Title text: The keys to successfully throwing a party are location, planning, and one of those aircraft carrier steam catapults.
- To experience the interactivity of this game, visit the original comic.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by THOR, GOD OF THUNDER. Add the equation for throwing? Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
As the comic celebrates the book, which was released on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019, the comic was thus also released on a Tuesday to coincide with the release day, replacing that week's normal Wednesday release. This was the same timing used for another of Randall's book releases, when 1608: Hoverboard came out on the Tuesday when Thing Explainer came out. Although the Hoverboard comic is much more complex than this one, they are both dynamic and interactive, with animations a part of them.
In this comic the viewer can select a person/Pikachu/god/squirrel as the thrower and an object (including a person, Pikachu, or squirrel) to be thrown, and get an animation of how the selected throw would work out, along with an estimated distance of the throw (both in SI units and in other very arbitrary units; see table below) if the throw was possible. Impossible throws include ones in which the thrower is smaller than the thrown object. The formula/guideline is apparently based on a chapter from the book. One special case to the calculations is Thor's hammer, which is enchanted such that only those deemed "worthy" are able to lift it. As such, despite its mass being liftable by many of the characters, only Thor, God of Thunder (who is canonically worthy), and self-created characters who are well over the human records for height (272 cm) and/or weight (635 kg) are shown to actually be able to throw it. Also Thor is the only one who uses furlongs to measure his distances.
There are 7 throwers + 1 open option and 15 + 1 things to throw, giving a total of 105 different combinations for the static elements; see the table below plus those for the open option. The open option can be defined by height, weight and a 1-4 scale of atleticism. But only Thor (or an unrealistically tall and heavy custom character) can throw all 15, with three of the objects (George Washington, hammer, and car) unthrowable by any of the other premade characters. The smaller critters can throw only a few things, so the total number of throws is much less than 100. Still there is an animation for all 105 combinations, but with no throw distance for some. An object with negative weight (you probably) flies backwards.
The athleticism scale does not define the character used for the animation.
The title text refers to throwing a party (a colloquial synonym of hosting a party) and first makes the assumption of actually giving hints for giving a party, and then switching to suggest a mechanism to literally throw a huge object, such as a house with a party going on inside. An aircraft steam catapult is a mechanism to launch aircraft from ships, typically used on aircraft carriers.
Throwers and throw items
George Washington, Pikachu, and a squirrel are both throwers and throw items.
- An NFL quarterback is the average American's perception of a highly athletic individual; gridiron football is a full-contact sport that requires durability, speed, and precision. One of the primary skills required of quarterbacks is to be able to throw the football far with precision accuracy.
- George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. There is a myth that a young George Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River which is more than a mile wide for much of its length. Or alternatively that he would throw rocks across the Rappahannock River which was about 300 feet wide near George's boyhood home. http://kenmore.org/education/kidstuff/legends.html. He is also used as a throwing item to represent the likelihood of a thrower distance with an average human as the projectile.
- Pikachu is a species of Pokémon, and the mascot of the Pokémon franchise as a whole. Although Pikachu are not normally shown to throw things, the Super Smash Bros series shows they are perfectly capable of picking things up that do not significantly out-size them. That said, Pikachu is capable of throwing a wide variety of objects through the move Fling, which allows the user to deal damage by throwing it's held item (and, incidentally, a Fling TM). Its presence as a throwing item appears to reference the most recently released Pokémon games as of the comic's release, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let's Go Eevee, where the partner Pokémon of the respective title is not kept in a Poké Ball but thrown into battle when deployed.
- According to Pokédex entries throughout the series, the average Pikachu is 1'04" (0.4m) tall and weighs 13.2 lbs (6kg). Randall appears to have done his research, as a custom thrower with these stats and default athleticism will have near-identical results to Pikachu for both thrower and thrown item.
- Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian music artist.
- Thor is the god of thunder in Norse mythology, wielding a hammer that returns to its wielder when thrown. He is also featured in Marvel comics, and is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth (listed below) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series of films. Thor was previously referenced in 2097: Thor Tools.
- Chris Hemsworth is an Australian film actor, best known for his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- A squirrel is a small mammal of the family Sciuradae, known for hoarding acorns. Squirrels have been a recurring topic on xkcd, and have been used in What if? in lieu of a subject that Randall really doesn't want to draw. Due to their small size, a squirrel is also selectable as a throwing item.
