were more informative than the hashes here, because they hold little value to visitors; they only take up space that could be used to further enhance the explanation. Pure archival without curation is what other websites do, not a wiki with the intended goal of making xkcd accessible. Davidy²²[talk] 23:56, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
IMHO having all of the images here is as useless as having hashes: most people use aubronwood or geekwagon anyways. To decrease loading times, I'd suggest to do 2 things:
  1. Move all tables to a new page.
  2. Replace the animated gif with a static gif (possibly latest frame?) that links to the animated gif.--DiEvAl (talk) 14:15, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
I think if we are to keep the hashes at all, they should appear on the description pages for each image. There's no reason for them to be on the comic page. Skiasaurus (talk) 23:09, 15 May 2013 (UTC)


Does anyone else see the last frame (whenever it may be), have the ability to connect to the first, thus creating a cycle? Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 22:14, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

No reason it couldn't, but it seems premature. Early days yet. What's Beret Girl up to? Taibhse (talk) 15:15, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

My only prediction is: We will see what did happen to that castles and we will see that Beret Girl again. Wait for it!--Dgbrt (talk) 17:27, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

My theory: Based on the frames don't change much; Randell is an expert at creating xkcd frames; he only needs 24 per day to keep going; and we have no idea how long he's been preparing for this. It could last forever.--Deplicator (talk) 19:42, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

It will not last forever. But it seems it will still last for a long time. Wait for it!--Dgbrt (talk) 20:22, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Forever is a big speculation. A more realistic speculation would be "as long as the Internet."--Deplicator (talk) 19:41, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

You realize that what we've seen so far is what the beginning of a comic that goes on forever looks like :-) Tom A. ("I don't want to be immortal through my art! I want to be immortal by not dying." - Woody Allen.) Meteoricshipyards (talk) 14:20, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps yesterday's bird was a hint at today's comic. Or he had dinosaurs on the brain. (Don't we all?) ChozoBoy (talk) 14:57, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

So Cueball and Megan seem to entering a region with much more vegetation. Up until now I had assumed that the previous regions had vegetation as well but Randall just hadn't bothered drawing it (such detail is rare in XKCD). So what does presence of vegetation mean? More rainfall? Higher elevation? Also how far have Cueball and Megan travelled? I don't think the frames are necessarily contiguous - if this was a movie we'd have background music to go with the images. They could have been travelling for days or weeks - I definitely don't think it is still the same day as the start of Act II. I suppose 'time' will tell. Joncaves (talk) 17:13, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The yawn suggests that they haven't slept yet, so quite possibly the same day. Also interesting that they seem to treat first the small bush and now the tree as worthy of notice -- were there no trees where they lived? 06:36, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

The current frame (1355) looks remarkably similar to the area at left hand edge of XKCD 1110 (Click and Drag), which also features the same two characters discussing how they've walked "pretty far". I wonder how much of a coincidence this is. 11:46, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
--DiEvAl (talk) 15:28, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Hmm, and despite the overall journey feeling epic, didn't someone calculate the distance travelled (calculated via Cueball units) to be only a mile or two? 01:48, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone has an explanation for the change from frame 1360 to 1361? --FG (talk) 10:41, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I thought the transition from 1359 -> 1360 was even more 'abrupt' than the transition from 1360 - > 1361 (in fact my first thought was that 1360 was out-of-order or some other 'mistake'). But from subsequent frames it has become clear that Cueball wandered off and explored the area on his own while Megan was sleeping. Joncaves (talk) 15:56, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I think [1359:1362] looks similar to [1097:1120]. Probably Cueball was just walking perpendicularly to the image. --DiEvAl (talk) 21:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Here's another example of the slightly 'strange' way of talking: "I'm surprised we haven't been seen by any people yet". Wouldn't most people say: "I'm surprised we haven't seen any people yet"? So who are 'people'? Are 'people' somehow invisible to both Cueball and Megan? Are 'people' a threat? Have 'people' also moved on because of the rising sea level? Joncaves (talk) 19:25, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Speaking of strange phrases, for them to say that tree "probably knows what it is doing" is rather odd. Are they in a world where trees have consciousness, or are they just deeply confused? 18:45, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

The latest frame (1506) has two trees. They are almost certainly baobab trees. There are 8 species of baobab tree, but of those 8, 6 are endemic to the island of Madagascar, including the species which the trees in the comic most resemble, the Grandidier baobab. Even if they are not one of the six species endemic to Madagascar, the fact that they are baobabs still limits them to the continent of Africa, the countries of Oman and Yemen, and northwestern Australia. This means that the big sea, if it is an ocean, is most likely the Indian Ocean. 18:30, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I think we are just at a fantasy world. And Randall is working against every prediction done here or at some forums. We only have to "Wait for it!".--Dgbrt (talk) 21:07, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone else agree that frames 1485 through 1487 are exactly identical? Just a glitch somewhere? 01:56, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, not only the pixels, but also the files' checksums are exactly the same. Checked it twice. -- 08:57, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


Sóme hardcores made a map of The One True Comic: Including in on main page could be a good idea 06:58, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Why does it say "Flatland" instead of "flatland"? Most other labels are lowercase. Is it a reference to Edwin Abbott's Flatland? Or am I just overthinking a typo?

This map is a great job and when we do know that this is correct we have include it here.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:51, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Map URL has changed (old URL displays link to new URLs). New map links: JavaScript version and non-JS version - Acrisius (talk) 13:37, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

I did fix the links and also at the main page.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:20, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

"Description: The allocated data traffic of the hosting account for this website has been exceeded and the website is temporarily suspended" Maybe we should host the map here on the wiki? --DiEvAl (talk) 20:14, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

No, this map is funny but still not validated. Help me to collect some facts at the bottom here. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:30, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Where did the map go? I'm getting "...does not exist or cannot be displayed" Does your page have an error? Or are you having hosting issues?--Gerry (talk) 01:36, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

(Gerry, are you making this comment after following the "New map links: JavaScript version and non-JS version" links given? Those work for me, at this time of editing, and got those links presented to me when going to the original URI with the SVG extension.)

Regarding the accuracy, I imagine Randall may have used a data model of countoured landscape (1D or 2D, plus height) to auto-generate the scrolling/panning/rotating scenery base prior to decorating with figures/etc, but whether there's enough information to fully back-derive such a map from the ever-changing landscape I couldn't say. I assume assumptions, at the very least, and maybe some inventiveness on the part of any given interpreter. 19:42, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

(Yes, I had been using the new links. As I later found out it was after their monthly server allotment had been exhausted. It started working again June 1.)--Gerry (talk) 03:35, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Words of Randall

Has Randall ever said anything in the past 2 months pertaining to this comic? Better yet, has anyone ever tried to ask him? Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 05:18, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

NO--Dgbrt (talk) 20:53, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Simple English

Conversation is in "Simple English". I am not native English but I think we should mention this. Am I wrong?--Dgbrt (talk) 20:57, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm not aware of a distinction between "Simple" and regular English, at least in the USA. I think it's just something they use for teaching non-native speakers. --Druid816 (talk) 00:32, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
"Simple English" isn't a special dialect or anything, but the conversation definitely has a simple, almost naive, style. Lots of single-syllable vocabulary without much Latin-derived flowery or "sophisticated" words. I counted 27 three-syllable words and one four-syllable word in the entire dialog, scenes 1 and 2 combined. They don't seem to have a name for "sand dunes." They talked about a river being "broken." They are very playful, mature but child-like. It gives the story a kind of alien feel. Taibhse (talk) 17:27, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the OP is referring to Basic English: 22:55, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Similar to the xkcd explaining the Saturn V rocket in simple english. 03:57, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

I did mean "Simple English" as Randall did mention before, not only here Up Goer Five. Look at this WIKI for Simple English Wiki--Dgbrt (talk) 23:09, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Are We Lost Yet? -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Big trees

A great guy at the xkcd forum did identify the big trees starting at frame 1503 (1382:00 hours). They belong to Madagascar and their name is Adansonia grandidieri. But also a few of them do exist in the US. So I am still not sure where we are.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:11, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

One of the little asteroid-planets from The Little Prince?
"Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of that planet was infested with them. A baobab is something you will never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many, they split it in pieces..." 00:20, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Looks like we have grapevines now, or something like them, with man-made trellising. 21:47, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

A hypothesis

Randall's animation is taking place in a distant, post-collapse future ("distant" is relative, here-- say sometime in the next few hundred years, though possibly much further): human civilization is back at a late-Iron Age stage of development, though maybe with slightly more sophisticated metallurgy. The reasons I suggest this are: 1) rising sea-level that is on-going, 2) they can work wood and they have agriculture, 3) they have shown no awareness of any more "advanced" technology, 4) yet they have no qualms about wandering off into the wilderness without what most of us would consider adequate protection.

The one reason I might think it's farther into the future is the bit with the trees. I can't decide if their shape is a consequence of evolution (convergent, so that they are very similar to the Adansonia grandidieri), or they were transplanted (presumably to somewhere south? Higher altitude? Both? Antarctica?). Evolution would imply deeper in the future, and transplantation could be sooner.

