1257: Monster

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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It was finally destroyed with a nuclear weapon carrying the destructive energy of the Hiroshima bomb.
Title text: It was finally destroyed with a nuclear weapon carrying the destructive energy of the Hiroshima bomb.


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This comic is a parody on the opening scene of the science fiction monster movie Pacific Rim (2013). In the film, huge monsters called Kaiju entered the world through an inter-dimensional portal under the Pacific ocean and attacked coastal cities. The first city to be attacked by a Kaiju was San Francisco, which killed tens of thousands of people before its death after six days. In the comic, officials and police are evidently trying to describe the extraordinary qualities of a huge monster by comparing it with everyday objects instead of numbers, which is a recurring theme on xkcd (1047: Approximations, 526: Converting to Metric) and a blog article where Randall says "I don’t like large numbers without context."

This comic pokes fun at how common it is in the media to compare things of extraordinary qualities to a certain narrow set of well-known objects. The comic features people discussing a fictional monster which - apparently - can be only described by these overused comparisons. The caption and the title text take this joke further by comparing the nuclear bomb to Hiroshima, an oft-used reference for explosive devices.


[4 figures are standing around a table-top crisis planning model. Cueball and Ponytail are wearing police-style hats; Megan holds a clipboard.]
Megan: It's as long as a football field. Runs as fast as a cheetah.
Cueball: Weighs as much as a blue whale.
Blonde: Can we negotiate with it?
Ponytail: No. It has the intelligence of a two-year-old child.
By the time the Frequently-Made Comparisons Monster was finally defeated, it had eaten enough people to fill a stadium and devastated an area the size of Rhode Island.

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My first contribution, woo! I'm writing the transcript now. If there's an official one, please throw mine out and let me know :) Matega (talk) 06:13, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I think it's done. Is it okay to refer to person 2 as Cueball and person 4 as Ponytail? As far as I know, Cueball is identified by not wearing anything... Matega (talk) 06:28, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Official transcripts tend to be days behind us. And yeah, we usually follow that naming convention for characters. Davidy²²[talk] 06:49, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

This comic should be based on Pacific Rim(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/) and the dictionary of numbers(http://blog.xkcd.com/2013/05/15/dictionary-of-numbers/) Tianshuo (talk) 08:07, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I've not seen Pacific Rim so I may be missing something obvious, but why? I don't see any obvious references to either. It's certainly in someways a continuation of the dictionary of numbers, but it looks at it from the other direction as a too often used cliche. 10:51, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't know why the original edit was deleted. This is definitely the opening scene of the movie Pacific Rim. Tianshuo (talk) 01:04, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

I like to relate this to 1047: Approximations and 526: Converting to Metric Theo (talk) 12:43, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Your links appear to be broken 12:48, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I added the basic tautology reference, but really wanted to add more, bracketted, maybe like: "(Usually overwhelmingly large amounts of conventional explosives, meteorite explosions or other non-nuclear energy-producers are likened directly as single-Hiroshima equivalent, although nuclear (or non-nuclear) blasts that are multiple-Hiroshimas in size maybe so scaled.)" But that looks too wordy. Feel free to adapt/adopt/correct. 14:07, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps is could be noted that the Hiroshima bomb was one of the smallest nuclear bombs ever used. Probably enough to kill most monsters less than several football fields in length, but only about seven times the strength of the Halifax explosion. 14:30, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
How is it a tautology? Do all nuclear weapons "carry the destructive energy of the Hiroshima bomb"? 19:33, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Ok, it works better with the additional "huge non-nuclear energies are explained in terms of Hiroshima" bit appended, you tend to only explain nuclear blasts in terms of their multiple of this standard or (ironically, as with Hiroshima's 12-20 estimate) in megatonnes of TNT or boring old (kilo/whatever)Joule-units. I just read it as "the baseball was thrown at the speed of a little-league baseball", or similar. 13:37, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
It's not a tautology, since the reference to Hiroshima is, in fact, providing a reference point for its energy (especially since the Hiroshima bomb has a specific energy attributed), and not all nuclear bombs have that same destructive energy. --Canned Soul (talk) 05:40, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

How big was the nuclear explosion? "Oh, about as big as a small nuclear explosion." You don't think that's a weird and unhelpful way to explain something? 09:08, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I do not think this is a reference to Pacific Rim, at least not any more than it is a reference to Godzilla, Mothra, King Kong, etc. Unless Pacific Rim was released the same week or something, it seems like a very arbitrary movie to select from the broader "monsters destroying things" genre. Bbruzzo (talk) 18:48, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

I like how the title text basically said, "We dropped a nuke on the thing that had the power of a nuke." 16:54, 29 August 2018 (UTC)