1803: Location Reviews

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Location Reviews
Google and Yelp keep deleting my scathing reviews of the Mariana Trench, the Chernobyl reactor core, the jet stream, and the equator.
Title text: Google and Yelp keep deleting my scathing reviews of the Mariana Trench, the Chernobyl reactor core, the jet stream, and the equator.

Explanation

Many online advertising services and social media networks (like Google and Yelp, both mentioned in the title text, and for instance Facebook) allow users to leave reviews of stores, businesses and locations. For various reasons these sites often find themselves with pages dedicated to, as Randall puts it, "places that really don't need reviews" such as municipal works installations, government property, and natural landmarks. This naturally attracts both clueless people and lots of self-styled comedians leaving less-than-helpful comments on such review pages.

Randall is just poking fun at this phenomenon by inventing possible reviews for the (fictional) location Canyon River Nuclear Launch Facility, depicted with a Google Maps-styled map page along with a series of so-called reviews. (There does exist a Canyon River located in Ontario/Canada and one in Washington/USA (the latter is a significant tributary to the Satsop River). Canada does not maintain nuclear weapons since 1984, so the launch site should be located in Washington).

See explanations for the 11 visible (out of 22) reviews in the table below. Of course those responsible for such a facility with nuclear missiles would not like the attention they would be getting in this way, especially not when one of the comments mentions a hole in the fence... Although this comic makes a joke about reviews it has chosen a very dangerous facility to joke about. See more about this under Politics below

In the title text Randall mentions that both Google and Yelp keep deleting his scathing reviews of several locations like the above. The questions is if they would have done it if they had not been so harsh... While Canyon River Nuclear Launch Facility appears not to exist, the places/phenomena he lists in the title text certainly do, and are places that you either cannot or would not normally visit as destinations. Here below each "location" is explained. That the deletion of such reviews is real has been proven by this comic, as it also happened for those that (of course) posted these reviews on Google maps as a response to this comic.

Mariana Trench is the deepest area of the world's oceans, about 10,994 meters (36,070 ft) deep, located between Japan and Australia. The pressure in the Mariana Trench is about 1,086 bars, more than 1,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure of about 1 bar at sea level. Despite this enormous pressure some organisms live in the Mariana Trench. Humans can reach the ground only by special deep-sea submarines, like Jacques Piccard did in 1960 with the Bathyscaphe Trieste. See reviews for the Mariana Trench at Google Maps and Facebook.

The Chernobyl reactor core is the most dangerous part of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It is located in the North of Ukraine. In the reactor No. 4 there was a nuclear disaster that happened on 26 April 1986. It caused devastating damage and massive radioactive contamination. There is still a Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 30 kilometers around the power plant. See reviews for the Chernobyl power plant at Google Maps and Facebook.

Jet streams are a meteorologic phenomenon about 9 to 16 kilometers above the ground. A stream consists of air currents with speeds from 92 km/h (50 kn; 57 mph) to over 398 km/h (215 kn; 247 mph). Such jet streams are routinely used for reducing fuel usage for long distance plane travels. As it is a ribbon rather than a point, it could not have a single point on the map. Also, the jet stream fluctuates north and south; so even if it could be pinpointed, the location would be constantly changing.

The equator is, as with the jet streams, not a singular place but a circumference around the Earth. Reviewing the equator as a singular location is rather pointless, though there is a whole range of specific (and interesting) locations around the equator, with countries with tropical rainforest climate, which many people from European and North American countries struggle with. That said, most of the equator goes over water.

Reviews

In the table the rating is given with the review. After that an explanation both of the rating and of the review is given. Notice that any or all of the reviews could be sarcastic or "trolling", as is fairly typical on the internet, especially for reviews given for such a location as this one. This table assumes all the reviews are played straight.