I'm really interested to see what the truth is, because it's got me thinking along all kinds of planes. 21:38, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Stuck Again

Randall seems to be stuck at hour 1524 (image number 1545), at 20:00 UTC we now have 5 copies of the same empty image with half a vineyard with no end in sight.Galois (talk) 20:31, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

No, files are still different, even when you can't see it. File sizes did change and also md5sum. But I did not check the small changes visual right now. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:47, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Use "Previous Frame Difference" on geekwagon, you can see a line of pixels that differ. --SlashMe (talk) 20:50, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I wonder if the squirrel is following her...--Gerry (talk) 21:27, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Me too, but I am hoping Megan will get a pet. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:30, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

I see the streak. I expected the squirrel to follow her. Geekwagon showed it, so did Photoshop.Galois (talk) 22:07, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

It's probably the squirrel, though the frame difference visual made me go "snake! snake in the grass!" 22:14, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
It's still fun. Will Megan get at pet? A chary Squirrel? I am still tuned. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:24, 27 May 2013 (UTC) (talk) 01:35, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

The squirrel appears to be in the tree the first time Megan & Cueball walk by in image numbers 1582 & 1583. Galois (talk) 13:05, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

New clue, image 1692 - "Still, it's better than when we were following the sea, walking straight into the sun all morning." Walking east along the sea, it places them on the south side of anything. Galois (talk) 15:23, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

This may be more speculation than not, but the two turned north to follow the river and are now walking on a heading somewhere between NE and NW, which puts them in the northern hemisphere if they can see their shadow in front of them. This is also confusing since there aren't many Grandidier's Baobab trees there [6].Galois (talk) 20:46, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree that these orientations are plausible from the dialog in the strip, but remember, we're already pretty certain that they're not in the same universe as us, so we may not be able to assume that the sun rises in the east. There's no evidence to demonstrate that their world rotates west-to-east like ours does, but there's no evidence that it doesn't, either. Let's at least remember the possibility that all of these directions are reversed from what our current theory states. 18:24, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

At least this time we know it's a snake. In image 1738 [7] the curled snake is fully visible, complete with a raised head and tail. At 2 pixels high, details are a little sketchy.Galois (talk) 17:06, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

The Planting People

So what do we know about them? They've been gone a while, long enough for Cueball to believe it was fine to take grapes. But they haven't been gone for a long time, because we've seen a staked sapling that is likely only a year or two old. They have vineyards and what look to be orchards. They appear to use tents, at least the frame we saw looked to be tied together at the top to form a teepee frame. They are sophisticated enough to do things like put benches next to trees, so they aren't subsistence farmers. Anything else? Tavella (talk) 18:14, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Forgot a couple of things, they have what is possibly writing (are Cueball and Megan illiterate?), and it's different than that of the Hill People, but their debris appears to look the same.

They appear to be either hunter-gatherers or have abandoned the area (for some reason - why?). From [8] "Many groups of 'nomadic' hunter-gatherers (also known as foragers) moved from campsite to campsite, following game and wild fruits and vegetables." We have seen three campsites; Cueball burried the embers from their fire (see image 1048 & 1062-1064 [9]). Galois (talk) 13:22, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

I did wonder about some kind of seasonal movement, but if so it's odd that they left the teepee to collapse (and be damaged, one of the supports is visibly cracked) rather than taking the materials with them or storing them more neatly. Tavella (talk) 17:44, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Go to a vineyard in late summer or early autumn, you will not see the "The Planting People". We only know that we are at this particular season because they can eat grapes from that plants and before they could swim in the sea. And both are following the sun in the morning, witch does mean they are walking East. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:28, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, but you will see the Harvesting People if the grapes are ripe, and they apparently are. Tavella (talk) 21:28, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Finally seeing where all the wood came from -- stumps everywhere. Tavella (talk) 21:28, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

What do we know by the end of May 2013?

I'm trying to collect some facts:

-They did build a sand castle and the weather was warm enough to swim in the sea. The taste of the water is bad, and the sea is raising.
-Then both are trying to find a reason for that raise and they are starting to travel around this special river.
-They are still going uphill while we never have seen that mountains.
-Eating grapes from a vineyard means we are at least at late summer.
-Walking to the sun in the morning is just walking to the east.

Two month's in this comic and we really do not know much more. Stay tuned, wait for it. We do not know much more essentials. Does Randall?--Dgbrt (talk) 22:43, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

They are also apparently now heading west, or mostly west. Their shadows are in front of them, and while that could be west in the morning or east in the evening, they are contrasting it with walking into the sun in the morning as they were along the shore, so it's west. Presumably they were walking mostly north until the decision to head for the mountains, since Cueball has just started playing with his shadow. Tavella (talk) 00:50, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

OK, but they are walking to the sun in the morning. That's east (on northern hemisphere, I still do not think we are at Madagascar). So we do have an other fact:
-Around time frame 1700 it's evening.

--Dgbrt (talk) 17:07, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

-If you walk into the sun, you are walking east.
-They then turned to their left to go upriver. That's would be going north.
-If you are above the tropics, your shadow will always lay to the north of you.
-Megan says what they're doing is better than when they had to walk into the sun, and it's been established that they walked along the sea for days, so they'd be familiar with walking with the sun directly behind them, too. If they were now walking west, it would pretty much be the same situation, except reversed. It doesn't really make sense to me that she'd call one situation better than the other. It feels more like they aren't walking into the sun at all anymore. Therefore, I think they are now keeping the sun relatively behind them by going north, which indicates they are north of the equator, and probably north of the Tropic of Cancer. Even at noon, the sun would be behind you slightly, to the south. And if you're walking uphill, it would be very visible to you.
--Druid816 (talk) 01:23, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

They are moving East as Megan did explain. When they can see their shadows in front of them it's just evening, the sun is now behind them. What tells me that Day One is coming to an end. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:59, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

They did mention that that had been walking for days, so who knows how many days it's been.--Gerry (talk) 21:45, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Does today's "What If" give a clue to the current year? Unless it's been "fixed", it says "two hundred years from now, in April of 2432".  :-) Larry (talk) 13:34, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Map exceeding bandwidth

The map here seems to be failing due to excessive bandwidth:

I might be able to help with some bandwidth. If you know who is doing this and they can get in touch with me,(I'm @sevitz on twitter or via here) I might be able to help depending on BW requirements.

Sevitz (talk) 06:59, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

This map is incorrect but still a great fun. They are walking west in the evening, not north. But I am also sure the site will be back soon.
Nevertheless, if you can help here you are welcome! --Dgbrt (talk) 18:08, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
No, their shadows are in front of them, so they are either walking west in the morning or east in the evening. Since they were comparing it favorably with their experience of walking east in the morning along the sea shore, they therefore must be going west (or mostly west) currently. Tavella (talk) 19:29, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, they've probably turned away from the river, since Cueball thought it important to refill the water bottle before heading for the mountains. So, east along the seashore, north along the river, then west towards the mountains. Tavella (talk) 19:33, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Snake Theories

Megan mentions snakes with spikes over their eyes. That covers several species, all poisonous, but they are native to the American west and southwest, Mexico, Central America, north Africa and the Middle East. The snake that Cueball finds might be a slow-worm, a limbless reptile native to Eurasia. It's shiny, brown, has a blunt head, and can shed its tail like a lizard, which might give it a half-finished look if Cueball saw it that way. But a stronger contender is the rubber boa, which is native to the western US, and has a famously stubby head and tail.

This makes me think of one area: The Great Salt Lake. The Bear River empties into it from a northerly direction, and the area has the rubber boa and at least one type of poisonous horned snake. Native Americans of the area even had legends of the Horned Serpent. And that had to be a teepee we saw earlier. (I don't think Native Americans had trebuchets or berets, though....) --Druid816 (talk) 01:59, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

(...Except, unless they built a salt castle, it's more likely to be in a place with considerably more sand.)Galois (talk) 19:32, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
The Great Salt Lake makes sense unless this comic does not belong to our real world. We just have to find this Adansonia grandidieri trees or something similar at Utah. And this lake has beaches of sand, ok salty sand.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:44, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

The snake also seems to appear in frames 1645 to 1651 -- Flying Djinn (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)


Megan is looking back sometimes since a few frames... May she has the feeling that someone is following them? People from the hills? The squirrel? -- Joggl (talk) 18:08, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, Megan is looking at something. But what it is we just do not know. Wait for it. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:48, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps it's Beret Girl? She's the only other human we've seen so far. 21:33, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
It's just the sea, they must be high in the mountains. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:05, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

We've got chicks, and not the first time: In image 1830-1831 Megan says "I heard chirps from the night sky once. I was looking at the stars one night and I heard peeping. - It was very quiet. - just a single chirp now and then." They were sleeping under a tree around image 1354, a bird flies overhead, later Cueball takes a walk. We can see some chicks at the end of his walk at images 1374-1376 [10]. It just took me a while to figure out what it was.Galois (talk) 20:35, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Take a closer look; there's some kind of wisp hanging out in some of the empty frames and the ones Megan's looking back in. It's only about a pixel wide, but a few long; broken up, serpentine, almost ethereal.

