Difference between revisions of "1288: Substitutions"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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(Explanation: Repositioned, and spelling fix.)
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'Spaaace' is likely a reference to the Space Core from {{w|Portal 2}}.
'Spaaace' is likely a reference to the Space Core from {{w|Portal 2}}.
The {{w|Virtual Boy}} is a table-top video game console made by Nintendo released in 1995, and discontinued about the same year. It is the first video game console to have truly 3D graphics.
The {{w|Virtual Boy}} is a table-top video game console made by Nintendo released in 1995, and discontinued about the same year. It achieved true-3D graphics through the use of a large visor containing a pair of LED screens.
The Pokédex is a device in the {{w|Pokémon|Pokémon world}} that records the data of captured Pokémon.
The Pokédex is a device in the {{w|Pokémon|Pokémon world}} that records the data of captured Pokémon.

Revision as of 05:32, 9 November 2013



Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect:
Please include the reason why this explanation is incomplete, like this: {{incomplete|reason}}

If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Randall Munroe is playing off of the fact that many readers of modern news articles quickly become bored with the legal and political jargon. He suggests that by substituting certain words for others can make reading the article more interesting, albeit less accurate. Although since Randall doesn't think very highly of the news, he's probably suggesting this chart wouldn't make them less accurate at all.

For example, a sentence that reads

Witnesses reported that the suspect allegedly escaped unharmed.

would be changed to

These dudes I know reported that the suspect kinda probably escaped unharmed.

This substitution does not change the meaning much, and the original sentence does not lose much of its accuracy. However, for substitutions later in the comic, a sentence may be changed as following

A new study finds that senators and other congressional leaders are increasingly likely to view election results on their smartphone.


A Tumblr post finds that elf-lords and other river spirits are increasingly likely to view eating contest results on their Pokédex.

Which is less meaningful, but more interesting.

A Chrome extension is available for applying the substitutions on webpages.

'Spaaace' is likely a reference to the Space Core from Portal 2.

The Virtual Boy is a table-top video game console made by Nintendo released in 1995, and discontinued about the same year. It achieved true-3D graphics through the use of a large visor containing a pair of LED screens.

The Pokédex is a device in the Pokémon world that records the data of captured Pokémon.

Homestar Runner is the title character of a Flash-animated web cartoon series.

Elon Musk, in the title text, is the CEO of Tesla Motors, which produces electric cars.


Substitutions that make reading the news more fun:
Witnesses → These dudes I know
Allegedly → Kinda probably
New study → Tumblr post
Rebuild → Avenge
Space → Spaaace
Google Glass → Virtual Boy
Smartphone → Pokedex
Electric → Atomic
Senator → Elf-lord
Car → Cat
Election → Eating contest
Congressional leaders → River spirits
Homeland security → Homestar Runner
Could not be reached for comment → Is guilty and everyone knows it

