2099: Missal of Silos

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Missal of Silos
Welcome to Wyoming, motto "We'd like to clarify that Cheyenne Mountain is in Colorado."
Title text: Welcome to Wyoming, motto "We'd like to clarify that Cheyenne Mountain is in Colorado."

Explanation[edit]

This comic plays on the similarity in name between missile silos, places where long range weapons are deployed, and the missal of Silos, an old document residing in Spain.

In Christianity, a missal is a priest's book of instructions, texts and music for the proper celebration of Mass. The Missal of Silos is an 11th-century missal from the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos in northern Spain; it is famous for being the oldest known paper document in Europe, written at a time when the usual writing material was parchment.

Missile silos are often thought to be the first targeting priority in event of a nuclear strike, in hopes of preventing retaliation. If one was searching for potential nuclear missile targets, the Missal of Silos would most likely be returned as a result of a fuzzy search for "missile silos", and could be made a target.

Fuzzy, or approximate, string matching is a technique used for searching text for sequences of characters similar to a given sequence. Normal string matching would only find results that matched the search exactly (searching for "missile" would find only occurrences of "missile"). Fuzzy string matching instead finds results that are "close enough" by some metric (searching for "missile" would find "missile" but also close variants like "missal" or "missel"). Fuzzy string matching is often used in search engines, as typos, misspellings, and inexact searches are common.

Cheyenne Mountain is a mountain in Colorado, which houses an underground military compound (aptly named the Cheyenne Mountain Complex) designed to withstand a nuclear strike and host to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Cheyenne, Wyoming, on the other hand, is the capital of Wyoming. The residents of Cheyenne, Wyoming would prefer their town not to be the target of a nuclear attack because of confusion with Cheyenne Mountain.[citation needed] However, Cheyenne, Wyoming is likely a listed target because of the nearby 90th Operations Group at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base operating Minuteman III ICBMs from missile silos.

There have been several comics with nuclear weapons as a part of the plot. See for instance 1655: Doomsday Clock, where several other comics are mentioned in the explanation.

Transcript[edit]

[A passage from the Wikipedia page for Missal of Silos is shown, with underlined heading and with links in the text in blue font. The last line is partly cut off by the comics panel, but can be read.]
Missal of Silos
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Missal of Silos is the oldest known paper document created in the Christian West; it is 11th century in date.[1]
The missal is held in the library of the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos near Burgos, Spain. It is one of a number of liturgical manuscripts...
[Caption below the panel:]
Spain would like to remind everyone not to use fuzzy string matching in their nuclear strike target lists.

Trivia[edit]

  • The transcript of the Wikipedia article shown on the comic is using parts of the version as after a revision made on 30th June 2014. On the day of the publishing of this comic the Wikipedia article changed drastically.
    • This is because a spurt of editing took place on Wikipedia on the day of the comic, since xkcd and Wikipedia editing have similar target demographics.
    • This "xkcd-Wikipedia effect" has happened before.
      • One example of this revolved around 878: Model Rail, in which the alt-text mentioned that the debate over the title of the HO/H0 system was disturbingly long, and "coincidentally", the talk page debate got a little longer on that very day.
      • And most famously, the comic 1485: Friendship, caused at least four Wikipedia pages to be vandalized, so these pages had to be semi protected.
      • Of course, the canonical example of an "xkcd-Wikipedia effect" is 739: Malamanteau. [1] [2]
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

We need a citation to prove that residents of Cheyenne, Wyoming would rather not be targeted with nuclear weapons? 172.68.58.59 19:06, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

As no residents have already requested otherwise, let's go ahead and nuke them now. SDSpivey (talk) 19:49, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
Seriously, though, a sufficiently patriotic American living in Cheyenne, WY may potentially prefer that the relatively unimportant city of his or her residence be nuked instead of the more militarily important[citation needed] Cheyenne Mountain Complex. 162.158.78.220 20:37, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
Is the citation needed for the military importance or for the crazy patriotic guy? Linker (talk) 20:40, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm wondering, why would anyone want to target a site that is expressly built to withstand a nuklear strike? That's like fighting a barbarian princess and try to hit her on the bikini armor instead of the midriff Ruffy314 (talk) 00:12, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Enough nuclear weapons will eventually crack it, or at least that's the idea. Also, military command bases are far more important targets than cities: All nuking cities does is kill millions of people and disrupt your enemy's economy and morale, while destroying command bunkers actually reduces your enemy's ability to fight you.
My understanding is that most military sites are only capable of withstanding near misses from nuclear weapons. This was adequate with early ICBMs because of accuracy problems, modern missiles however are supposed to be accurate enough to destroy hardened facilities. 162.158.255.22 01:51, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Nuking cities will also REALLY tick off the UN,[citation needed] which is a plus.

"This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but a spellcheck." (Followed by a lot of bangs). These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 07:55, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

I did not laugh at the comic today. However, I startled people around me laughing at the placement of this [citation needed] in the description. Kudo's to whomever placed it. DanB (talk) 21:32, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Wouldn't it make more sense to create a seperate page to collect all the "xkcd-Wikipedia effect" cases? I'm kinda surprised there isn't one already. Model Rail isn't even the only time that happened. One other example being https://xkcd.com/1485/. 162.158.58.177 11:23, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Trivia

Does the date of the underlying Wiki revision lend a clue as to the lead time Randall takes to create non-topical strips? These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 07:55, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Checking the revision history, the revision mentioned in trivia (currently) did not influence the displayed part when viewed on a mobile, since it did only remove a picture (which I think usually is below the text on mobile). Actually the last change to the text displayed happened on 30th June 2014. So all we know is that the comic was created during the past 5 years. --Lupo (talk) 08:33, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
Checking again, I notice, that the text given in the comic does not reflect any revision, since it misses the whole "The quarto missal has 157 original folios [...]" part. Therefore the trivia stated is just wrong. The article never looked like this. --Lupo (talk) 08:50, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
Similar comics

The format of this comic is highly similar to the recent comic 2042: Rolle's Theorem, with a title and From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia header, and the first few paragraphs in the article. The fact that the reference of this comic to fuzzy string matching matches 1031: s/keyboard/leopard/'s reference to regex (comic 1031 also has a Wikipedia page format) Can we have kind of a 'Meme format' explanation and Randall's fascination with this format? 172.69.186.22 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)


There have been several comics referencing nuclear weapons in one way of another. Have added link to 1655: Doomsday Clock in the description because there is already a collection of comics about this there. But do we need a category, so that kind of explanation could go there? --Kynde (talk) 14:15, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Why has it been cremated by a bob?

Damn it! I see comments raving about the Citation Needed, and there's none! Did some idiot remove it AGAIN? I'm getting sick and tired of the people who have grown tired of the gag. Just because YOU'VE become jaded and don't find it funny anymore doesn't mean there aren't still people who enjoy them! Case in point, just read the comments here. Be considerate of others and embrace the fact that we're all different. If you don't like the gag, move on to the next comic. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:54, 26 January 2019 (UTC)