In the hut scene (June 20) there seems to be something large moving in the bushes next to the fence. There was also something something poking in on the left back by the cairn (a few frames back). 18:18, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

I've been keeping a log of Hidden Animals in 1190: Time: Pictures. The first one you saw is likely a bird. There's a chick moving around in the grass. The recent scene (frame numbers 2214-2225) is a swarm (bugs?) that came in from the left and moved into the bush. Use this Geekwagon Link to view the hidden images. Galois (talk) 20:29, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

"--LOOK OUT!" I rest my case. 21:05, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

A big cat! Puma, Mountain Lion... who can tell, at least it wasn't a Velociraptor (there's 2 in Click and Drag). Galois (talk) 22:34, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Looks too small for either a mountain lion or a puma. Could be a cub, perhaps. Tavella (talk) 23:05, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Now either that's a pet cat or this just got less PG. Also, the thing that showed up by the cairn is the right height for a nose. 23:06, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree. If there's real danger, why does Megan just sit there? Galois (talk) 00:13, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Aubronwood problem

Has anyone noticed that the aubronwood site only seems to show every other frame after a certain point? Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 15:52, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it looks buggy. I'm always using my own downloads and this geekwagon.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:11, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
Noticed the same. Looks like the left and right arrow keys don't work after a certain point, but the up and down arrow keys and the mouse wheel continue to work correctly. -- 17:36, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
I found that if I hit "Slower" when this happens, it returns to single frame navigation with arrow keys.


The elevation map on the edfel map hasn't been updated in ages, and I'd like to see how high up they are now. Anyone else found one anywhere? Tavella (talk) 21:31, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

You are right and we need a proper map on this like the water level before. I will try this soon, maybe tomorrow.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:48, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
I've been mapping the journey from the start, piecing each segment end-to-end in Photoshop. There is no significant net elevation change until they started following the river. The net elevation change from image #1150 to now (#1818) is 1402 pixels = 210.2 feet (assuming a 40 px average height of Cueball and using 40 px = 6 feet). However, since this is a comic, one may assume a greater height than that actually depicted. The horizontal distance along the same river walk is 59516 pixels = 8927.4 feet (1.7 mi, 2.7 km). I don't have the distances along the sea. The average speed, using 1 hr/frame update, is 0.0025 mph, 0.0041 kph (at 5 min/frame update the speed increases to 0.0304 mph). Galois (talk) 22:07, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

What do we know by the beginning of June?

- thanks to Galois we do know they did travel around 3 km (NASA is getting better on this metric units).
- thanks to Galois we do know they did climb approx. 65 meters (maybe slightly more because 6 feet or 1.8288 meters for Cueball is maybe a little bit too much).
- they are still in real nature, the most technical devices we have seen is just wood.
- but they also did cross a road at the beginning of their travel.
- now both are heading uphill while the mountains still far away.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:11, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

I'd like to think Cueball is shorter, I used 6 ft because it's convenient and yields longer distances. The tallest Baobob tree is 516 px (rescaled to the running comic) = 77.4 ft (23.6 m) using a 6 ft Cueball. Note that using a 5.5 ft (1.7 m) Cueball, the tree drops to 71 ft (21.6 m). The Wikipedia page [11] on the Grandidier's baobab states they can reach 25 to 30 m (80-100 ft) in height, 23.6 m is about right. Galois (talk) 23:40, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't follow this as religously as others so maybe I missed the obvious answer, but why is it assumed that we have seen all of the way they went? I alway thought the parts where they are hiking is like a "montage" in film, where lots of parts might be missing in between the snapshots we see. -- (talk) 05:58, 6 June 2013 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

(please sign your posts - don't worry, we're all here out of a mutual enjoyment of the xkcd comics) Actually, I looked into the possibility a while back, but it didn't work. Randall runs 3-5 frame updates with the two walking across the same panel. As they leave one panel on the right, they enter the next on the left (and visa-verse for the trip back to the sunken castle). Additionally, I only came across three panels that didn't adjoin perfectly (one in the sand dunes and two trees that didn't continue into the next panel). Galois (talk) 11:12, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Image reference from late on the 67th day

At about 22:35 on the 67th day, the image reference "6fa2b361791e805aac0a89008a891e3999a0519ed870c1bc3dcc8dbff5e071d5.png" appeared for a time. It was after "f4e2276e4c47409412666b28be0cca75fedae3c182c4017932891c147004c720.png", followed by a few more of that reference and then by "133fddaecbdee3f5160771b68ce02cbc2b4b1c84a40faffb1bcaa6f75588edd0.png". At the time, I did not get a copy of the image, and it is not now available for download. Did anybody else see this image, and does anybody have a copy of it? --Divad27182 (talk) 20:12, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

I am also confused, my download was also broken at that hour. 404 Not found.
It is at 1606:00 or image 1727 - still more confusing numbers. Randall could not do it much better.
And "" is still 404...
So, we have an image here, but is it correct?--Dgbrt (talk) 20:48, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

My image number 1728 is 133fddaecbdee3f5160771b68ce02cbc2b4b1c84a40faffb1bcaa6f75588edd0.png. The image fits properly in sequence with the other images around it. Galois (talk) 22:32, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

OK, apparently it was completely broken at that time. I just felt I needed to ask, since I wasn't downloading actual images at that time, just the references, and so I have a broken reference in my list. --Divad27182 (talk) 02:03, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Pictures and Time Collage

I opened a new page for the pictures: 1190: Time: Pictures. It's experimental and subject to (wiki-style collaborative) change. Galois (talk) 15:40, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I think "Cueball Walk images 1360-1378" is wrong. It looks more like if Cueball was walking perpendicularly to the image. DiEvAl (talk) 22:03, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
That's the way it was drawn. While Megan is still sleeping, Cueball takes a walk, gathers some berries, stops several times to look around, and then walks back to the tree. The walk and the tree scene probably don't connect directly. It appears that Cueball arises from under the tree, turns (left) away from the "camera" (frankly, I can't tell he is walking towards us or away from us... only Megan has hair, which tells us which way), and starts his walk. Galois (talk) 15:40, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Nice work Galois! How we can show this pictures at the comic page? Maybe with a smaller preview for a link to to the full size picture with a warning about this. But also I think it should be at a different page. Any ideas?--Dgbrt (talk) 20:26, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Good point! I took your advice. Galois (talk) 15:42, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Also posted at Galois (talk): Thumbnails are not working at this moment. But nevertheless I think it's not a good idea to include that large pictures. My idea:

Create that big pictures, separated into some parts, remove Megan and Cueball and then change only the width to 1200 pixels. And one picture should cover all at the width of 1200 pixels. Scene 2 could be split into several collapsible parts with the terrain picture on top. Just an idea, what do you think?--Dgbrt (talk) 17:59, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Megan and Cueball sleeping deep for the first time

Maybe they will be disturbed by some flies or other animals, but now it's night... They will sleep because the first day is over. Good night!--Dgbrt (talk) 23:27, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

This is not the end of the first day. According to frame 1600 they walked along the sea for days. If the later timeline is similar then they've walked up the river for days as well.--Gerry (talk) 23:55, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
At frame 1600 Cueball says that they "walked along the sea for days". But at this comic they are walking along the river, the travel at the sea must happend before. Since they are walking again it seems both are sleepless.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:31, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
They also slept under the tree in images 1348-1352, Megan talked about that night in 1830-1832 (time 1709:00) "Megan: I heard chirps from the night sky once. I was looking at the stars one night and I heard peeping. - It was very quiet. - just a single chirp now and then. Cueball: Did you see anything? Megan: I thought a few stars flicker. - Nothing else." Galois (talk) 00:40, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
The story from time 1709:00 also refers to things did happen before this comic did start.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:31, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree too, but not this time... there is a chick in the grass in the scene next to the tree where they slept. See Difference between frames 1375 and 1374 or "Chick in grass 1375" in 1190: Time: Pictures [12] in the Hidden Animals section. The same type of chick was right in front them in time 1709:00 (see "Chick in grass 1826"). Galois (talk) 13:58, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

They're coming back... in Frame 1928 we can see the two heading off following the small river with their knapsacks (or rucksacks) left behind by the tree where they slept. Galois (talk) 14:09, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Journey update: As of (right edge of) image 2103, they climbed 1290 pixels or 193.5 ft (59 m) from the place the two slept by the small river (image 1908). Galois (talk) 18:30, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Philosophical implications

I think the huge following that this comic has gathered - the amount of work by people like Aubron Wood and the guys at geekwagon, explainxkcd editors, general xkcd enthusiasts, the people at XKCD time wiki - raises some interesting questions. At this point we're not even clear how Randall is writing these comics: he may have designed them all from the start, or he may be writing 24 a day, going along with it, according to the natural progression of events and what has led up to now. It has interesting parallels with the design argument. It also makes you wonder about how it's all going to end. There are so many ongoing discussions - and have been from the start - about how the comic is going to conclude. Just as in real life we take so many different roads and never really know where we're going to end up. If we're continuing with the religious theme we could extend the metaphor even further, about what happens after we die. We don't know if we're going to just stop existing or if we're going to end up in some elaborate afterlife. We don't know what Randall's going to do - how long will the comic go on? Could it last his entire lifetime? We have no way of knowing. --Mynotoar (talk) 14:05, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

