1757: November 2016

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 19:00, 9 November 2016 by (talk) (Explanation: Correcting my error)
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November 2016
Once you've done this, make a note of how old they were. Then, when their age reaches double that, show them this chart again.
Title text: Once you've done this, make a note of how old they were. Then, when their age reaches double that, show them this chart again.


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This is yet another comic designed to make you feel old.

It lists ages between 16 and 41 and links each age to one ore more events that (should have) happened a little over half their life ago. But it seems Randall has not been very accurate in his measure of what majority means. For instance for a 16-year-old person (born between December 1999 and November 2000), it lists the release of GTA IV, which was released in April 2008. GTA IV has been around for 8.5 years, i.e. more than half of their life. For the 41-year-old, though, it fits with Toy Story, which was released almost exactly 21 years before this comic in November 1995, and in that year today's 41-year-olds would only have been 20. So that movie has been in their life for the majority of their life. There is also a real mistake with The Matrix from 1999, which is listed against 35-year-olds, but since it is only 17 years ago that the movie was released, the 35-year-olds would have been 18 years old when the movie was released, and thus it has not yet existed for half of their life, and thus also not for the majority.

This matches earlier attempts to make people feel old by mentioning how long ago it was that, for instance, a movie comes out. When an event seems to have occurred recently to you, like seeing a movie when you were twenty-one (with Toy Story) and then suddenly realizing that this was 20 years ago, you will very likely feel old. Since humans' perception of time is not related to how much time has actually passed but rather to important memories, then memories like seeing the first feature-length animated movie (Toy Story) makes a big impression and may stay vivid in peoples' memories. When they then, after hearing the sentence from this comic, realize that half their life has passed since that event, they realize how much time has passed and that makes them feel old.

This is why it affects a 20-year-old to hear that twitter is ten years old, where this will not have the same impact on a 16-year-old, since they were so young when it came out that they probably feel like it has been around for ever, and you do not feel old by hearing that, for instance, the TV was invented before you were born. It thus makes sense to pick something that happened almost midway through a person's life, because they then realize they are now double as old as when they first heard of Twitter.

The joke at the end is that people over 41 don't need anything to make them feel old, because they already feel old. He thus teases people above 41 years old by claiming they are old, although many people (above 40) would claim you are not old before you retire. It may be a coincidence, but still interesting, that he stopped the list just before 42, a number Randall has referred to many times.

The title text points out that the same chart can be used for the same person once they are twice as old. So it urges the user to note down the age of the person it was used on, and then wait until their age reaches double that. So for a 16-year-old that would only be 16 more years until they are 32, but for a 41-year-old it would have to wait until they are 82 years old. When showing them this chart, they will remember how old they felt when the user made them feel old the first time by using a line from this list. And then they realize that they are now twice as old, and will thus again feel very very old because of this comic. For about the last half of the list, they will actually have reached an age where many people would consider them old, not just because they might feel old.


