1079: United Shapes
[Click comic to enlarge]
Title text: That eggplant is in something of a flaccid state.
The large version is here: http://xkcd.com/1079/large/
In this comic, each state of the United States of America has been filled-in with an object of similar shape. Due to the size range of the states, some states are too small to clearly make-out in the normal size image. Click here to see the large version, which makes every state perfectly clear. Several years later Randall made a new map of the US mainland 1653: United States Map, where he shuffled the positions of the states but filled out the outline. Also in this map Michigan has been split into two separate parts. (Here it is the mitten and the eagle).
Very few, if any, of the shapes used are stereotypes of the state; they are merely objects that look like the state. Some of the objects are those which the states are widely known to resemble. For example, Michigan is represented by a mitten and an Eagle, and a pot with handle takes the place of Oklahoma (with the panhandle region of the state filled with a literal handle). Others, however, are more creative. Few would have likely pictured Texas as a dog or Alaska as a bear with a jet pack and laser gun. There are several incredibly simple objects filling some states. Kentucky is filled by a cloud, which conceivably could have been used for any state, and Wyoming, one of the nearly rectangular states, is simply an envelope. There are three pairs of states that are related. Georgia and Missouri each contain an image of the other, drawing attention to their similar shapes, North and South Dakota are the top and bottom halves of an amp, and Alabama and Mississippi are moai facing in opposite directions.
Colorado contains what looks like a Wikipedia article. A close-up of the fake article is provided . The following references are made in the Colorado article:
- The pronunciation is not that for Colorado, but for Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano in Iceland that erupted in April 2010.
- The way it has a demilitarized zone towards Wyoming resembles North Korea and South Korea.
- Eleven dimensions refers to string theory.
- A wormhole is a theoretical relative of the black hole. This is a reference to the television series Stargate SG-1 where a device capable of creating wormholes is located in the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker in Colorado.
- A Horcrux is a type of magical object in the world of Harry Potter, which prevents the creator of it from dying.
- The radiation zones around Longmont are caused by radioactive contamination from the Rocky Flats Plant.
- The fake motto Si parare possis, vivere septem can be roughly translated as "With preparation, survival is possible for over a week."
New Mexico according to official transcript is "A liquid container labeled for something of unusual and silly danger". The labeling is upside down and it refers to the nuclear testing facility White Sands Missile Range located in New Mexico for the nuclear bomb. The joke is that it presents the white sand itself as extremely hazardous. The phrase "contains chemicals known only to the state of Nevada" may be a reference to the nuclear weapons testing that occurred in Nevada (although in that case, it's not really the state of Nevada that knows those chemicals, but rather the Nevada Test Site, home of Area 51 et al.), and is also a reference to California's Proposition 65 warning label, "WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."
- This end up
- Property of White Sands Missile Range
- ??? [Followed by a NFPA 704 Diamond with all divisions at severe risk, and a radiation symbol in the special notice division]
- Contains White Sand
- This product contains chemicals known
- only to the state of Nevada.
- Contents under pressure from parents
- If swallowed, induce labor
- 56 fluid ounces
- and 14 other ounces
The title text makes fun of Florida which is sometimes called "The penis of America". Obviously, this penis is somewhat flaccid (not erect). The use of the word "state" is a pun, as it means some particular condition (flaccid state) as well as a political entity (The State of Florida).
|Alabama||A moai head facing east.||Moai are Easter Island stone statues|
|Alaska||A bear with a jet pack and a ray gun.||The ray gun and jet pack are fixtures of science fiction during the Cold War era, and the Russian Bear is an often-used personification of the country Russia in political cartoonage; the "teddy bear" image may be related to Alaska's former Russian heritage. The USA acquired Alaska from Russia in the Alaska Purchase of 1867 and it became a state in 1959, during the Cold War. The Cold War often featured worries of a potential Russian invasion of Alaska due to their geographical proximity across the Bering Sea and Bering Strait, which persisted through the 1980s; Alaska was the location of a large number of interceptor missiles as part of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars Defense Initiative" intended to shoot down missiles that might be launched from the USSR. The ray gun is pointed across the Bering Strait at Russia, consistent with Alaska's often being described as the "first line of defense" against Russian aggression. The teddy bear is similar in appearance to Winnie the Pooh.|
|Arizona||A refrigerated shelf containing milk, bread, and pastries.|
|Arkansas||A measuring cup.|
|California||A vacuum.||An old-fashioned upright vacuum cleaner (lying down to the right), green with a yellow bag.|