I believe Randall is writing this as it goes along, preparing the scenes only a little bit in advance. The story (quest?) reads more like a series of isolated vignettes, but with a few themes being carried forward, such as the quest for the source of the rising sea. I'm here in homage to Randall's unique wit and humor, and having fun trying to second guess what he'll do next. I don't believe the setting is an actual place, but we have several clues that limit its location. I see this as a collection of disparate objects and events; some go together, some not, but with some running themes. Randall may be making some points (such as conservation, ecology, and not eating squirrels); although, I would have never filled a canteen from the small river without first boiling or purifying the water. Galois (talk) 14:27, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Are you living in tent? People living in tents for big amount of year (as these two apparently do) generally tend to dring water without purifying. .... on the other hand, those generally don't build castles from sand. And they DID mentioned steam bottle once ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 17:43, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Stillness of air

Anyone else notice how still the air is? In the frames I have looked at, the grass never moves, so there must be no wind. 12:20, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

In over 2000 frames, I have found only four that depict wind. I added them to the 1190: Time: Pictures page [13]. Galois (talk) 21:01, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm impressed you found those. Thank you. 02:09, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Making extreme sport out waiting

Let's do 1017, but using current frame instead of a progress bar. Does anyone know what formula should we use for this? Something similar to the one in [[1017] won't work, because we don't know when (if ever) the Time will end. I was thinking about T = c + n * (1 hour), where n is current frame and c is a couple of days before the beginning of Time, but it seems too boring. --DiEvAl (talk) 14:57, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I can't figure out what you do mean. In Randall's words I just can say: Wait for it.--Dgbrt (talk) 16:00, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Madagascar theory

I'm still not sure that it is supposed to be a specific place, but going with the Madagascar theory, there is indeed a native Madagascar hedgehog -- the greater and lesser tenrecs.

Still no squirrels, though. Tavella (talk) 20:58, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

That Madagascar trees are also imported to US. Hedgehogs are a famous pets in US, even when they do belong to Asia and Europe. We are still in the US, and more precisely around Utah. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:51, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Hedgehogs are found in many places. From the shadow comments, they are on a northern sea coast in the northern hemisphere, hence probably not Madagascar. There's something wrong with every possible location I checked. The Mediterranean Sea is rising because the water coming in from rivers is greater than that lost through evaporation [14] and is polluted [15], BUT a quick check has every possible northern coast covered with cities or agriculture. I lived in Salt Lake City for a little while. Antelope Island has oolitic sand on the north and west sides and is a mountain, but no major rivers or waterfalls[16]. The north coast is a boggy delta, except for a peninsula, which is covered with agriculture. Southern Utah is a better match and has waterfalls, but no sea. I gave up. Galois (talk) 18:04, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
The sea thing is certainly a problem for any modern-day Utah theory, but the tree that recently came on-screen (frame 2145) could be intended to be Pinus longaeva, which would be appropriate to Utah (or many other parts of the Great Basin), high altitudes, and the comic theme. Oh, also, if you want a rising, large body of water near Southern Utah there's always Lake Mead. But it's probably not so large as to be mistaken for the sea. --Joe Decker
I'm not sure that current agriculture would be an issue. Unless they are play-acting or in some kind of _The Village_ setup, they seem unlikely to be current-day humans. They seem strangely ignorant of some obvious things and yet aware of others. There might be a few tribal peoples living in tents that would be unaware of the next river over, but they would be unlikely to be confused by birds nesting. Or be using trebuchets and European castle architecture in sandcastles. And if they genuinely walked for "days" along the shore, it seems unlikely to be a _The Village_ setup; that's got to be 20 miles even taking a leisurely trip for just two days, and probably more. Tavella (talk) 23:36, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

It might be interesting, however, that there's a striking resemblance between the Grandidier's Baobab depicted in the comic at frame 1525 [17] and the tree on the left in the Wikimedia picture Grandidier's Baobab (Adansonia grandidieri) near Morondava, Madagascar. Galois (talk) 18:24, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

That place is surprisingly like the comic, especially when explored Expedition style. It has beaches, other rivers, baobabs, etc! And doesn't the fact that they slept overnight invalidate the northern hemisphere theory and mess with determining the walking direction by the sun? Despite all this, I doubt being in Madagascar does much for understanding the meaning of the comic. --Irino. (talk) 01:55, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Jumped by a kitty

Nom nom nom. The end. 23:54, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

I was going to say how trollish that felt (because I was felling attached to the characters and the comic), but you know what? It's just a comic. And no, I don't think it's ending that way, Randall is random, but not THAT random (I think). I bet $10 that Megan will fetch some sort of stick or club and go golfing. --Fernandofig (talk) 00:32, 21 June 2013 (UTC) 23:57, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Alright guys, what's the species and where is it native to? Puma, mountain lion, lynx, jaguar, tiger, panther, leopard...

Well, if we're to believe that Randall is paying attention to the scale of the objects, then I don't think it's either of your options. That cat doesn't look much bigger than a domestic cat, so I think it's something close to an Ocelot. --Fernandofig (talk) 00:46, 21 June 2013 (UTC)u
Unless Megan and Cueball are kids, that would be an awfully large domestic cat. And from references like the cabin, they are adults or close to it in size. Ocelot's not a bad estimate, though. Tavella (talk) 01:01, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, in my defense, I didn't really said it was a domestic cat, but that it looked just slightly bigger than one. An Ocelot fits that description, I think, while being much smaller than a Puma. Btw, there goes Megan golfing! :) --Fernandofig (talk) 04:05, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Not a cougar (too small for one) as I think they grab their prey by the throat and hold on till it's dead, not just knock it over and sniff. Bobcat's out (too big). Besides, what's coming in on the right? 03:16, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Now I'm starting to feel sorry for the poor kitty. 05:06, 21 June 2013 (UTC) (p.s. "it didn't bite you?" -- More for it being a lonely lost pet?)

If this is Madagascar, then it would be a fossa ... but the head looks too big and cat-like. Perhaps a juvenile cougar/puma? Would help explain why it bit the backpack instead of Cueball's neck. Geographically, that or one of the ocelots / relatives would put us in South or North America. AH 14:00, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Why is everyone assuming the location corresponds to an actual modern day location (e.g. Madagascar)? Given that is staged on an infinite plane full of rocks we shouldn't limit our search to the real, simply the rational. 14:32, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

This doesn't make any sense. Rationals are (or are isomorphic to) a subfield of reals, so if we limit our search to rationals we also implicitly limit it to reals. But it's safe to assume that they are in some group. My intuition tells me that this group is a vector field (most likely R^3), but obviously we shouldn't rely on that. --DiEvAl (talk) 15:47, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
Hahaha! Just wondering if those were Abelian Grapes that Cueball and Megan were eating. "What's purple and commutes?" 1960s joke. Taibhse (talk) 09:43, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't necessarily think that it's an actual place, but some of the plant and animal references have been so specific as to make you wonder if they mean something. Tavella (talk) 19:41, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
The sand castle Megan built at the top matches the Paris Disneyland castle; thus, either Megan had seen the castle before or Randall just thought it was a neat looking castle to copy. There are other elements that limits the date to fairly recent, some more so than others. I don't think Randal is using an actual place, but rather an amalgam of elements from many places. As for myself, I prefer abstract algebra. Galois (talk) 17:18, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Given that they're been hiking up into the mountains, my guess is that it was a mountain lion... which is also known as a cougar. Or puma. --Druid816 (talk) 08:07, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Frame 2188

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned or come up with theories about frame 2188. I guess we now know that it was the cat stalking them. -- 01:04, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Re: 2188 check the "Following" section. 03:15, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Frames 2231-2232

What is that on the far right of the screen? Any theories at all?