- You (the viewer) may also choose to create a custom thrower, inputting name, height, weight, and general level of athleticism, as measured on a scale from "Black Hat" to "championship athlete" (a swimmer is pictured). The custom thrower is also selectable as a throwing item, presumably to provide more variety compared to the fixed values of George Washington.
- A microwave oven is a common household appliance in most American homes, used to heat or reheat food for consumption.
- A basketball is an inflated sphere used as a projectile in the sport of the same name.
- A blender is a common household appliance in most American homes, used to shred food or ingredients into a slush for consumption or baking.
- A gold bar is the form in which gold is cast for storage.
- A wedding cake is traditionally a layer cake used for wedding receptions with copious amounts of frosting and figurines of the bride and groom standing upon the top layer. The figurines appear to have been removed before the cake is thrown, as they are before the cake is cut and served.
- A ping pong ball is a small sphere designed to bounce, used as a projectile in the sport of table tennis or "ping pong".
- An acorn is a small nut which serves as a squirrel's primary form of nourishment.
- Thor's hammer refers to Mjolnir, an enchanted hammer in Marvel comics which can only be lifted, much less thrown, by those deemed worthy. In this case it appears to simply be incredibly heavy, though this is more to allow the custom thrower to make use of it instead of any sort of commentary on canonicity. When discounting the custom option, Thor is the only thrower to be able to throw Thor's hammer.
- A javelin is an aerodynamic polearm thrown in Olympic sport.
- A silver dollar is a silver coin representing one (1) US dollar in value. The coin is given two trajectories to choose from when thrown; spinning, as one would properly throw a discus, and tumbling, as might result from flipping a coin to make a decision. The spinning coin always goes farther than the tumbling one, since facing the air edge-on leads to a smaller area facing the wind and therefore less air resistance.
- A car is the most common form of long-distance transport in several well-developed countries.
Many of the items, even if technically possible to throw, may not be able to be thrown safely. For example:
- Depending on how the microwave oven is damaged when it hits the ground, it may still be able to appear to function, but no longer seal properly, and therefore leak dangerously high amounts of microwave radiation.
- Blenders have blades and glass. Even if no one is struck by the flying blender, the broken pieces would be hazardous later in they are not thoroughly removed from the ground.
- Cakes appear soft but sometimes have metal objects baked inside of them and therefore may be dangerous if they hit someone.
- Cars have gasoline and battery acid which may spill if a car is thrown.
- If a person tries to throw a squirrel, it might bite the person, which is very dangerous, especially because some squirrels have rabies.
Table of throw distances
|Item / Thrower||NFL Quarterback||George Washington||Pikachu||Carly Rae Jepsen||Thor||Chris Hemsworth||Squirrel|
|Microwave oven||10.32 m||7.76 m||N/A||3.67 m||181.57 m||6.15 m||N/A|
|33.85 feet||25.46 feet||N/A||82.65 rack units||1.99 football fields||138.40 rack units||N/A|
|Basketball||40.18 m||33.22 m||2.34 m||19.11 m||113.67 m||27.99 m||N/A|
|16.74 horses||19.54 smoots||75.90 attoparsecs||11.24 smoots||1.42 Manhattan blocks||16.46 smoots||N/A|
|Blender||16.58 m||12.45 m||N/A||5.89 m||333.25 m||9.86 m||N/A|
|9.75 smoots||40.85 feet||N/A||132.51 rack units||1.66 furlongs||32.34 feet||N/A|
|Gold bar||9.73 m||7.23 m||N/A||3.36 m||549.28 m||5.69 m||N/A|
|31.93 feet||23.73 feet||N/A||75.65 rack units||2.73 furlongs||128.11 rack units||N/A|
|Wedding cake||8.96 m||6.75 m||N/A||3.2 m||146.25 m||5.35 m||N/A|
|29.40 feet||22.14 feet||N/A||72.00 rack units||1.60 football fields||120.45 rack units||N/A|
|Ping-pong ball||11.8 m||11.63 m||9.28 m||11.25 m||12.53 m||11.41 m||4.95 m|
|38.72 feet||38.17 feet||30.46 feet||36.92 feet||41.10 feet||37.44 feet||111.37 rack units|
|Acorn||83.00 m||75.84 m||28.16 m||62.85 m||135.98 m||67.91 m||6.53 m|
|1.04 Manhattan blocks||0.95 Manhattan blocks||16.57 smoots||26.19 horses||1.49 football fields||28.30 horses||146.85 rack units|
|Thor's Hammer||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||19.32 m||N/A||N/A|
|Javelin||56.10 m||42.04 m||N/A||20.12 m||3028.75 m||33.09 m||N/A|
|23.37 horses||17.51 horses||N/A||11.84 smoots||15.06 furlongs||19.46 smoots||N/A|
