1358: NRO

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 12:21, 21 April 2014 by (talk) (Explanation: known outside of North America as Where's Wally)
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'DISPATCHING DRONE TO TARGET COORDINATES.' 'Wait, crap, wrong button. Oh jeez.'
Title text: 'DISPATCHING DRONE TO TARGET COORDINATES.' 'Wait, crap, wrong button. Oh jeez.'


Where's Waldo (known outside of North America as Where's Wally) is a children's puzzle book in which you have to spot out 'Waldo'. He usually is quite hard to find, which makes it slightly challenging. Cueball and his friend are using satellite imaging to find Waldo, by holding the book up to the sky and viewing it on the computer. This would require a very advanced camera, as resolutions are usually low. But since Cueball works at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), he probably has access to some powerful satellites. The humor in this being, while he could be using that power for much more important things, he's instead trying to solve a simple game. The title text is implying that Cueball has accidentally launched a drone at the co-ordinates, which would be where he and his friend are standing.


Cueball and a friend are in a remote area. The friend is holding a Where's Waldo? book towards the sky.

Laptop: [Target located]
Cueball: Got him. Left edge, two inches down.

The National Reconnaissance Office has an unusual approach to Where's Waldo.

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Could what if #32 be valid here? https://what-if.xkcd.com/32/ --Mralext20 (talk) 07:30, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Nah. Spy satellites are usually on geosynced orbits, so they always hover over the same area of the ground, meaning no blur. 14:17, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Spy satellites are not usually in geosynchronous orbits, as this would be much too far away from earth to be of much use, Spy satelites are normally in very low polar orbits to maximize the areas they can spy on. 22:52, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Not only he is using the satellites, he is also using the software - probably something which will highlight recognized target on photo. -- Hkmaly (talk) 11:28, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

I always thought this was a reference to the Governments Facial Recognition software they're working on. Combine that with the NSA's spy satellites and you can locate anyone anywhere. Maybe the NRO is a combination of such organizations and technologies (very very deadly) and they're testing it out using a Where's Waldo book. Not only testing the cameras on the satellite's resolution but the facial recognition software's ability to pick out a specific person in a crowd. Glitch (talk) 14:08, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

The sentence "He usually is quite hard to find, which makes it challenging." is really bothering me. I'm not sure what to do with it. I considered deleting it or shortening it, but none of those feel right. 18:02, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

What was bothering you about it? It was a quick and dirty explanation at the time, so it doesn't matter. Fizzle (talk) 21:36, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Redundancy. "The hard thing is challenging." "The big thing was huge." 09:42, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Would "Government Facial Recognition" work at all via satellite? Wouldn't they do better with Governments Scalp Recognition? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Possible reference to xkcd.com/970? -CyanLights 17:46, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I don't see that. 970: The Important Field is about private guns, but this comic is about real military items. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:53, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

similar to http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3222#comic but SMBC goes much deeper and darker. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)