This comic makes reference to the idea, as presented in the movie The Matrix, that reality is a computer simulation. In LCD screens, especially TFT LCD, a dead pixel is a pixel that does not work properly, usually set as black or as some other color. Megan realizes that the reality is a computer simulation when she sees dead pixels in the sky, indicating that what she sees is an LCD screen.
In last panel of the comic, there are two red and one green pixel that look exactly like actual dead pixels.
The title text refers to usual techniques for fixing a dead pixel. One way is to apply pressure and release it, which isn't possible for Megan due to the distance of the sky. Another way is to make the area of the screen that the dead pixel is on change colors really quickly, which could happen if the day-night cycle was fast enough.
- [Megan is standing to one side.]
- We've all seen The Matrix
- We've all joked about "What resolution is life"
- But it doesn't blunt the shock
- Of waking up one morning
- [Megan looks up from field and sees several colored pixels in the sky.]
- And seeing dead pixels in the sky.
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I always thought she was seeing airplanes, satellites, planets, or stars. --18.104.22.168 03:01, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
"Seeing dead pixels in the sky" seems like a rehash of an important quote in some work. Any ideas on what that work is? 22.214.171.124 06:16, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
- It's like that quote from CJ in the first season of West Wing: We can all be better teachers.
- It sounds so deep you think they must have borrowed it from somewhere. But no, it's original. Kudos to Randall. 126.96.36.199 21:37, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
- It's reminiscent of the opening sentence of Neuromancer: The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. 188.8.131.52 04:28, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
Btw, if anyone is curious, life's resolution is approximately 1.572×10^33 DPI 184.108.40.206 16:29, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
- And its framerate is, ignoring relativistic effects, roughly 1.8549×10^43 FPS. 220.127.116.11 17:19, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
IMO, the unspoken big picture is that during a prairie winter you can get "white out" conditions when an overcast sky matches the color of snow cover. This eliminates all shadows and you can walk face first into a snow drift without seeing it. The whole world looks like dead pixels. 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
"It is likely what she is seeing is a star or other stellar object." I'm not sure this bit fits the context of the image. It is supposed to be dead pixels, and stellar objects don't often pop out of no where (unless an infinite improbability drive is involved). Kirdneh (talk) 21:08, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
It may just be me, but I thought the dead pixels she is seeing form the words "And seeing dead pixels in the sky.", making the comic self-referential in a typical xkcd way. Does anyone agree with me? Richmond tudor (talk) 06:35, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Has nobody else noticed the several square pixels depicted in the sky? Zoom in, Gramps! 22.214.171.124 02:41, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
Am I the only one that doesn't actually think the pixels are there just to annoy the reader like it says in the explanation? It seems like they're there because the text says so. 126.96.36.199 17:46, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I didn't notice the red and green dots until this page "explained" it. Until then, I conjectured that the "dead pixels" were snowflakes that had fallen from the sky to the ground. The trees look like evergreens, which made me think of winter. 188.8.131.52 21:24, 8 July 2020 (UTC)