1058: Old-Timers

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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You were on the internet before I was born? Well, so was I.
Title text: You were on the internet before I was born? Well, so was I.


Ok, definitions you need to understand this one.

A Bulletin Board System, or BBS, is an online service based on microcomputers running appropriate software. They were the precursors to modern day online forums.

The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) is a non-profit genomics research institute founded by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D. in October 2006. So, assuming the comic takes place when the comic was written, the girl on the right is at most 5 1/2 years old.

The title text is another common retort from "old timers" that they have been doing X since before the younger person was born. In this case, the girl was "on the Internet" before she was born, at least in the form of her parents' genetic sequences.


[A man with a neck beard types away at his computer screen.]
Neckbeard: (typing) Whatever, noob. I've been on the internet since the BBS days.
Screen: Wrong.
type type
[A girl with buns on her head kneels on her chair, typing at a laptop on a table.]
Buns: (typing) Before I was born, a lab took egg and sperm samples from my parents and sequenced the DNA.
type type
[Neckbeard sits at his desk, reading his screen.]
Buns: (from the screen) They emailed the genome to the Venter Institute, where they synthesized the genome and implanted it into sperm and eggs which became me.
[Buns still typing on the laptop.]
Buns: So, no. - You've looked at the internet. - I've been there.
type type

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Wouldn't the heat from the servers have thawed the egg and killed her early? Davidy22[talk] 13:44, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

  • What? That... What? The egg isn't actually sent through the internet, if that's what you mean. The information from the parents' genes was taken from their proteins, encoded in digital format on the computer at the lab, sent to another lab, then re-encoded into protein format to be implanted in an egg. In that context, the egg was an entirely separate part of the process. If you mean the egg would have been thawed by the people at the Venter institute holding the egg up next to the servers, unprotected, while they implanted the synthesized genome (or the people at the lab doing the same thing with the unfertilized egg while sequencing the DNA), that's... well, simply not how that works. As for "killed her early": I'm not sure of a good way to start asking what you mean by that. As opposed to killing her at the intended time? As opposed to killing the unfertilized egg before they could sequence the DNA? Or even killing the physical egg while it was somehow being transported via the internet? JET73L (talk) 11:07, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Sincerely, Summer Glau -- Wotpsycho (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

To me the title text seems to be referencing something completely different, as it seems to be coming from Neckbeard, to Buns, saying that he was on the internet before he was born as well, possibly in the form of pornography while his mother was pregnant. Just my idea. Tyman2651 (talk) 20:43, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

I was thinking along those lines, except maybe the conception was on the Internet. lol 21:26, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
The title text is clearly from Buns' perspective. Tharkon (talk) 20:39, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

I cringe when I see her sit like that. 16:44, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Another important part of the joke is that BBSes have nothing to do with the Internet. While there were some that morphed into ISPs, e.g. Prodigy and AOL, mostly they were self contained and reached peak popularity after the modern internet was created. --Rhmcoff (talk) 04:25, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

  Actually not true that BBS had nothing to do with the internet, as many were on networks that had connections to email servers to send and 
  receive email from any domain, like today. When I was assisting running a system I sent and received such emails regualrry though my own 
  email address was a long cluster of text since it was used to direct the email to right BBS on the network on this side of gateway. 13:21, 29 August 2017 (UTC)