Rating Review Explanation
★★★★★ Greatest country on earth A patriotic review (5/5), though provides no information on the actual nuclear site. The location is in the "greatest country", although this makes fun of people who go too specific, because all places in that country could be rated like this. Probably somebody who loves her or his country for having nuclear missiles.
★★☆☆☆ Looks cool but you can't get in This reviewer, although initially positive, attempts to highlight what they perceive as a major flaw with the site: namely, that it is off-limits to unauthorized personnel and heavily-guarded, so it's impossible to actually go inside (thus only 2/5 stars). This is typical of a nuclear facility, but this kind of review could also be seen for a fancy restaurant that needs very early pre-booking.
★☆☆☆☆ What is this store Reviewer really, really has no idea what this facility actually is, mistaking it for a store, and thus giving it only 1 star.
★★★★☆ My cousin worked here If true, this review is a serious security risk (e.g. kidnapping the reviewer to extort information from his cousin). The comment may also just be a way for the reviewer to pretend he knows someone who works in the higher levels of the government. Usually this kind of comment together with a four star rating is to signal that you know more about the location than a regular reviewer does. Of course you could then also be perceived as partial.
★★☆☆☆ Waitstaff heavily armed and very rude This review mistakes the facility's security guards for a restaurant's waitstaff. Since the guards are protecting some of the most dangerous weapons in existence, and would not let unknown outsiders into the facility, it follows that the guards would be heavily armed, and quite rude to those who sought entry without proper permission. Thus they earn the place only 2 stars.
★☆☆☆☆ Stop doing chemtrails This reviewer believes in the chemtrail conspiracy theory and is urging the government to cease spreading the chemtrails. Believing this place has something to do with it of course leads to only one star. This conspiracy was earlier mentioned both in 966: Jet Fuel and 1677: Contrails.
★☆☆☆☆ This place is a symptom of the military-industrial complex strangling our democracy and...(read full review-1184 words) A slightly tongue-in-cheek reference to essays against 'The Military-Industrial complex' and how they are often copy-pasted by people who don't really understand them in inappropriate places. Or just to people who rant far beyond anything that people would ever read, except if they are already agreeing with the writer. Of course such an activist would only give one star.
★★★★☆ Anyone else notice the hole in the west fence? The adventurer's travel guide to government installations... Posting a comment like this would (at best) bring the hole to the attention of the site staff to be repaired and (at worst) bring the writer unwelcome attention from the authorities for publicizing a security vulnerability at a missile site. This might also be a reference to Richard Feynman's account of finding a hole in the fence surrounding the Los Alamos facility during the Manhattan Project. Using the hole to get in, this reviewer had an excellent time and gives 4/5 stars.
★★★★★ Whoa, missiles! The writer is impressed and apparently surprised to discover that the site has missiles. Seems like the reviewer just love anything with missiles and hands out five stars. This may also be a reference to the "Whoa, technology!" meme, which originated when YandereDev, a Youtuber, uttered the phrase in one of his videos.
★★★☆☆ Good idea but confusing web site. How do I preorder? This reviewer thinks that one can order a nuclear missile launch here, but can't find a preorder form on the website. He loves the idea but since he cannot find out how to order there are only 3/5 stars. In reality, the decision to launch nuclear missiles often rests with the heads of state or government, and outside persons are not allowed to control them.
★☆☆☆☆ Please don't launch these A plea to the facility owners not to launch the nuclear missiles, due to their deleterious effects on human life. See more on this under Politics below.

Politics

The decision to make a comic depicting a nuclear missile launch facility may not be entirely random, given Randall's mildly political mood lately. In particular, it could be due to the cold relationship between Russia and the United States at the time of this comics release. Two weeks prior to this comics release Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump. This was less than a month after Donald Trump became president. Trump has been positive towards Vladimir Putin earlier, but after the violation USA condemned the new missile. That Randall was not in favor of Trump becoming president was made clear in 1756: I'm With Her. His predecessor Barack Obama even stated, before Trump was elected, that If Trump can't handle Twitter, then he can't handle nuclear codes. Randall has earlier mentioned the codes indirectly in 1242: Scary Names, where he mentions the Nuclear football, which is much more scary than the name... It is a year ago he finished a "series" of four comics in a short period about nuclear weapons with 1655: Doomsday Clock (see about the other comics at the bottom of that explanation). But it seems that recent events have made him think about it again, although he tries no to as made evident in 1796: Focus Knob.

Transcript

[Inside the main panel there is a frame with a Google location map with the typical red pin stuck in the center of the map inside a large gray region of the map. A river goes from the north through the gray region and out to the west. East and south of the river some roads and other items are shown, several of them also outside the gray region. The red pin is stuck next to a corner in one of the roads.]
[Below the map is the name of the location at the red pin, and below that there are three lines of unreadable text:]
Canyon River Nuclear Launch Facility
[Below that there is broken line with text in the break, and below that follows 11 reviews with yellow stars to the left:]
Reviews (22)
★★★★★ Greatest country on earth
★★☆☆☆ Looks cool but you can't get in
★☆☆☆☆ What is this store
★★★★☆ My cousin worked here
★★☆☆☆ Waitstaff heavily armed and very rude
★☆☆☆☆ Stop doing chemtrails
★☆☆☆☆ This place is a symptom of the military-industrial complex strangling our democracy and...(read full review-1184 words)
★★★★☆ Anyone else notice the hole in the west fence?
★★★★★ Whoa, missiles!
★★★☆☆ Good idea but confusing web site. How do I preorder?
★☆☆☆☆ Please don't launch these
[Caption below the panel:]
I love finding reviews of places that really don't need to have reviews.