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


We need a web plugin that does this automatically, stat! 11:36, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Lol, I was just thinking the same thing! I was only meaning to post that in the discussion but saw that nobody had done the explanation yet. There goes a good chunk of my day :/ Zyxuvius (talk) 11:55, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Came here just to say this. Please post links to the unofficial xkcd news substitution tool as soon as it becomes available :P -- 13:41, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
It already exists for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/foxreplace/ This addon allows you to create substitution lists that will automatically be applied to web pages. -- 13:39, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
And here's an URL for the abovementioned FoxReplace addon. Just import it, and it will do the substitutions listed in this XKCD comic: https://www.dropbox.com/s/36eq2xgnmv8obpe/XKCD.json (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I threw this together this morning for Chrome: https://github.com/ChrisMagellan/Make-News-Funny/ Note that you need to enable developer mode in your Extensions settings. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Oh God! Thank you! I'm trying not to laugh too loudly at work. This is hilarious "While last ’s grind of an eating contest lacked the drama of the 2008 race ..." -- 15:01, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
How do I install it? Whitecat (talk)
As a userscript that should work with Scriptish, Greasemonkey or anything else that supports userscripts: https://gist.github.com/mcef/7376276 (click to install: https://gist.github.com/mcef/7376276/raw/e0b7a3ca2a65b8809a48241a92f265ae479c9e99/1288.user.js)
Add other news sites on the top or just tell me and I'll add them. mcef (talk) 19:57, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
For those who don't want to install anything in their browsers, here is a bookmarklet. To use it, create a new bookmark and insert the following code as location
javascript:(function(){var%20map={:"These%20dudes%20I%20know","":"Kinda%20probably","new%20study":"Tumbl%20post",:"Avenge",:"Spaaace","google%20glass":"Virtual%20Boy",:"Pokedex",:"Atomic",:"Elf-lord",:"Cat",:"Eating%20contest","congressional%20leaders":"River%20spirits","homeland%20security":"Homestart%20Runner","could%20not%20be%20reached%20for%20comment":"Is%20guilty%20and%20everyone%20knows%20it"};var%20b=document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0];b.innerHTML=b.innerHTML.replace(/new%20study|google%20glass|congressional%20leaders|homeland%20security|could%20not%20be%20reached%20for%20comment|\w+/gi,function($0){return map[$0.toLowerCase()]||$0});})()
-- 20:44, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
You've made the wrong script. This is the correct one:
	var map={
		:"These dudes I know",
		:"Kinda probably",
		"":"Tumbl post",
		"":"Virtual Boy",
		:"Eating contest",
		"s":"River spirits",
		"":"Homestart Runner",
		"":"Is guilty and everyone knows it"};
var b=document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0];
	return map[$0.toLowerCase()]||$0});})() 08:45, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't get how that was supposed to work, here's mine: javascript:(function(o){var t = o.innerHTML; var subs = [["","dudes I know"],["","kinda probably"],["","tumblr post"],["","avenge"],["","spaaace"],["","virtual boy"],["","pok\u00e9dex"],["","atomic"],["","elf-lord"],["","cat"],["","eating contest"],["s","river spirits"],["","homestar runner"],["","is guilty and everyone knows it"]]; for(var x = 0; x < subs.length; x++) { t = t.replace(new RegExp(subs[x][0],"gi"),subs[x][1]); } o.innerHTML=t;})(document.body); 02:15, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Is "Homestar runner" a reference to something I'm not cool enough to get? Djbrasier (talk) 20:49, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

http://www.homestarrunner.com/ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I created a plugin for Chrome and Opera, available here: http://www.joshmedeiros.net/XKCD%20Substitutions/ 09:16, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

The Virtual Boy is a oversized *portable* console. 13:34, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Pigs In Spaaaaace! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

That "" switched for "SPAAAACE" is so much fun when reading about namespaces in C++, for example. I was reading the Go tutorial today... Try it. GBGamer117 > /dev/null (talk) 23:57, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

The Opera plugin is now available here: https://addons.opera.com/en/extensions/details/xkcd-substitutions/ 06:50, 15 November 2013 (UT

I have written yet another Chrome extension inspired by this comic: "xkcd Substitutions Plus" I did this since I couldn't find one that let you to edit the list of substitutions. I plan to upload the code to GitHub too. I would love to hear suggestions on how to improve it :) (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

You should probably disable your extension for this page (or make it correctly work with the textarea), since you seem to be changing other code posted in the comments with it every time you make an edit. mcef (talk) 15:58, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
It's a good idea, I'll add a list of excluded pages to the extension. 18:59, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
And yet you do it again, ruining all the code posted in the comments. Please refrain from editing this with the plugin enabled. mcef (talk) 19:12, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

The comic description really confused me... until I realised I had the plug-in turned on. :D 20:07, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Weirdest thing I've gotten out of the extension: Jehovah's These dudes I know. 09:11, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Check out the Android App (we are using it for a research project, to collect user interaction data): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=at.fhooe.mint.app 17:06, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

I just logged on to #xkcd on foonetic, and I saw this: Topic for #xkcd is: "Hey, it looks like you're updating your resume!" - MS buys LI | https://goo.gl/FDyl1f | s/clone/clown/g | #xkcd = take a joke too far | bearachute has lost his sense of self | Today is a good day for a donut | New element names announced: nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson http://goo.gl/v4b437 (bold mine). I like it. KangaroOS 04:31, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Hey, you should check the transcript with the plugins. SilverMagpie (talk) 21:52, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

This comic is cited in "Scripting" section of the W3C HTML5 recommendation: https://www.w3.org/TR/html5/semantics-scripting.html#example-c1cd20ae