This comic is about palindromes, which is a word or a phrase which is spelled the same way backwards or forwards. The classic palindrome in this case is: "A Man, A Plan, A Canal: Panama", which references the construction of the Panama Canal. Randall has created his own palindrome which is longer, though less logical, than the original.
A man, a plan, a God's 'nam tables, nitrate, tar, tinsel, batman's dog: anal panama.
> Megan (i.e. Randall) has created a much longer palindrome based on this original
Seems Randall didn't create the palindrome, which is also found in a forum posting on The Return of Talking Time dated May 14, 2012:
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... unless of course that user was Randall.
188.8.131.52 08:25, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- That does not seem likely. If the user invented the palindrome is of course also impossible to say, but it seems unlikely that Randall created it. I have corrected the explanation accordingly. --Kynde (talk) 08:44, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I found the centre of the very long palindrome that was linked to, it's the 'e' in "Hehre" which only occurs once in that 17826 word monstrousity. Easy to control F.
Edit: first e. Not second one.
- --184.108.40.206 09:41, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Is it really necessary to have the palindrome written forwards, without spaces, capitalised, reversed etc etc etc. --Pudder (talk) 09:58, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- No. I deleted most useless versions. Sorry, Nick818  220.127.116.11 12:31, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually, there is another method to construct palindromes of arbitrary length: If X is a palindrome, then "'X' sides reversed is 'X'" is a palindrome, too. --18.104.22.168 10:09, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
if 'nam is an abbreviation of Vietnam, shouldn't it be capitalised? if it isn't, what is it an abbreviation of? --22.214.171.124 12:32, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with any type of tinsel which is attached to thread. Is this a relatively recent development, or something that is more common outside the US? Miamiclay (talk) 20:04, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- it's the only kind that's called tinsel in the UK. maybe in New England, too. --126.96.36.199 13:02, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I think it should be "a god's 'Nam tables" because "God" means "the only god" and "a god" is one of many. 188.8.131.52 12:40, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- "It felt like a Napoleon's Waterloo." You'll need a high-ranking grammar nazi to explain how this works exactly, though. 184.108.40.206 16:41, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- The (grammatical) contexts are different. "Waterloo" is the name of a city, it doesn't refer to any concept so it can never be a general noun, only ever a proper noun. God however works differently, as a general noun it refers to a deity ("Zeus is a god") but as a proper noun it refers to the Abrahamic god (diversely called in different languages and religions). This isn't to say you could never use capital God when following "a". If you are referring to a god of a Judaic religion or an interpretation of God as in "In Christianity and Judaism we find a different God", then you would be right. You might also use a capitalised plural in sentences like "Yaweh is one of many Gods" (again the meaning is "interpretation of God"), much as I could say I am one of many "Marios" on this earth, however this usage requires a bit of a grammatical juggling act, and some prescriptivists might not accept it.
- This is all nice and well if you consider God a proper noun (again like Jack or Yaweh) but the reasoning may completely fall apart if you consider the capitalisation as a simple honorific form. The latter interpretation is however unlikely given the usage of God in the English language. To elaborate: if you try to replace God as used in some expressions with some general noun like "guy" as referring to a certain predetermined person, you will find that in some cases a reasonable substitution would be "the guy" rather than simply "guy": e.g.: "God is all forgiving" --> "The guy is all forgiving" ("Guy is all forgiving" seems to refer to a person named Guy, rather than to a specific guy, which corroborates the proper-noun thesis).
- In short "god" and "God" are kind of two different words just like "Jack" (the one who works in the cubicle next to yours, you know the one) and "jack" (the one you plug in your CD player to listen to music. What? Isn't it what's all the rage these days?), they just happen (ok, not really, they were crafted this way) to be spelt and read the same. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- (Very sorry for the rant. Just a grammar Nazi sergeant, some things may be wrong or up for debate 18.104.22.168 17:10, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- "Can never" can never work. I hear kitchen duty on St. Helena is not pleasant. Don't forget to pack some stamps and stationery when they ship you out, I want to lick the taste of your tears off your letters. 22.214.171.124 02:47, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
- In my defence, the Oxford English dictionary doesn't seem to list this acceptation. But I do agree, I shouldn't have used "can never", things change, and even if they didn't I certainly don't know all of the English dictionary. I am sure there are plenty of words, and plenty of meanings to words that I don't know of. 126.96.36.199 10:29, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
- In the trivia it mentions that there is a comma between the nam and tables in the original(?) post, and by the way 'Nam is capitalized there. So is it then God's Vietnam? --Kynde (talk) 13:36, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Just a guess about the next comic. It might very well relate to this news about a possible Planet X! Looking forward to seing if I'm right ;-) --Kynde (talk) 10:24, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
- Yes I was right. And he had to delay the release as he of course did not have the comic ready when the news was published and it is quite complicated comic he made with 1633: Possible Undiscovered Planets. --Kynde (talk) 07:23, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Apropos "(It is not long since another xkcd comic referred directly to porn - see 1629: Tools)." Or, as Tom Lehrer put it, "when correctly viewed, everything is lewd". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaHDBL7dVgs --RenniePet (talk) 11:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
- Well spotted, though it was already mentioned in the trivia when you posted this comment ;-) Maybe his next, delayed?, comic, will be about Planet XXX :-) --Kynde (talk) 16:50, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
- Etymology of palindrome
The meaning of "Palindrom" :
Dromos is a way, street, highway or something similar.
So Palin drom means Palin's way 188.8.131.52 23:23, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
- "Palin's way" is the same as when going backwards? :D Meanwhile, a slightly more authoritative source has this to say:
- "Greek palindromos running back again, from palin back, again + dramein to run; akin to Greek polos axis, pole — more at pole, dromedary" ... "First Known Use: circa 1629"
- 184.108.40.206 07:30, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
- Maybe the first anon was making a Sarah Palin joke: she wants to move America backward to the days when… actually, I'm really not sure; she seems to be fueled by a nonspecific nostalgia for 1980s conservative nostalgia for an imagined past era, rather than nostalgia directly for any actual or imagined past era… but then it isn't my joke, I'm just guessing it was someone else's, so I don't have to explain it. :)
- At any rate, the "dromos" (δρόμος) part is right; the word is a medieval or renaissance European construction from Greek, and almost certainly used "dromos" directly rather than re-deriving the same word from a distant source. --220.127.116.11 04:16, 8 March 2016 (UTC)