|Colorado||The Wikipedia article on Colorado.||A fake Wikipedia article on Colorado. Below the text as seen in the provided close up:
|Connecticut||A train conductor's hat.|
|Florida||An eggplant.||The title text mentions the eggplant being in a flaccid state, which might be a reference to the sexual use of the eggplant emoji.|
|Georgia||Missouri.||The outline of the state of Missouri, with the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.|
|Hawaii||The island of Hawaii is a snowball. The smaller islands are small bits of snow.|
|Idaho||A garden gnome, sitting down.|
|Illinois||A gangster with a guitar case, upside down.|
|Indiana||The brush of a paintbrush.|
|Iowa||A tomato, lettuce, cold cut and cheese sandwich.|
|Kansas||A spinet piano.|
|Louisiana||A boot with some gum stuck to the bottom of it.|
|Maine||A Vulcan salute.||Maine's camp sunshine has had Star Trek related events in the past, including the opportunity to appear in a film.|
|Maryland||A wolf howling to the moon, upside down.|
|Massachusetts||An elephant, being ridden by a man, carrying tea.||Might be a reference to the Boston Tea Party, which occurred in Massachusetts, and the Republican political party. The man seems to be wearing a tricorn hat.|
|Michigan||A mitten for the lower portion, an eagle for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.|
|Minnesota||$160 in $20 USD bills, tied together.|
|Mississippi||A moai head facing west.|
|Missouri||Georgia.||The outline of the state of Georgia, with a pair of Georgia peaches.|
|Montana||One half of a muffin, sideways.|
|Nebraska||A blue VW type 2 with mattresses sticking out the back.|
|Nevada||A clothes iron.|
|New Hampshire||A tall brick factory building.||Could be in reference to the many brick mill buildings in Manchester, one of the larger cities in the state.|
|New Jersey||A bent-over old person. He is carrying a cane.|
|New Mexico||A liquid container labeled for something of unusual and silly danger.||A yellow liquid container with upside-down labeling.
|New York||A hybrid transmission with standard manual-style gears and a torque converter sliced in half.|
|North Carolina||A bouquet of flowers. They appear similar to marsh bedstraws.|
|North Dakota||A 4x12 guitar cab.|
|Ohio||Underwear (Briefs).||Possibly a reference to Captain Underpants, which takes place in Ohio.|
|Oklahoma||A covered pot, dripping with boil-over.||Western Oklahoma is often called "the panhandle"; sure enough, this is where the boiling pot's handle fits.|
|Pennsylvania||A very thick book with a bookmark.|
|Rhode Island||The bow half of a boat's hull.|
|South Carolina||A slice of pizza.|
|South Dakota||The bottom half of an amp.|
|Tennessee||A number of children's books, placed in a slightly askew pile.||Possibly a reference to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The books are Where's Waldo?, The Wreck of the Zephyr, The Way Things Work, Free Fall, Paddle-to-the-Sea, What It Feels Like to Be a Building, and The Crab with the Golden Claws.|
|Texas||A dog sitting in a bowl.|
|Vermont||A microscope, upside down.|
|Washington||A whale.||The Puget Sound is well known for whale watching|
|Washington DC||A star.||On most maps, capitals are shown as stars. Washington DC is the capital of the United States.|
|West Virginia||A frog.|
|Wyoming||An envelope.||The back side of a white envelope, sealed with red wax, with a black heart next to a signature (lower left corner).|
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- The United Shapes
- A map of things states are shaped like
- [Each state has some item wedged to stay inside its borders]
|ND and SD||top and bottom halves of an amp|
|MI||mitten for the lower portion, eagle for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan|
|NY||hybrid transmission with standard manual-style gears and a torque converter sliced in half|
|VT||microscope, upside down|
|NH||tall brick factory building|
|MA||elephant, being ridden by a man, carrying tea|
|CT||train conductor's hat|
|RI||bow half of a boat's hull|
|ID||garden gnome, sitting down|
|WY||envelope.||The envelope is marked with a signature, possibly Randall's|
|NE||blue VW type 2 with mattresses sticking out the back|
|IA||tomato, lettuce, cold cut and cheese sandwich|
|IL||gangster with a guitar case, upside down|
|IN||brush of a paintbrush|
|PA||very thick book with a bookmark|
|NJ||bent-over old person|
|CO||Wikipedia article on Colorado||See Link Above|
|MD||wolf howling to the moon, upside down|
|AZ||refrigerated shelf containing milk, bread, and pastries|
|NM||liquid container with warning label||This end up!!
Property of White Sands Missile Range
Contains White Sand
Warning: This product contains chemicals known Only to the state of Nevada.
Contents under pressure from parents.
If swallowed, induce labor.
56 Fluid Ounces and 14 other ounces.
|OK||covered pot, dripping with boil-over|
|TN||children's books, placed in a slightly askew pile||Handford / WHERE'S WALDO / or wally
The Wreck of the Zephyr / Chris Van Allsburg
The Way Things Work / DAVID MACAULRY
Weisner / FREE FALL
PADDLE-TO-THE-SEA / HCH(?)
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A BUILDING / Wilson
TINTIN / The Crab with the Golden Claws / Hergé
|AK||teddy bear with a jet pack and a ray gun|
|TX||dog sitting in a bowl|
|LA||boot with some gum stuck to the bottom|
|MS||moai head facing west|
|AL||moai head facing east|
- A print version of this comic is available in the xkcd store.
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