Boom mike? Martian tripod? Tavella (talk) 07:40, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm downloading from two systems at different time. One got the same images as linked above, but the images I downloaded a few minutes ago don't have it. I get the following md5's

32fc7553d3134ec08a5bc88ffa1929d9 -> 867dc4718c684fa0507876cdd034ce7f7fd7980370034d676181ddf6b07dcabf.png <- 2231
a26efc43bb6bbc2bb8d12192a25d4938 -> e44589725450e5bf897d441e5ccd1e9b9a0a1ee6658fea9e6a7378e96c5e4be5.png <- 2232

Same here, the image I clipped (2231) has the figure (or whatever) and now it's gone. It must have been unintentional, and later corrected. Maybe the "whatever" or parts of it will show up later. Galois (talk) 14:56, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

I'll take a shot... The bottom part is curved and aligns perfectly with Cueball's head in Photoshop, just cutoff on the left (and the right as it goes out of frame). The rounded slice at the top matches Megan's head as well. The full slice does not match any scene to date (the only one close is 1885 with Megan in the tree, but that's not it); thus, it must be a slice from a future scene (or maybe part of a template with assorted characters). Galois (talk) 16:20, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

The great re-encoding

After noticing the snafu around 2231-2232, I whent and re downloaded the full set from and what I downloaded today doesn't match what I downloaded before (generally when they were <24h old). Everything from 1068 back seems to be a pixle match for what is there now but have different MD5s and is generally smaller. 20:31, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

My observations suggest that XKCD images are routinely optimized a few hours after posting. In short, it is normal for the image to change without the pixels changing. --Divad27182 (talk) 03:37, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Another Theory

Can it just be about Mr. Munroe's life? I don't know many personal details, but it would be easy to draw about and still be important without being funny. --Irino. (talk) 04:39, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

A fair number of people have speculated that it's a metaphor for something personal, yeah. He's married and his wife had a bout with cancer a year or so back, so there's been some concern that the whole 'inescapable tide' may be a less than happy thing. Tavella (talk) 19:39, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Only one day to reach the top of the Mountain

At frame 2305 Cueball mentions that it's only one day to reach the top and at frame 2308 Megan says that they will not much farther away from home when being there. This means the comic shows no night sequences but it did run for many days in the world of them. Maybe each real day is also a day in this comic.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:17, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

It sure took a long time to build the original sandcastle then.--Gerry (talk) 20:20, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. But now we have the prove that the voyage did last many days while there was no hint of any night hiatus. They did sleep but we couldn't see.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:40, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Remember there was a fadeout while they were starting off on the journey, and later they say the walked for days along the shore. So that could be the bulk of the distance. Tavella (talk) 01:51, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it's like the world for Game of Thrones but s/Seasons/Days/ I.e. veritable length days? 23:57, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
I'd rather think they started their journey several days before they reached the beach and started building the castle. I feel that what we are observing is a single day of their adventure - building a castle in the morning, walking along the shore and the river in early afternoon or even a little before noon, taking a short nap in the late afternoon and walking uphill again. The darkening of last few frames may be the evening coming. 13:59, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

It's getting cloudy.

Upper right corner of frame 2352? Also the other three corners have something going on. 03:25, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

May Randall is reading this Wiki and saw the complain about still air :-) Joggl (talk) 06:09, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Or maybe Megan is getting cold because a storm's coming. Maybe they don't know about storms in the hills or mountains. Note that the "people in the hills" where they live are perhaps not friendly, according to the earlier conversation about going on up the mountain: Cueball: "We can't be more than a day or so from the top. There may be people there." Megan: "Like the people in the hills?" Cueball: "We're a long way from there." If the people of the hills back home are unfriendly, Cueball and Megan may have no experience of hill weather. Taibhse (talk) 11:14, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

If you look at the image diff on GeekWagon it looks like they are experiancing a solar eclipse. 15:18, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

No, that white round object in the cloud is just moving and is also getting smaller. I've no idea what it could be.--Dgbrt (talk) 15:45, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
It isn't getting smaller, it's just having to go through clouds of increasing thickness, making its domain of whiteness smaller. And it's moving because something like fifteen minutes just went by. --Irino. (talk) 15:53, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Looks like a setting sun to me Hippyjim (talk) 17:56, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
You are right, we see a sunset. My first statement was about the "solar eclipse" theory, what is definitively not happen.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:27, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
We also effectively had a bit of a timeskip there -- it takes several hours for the sun to lower that much. Also confirms they are walking north (which I think was the going assumption already.) Tavella (talk) 22:51, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
The rate that the sun sets at depends on the "length" of the "lens" being used. Based on 360 deg/day motion and a apparent width of 0.5 deg, the sun moves it's own diameter every 2 minutes. 03:12, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

The images now fading to black, going to the dark night. I am hoping we will get a new scene on top of that mountain, but maybe we will just seeing them awakening below a tree. We just have to wait... Stay tuned as me!--Dgbrt (talk) 23:06, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

But maybe the Moon will shine and the fade to black does stop.--Dgbrt (talk) 23:14, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Or maybe we will switch back to Beret Girl. Who knows? We'll see when we see. Taibhse (talk) 08:00, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
@Taibhse, It seems to me that you just explained the entire point of the cartoon. 13:57, 27 June 2013 (UTC)ALurker

Where are the astronomical freaks? Can't we find out where they are depending on the stars? Joggl (talk) 17:12, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

~30 deg north based on the direction of motion. 17:57, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
The constellation looks like Bootes (talk) 18:03, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
When Bootes is setting around sunset in the US it is August or September.--Gerry (talk) 18:16, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
I can't identify Boötes so far but the bright star following the path of the sun isn't a star: It's the planet Venus, here as the "Evening Star".--Dgbrt (talk) 20:28, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Not Bootes; it's not on the ecliptic, which these stars are. Tavella (talk) 22:46, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
I think the upper constellation on 2394 is the Sagittarius. The lower one, which can be seen better on 2393 is the tail of the Scorpion constellation. The two bright stars close to each other above the tree are Shaula and Lesath. The brightest star is a planet, probably Venus. The only think bothers me is that there is an other star very close to Ascella in Sagittarius, which should not be there... Maybe an other planet? -- 21:31, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
I think you may have it. I passed over Sagittarius at first, because they looked too close together, but I think I was overestimating the scale. Virgo and Gemini both contain something close to the Y pattern of four bright stars, but the surrounding stars aren't right. If it's a planet, it would have to be naked eye visible but not as bright as Ascella,and I don't think there is anything that fits, which is a pity, because we could work out possible years. Tavella (talk) 22:26, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Reviewing further, I'm even more convinced. If you get a star map in the right orientation, you can see that the rest of Scorpio is becoming visible just above the horizon in frame 2393: [18]. And the arc of stars the three consellations are 'facing' matches up with the Serpent and Ophiuchius, including the visual binary of Delta and Epsilon Ophiuchi. If you look at a sky map for Nov 7, 2013, Venus is in about the right configuration. Tavella (talk) 23:14, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Star Map

Is someone already stitching together a map of the stars as they move through the frames? I could do it, but I'm too lazy *g*. And if we have that, the relative position of the sun to the stars should be sufficient to determine the day of the year (depending on the accuracy of the drawings) and probably, assuming the first bright dot was indeed Venus, we might even be able to determine if the story takes/took place this year. Maybe other astronomical objects show (or don't show) and help to further narrow down the time. -- 00:18, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

From the position of the sun, Venus is at or close to greatest eastern elongation from the sun. Assuming that the constellations we are looking at are Sagittarius and surroundings (and the new stars coming into view continue to match this), the sun is located around Virgo. From the angle of the ecliptic, they are at 30 degrees north, and thus it would have to be around the beginning of November, as that's when Virgo sets with the sun at 30N. So it could be a year when Venus hits the greatest eastern elongation in late October/early November. Which happens this year, but it can't be this year as the moon isn't right -- there would be a crescent moon next to Venus. It would have to be at new moon or waning moon, and that puts it after 2037. Of course, there are a lot of assumptions and estimations in that calculation. Tavella (talk) 02:29, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Actually, for the moon it could be 2029, but there's another blocking factor: Mars should be next to Venus in 2037. And for the next few eight year cycles, some combination of Mercury, the moon, and Saturn should be showing up between Venus and the Sun before the stars do. So it looks like 2053 would be the first matching date. And the next date after that 2085 - it precesses forward a bit each year, so it would be Nov 12 by 2085. Seems a bit late for grapes and hiking without any thought of shelter, but if it's 30N it is likely a pretty warm area. Tavella (talk) 02:59, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Going backwards, the first one with no planets is 1981, but there would be a nearly full moon, and that scene does not look illuminated by a full moon. The most recent one with no planets and no moon interfering would be 1949. But that's purely my amateur estimation using the online AstroViewer. Tavella (talk) 02:59, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I wandered over to the forum, and they agree with our conclusion of Sagittarius, and one of them had a interesting observation: Antares is gone. It should be the brightest thing in this view apart from Venus, and you can see the two stars that should flank it appear here [[19]], between Cueball's head and the tree, but no Antares. Which suggests that this is set sufficiently far in the future that Antares has gone supernova (which it is due to do.) Tavella (talk) 06:27, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Even more suggestive of a far future: certain of the stars in the Scorpion appear to have moved. If you go to Hipparchos [[20]] and enter RA 260.4, Dec -42, and V(lim) 4.4, you will get the stars in the head and part of the body of the Scorpion. If you run it forward several thousand years, you'll see that the high-motion stars match with the distortions in the XKCD sky.Tavella (talk) 08:05, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

One last thing (for the moment): The angle of the sun and planets are what they should be for c. 30-33 degrees N, but to get the constellations angled the right way, it's closer to 12 degrees north. This may be precession, which could also explain the grapes in what would be currently by the stars the beginning of November -- the vernal equinox may have precessed forward, resulting in the sun being in Virgo/Libra in summer rather than fall. 15,000 years would put it in Libra in June, for example Tavella (talk) 16:27, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Where in the world are Megan and Cueball?