  • Explanation of table:
    • Persons age as given in the comic.
    • Persons birth year. 2016 minus persons age.
    • Date of things. For instance a release date, the year that a thing began/happened or a year where it became a phenomenon (in the US that is, in case if was already a phenomenon somewhere else first).
    • Things as given in the comic. There can be more than one "thing" for each age, so it should be things in plural form.
    • Half age - Persons age divided by two. This should in principle always be less, than and never larger than the last column. Instances where this rule is not upheld is marked with a bold number.
    • Years ago - the number of years since the things became "a thing". In order for this thing to have been in a persons life for the majority of their life this need to be larger (or at least equal) than half that persons age. So this number should be larger than the column before. If there are more than one thing for a given age, the average year for these things are taken and used to calculate the number of years.
Age Birth year Date of things Things Explanation Half age Years ago
16 2000 April 29, 2008 Grand Theft Auto IV Popular video game published by Rockstar Games; the 11th title in the Grand Theft Auto series 8 8
17 1999 May 2007 Rickrolling A prank and internet meme involving an unexpected appearance of the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". A type of bait and switch. 8.5 9
18 1998 April 13, 2007 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters American Flash animated surreal comedy film based on the Adult Swim animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force. This seems to be a joke, as both this movie and the one it was based on is for adults, and the person this targets would only have been 9 when it was released, and will thus not even recognize the reference. And then the joke will fail as they will not feel old. 9 9
19 1997 November 19, 2006 The Nintendo Wii From 2006 onwards is the time when the Nintendo Wii brand (Wii - Wii U) was released, with the Wii dominating 2006-2012 and the Wii U being *a small* part of 2012-2016. 9.5 10
20 1996 March 2006 Twitter 2006 was a big year, in that it lead to the creation of Twitter, a social networking service that is still used to this day. 10 10
21 1995 November 22, 2005 (Xbox),
September 2005 (xkcd)
The Xbox 360,
2005 led to the creation of the Xbox 360, another successful console. Randall also decided to throw in a 'reference joke', referring to the fact that xkcd was also created in 2005 and fits the criteria of the comic (and as a call back to the recent 1750: Life Goals he has two x words in the same sentence, which where also both used in that comic). 10.5 11
22 1994 2005 Chuck Norris Facts Satirical factoids about martial artist and actor Chuck Norris which began to appear on the Internet in early 2005. 11 11
23 1993 January 25, 2004 Opportunity's Mars Exploration Opportunity is a Mars rover that landed on Mars on January 25, 2004 11.5 12
24 1992 February 4, 2004 Facebook Facebook was a social networking service created in 2004 as a competitor to Myspace and quickly dominated as the #1 most used social networking service of all time. 12 12
25 1991 April 1, 2004 (Gmail),
July 9, 2003 (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Pirates of the Caribbean
Gmail is an email service created by Google as a replacement to Hotmail. Pirates of the Caribbean, a popular movie franchise, had its first movie Curse of the Black Pearl debut in 2003. 12.5 12.5
26 1990 January 7, 2003 In da Club Rap song by 50 Cent 13 13
27 1989 September 20, 2002 Firefly Firefly is a space western drama TV series created by Joss Whedon, that became a cult classic 13.5 14
28 1988 October 7, 2001 The War in Afghanistan The United States of America invaded Afghanistan shortly after the events of September 11, 2001, in an effort to eliminate the terrorist group al-Qaeda. 14 15
29 1987 2001 The iPod The iPod was a music playing device created by Apple in 2001 as a replacement for MP3 players. 14.5 15
30 1986 May 18, 2001 (Shrek),
January 15, 2001 (Wikipedia)
Shrek is a popular parody film about fairy tales based on the book of the same name. It quickly gained a cult following and became a mega-hit, earning it 3 sequels and a franchise. Wikipedia is a website with articles dedicated for looking up information based on specific tops, created in 2001. 15 15
31 1985 July 14, 2000 Those X-Men movies The X-Men series (X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand) The rele4ase date refers to the first of these three movies. 15.5 16
32 1984 February 4, 2000 The Sims The Sims is a video game created by Maxis in 2000 as a simulation game where you build homes, cities, and families. It was an immediate success upon launch. 16 16
33 1983 1998 Autotuned hit songs 1998 was the time period when people realized the capabilities of autotuning songs. Cher's song "Believe" from 1998 may be the first time that people really noticed this effect. 16.5 18
34 1982 May 19, 1999 The Star Wars Prequels The Star Wars prequel trilogy (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith). The date referes to the release of the first movie. 17 17
35 1981 March 31, 1999 The Matrix Science action film created by the Wachowski borthers 17.5 17
36 1980 1998 (outside Japan) Pokemon Red & Blue A popular childrens' video game franchise 18 18
37 1979 April 29, 1997 (Netflix),
June 26, 1997 (Harry Potter),
September 15, 1997 (Google)
Harry Potter,
All three are major things still today 19 years later. "Harry Potter" refers to the original publishing date of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Google refers to the date that the Google domain name was registered. 18.5 19
38 1978 May 11, 1997 Deep Blue's Victory Deep Blue was a chess computer, who defeated Garry Kasparov, the reigning chess champion, in 1997. It was the first chess computer to defeat a world champion under tournament conditions. 19 19
39 1977 September 13, 1996 Tupac's Death Tupac Shakur was an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in 1996. 19.5 20
40 1976 December 31, 1995 The last Calvin and Hobbes strip Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip by Bill Watterson that ran from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995. 20 21
41 1975 November 22, 1995 Toy Story The Pixar animated film Toy Story which was the first feature length animation film to be released theatrically (and thus also Pixar's first feature film) 20.5 21
>41 Before 1975 N/A [Don't worry, they've got this covered] This jokes that people legitimately old already feel old. Could be a reference to the number 42, that Randall stopped when this number was supposed to occur. He has referenced this number more than once before, for instance in the 1608#Messages in the Play Area of 1608: Hoverboard. >20.5 N/A


The November 2016 Guide to making people feel old

[In rectangle] If they're [age], you say: "Did you know [thing] has been around for the majority of your life?"

