190: IPoD

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For smaller numbers he has to SAVE lives. The birthrate channel is even more of a mixed bag.
Title text: For smaller numbers he has to SAVE lives. The birthrate channel is even more of a mixed bag.


IP is one of the main protocols of the Internet. It is used to route data packets from one computer to another, using other computers or even complete networks in between if needed. It is designed to use the fastest (not necessarily the shortest) route to the target, automatically using another route if a connection or a transmitting host fails.

Every participant of the network has to have a so-called IP address. The data is divided into packets, each consisting of a header and the payload. The header tells the transmitting parties where the packet comes from and where it should go (together with some other details). The payload is the data to be transmitted.

IP packets can be carried by a variety of transport networks. Such methods are often referred to as "IP over X" (or "IPoX" for short). Examples include [|IP over DVB], [|IP over ATM], and the humorous [|IP over Avian Carriers].

Black Hat (and other statisticians) is using demographics as IP packets to send data. In order to adjust the death rate to encode the header, Black Hat plans to travel to New Jersey and go on a killing spree with a crossbow, instead of merely hacking the census bureau's computers. Such antics could only be used to increase the death rate; decreasing it would require saving lives instead, as mentioned in the title text. Also as mentioned, birth rates would be trickier to manipulate, as doing so would require encouraging or discouraging women to have children and would require an approximately nine-month delay, which is a great deal more difficult than taking a crossbow to a heavily populated area.

Crossbows were also mentioned in 564: Crossbows. Black Hat is also seen using his crossbow in 929: Speculation

The title of the comic and the IPoD protocol are a probable reference to the iPod, a portable electronic device created by Apple Inc.


[Black Hat sits at a computer. Cueball stands behind him.]
Black Hat: You see, statisticians communicate using IPoD -- IP over Demographics. For example, the header of the next packet I send will be encoded into the New Jersey death rate.
Cueball: So you're going to hack the census bureau and change the number of reported deaths?
Black Hat: Guess again.
Black Hat: Hey, have you seen my crossbow?

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The joke "IPoD -- IP over Demographics" is referring to the media player from Apple.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:49, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps, but I doubt it. 02:35, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Of course it is, but as just a secondary joke. It doesn't relate to the main point of the comic. But it should be mentioned anyway. 19:07, 6 January 2014 (UTC)