|George Washington||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||136.65 m||N/A||N/A|
|N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||1.49 football fields||N/A||N/A|
|Pikachu||15.22 m||11.41||N/A||5.39 m||332.52 m||9.03 m||N/A|
|49.94 feet||37.45 feet||N/A||121.18 rack units||1.65 furlongs||29.63 feet||N/A|
|Spinning dollar||177.09 m||143.96 m||16.91||92.63 m||1331.21 m||115.89 m||2.20 m|
|1.94 football fields||1.57 football fields||9.95 smoots||1.16 Manhattan blocks||6.53 furlongs||1.45 Manhattan blocks||71.41 attoparsecs|
|Tumbling dollar||58.17 m||53.77 m||13.92 m||44.08 m||84.82 m||49.03 m||2.14 m|
|24.24 horses||22.41 horses||45.67 feet||18.37 horses||1.06 Manhattan blocks||20.43 horses||69.42 attoparsecs|
|Squirrel||58.64 m||46.92 m||2.92 m||25.44 m||256.54 m||38.50 m||N/A|
|24.43 horses||19.55 horses||65.71 rack units||14.97 smoots||1.28 furlongs||16.04 horses||N/A|
Table of distance units
- This is a table of other distance units and their length in meters.
- All the units shown here are listed in the Wikipedia articles List of humorous units of measurement and List of unusual units of measurement.
|Unit name||Length in comic||Explanation|
|Atto-parsecs||0.03086 m||The parsec is a unit of length used to measure large distances to astronomical objects outside the Solar System. A parsec is defined as the distance at which one astronomical unit subtends an angle of one arcsecond. One parsec is equal to about 3.26 light-years or 31 trillion kilometers (31×1012 km) or 19 trillion miles (19×1012 mi). Atto- is a unit prefix in the metric system denoting a factor of 10−18 or 0.000000000000000001. Together the two unit exponents will almost cancel out, as 31 trillion kilometers can be written as 3.1×1018cm, meaning that an attoparsec is 3.1 cm. The unit is only used three times in non-customized settings: once for Pikachu and twice for the squirrel. It is used for lengths from 1.06 to 2.69 meters.|
|Rack units||0.4445 m||A rack unit (abbreviated U or RU) is a unit of measure defined as 1 3⁄4 inches (44.45 mm). Mainly used to measure the overall height of the likes of 19-inch rack frames or the equipment put in there. It is used for lengths from 2.69 to 6.67 meters.|
|Feet||0.3048 m||One foot is defined as 0.3048 meter. In customary and imperial units, the foot comprises 12 inches and three feet compose a yard. It is used for lengths from 6.67 to 16 meters.|
|Smoots||1.7000 m||The smoot is a nonstandard, humorous unit of length created as part of an MIT fraternity prank. One smoot is equal to Oliver Smoot's height at the time of the prank, 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m). Mr. Smoot was used to measure the length of the Harvard bridge (connecting Boston and Cambridge) by being repeatedly laid down along the length of the bridge; the markings indicating distances in smoots along the bridge have been maintained by the fraternity. The smoot is used for lengths from 16 to 36 meters. While the smoot is a nonstandard unit of length, Oliver Smoot has been chairman of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ANSI and ISO are among the world's main standardizing bodies, so Randall may indirectly be making the pun that while Smoot's body isn't a standard measure Smoot has been in charge of bodies that standardize measurements.|
|Horses||2.4 m||The length of a horse varies a lot with the horse type, breed, age and genes. In the Wikipedia article on horses the length of a horse is not even mentioned, only the height and weight. But Randall has used horses for measurements before. A horse length is approximately 8 feet (2.4 m). It is used for lengths from 36 to 75 meters.|
|Manhattan-blocks||80.0 m||The numbered streets in Manhattan run east-west, and are generally 60 feet (18 m) wide, with about 200 feet (61 m) between each pair of streets. With each combined street and block adding up to about 260 feet (79 m), there are almost exactly 20 blocks per mile. The typical block in Manhattan is 250 by 600 feet (76 by 183 m). When driving in a grid like city the Manhattan distance between two points is a concept, although it is also called Taxicab geometry. It seems like it is indeed the combined street and block distance. This measurement is used for lengths from 75 to 131 meters.|
|Football fields||91.44 m||An American Football field is 100 yards or 91.44 m long. It is used for lengths from 131 to 201 meters.|
|Furlongs||201.168 m||A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and U.S. customary units equal to one eighth of a mile. It should thus give that one furlong is 201.168 metres. However, the United States does not uniformly use this conversion ratio. Older ratios are in use for surveying purposes in some states. Only Thor's distances are given in furlongs. The unit is used for distances of 201 meters up.|
