Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Original blog post on Building a Smarter Planet:


Two special A Smarter Planet comics were created by Randall after a special request from IBM's blog A Smarter Planet. They are not part of the regular numbered series of comics for xkcd's home site. But they are featured (both of them at the same page) on xkcd under asmarterplanet. Each comic links to their respective posts on the A Smarter Planet blog. The other Smarter Planet comic is Conservation.

This comic references to the stereotype of doctors' handwriting being illegible, which is a very bad thing when you need a very specific medication and your pharmacy clerk can't read the numbers. Cueball is eager for his doctor to start signing his prescription digitally, as it means less paperwork and faster response time, but his enthusiasm fades when the doctor somehow manages to type in illegible handwriting. This could theoretically be done with a bad handwriting font, though most computerized forms don't allow you to change their font, and even if they did, one would not use such a horrible font. [citation needed] The type of code that they used is known as a "public key fingerprint" (or an RSA fingerprint), used as a code to shorten the length of a longer code number. The prescription number is given as "THX1138", the first film directed by George Lucas.


[A caption above the first panel to the left:]
Good news: Doctors are finally learning to use modern security tools.
[Beneath the caption is a panel where a bald doctor with a forehead mirror is handing a piece of paper to Cueball who is reaching for it. The doctor speaks although there is no speech line from him to the text above the two.]
Doctor: No need for phone verification. I've digitally signed it.
[A caption above the first panel to the left:]
Bad news: They've somehow learned to type with terrible handwriting.
[Beneath the caption is a panel with a close up of the top left of the paper handed over by the doctor, which turns out to be a prescription for Cueball. The two first lines of text are clearly readable printed text, but the actual code message from the doctor is written in almost unreadable computer font, below given as best as can be interpreted.]
Prescription THX1138
RSA fingerprint:

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I separated A Smarter Planet into two pages. One for each comic in the series.--17jiangz1 (talk) 12:54, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Great --Kynde (talk) 14:03, 26 October 2016 (UTC)