Venus marking the path of the ecliptic tells us that we are at about 30 degrees north (my quick-ass calculation came up closer to 31 or 32 degrees north.) They are walking east with the ocean to the south of them, and they are following a large river north into hills and mountains that apparently are less than a day's walk north.

So if it's Earth, where could they be? There's not a lot of south-facing coasts around 30N. The only large one is the Gulf Coast of the US, but there's not much in the way of hills much less anything you could call a mountain close to the shore. The only exception I can really see is maybe around Mobile, which at last has some hills. There's the north end of the Persian Gulf and of the Gulf of California, but for both of those the hills are east of of the most obvious large river. Though the Gulf of California would make sense in other ways -- rivers that only run to the sea in the wet season, for example. There's South Korea, but the southern coast of that is broken up into a fringe of islands and peninsula, there's not really a solid stretch of coast to walk east along. Tavella (talk) 00:14, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

If, as hypothesized above, this is taking place a few thousand years into the future, might not the coastlines have changed? (Especially since the "sea" seems to be rising.) I wonder if we could find the proper configuration of hills and a mountain even in absence of a body of water to the south. 15:06, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

All the stars are following the same parallel path through the sky. Shouldn't the stars should be following a circular path centered on the north star, and the planets if any be following roughly the path of the sun and moon? --deepfatfriar

Based on my analsys (sicking a post-it to my screen so that it partially obscures Venus) things do seem to be curving (Venus is less obscured, then more, then less as I step through frames). 03:54, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

So, how far away are we viewing them from? We know (about) how tall Cueball is and the stars give us an angular ruler so we should be able to figure that out. Also, when will sunrise be? 03:54, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Someone mentioned the Clock of the Long Now, and the 10,000 Year Clock would fit in a number of ways. The Texas original one is at the right latitude, and the Sierra Diablo mountains where it is are near a dried-up inland sea, which presumably could be a sea again, and an inland sea could rise much faster than the world's oceans. And it would fit with the title "Time", and explain the multi-thousand year future setting.

Has anyone been able to map exactly where the sun is on the stars? That would show where in the precession sequence we are. If it's in Libra, for example 15,000 years forward the sun would set in Libra around June at 31-32 degrees north at that point. Which would explain the grapes and the camping without shelter. Tavella (talk) 20:27, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

If the night does map the real world...

If the stars are real I'm sure it still does map to the current time frame of this comic. Venus and also Jupiter (even also Mercury, but hard to see) did follow the sun at dawn. Tomorrow I will have to fix my (Linux) xOrg for running Stellarium or Celestia. So for now I'm only on heavens-above, which is still not accurate enough for this cloudy comic sky at night.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:37, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I've made a compare of the changes in Scorpio over the next 15K years, and the sky in Time. [21]. It matches pretty well, though I think the fastest moving star hasn't moved quite as far. So my current prediction: they are in the Sierra Diablo mountains in Texas (or what was Texas), climbing towards the 10,000 Year Clock observatory, about 14,000 years from now. Tavella (talk) 22:57, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
So is Beret Girl a mysterious time traveler? Taibhse (talk) 23:45, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
What is the source for your picture, Photoshop? Please tell us more.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:32, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Stellarium to generate the comparison star maps (it takes into account Hipparchos data, so will move stars with high proper motion for far future dates), and GIMP to overlay them. Tavella (talk) 21:02, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Tavella. Stellarium was my own first attempt too, but my xOohhhhgrrrrg did crash. NVIDIA on Linux is still a mess.
Go North to Dakota or even Canada to find a location where a 30 degree sunset can happen.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:14, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Very nice pictures, Tavella! What's the meaning of the three red stars? Thanks in advance. 22:20, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
They are marking the three stars with the highest proper motion in the constellation (well, one of them, the top one, is a small companion star in the constellation zone rather than being formally in the constellation.) I just installed GIMP on this computer and was too lazy to go find the arrow plugin. Tavella (talk) 23:16, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm sure i remember seeing a shooting star in one of the frames but it doesn't seem to be in any of the recorded frames? 19:33, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it was a fast series of pictures so it didn't get caught. Here's an animation of the sequence: [22] Tavella (talk) 23:11, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Can you give us some hashes and timestamps? --Divad27182 (talk) 03:25, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
2440a through e here: [23] Tavella (talk) 04:58, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Tavella, your picture [24] seems to be gone for some reason, could you re-upload it? Thanks. 12:14, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Did we just see Megan and then Cueball have bowel movements?

Day 95 1:00 Megan squats alone on the right side of frame while Cueball sits in the middle of frame

Day 97 6:00 Cueball walks over and squats near where Megan herself squatted

Day 97 7:00 & 8:00 Cueball is seen washing his hands in subsequent two frames? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Meteor frames.

There were five meteor frames that appeared in very quick succession recently. How should they be numbered?

"appeared in very quick succession": I assume they actually appeared on the hour, just like all the others (except for first days), and as they are currently listed in our table? Mark Hurd (talk) 12:00, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
No, they appeared on the minute between 20:20 and 20:24 UTC on 29 June. That's how they're listed here. Crimethink (talk) 16:10, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I was looking at the hours +2441 through +2445! However, in my defence, I was fighting the database error when I first thought I noticed this. Mark Hurd (talk) 12:48, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

mscha's site numbers them 2440a to 2440e.

geekwagon only has the final meteor frame (2440e) which it numbers 2441, and after that all the numbers on geekwagon are out by one compared to mscha's site.

Another logical option is to number them from 2441 to 2445.

aubronwood has the frames numbered 2444 to 2448 (like the previous suggestion, but I think aubronwood had been out by three for a long time compared to other sites)

On the xkcd-time wiki I have tentatively used mscha's numbering, which may be a problem considering the wiki has built-in linking to geekwagon.

Patzer (talk) 07:01, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Numbering them 2440a to 2440e is ok. And geekwagon seems to be broken at some more more frames right now.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:52, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Uh, it would be great if we could number frames in actual chronological number order, not appending letters onto the ends of the filenames. It makes it easier for scripts to access images with a consistent naming scheme. Davidy²²[talk] 15:28, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
We have already been appending letters onto the ends of filenames, with frames 256P, 257P, and 258P. Patzer (talk) 15:52, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
And those are problematic with scripts already. More special cases to account for are not fun. I've only let those alone because fixing the problem would mean shifting more than a thousand filenames now, and I didn't notice it originally until it was 200 frames too late. Davidy²²[talk] 16:32, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I have two ideas on this problem:
a) Put that special frames into an extra table at the bottom of that specific days, or
b) Add an extra column to the tables containing a sequence number. This would be much of work.
I prefer a).--Dgbrt (talk) 16:48, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
The meteor does seem to be a part of the comic, so it probably should still be inline with the rest of the frames. We'll only need to shift 40-odd image names to fix this, it shouldn't be too onerous. I'll do it tomorrow morning. Davidy²²[talk] 17:09, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
This will be good for your scripts but not for mine. We will be also out of sync to other sites. But if you will do that tell me where day 101 should start. I have to change a counter at my script.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:17, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Day 101 starts at 2531 with the meteor frames shifted down. Davidy²²[talk] 01:01, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks for your chaos, day 101 starts NOW with 2526. Before your edit it would have been 2521. But 2531 is a little bit too much.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:16, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I can understand the desire for standardized numbering but I've been doing a lot of the image uploading recently using mscha's site as the source. I do it manually so it's already a pain, I don't think I can face having to do that extra little bit of arithmetic for each image to work out what the id should be on this site. Guess I'll be leaving it for the bots from now on. Crimethink (talk) 12:21, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Crimethink for your great work. This is still a mess, but we can't revert it. We are all trapped in someone's decision...--Dgbrt (talk) 13:02, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Yeah - I can see that. Just a shame that mscha decided to do it that way.Crimethink (talk) 13:22, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Yeah. The idea of naming that pictures as 2440a to 2440e was first. Other sites like geekwagon are also out of sync. Unless we do use the timestamp at the file name it will be more mess in the future, I am sure.--Dgbrt (talk) 13:42, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

I made this page to show the differences between numbering systems at mscha's site, geekwagon, aubronwood and explainxkcd. Patzer (talk) 15:17, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

WOW, you must have much TIME ;)--Dgbrt (talk) 15:27, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

How do we even know that it's a meteor? Maybe Mr. Munroe has finally decided to use his best idea ever? Then it was just a damaged space station falling through the atmosphere. Also the mountain they are climbing is actually a volcano and the sea is rising because of all the tyrannosaurs swimming in it. --DiEvAl (talk) 21:53, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

This comic is just showing the real world we all do know. Look at this Perseids meteor shower at the next days, the peak should be around August 10 or 15. Most of that particles you can see as a bright meteor are smaller than one millimeter. It's only the vast velocity what causes this great visual effect.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:19, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Animated gif for the night

Here is an animated gif with enhanced brightness. You can see the Milky Way in the beginning and by the end some birds appear in the sky.--Dgbrt (talk) 11:51, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

That's awesome. Good job!--Gerry (talk) 14:17, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Since we r watching the scene toward west, shouldn't the sky appear darker near the horizon, with respect to the sky above, at sunrise? (I'm asking here but of course I'm not referring to your animated gif but to the xkcd scene itself...) 11:46, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