|Light-nanoseconds||0.0299 m||The light-nanosecond was popularized by Grace Hopper, referring to the length light could travel in a nanosecond. The actual length of a light-nanosecond is 0.299 m, about a foot long, but it seems that Randall was off by an order of magnitude. This measurement is used for lengths from 1 to 1.06 m.|
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- [As this is an interactive comic, not all possible text should be given in this transcript. Also it is not possible to see all the different throwers or objects in one image. This transcript here includes only the text that can be found when loading the page, without changing the thrower or object (the default), but also includes the text that can be found by scrolling in the two select "windows" as that would be similar to a long comic where you need to scroll. For further differences that occur by changing the objects refer to a table of all combinations.]
- [A heading with a subheading is above a line, beneath which are a sentence, that is generated by the selections in the two windows beneath this sentence:]
- Throw Calculator
- This calculator implements the approximate throwing distance estimation model from How To Chapter 10: How to throw things.
- How far could George Washington throw a Microwave oven?
- [Beneath this sentence are two "windows" with a frame around them, one to the left and one to the right, each with a heading breaking the top frame. Each also has a scroll bar to the right, which allows one to scroll down through 8 different possible selections in the left window and 16 in the right window. There are two selections on each line. Each window's content is given here under their respective headings. Each possible selection is a drawing with a caption beneath it.]
- Select a thrower
- An NFL Quarterback
- George Washington
- Carly Rae Jepsen
- Thor, God of Thunder
- Chris Hemsworth
- A squirrel
- Select an object to be thrown
- A microwave oven
- A basketball
- A blender
- A gold bar
- A wedding cake
- A ping-pong ball
- An acorn
- Thor's Hammer
- A javelin
- George Washington
- A car
- A silver dollar (spinning)
- A silver dollar (tumbling)
- A squirrel
- [Below the two windows is the result of the animation that will happen when a selection has been made. An animation of the selected thrower throwing (or failing to throw) the selected object is shown, and the object's traveling distance is measured out both in meters (SI units) and in some other unit in brackets below. If the distance is not too long compared to the size of the object and thrower, then both can be seen, and in case the object is soft it may break from the throw.]
- [Clicking on "You" leads to customization options shown below.]
- Your Name
- ____You_____ [can be changed]
- 5.8 ft [number can be changed; ft can be changed to m]
- 160 lb [number can be changed; lb can be changed to kg]
- [Below is a scale showing Black Hat, the character depicting You, George Washington, and a person with goggles and a helmet. A marker is set at You, but can be changed. Below the characters are descriptions.]
- Black Hat: Moving objects around is for suckers.
- You: I'm in decent shape and have pretty good form.
- George Washington: I'm so good at throwing they made me president.
- Extremely High
- Goggles: I use a time machine to train for 36 hours a day.
- Champion Athlete
- [In the pre-selected version George Washington throws a microwave oven, which ends up several meters from him lying on a corner broken with its wire lying beneath it. The distance is given under the ruler along which the throw has occurred, with markings for approximately every meter. In this case there are seven steps even though the distance is above 7 meters:]
- 7.76 meters
- (25.46 feet)
- The comic refers to Thor as the character from the Marvel comics and movies (and other media), who is himself a reference to the ancient Norse god. In Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth.
- Thor's hammer, Mjölnir, bears an enchantment that prevents any living being from lifting it unless they are "worthy." This is reflected in the simulation by giving Mjölnir a mass of 2,000 kg.
- In-universe, Thor's hammer weighs 42.3 pounds.
- The option to customize your own character was added to the comic later.
- Due to a bug, the calculations for the customized person ('you') are incorrect when the mass is specified in pounds
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!