Trivia

  • Only 11 of the 22 reviews posted are shown. For those 11 the average star rating is 2.6/5 stars. All five possible ratings are represented at least once.
  • For a few days after the release of this comic the Google Search results for "Canyon River Nuclear Launch Facility" briefly showed the facility was located at 43.428445, -101.124018 in Blackpipe Township, Mellette County, South Dakota and it included the reviews shown in the comic and more.
    • Randall's statement about Google deleting these kinds of reviews turned out to be true as they were quickly deleted, but not before someone made this screenshot of one of the other reviews.


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

Discussion

To all editors here

Please do not remove the incomplete tag on your first edit. This tag is used to identify all incomplete comics or transcripts here.--Dgbrt (talk) 16:14, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Further discussions go here

Could he be referencing some other location? Is there enough data on the map to find a real-world map location that would fit the shape of the river, streets and shaded polygon? 172.68.78.34 16:04, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Martin

I'm surprised that Randall didn't reference the discovery of the Trappist-1 system maybe it will come up soon or in a what-if. XFez (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

He often has a couple comics in queue (and probably needs a day or two to draw one up and get it in and also have something XKCD-ish about it), so we may see one Monday or further afield.162.158.75.22 23:21, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

The idea behind the website and ordering is probably absurdist humour in that the commenter finds the idea of nuclear missiles good and desirable, but the referenced website for such a facility is confusing in that the commenter cannot find out how to order some for him/herself. --Toonarmycaptain (talk) 16:39, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

He is actually referring to something that is pretty fun to do, and that is exactly what he says: reading reviews of places that shouldn't have reviews. This one made me laugh in the past. 108.162.216.196 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Here's another good one Waterhorse800 (talk) 17:03, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

"Looks cool but you can't get in" can also be a comment for an exclusive club/restaurant 172.68.65.6 22:18, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Guantanamo Bay has surprisingly positive reviews: https://goo.gl/maps/tQ4bzttkdeE2 162.158.79.101 03:25, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

Hmmm, all the reviews have disappeared. Only one now. Maybe *someone* saw your comment. --108.162.238.11 12:05, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

""Despite this enormous pressure some organisms live in the Mariana Trench. "" Nonsense! The pressure is no problem if you do not have holes filled with air in your body. 162.158.92.52 11:29, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Isn't "scathing" a pun on how these locations are typically associated with hot temperatures? 162.158.62.225 00:43, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

No. The air in the jet stream and the water at the bottom of Mariana Trench are quite cold. Places on the Equator may seem hot for a person unused to the climate there, but they're not so hot in absolute numbers. Chernobyl reactor core is not particularly hot anymore in terms of temperature; it is "hot" in terms of radiation level. -- Malgond (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Note to self: Find out where Randall lives on Google Maps and leave a review for Garfield. --108.162.238.11 12:02, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

AFAIK, Canada has never had ICBMs. Short range surface to surface (deployed in Germany), air-surface and air-air before 1984, but no ICBMs. The only thing near Canyon River is a stopover station for the railway, a couple of hunting lodges and Grassy River First Nation which has been in the news recently because the government finally committed to cleaning up decades-old mercury contamination from a defunct pulp and paper mill. 108.162.241.4 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Triva

There was an entry in the trivia section entered by ‎Mwarren:

* Google Search results for "Canyon River Nuclear Launch Facility" briefly showed the facility was located at 43.428445, -101.124018 in Blackpipe Township, Mellette County, South Dakota and included the reviews shown in the comic.

Since there is no proof, no reliable link, and NO canyon this cannot be correct. There is only a small, lonely farm. Please provide those findings first here at the discussion page so it can be verified by others.--Dgbrt (talk) 00:45, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

  • When you enter these coordinates at Google Maps, you indeed get the "Canyon River Nuclear Launch Facility" with all the reviews from xkcd (and a couple more added to it). - Mike Rosoft (talk) 19:35, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
It's a fake! Someone has set a marker and all reviews are not older than a week. You will find much more like this on Google Maps.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:08, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, duh. :-) - Mike Rosoft (talk) 17:11, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes that is kind of what Randall states happens all the time with his reviews. I have added this again as a trivia now using the screenshot as proof. --Kynde (talk) 14:59, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Do you need more photoshoped images? It's removed again -- also because we don't know the copyright.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:55, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Ok, but maybe we can say that people faking this...--Dgbrt (talk) 19:57, 11 March 2017 (UTC)