2779: Exoplanet High-5

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 08:09, 10 December 2023 by Asdf (talk | contribs) (Transcript: Category:Exoplanets)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Exoplanet High-5
Tau Ceti is farther away, so it took me 36 years to start the war over updog.
Title text: Tau Ceti is farther away, so it took me 36 years to start the war over updog.


Up high, down low, too slow is a prank variant of a High five. In the comic, Earth has established communications with aliens living on Proxima Centauri b, the nearest exoplanet to Earth according to current knowledge, and Randall has taught them about a high-five.

Instead of physically slapping hands, the high-five is executed by transmitting messages, as in a Handshake (computing). The diagram in the comic is thus similar to a sequence diagram, one usually employed for describing network communication in computing. As the messages travel at the speed of light and Proxima Centauri b is over 4 light years away, the times in the diagram are measured in (Earth-)years. This is a very slow method of communication – a perfect setup for a "too slow" prank. We can also see that they are taking around 1/50th of a year (approximately an Earth-week) to cue up their considered response, yet clearly Cueball seems quite ready to respond in about half that time (though any quicker would get lost, and appear simultaneous, at the given precision of decimal places).

Having found this way of exchanging a high-five with aliens, Randall successfully pranks the aliens by sending the "too slow" message before their "Low-5" message can even arrive on Earth, and over an Earth-month before it actually does. This is similar to how, in the original prank, the prankster anticipates the provoked reaction and pulls their hand away after the victim started to move but before the "Low-Five" can taken place.

The aliens do not take kindly to being pranked and start an interstellar war, presumably intending to invade Earth. It is not known at which speed the Centaurians' invasion fleet travels and, therefore, when it will reach Earth. The scale of the fleet is also unknown, and with good fortune, it may again prove to be microscopic.

The title text refers to another prank, in which the prankster gets the victim to ask "What's updog?" This is usually done by saying a sentence or asking a question that contains the noun 'updog'. Should the victim of the prank be confused, they will likely ask for clarification as to what 'updog' is (i.e, "What's updog?") At this point, the prankster will then respond as though the victim had asked them 'What's up, dawg?', resulting in probable groans and embarrassment. More on the joke's history and prevalence can be found here.

Tau Ceti is a star almost 12 light years away. The exchange might have gone like this:

  • t=0y: Randall: Hey, do you think it smells like updog in here?
  • t=12y: Aliens: What's updog?
  • t=24y: Randall: Nothin', what's up with you?
  • t=36y: Message received, Aliens start war

"Updog" was previously introduced in 1696: AI Research. This is an example of a type of joke called a henway.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
  • t=0.0y - "Up high" message sent
Proxima Centauri b:
  • t=4.25y - Message received - discussion -
  • t=4.27y - High-5 reply sent
  • t=8.52y - Reply received
  • t=8.53y - "Down low" message sent
Proxima Centauri b:
  • t=12.77y - Message received - discussion -
  • t=12.79y - Low-5 reply sent
  • t=16.94y - "Too slow" message sent
  • t=17.03y - Reply received
Proxima Centauri b:
  • t=21.19y - Message received
  • t=21.26y - Invasion fleet launched

[Caption below the panel:]
21 years and 3 months after I taught the aliens about high-5s, the war began.

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


… too slow ;)

"I don't get it. What's updog?" 03:50, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Not much, you? --Lupo (talk) 11:50, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

isn't it usually spelled "high-five" -- 03:53, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Yeah - I don't understand what any of this has to do with sports nutrition. 08:37, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Izun tittus ually spelt hi-5 ? 06:24, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Considering how fond Randall is of portmanteaus, I'm surprised he didn't use the term WiFive. Villemoes (talk) 06:58, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

No reference to Up-Goer 5? Sad :( Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:31, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Clearly the aliens were upset that Randall did it wrong by missing out the line 'On the side' between 'Down low' and 'Too slow!' 08:41, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

The explanation states that “It is not known at which speed the Centaurians' invasion fleet travels and, therefore, when it will reach Earth.” It should be clarified that their speed is not known to earthlings (yet). The Centaurians most probably do know their own speed. Jacobus-nl (talk) 10:51, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Your own speed is always zero, of course. ;) Everything else outside your own current frame of reference will have a speed. Or, better, velocity! 11:32, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

So sad that Tau Delta has ligma. What's Tau Delta? Ligma balls. Fephisto (talk) 13:33, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

Can someone clarify the title text? What’s updog? /j 14:38, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

It's explained in the last paragraph of the explanation. It sounds like "What's up, dawg?" Barmar (talk) 16:46, 23 May 2023 (UTC)
Not much, dawg, what up witchu? Elizium23 (talk) 05:23, 24 May 2023 (UTC)
no fucking way 13:28, 24 May 2023 (UTC)

It will no doubt be the bloodiest battle since the Great Henway War. 14:58, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

This comic should have come out last month, around National High Five Day. Although this year it was on 4/20, and many people who might participate would have been too stoned. Barmar (talk) 16:54, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

So I came here because I was baffled that the rhyme didn't start as I learned it, with "Gimme five!" and then proceeds with "Up high!" but then, I was on the receiving end of this prank, so I eventually launched my own attack force on the playground. But the first Henway I heard, around the same time (mid-1980s) from my sister: "I know a man with snew in his blood." "What's snew?"... etc. Except when I tried that on people, they would just go "Dracula, right?" Elizium23 (talk) 05:23, 24 May 2023 (UTC)

When does a war start?

Doesn't the war start when the invasion fleet arrives on Earth, and not when it leaves Proxima Centauri B? Fatold (talk) 13:50, 24 May 2023 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing, but I think there is an argument that the war starts when it is declared, while the fighting or battle may start later. -FH 16:20, 24 May 2023 (UTC)
It can be argued whether it's when news arrives of the declaration. Though that should be ahead of the fleet (or simultaneous with it, de facto if not de jure).
It's perhaps more message than action for WW2 in 1939, or action than message for the US.
(For those who consider that the conflicts starting in 1931/1935/1937/whatever, and seemlessly became WW2 at some point up to or including 1941, you can hold to your own ordering of the requisite events.)
Though if the act of starting the war involves the assasination of some visiting figure who forms part of a line of succession (hereditary royalty or constitutional figurehead of any other kind) then the simultaneity of the role passing on to their successor is a question that might need addressing... 17:46, 24 May 2023 (UTC)

So, a possible timeline in days: Day 0. Up High message sent. Day 1551. Up High message received, and 5 days of discussion follows. Day 3107. Reply received. Down Low message sent next day. Day 4659. Down Low message received, and 5 days of discussion follows. Day 6184. Too Slow message sent a month in advance. Day 6215. Reply received- too late. Day 7735. Too Slow message received. Proxima prepares for war. Day 7760. Invasion plan finalized. Fleet launched. Addon: Day 9317. Earth starts preparing for war. Day 9360. Earth launches fleet. Day 129044. Fleets meet. All crew members deceased. Day 129668. Truce called by Proxima. Day 129971. Truce called by Earth. Day 131219. Truce accepted by Earth. Day 131522. Truce accepted by Proxima. Day 132662. Randall Munroe IX sends Up High message. Day 134213. Up High message received... 23:59, 24 May 2023 (UTC)


Did you notice that even if the reply for "Down low" had been sent immediately, it would have never got to Earth before the "too slow" message was sent? Trolling at the finest level. (talk) 13:07, 2 July 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

...yes, we did? "...Randall successfully pranks the aliens by sending the "too slow" message before their "Low-5" message can even arrive on Earth...". 17:01, 2 July 2023 (UTC)