Age Thing
16 Grand Theft Auto IV
17 Rickrolling
18 Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Colon Movie Film for Theaters
19 The Nintendo Wii
20 Twitter
21 The Xbox 360, xkcd
22 Chuck Norris Facts
23 Opportunity's Mars Exploration
24 Facebook
25 Gmail, Pirates of the Caribbean
26 In da Club
27 Firefly
28 The War in Afghanistan
29 The iPod
30 Shrek, Wikipedia
31 Those X-Men movies
32 The Sims
33 Autotuned hit songs
34 The Star Wars Prequels
35 The Matrix
36 Pokémon Red & Blue
37 Netflix, Harry Potter, Google
38 Deep Blue's Victory
39 Tupac's Death
40 The last Calvin and Hobbes strip
41 Toy Story
>41 [Don't worry, they've got this covered]
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Ok transcript hopefully complete, but please check it over, as I did it while tired and staying up late waiting for the election results. Wyrme (talk) 05:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Spoiler alert: Trump won. --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 16:16, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

The main idea of the comic is stated in the first sentences "If they're [age], you say: "Did you know [thing] has been around for the majority of your life?" The majority of your life means "more than half your life". For each of the age stated in the comic, something that happened more than half the age ago is stated. As an example for the first two: Grand Theft Auto IV was released in 2008, which is 8 years ago. More than 8 years is at the same time more than half of 16 years, which means "the majority of a 16 year old's life" The next one goes for Rickrolling, which is "a prank and an Internet meme involving an unexpected appearance of the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. The meme is a type of bait and switch using a disguised hyperlink." according to wikipedia. Even if the first reference is from 2007, the same Wiki page says that 'By May 2008, the practice had spread beyond 4chan and became an Internet phenomenon'. May 2008 is more than 8 and a half years ago which is more than half of 17 years. It goes on and on, with "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" which is a 2007 American Flash animated surreal comedy film", which again is more than 9 years ago and so on. Sorry if I'm not clear enough but I hope you got it. Anarhistu (talk) 11:19, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, the "majority part" is a bit confusing. I looked up 35 and saw "The Matrix" and I was like "wait, that didn't come out 35 years ago?!". Well, it didn't and that's not what the comic implys. However, it has been around for a MAJORITY (= more than half) of my life. 12:37, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm only 32, but saddened at the entry for 40. C&H was (and still is) one of my favorites. I say we all just take off today and play some Calvinball. Who's with me? 12:48, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

There is this last thing "over 41, we don't care" which I cannot really explain. Maybe the 40+ year olds seen all of these later in their life but why stop at this point? (which is around 1996, according to the "rules")? The internet has been around since way before that and if we take the first popular browser this was about 1993 or so. That would take us to 46. Is there any specific event which might be a reason to stop at 41? Anarhistu (talk) 13:12, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

No, people above 40 already feel old, no need for a chart -- 13:18, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Hood Men In Tights 13:21, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
He has previously stopped at a given age and stated that anyone older should feel old already --Kynde (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

But if I look in x years, then the entry at current age + x will have been there for (current age +x)/2 + x years, so if I look at it again after my age has doubled, the thing has been there for my entire life. -- 13:17, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Sorry your are completely wrong. If you are 20 now and look at something happening 10 years ago. Then when you are twice as old (40) you look at the same ting and that will then be 30 years old. It will always be 10 years younger than you. There was a mistaken explanation of the title text saying something like what you say, and now I have corrected it. He just means that if you show them this chart again when their age has doubles, you can say that this chart has now existed in the majority of your life. --Kynde (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Heh. Randall isn't always prompt in posting new comics early on M/W/F, but this one went up promptly at 12:01am. He deserves to be embarrassed after the communist comic he posted on Monday. 13:31, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

How the hell did you make out Clinton to be a communist? It's Trump who likes Putin, where Clinton would be more against him... I guess he just thought people needed something that could distract them from the election, since most of his readers (especially after his previous comic) would have rooted for Clinton because of their fear that Trump won. On the other hand most people probably feels old today, after the election, so in that way the comic is a bit of a waste... --Kynde (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, but we Americans disagree with you. Too bad, so sad. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Actually, we Americans chose Clinton, probably by a margin of >1M votes once CA and OR finish counting. Miamiclay (talk) 22:40, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
Almost three million, as it turned out; the margin in the popular vote was greater than the entire population of Chicago. Whoop whoop pull up (talk) 18:04, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