When the sun rises on East the horizon at the opposite side is darker than the rest of the sky. When the sun is high enough you will not recognize this any more.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:01, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Yep Dgbrt, my point is that in the comic sequence we can see the full path from the dead of night to the morning through the dawn: why Randall depicted a shade of light coming from the horizon and not from the sky above? Is it a realistic scene? Mlejnas (talk) 07:38, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

These clouds moving with the sky could be the milkyway. FG 10:18, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Yep, FG, but that's at the sunset, I'm talking about the sunrise (on the other side of the sky). Mlejnas (talk) 09:47, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
FG, look at my first statement at this section here. But Mlejnas is talking about the sunrise after the Milky Way already had disappeared.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:20, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

New picture naming rule

Is there any BOT here understanding the new naming? I'm missing many picture uploads, I will not do this by manual because that's stupid. This is still a job for a bot.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:32, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Sry, I was on vacation for a week, and I haven't resumed my bot yet because of that meteor. IMHO, we should get in touch with the admins of geekwagon, aubronwood and mscha in order to re-sync the frame numbers. Does anyone know whether any of them is already active here? --SlashMe (talk) 16:50, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
mscha and aubronwood have accounts on the forum (, However, I don't think the owner of geekwagon has an account on the forum (see Patzer (talk) 06:21, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
I had an account xkcd forum but found their rules complex so I generally communicate here or through email. I like the idea of a standard frame count between all the sites. Currently geekwagon is limited to a number instead of an alphanumeric frame number like mscha uses. However this can be changed. My two cents is a frame number should be the number in which the frames were shown regardless of what time they were displayed (I like simple), but I am open to ideas. --Deplicator (talk) 03:37, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Geekwagon have now changed their numbering to the system used here. Patzer (talk) 05:17, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I fixed it to include the meteor frames. They were missed because the script runs every 5 minutes. Would have done it sooner but I was out of town.--Deplicator (talk) 17:14, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Great job and THANKS!--Dgbrt (talk) 19:16, 7 July 2013 (UTC)


What is it? Sort of looks like on oil derrick, but of course it is not. What is the mechanical bits up top? -- 08:26, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

The ladder that goes up to the middle level but not the top and the wheel on that level suggest to me that it is supposed to be turned by an operator, but I can't see what that would power or move -- there's no obvious lines that aren't support structure. Looks to me like we are panning toward something even taller, so maybe that will enlighten. Tavella (talk) 09:33, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
The device looks to me like a sextant -- a telescope mounted on a gauged pivot. Possibly there is a second pivot at 90 degrees to the one we can see. The device might be used to measure the sea rise, if the sea can be seen from here. 12:30, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Megan does seem to be looking through it, so sextant or telescope seems likely. Tavella (talk) 19:44, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Could it have anything to do with the 10,000 Year Clock mentioned above? 13:37, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Looks like a great platform to build another sand castle. Too bad there's probably no sand...--Gerry (talk) 13:19, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

My guess is that the tower may semaphore tower that is under instruction (or abandoned) and part semaphore tower in a Semaphore_line. In frame 2594 where Megan reports seeing flashes. Could those flashes be distant semaphore signals? Chongo (talk) 00:05, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

In frame 2686 we see more of these towers. Those may be part of a semaphore line that you suggest. 05:33, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

I think it's an telescope or something like this. Maybe they see the sea rising with this thing... Joggl (talk) 19:22, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

After seeing frame 2803 I'm pretty sure these are triangulation points which historically were used for geodetics, see e.g. [25] (3.6MB, sorry only German text). --Chtz (talk) 21:03, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

all okWTF FADE!

just - what's going on??! 22:15, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Fade from white to the castle and we get to see what beret girl has been up to (last we saw, she was dragging something in frame). 22:55, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
I think this is where the water level is now. If so, holy crap! Is there anything hidden in the white frame? --Irino. (talk) 00:01, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Meanwhile, back at the beach... 04:01, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Out of breath -- higher than we thought?

I haven't done the exact calculations, but my impression from those we did that they have only climbed 300-400 cueball-heights, which would be only a couple of thousand feet. Doesn't it usually take more than that before you start getting oxygen effects? Could they have started at a higher elevation than we thought? Anyone have a current calculation for elevation gain? Tavella (talk) 22:15, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

They started at sea level, unless the body of water was not the ocean.--Gerry (talk) 00:34, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Right, but the speed of sea level rise strongly suggests their "ocean" is an inland sea, so they could be in an endorheic basin that is much higher than sea level, like the Great Basin in the US (where the second 10,000 year clock will be), or Lake Van in Turkey. Tavella (talk) 06:16, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
The Great Salt Lake was proposed here before, it's at level 4,200 feet or approx. 1,283 meter. The mountains there are going up to a much higher level, you can get out of breath there. The level calculations may be wrong because Randall didn't show every part of the trip. There were more nights, but we could only see one.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:33, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

The people they did find

Any ideas what the hats or hair cut does belong to?--Dgbrt (talk) 20:08, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Looks like Watch Caps to me. 20:19, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

It's the wrong end of the river for them to be building a dam, but I'm wondering, with all the surveying equipment, if they are diverting more water into the basin that Cueball and Megan live in. But they seem like pleasant enough people, quick to help Megan. It's hard to be believe they would drown the area without checking to see if, y'know, people live there. Tavella (talk) 23:02, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

What if they're building a bridge? Are we too far from the Big River? 01:12, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Is this pair the Cueball and Meagan we've known from before? What impresses me is the level of ignorance this pair exhibits, compared to the couple we've come to know. This pair do not seem to understand oxygen starvation at higher altitudes, how tides work, etc. This almost flies in contradiction to the fact that, in the beginning, they were building sand castles. This presumes castles existed at some point in their own history if not currently. Castles indicate a certain level of knowledge and technology, which this current couple seem to lack knowledge of, to some large degree at least. If this strip 'ends' at the level of technology we've seen thus far and hinted at by this new tribe of people, I would suggest this indicates a world wide (or at least very large area) collapse of a prior civilization. Riprap (talk) 23:14, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Well, they certainly don't have access to wikipedia. As for the tides, I think we generally concluded that it is more likely a lake and they never saw it rise as fast as it did. --Chtz (talk) 08:49, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

So are they getting sleepy from the bad night's sleep or something more nefarious? 05:31, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Or are they brewing ent-draughts here? Watch to see whether Cueball and Megan start growing taller! Taibhse (talk) 01:14, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Now things are getting meta; Cueball drawing a stick figure of himself.... 06:04, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

At least it's an accurate depiction--Gerry (talk) 11:07, 11 July 2013 (UTC)


Is someone trying to decipher what they are saying? It might be more or less some kind of substitution cypher, but I'm not sure yet which letters are actually the same (e.g. 1st in [26] and 1st in [27] are quite likely the same. But the last but ones in these frames just look close in my view (also to 9th in [28])). Sentences seem to end with the an ° or ¯ above the last letter. Chtz (talk) 09:29, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

The ° or ¯ above the last letter appear to be a period or a question mark respectively.--Gerry (talk) 10:38, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
[29] is identical to the last two words of [30]. Apparently that is the stuff they applied on Megan's leg. Chtz (talk) 10:42, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
We can't decipher because it's just Randalls invention. At 2545:00 we have a clear 69 at the last word.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:50, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
My current theory is ¯ means "!" so [31] could be "Water!" - "Yes!!, Water!!". I'm not sure about the substitution cypher theory anymore, though. Unless some signs represent two Latin characters. --Chtz (talk) 12:05, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
[32] is another hint that Dialog2806d.png could mean "Yes." The rest of the dialog looks similar to [33]. Hopefully, they meet the translator soon. --Chtz (talk) 21:27, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

I believe it's possible to translate their language into pervect english by simple replacing their symbols by roman letters (the right way). For "water" we have an example. (talk) 17:12, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

What could the last word in [34] be then? It ends the same way as "water"/"drink", except for a ° instead of a ¯ over the last letter, but has an additional "3"-shaped letter at the beginning. I'm starting to believe that Randall put a bit more effort into designing this language. --Chtz (talk) 15:34, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

It is clearly not a letter-per-letter cipher; I think Randall has been considerably cleverer than that. It looks like a (fictional) Semitic language, in which case individual characters could indicate syllables rather than letters, but I doubt that it is a simple cipher for English at the syllable level either. At this stage it is impossible to say how far he has gone in creating an original syntax, but I would note that we have seen the word that means "water" (or "drink") in at least two forms (a simple form used by Cueball, and a form with a kind of 3 at the beginning used as the last word of the Beanie's response to Cueball's picture). I'm confident the ¯ is simply a period, ° a question mark, and the double ¯ is an exclamation mark. The other stray marks could be other punctuation marks as well. KenBrown (talk) 15:55, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Provisionally, I took the "water" string with the '3' in front to be something like "sea-water." Taibhse (talk) 18:25, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Another reason why it's not a "letter-per-letter cipher" is that I'm pretty sure we've seen at least 3 distinct single character words. Note that almost all characters are reminiscent of arabic numerals. Mark Hurd (talk) 18:59, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Next speculation: Dialog2827.png could mean "(the) castle" and Dialog2806c.png could mean something like "(move) to the castle" or "(to be) at the castle". Maybe we should start a subpage for all language investigations. --Chtz (talk) 00:42, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Seconded. Also we need a template for putting stranglish text on this wiki. --DiEvAl (talk) 21:59, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

