1690: Time-Tracking Software
Title text: 'List of helicopter prison escapes' and 'List of sexually active popes' are both entertainingly long, but sadly there's no 'List of helicopter prison escapes involving sexually active popes.'
In this comic, Randall uses time-tracking software, which is intended to increase productivity by identifying how you are spending time, that reveals that he is doing frivolous and pointless things that take up large amounts of his time. He makes remixes, edits Star Wars footage, reads strange (albeit entertaining) Wikipedia articles (see 214: The Problem with Wikipedia), and even spends a large amount of time adjusting this software, all without getting anything useful done. Thus, he is embarrassed at this revelation. This time waste is a common subject on xkcd, as shown for instance in the comic mentioned above.
The visual appearance of lightsabers in the Star Wars movies of the original trilogy has been digitally changed twice during the re-releases for the 2004 DVD and 2011 Blu-ray releases. There are several Star Wars fans that feel the need to alter the movies (mainly to revert the changes made in the re-release), but so far nobody felt the need to replace lightsabers with metal swords.
"Jack & Diane" is a rock song written in 1982 by John Mellencamp. "Suckin' on a chili dog outside the tastee freeze" is the first line of the second verse of the song (see the lyrics here). A remix made using just this line would probably sound a bit repetitive (listen for instance to this re-mix of "Don't You Want Me", that almost only uses the first line of the song).
Two Wikipedia lists are mentioned in the comic and title text; List of helicopter prison escapes and List of sexually active popes. Given that the Pope is supposed to be celibate (at least after 1139), the mere fact that more than ten popes have been involved in sexual activity, even after 1139, is both amusing and intriguing. There are more than forty entries in the helicopter escape list for real-life attempts (plus 16 in fiction); not all of them succeeded, but several did!
On June 7th, the Wikipedia Facebook page posted a link to the List of helicopter prison escapes article. A user commented asking if the article was posted on Facebook due to the xkcd comic, and Wikipedia replied by pasting an image of the xkcd comic, which seems to indicate that the Wikipedia representative running the Facebook page was aware of this xkcd comic and posted the list in reference to the comic.
In the title text, Randall mentions his disappointment with the lack of a Wikipedia list stemming from the intersection of the two; that is, a helicopter prison escape involving a sexually active pope. With the last (known) sexually active pope being Pope Leo XII in the 1820s, and helicopter predecessors only taking flight in 1907, and mass production of helicopters not occurring until the 1950s, such an event has probably never happened.
This xkcd comic was published on June 6th. On that day, the Wikipedia article "List of helicopter prison escapes involving sexually active popes" was created and subsequently deleted.
The Wikipedia list of sexually active popes has been mentioned before in the what if? Into the Blue on infinitely powerful lasers, and after noting that such a thing cannot exist, the list is offered as a replacement for entertainment.
The comic 1692: Man Page was released later that week and also mentioned the pope.
- [This comic shows a pie chart with 5 slices, each with a label and a line pointing to these five different sized slices. There is a caption above the chart:]
- Your activity report
- [The labels on each slice is given in clockwise order starting top left. The percentages are estimated from the image and are noted in the square brackets before the transcript:]
- [38%]: Going through the Star Wars movies and digitally replacing all the lightsabers with regular metal swords
- [16%]: Reading every entry in the Wikipedia article List of helicopter prison escapes
- [23%]: Installing and configuring time-tracking software
- [02%]: Actual productive work
- [21%]: Making a remix of that Jack and Diane song where every line is just "Suckin' on a chili dog outside the tastee-freez" over and over
- [Below the frame there is a caption:]
- Time-tracking software shines an uncomfortably harsh light on my daily life.
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