Talk:1669: Planespotting

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Hybrid could also refer to hybrid airship dynastats which are a combination between a blimp and a lifting body airplane. HAV in England and Lockheed Martin have both flown prototypes in the last few years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Air_Vehicles_HAV-3 108.162.241.128 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

How would one even pronounce "Mk. IVII"? IV is 4, VII is 7. I could see an argument for treating it as a really bizarre way to say 6. Or, if we treat it as two distinct digits (as opposed to a two-digit number), it could be either "1-7" or "4-2".

"Usage in ancient Rome varied greatly and remained inconsistent in medieval and modern times." But AFAIK each numeral only stood for a fixed amount, never for a "digit" (in the sense that its value could specify ones or tens depending on its position). So six ((5 - 1) + 1 + 1) is a plausible interpretation, though definitely not standard; but 17 or 42 would be treating Roman numerals as if they were Arabic. Huttarl (talk) 16:03, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
You're correct; in Roman numerals, there is not a concept of "this is an I, in the hundreds place, so it's really a 100". If you mean 100, that's always C. Hence the phrasing "two distinct digits (as opposed to a two-digit number). 108.162.221.11 14:16, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

I think that's actually MI, or 1001. 162.158.214.222 16:12, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

That was my first thought on reading it, too. Doesn't an underline and overline on a Roman numeral increase it by a factor of 10,000, or am I mis-recalling grade school? ---> 19:38 UTC, 18 April 2016
I read it as having too much space between strokes for it to be "MI" rather than "IVII", but poor penmanship is as likely as deliberate nonsense. In proper Roman Empire-era Roman numerals, the overline denotes "multiply by 1,000", but in English an overline/underline combo just means we're being fancy. 108.162.221.11 14:16, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

I assume there are other parts of this that are similarly nonsensical to people who know what Cueball thinks he's talking about. 108.162.221.32 14:43, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

When I first read the comic before the explanation I was assuming Cueball was roughly, and poorly, describing a Bombardier DHC-8. It is also known as a Q400 and is a twin-engine turboprop. The silhouette looks vaguely like it.R0hrshach (talk) 15:56, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
Wholeheartedly agreed on it being a DHC-8 version, which could be a Q400. The engine nacelles appear to extend behind the wing (unlike an ATR42/72 or Do328), and the T-tail eliminates a lot of other regional prop possibilities. It also ties in with Cueball calling it a "Q404". 108.162.237.170 17:07, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
As someone who's worked around "Dash 8's", I echo the Bombardier Q400 identification. The 400-series has the longest fuselage of the DHC-8 family and the aircraft illustrated looks longer than a DHC-8-300. It's definitely too long to be a DHC-8-100 or -200.173.245.54.35 18:59, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

De Havilland Canada (which developed the Dash-8) did belong to Boeing between 1988 and 1992, during which time the aircraft was commonly referred to as the "Boeing Dash-8". The Q400 variant was developed after DHC was sold to Bombadier, however. So it is possible that a DHC-8 could, in fact, have been made by Boeing, just not the Q400 variant.

There are so many things wrong about this comic. .42 (talk) 14:53, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Maybe I'm totally off base, but this reminds me of something called "Vaynespotting". In League of Legends, there's a character named Shauna Vayne. She has an extremely high skill-ceiling and skill-floor. Vaynespotting is a minigame where other players receive imaginary points for calling out a bad Vayne player when that player makes aggressive maneuvers, but doesn't have the skill to pull it off. Thefance (talk) 15:38, 18 April 2016 (UTC)


Is that black hat or white hat? 108.162.221.65 15:10, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Probably White Hat, but it is impossible to say. Have corrected explanation Kynde (talk) 16:11, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I think that it is White Hat. Just in terms of personality, most encounters with BH end up with some sort of sadistic remark, whereas WH is sometimes used just as a foil character.RedHatGuy68 (talk) 02:17, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Fixed the title text explanation regarding the hydroelectric plant. The water going over the dam still falls down (reservoir -> dam -> out of the plane?), but lifting the water in the plane would take more energy than the plant would produce.108.162.237.170 17:02, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

To me this comic looks like a clear reference to the "user agent" property of a browser notorious for being long, nonsensical and bearing little relationship to the version and the type of browser the client actually uses. E.g. In my Chromium this value is: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ubuntu Chromium/49.0.2623.108 Chrome/49.0.2623.108 Safari/537.36. 141.101.80.72 17:46, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

The user agent string is not SUPPOSED to say what browser you HAVE, but what your browser is capable of doing. For start, Mozilla/ means that it's graphics browser, just like Netscape 4. Gecko means that authors of engine did read the HTML specifications (as authors of Gecko did), as opposed to authors of older versions of Internet Explorer (older than 7). It's because user agent string is only thing server knows about browser and therefore uses it to choose what version of page (and bug workarounds) it's supposed to use. And because some servers never update their definitions, every new browser needs to ADD his own strings to strings of some already existing browser instead of replacing them. -- Hkmaly (talk) 14:16, 19 April 2016 (UTC)


Dual Wielding could easily refer to the fact the plane has two engines or possibly four if it is dual wielding engine sets. I feel the current explanation of that line item is a little lacking. (173.245.56.60 17:52, 18 April 2016 (UTC))

Then please update the explanation :-) Kynde (talk) 17:58, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
I read "hybrid dual-wield" as being at least partly a combined reference to RPG and MMO games. Hybrid classes are those that are half-way between melee combat and non-melee combat classes, and are often characterized by agility, accompanied by "dual wielding" one-handed weapons (as opposed to using a single larger weapon based on strength). 173.245.54.72 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I originally read that as "Dual Weld", as in 'using a dual welder', which made no sense since it would be absolutely irrelevant (a dual welder can mean either a welding machine that operates on 120/240V or one that operates in both gas/gasless mode.) Ralfoide (talk) 16:40, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

I understood the Mig-380 part as a mix, an Airbus-380 but made by Mig. I'm not sure if I explained myself properly...NeoRaist (talk) 18:15, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Some reference on "planetspotting" by Kepler? 188.114.102.176 18:43, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

"What's that planet?" "That's Sid Meier's Taupe Netherlands PILF #14!" .42 (talk) 20:27, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
It's NEW Netherlands! ;) Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:50, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Well done guys! I have finals, so I didn't check xkcd until now. Loand Behold! An in depth explanation for every part of this joke, which I originally understood none of. With dry humour on the side To Boot! Gold Stars All Around!NotLock (talk) 04:55, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

"Most flights are on auto-pilot for hours at a time, and the pilots serve primarily for takeoff, landing, and emergencies." As someone who works in aviation, this is a common misconception, particularly the part about the pilot being just there for emergencies. Yes, autopilot is overwhelmingly used, but even routine flights have dozens of decisions that need to be made and minor issues to face. A pilot can be very busy even with advanced horizontal and vertical navigation engaged talking to ATC, responding to ATC commands, adjusting the route through navigation, handling weather, etc. In reality the autopilot, similar to an adaptive cruise control on a car, does not make the pilot useless or oblivious, but instead it simplifies things that should be easy, like following a chosen route at a constant speed. Since this sentence doesn't blend well with the rest of the paragraph, I suggest it just be deleted. 108.162.214.155 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)