I just noticed that translator often puts a ° or ¯ above last letter in some sentences, just like in stranglish (did we come up with a better name for it yet?). I think this confirms that ° and ¯ is stranglish punctuation. Also since stranglish has punctuation, it can't be substitution cipher applied to lojban. --DiEvAl (talk) 21:55, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

It also confirms that we were right about the meaning of the punctuation. ¯ is a period, and (as confirmed by the latest frame) ° is a question mark. KenBrown (talk) 10:06, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, in frame 2892 (permahash on XKCD), the girl with long hair seems to say "WHAT RIVER?", and instead of putting a "?", there is a "°" above the last "R". Jahvascriptmaniac (talk) 11:29, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

New Guy in City

How do we call the new guy that appears in [2819]? One Suggestion: Black Hat Stranger (He's clearly not Black Hat). --Chtz (talk) 14:19, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

And maybe calling them "stranger(s)" is actually not appropriate. How about "local(s)" or "native(s)"? --Chtz (talk) 16:51, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm guessing the cake-house of the Big Translator Guy is going to look like a sandcastle, thus the Oh, Wow from Megan. Tavella (talk) 18:31, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

A long haired woman (former: The old guy) in Castle

Man that is an atrocious accent. 13:37, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Why are we assuming its a 'guy' again? 21:45, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
I did edit the entire page (Old man -> is now the Long haired woman), but maybe I did miss some. The main cause of this fault was probably my guess that they did walk to an old man.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:22, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
The stick figure in the drawing really did look like a bearded guy, so I think it's a reasonable mistake Tavella (talk) 22:47, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
At the drawings on the ground they did not show stick figures. The current pictures are real stick figures. So the bear is falling around far over the neck? It's a woman.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:56, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Passage of Time

I suppose it is safe to assume that the black frame (Frame 2698) represents some indeterminate passage of time, since we do see Cueball now speaking the language of the Beanie-Wearers. What is strange, and perhaps it is just Randall being lazy, is that if you compare the frames before and after the black frame, there is absolutely no changes to vegetation, and very few changes to anything else. Vegetation would have been the biggest culprit to a lengthy time interval. (Again, assuming it took some non-trivial amount of time for Cueball to learn the new language.) -- 20:01, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

I assume only a few hours have passed. It seems rather that Cueball is only now learning his first word: "water." Presumably the response also means "Yes! water" so then he would know two words, but there is no reason to assume he knows any more than that yet. 20:06, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Yeah. I jumped the gun. He's only learned a single word. So just a single sleep has passed. -- 22:37, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Cueball did talk something like "watr" and the stranger did correct him "No, water".
If you are right, then it looks like a substitution cipher to me. --DiEvAl (talk) 21:15, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
BTW: I think we should call this language "Stranglish" until we do not know what it is.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:21, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Or was that Cueball: "water" and Stranger: "Yes, water?" Taibhse (talk) 01:14, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Megan's backpack

Megan started wearing a backpack after they left the tower. They lost Cueball's backpack when the animal clawed it up, so he carried everything in Megan's to keep weight off her leg. That ointment must be good stuff if she's able to walk with a backpack. The locals must have given her a new one.--Gerry (talk) 01:50, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Yep, I noticed that. Apparently they gave/loaned her one of their bags. Even so, I notice she was the only one shown (frame 2814 on geekwagon's site) clambering up a small steep spot, so maybe she's not fully functional yet. Taibhse (talk) 11:49, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Also, I wonder what they did with their "telescope" that they lowered from the tower; and the little folded-up mini-tower. And for that matter, whatever that was leaning against the right leg of the tower from the beginning. All three things seemed to disappear just before they left the scene. They don't seem to be packing them. Taibhse (talk) 11:49, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
I assume they have some kind of storage at that location to protect their equipment from weather and from animals. They also left some other bigger things, like the ladder and the water container, indicating that they appear to go there frequently. --Chtz (talk) 12:05, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Who are they?

If the Great and Powerful OZ steps out from behind a curtain, I'll upchuck. Castles imply a need for defense, yet our adventurous pair and the 'natives' both seem totally relaxed with the discovery of the other. No obvious caution shown, no attempt to discover which side they may be on, etc. In fact, the 'natives' appear to be experienced with the finding of new people and following an established procedure for dealing with them, hence the trip to the castle. If Meagan and Cueball had declined to follow, what would have taken place then? Just a guess but I would say, nothing, each to their separate way.

The one map view strongly suggests, to me, survey work using trigonometry (or some variation) to determine location. It would seem to be a case of figure the location first, get there, then see what you find. The greater and lesser circles are intriguing as well, along with the long, straight lines and other geometrical figures seen. Wish there was a bigger, clearer view of it.Riprap (talk) 00:11, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Not all large structures are castles. It could be a cathedral or temple or university. Only Megan called it a castle because of its resemblance to their sandcastle. The castle's inhabitants called it a squiggle-squiggle-squiggle.--Gerry (talk) 02:41, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
No they call it Dialog2827.png ;). The usage of merlons indicates that it shall have some defense purpose—OTOH, it could be purely decorative. The fact that they all seem very relaxed about meeting strangers and nobody (visibly) carries any kind of weapons or armor suggests the latter. --Chtz (talk) 07:31, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
So does the fact that there were obviously children playing under the watchful eye of the first person they encountered in the "city." No effort was made to protect children from possible inimical strangers, and no obvious defenses at the school/playground/whatever-it-is at the entry gate. The gate hat guy was very relaxed. (If the "telescope" towers are part of a communications system, they might already know in the city everything they think they need to know about trusting Cueball and Megan, of course.) Taibhse (talk) 09:35, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
The question arises, what was the mission of the single stranger with the package/book/box/whatever, who met them on the way, spoke a few words, and continued on toward the tower that the group had just left. Could have been a replacement watcher on the mountain. But then why did all three strangers need to leave the post and come to the city with Cueball and Megan? Taibhse (talk) 09:35, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
I think most of that conversation was "Hello" and "Good bye" or some variants of that. --Chtz (talk) 10:33, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Probably the "strangers" ought to be called the "castle people" since that is how Megan and Cueball seem to think of them. Taibhse (talk) 09:35, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

How about "mountain people"? I agree that "stranger(s)" does not seem appropriate anymore—after all, they are at least a local majority. --Chtz (talk) 10:33, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Maybe the castle is there to defend humans against other creatures. So other humans are always welcome, even if they don't wear silly hats. 12:58, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

That would still hardly explain the merlons—unless these creatures are somehow able to shot at higher ranges. Maybe they are currently at peace with all their neighbors, but expect a war in the future. (BTW: Greetings colleague! (According to your IP-address)) --Chtz (talk) 17:14, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone thought of looking at obscure languages with odd script texts? Georgian? Sri Lanka? Thai? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I was speculating about some language like Esperanto or Lojban, encrypted with a simple substitution cypher. But I have not investigated that further. --Chtz (talk) 17:14, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

They could be adding to an extant structure - historically not an uncommon practice. So the merlons could be historic. As a side note, are there levers and pivots in the glass window? Maybe this is the temple of engineering?? ~~rbnm

Or just using past motifs. Look at all the Grecian columns and medieval merlons and gargoyles and what-not that went into subsequent architecture. Nothing is more full of tradition (right along with innovation) than architecture. As for the "temple of engineering" it might just be that the whole city is the "Engineers." (Not Larry Niven's Engineers.) Whatever their role, they might be causing the sea level to rise through an engineering project, thinking that no one lives down by the sea. Taibhse (talk) 21:11, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Those might be "levers and pivots." They might also be telescope mounts and astronomical objects. It's a very interesting window. Taibhse (talk) 21:11, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

It's interesting that the castle is mostly underground. I wonder if the "little houses" also extend underground? And I wonder if this is a sign this is a very hot climate for the Beanies / Long-haired woman (I like the idea of naming her Hypatia, as was suggested elsewhere.) If it's hot for them up on the mountain where it is significantly cooler to Cuegan, maybe that explains why they didn't think there were people down in the sea basin. Tavella (talk) 22:55, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Underground, an interesting theory but, many such structures had several levels below ground level, so as to reach the bedrock wherein to support the massive stone structure above. Once dug, why waste it, especially if it provided a comfortable environment? Still, the temperature theory is interesting. If one takes the images with the partially obscured text and play with the brightness and contrast, you can make out many more words, which do not seem to be spoken aloud. Are these sub-conscious thoughts dealing with translation or something a tad more sinister? (I just saw the image change over at :40 after the hour. Just a hiccup on my browser or are these frames speeding up?)Riprap (talk) 23:56, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

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