I don't understand how this is supposed to work. If I wanted to make someone feel old, I would pick an event that they think is fairly ancient and tell them: "do you realize you're *more* than twice as old as this?" Here, Randall does the opposite, he says: "did you know you're *less* than twice as old as this", so what? E.g. "Twitter has been around for a majority of your life" is true of anyone who is 0 to 20, so how is it supposed to make a 20-year-old feel old? Did Randall get his comic backwards or am I missing something? Zetfr 14:26, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

The idea is that you don't pick events that they think are ancient, you pick events that they think are recent. 16:46, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

The explanation says "The titletext points out that the same chart can be used for the same person much later in their life. However, the major event shifts earlier and earlier into their life; when their age has doubled, the event in the chart has happend in the year of their birth."
This makes no mathematical sense - the major event would shift earlier into their life, but not in time, and would remain the same distance from their birth year. What is probably intended is that now the chart itself will be around for a majority of their life (though I agree with the above commenter that it would probably make one feel young, not old). -- 14:54, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Exactly, what I wrote above to the other comment on this, and I have tried to correct it in the explanation. --Kynde (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I fixed the rest of the blank explanations, such as Gmail, Nintendo Wii, and others. Please fill in the 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force', as I was not able to find information about it anywhere and I have not seen that show, nor the movie itself, so I cannot answer. --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 15:14, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Actually Randall may be wrong with some of those entries at the current moment. Let's say that somebody is 19 years old, but their 20th birthday is on the 10th of November. The entry for their age is the Nintendo Wii which came 9 years, 11 months and 20 days ago (as of November 9), which is not more than half of the subject's age. I think this occurs on quite a few of those entries, so either the chart is intended to be addressed only to people during their birthdays, or one can make fun of any geek who parades this list for not being rigorous with their maths. 15:38, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

That's pretty pedantic. We're so close to the end of the year that we can reasonably assume it means "people who turned X years old in 2016"
I think he just goes for events that is approximately half as old as the person. Only error he seems to have made is with the Matrix, which came when the 35 years old of today was 18, and it has thus only been in their life about 17 years. --Kynde (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Pedantic? This is xkcd we're talking about. Not only that there's a post commenting on this comic's timing regarding the MWF pattern, as on every other similar comic, a fact that should be taken even less seriously, but Randall has greatly shown his support of pedants partly by repeatedly depicting them as empowered in his comics. I think that pedants have to either take responsibility for their demeanour or admit to the fact that their peculiarity does not even have the tradeoff of accuracy it should have. In other words, anyone who bothers others with a list like this better have precise information to offer if they expect to have any reason not to waste others' time. 05:25, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

36 years old: Half-life has been around half of your life. 18000 years old: Half of the curium-250 atoms have been around half of your life. 17:58, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

You might be old if you remember watching the Berlin Wall being torn down on television. You would be even older if you remember reading about the Berlin Wall at the time it was being built. I remember both ... I read about the wall being built in elementary (primary) school current events. Rtanenbaum (talk) 21:30, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Interesting, but not strange, to bring that wall up today. Since it is today the anniversary for it's destruction in 1989 (17 years ago so would have been good for the 34 years old). And very ironic that a man is then elected on this very day who has promised to build and even bigger wall between his country and another. --Kynde (talk) 22:14, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
If you want to feel really old, just remember that The Hoff sang "Looking for Freedom" in front of the Berlin Wall. ;) 11:01, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
Correction, 1989 is 27 years ago, half the life of a 54 year-old Rtanenbaum (talk) 15:02, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
Speaking of 1989, Taylor Swift's musical debut would be a viable alternative to the Wii RTM. Whoop whoop pull up (talk) 18:04, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
Auch I feel old now, that I could make such a mistake. Thanks for correcting it. But at least I'm not 54 yet, but I do remember the day very well. Just happy Randall raised the bar since his movie ages, so my age is still on the list and so I'm not just in the "rest above 41 group" ;-) --Kynde (talk) 15:06, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
It happened to me. Twice now, thanks to this comic. The first time was in grad school, when I was a student over the traditional age, Another student put out a survey which asked age at the end, offering various check boxes where I had to check the last one. I howled, "The next box is a pine box!" Ke4roh (talk) 18:46, 16 November 2016 (UTC)