702: Snow Tracking

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Snow Tracking
I suppose thats more accurately a hare dryer.
Title text: I suppose thats more accurately a hare dryer.


This comic is a guide to recognizing various animals by their footprints. However, the comic typically detours into strange, ridiculous or pop-culture-referencing footprints.

"Moose and squirrel" is a reference to the cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky and Bullwinkle were a flying squirrel and a moose, respectively, and were frequently referred to as "moose and squirrel" by the show's antagonist Boris Badenov.

Longcat is a internet meme from pictures of cats all stretched out that make them look very tall (or long).

Mouse riding Bicycle is a reference to Ralph S. Mouse, a series of novels by Beverly Cleary.

The title text is a pun on the Rabbit with a hair dryer frame.

Legolas is a reference to the character by the same name in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books and movies. Legolas, as an elf, was able to walk on top of snow, while the other races in his party were forced to trudge through it.

The "Knight" panel is a chess reference, as the tracks move just like the knight piece in chess.

The two "Kid with" frames are a reference to the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. In it, Calvin would crawl in a cardboard box to do various things. When upside down, he pretended the box was a "transmogrifier" and could turn him into something else, in this case his tiger Hobbes, whereas when on its side, the box was a duplicator and could produce multiple clones of Calvin.

Prius is a reference to current events in which Toyota Prius's pedals have allegedly malfunctioned causing accidents. [1]

The final frame is the Higgs Boson which is an elementary particle which has recently been detected in the Large Hadron Collider.

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((Each panel contains an overhead view of tracks through the snow, with a caption indicating the apparent source))
[Standard paw prints through the snow]
[Large split-toe tracks and smaller rodent tracks]
[Cat prints, but with more space between the pairs of prints]
[Two similar careening tire tracks]
[Longer rodent tracks, with a large melted ring surrounding a point in the middle of the frame.]
[No visible tracks]
[Single deep holes with cratering]
[Round prints that suddenly turn to the right halfway into frame]
[Human footprints up to a square melting pattern, turning into animal prints]
[Human footprints up to a rectangular melted area, which are then doubled to another rectangular area, which are then doubled again up to another rectangular area, which are then doubled...]
[Right curve on a road, with tire tracks careening out of frame]
Out of Frame Garden Owner: MY VEGETABLE GARDEN!
[A series of spiraling and outwardly traveling lines extend from a point in the middle of the frame.]

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The title-text could also be a reference to Bugs Bunny, many episodes had such play-on-words as title. ("A witch's tangled hare", "A Feather in his Hare", "Compressed Hare", many more...) -- ‎Gegueure (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It could be mentioned that the Higgs signature shown is probably a Higgs->top anti-top/bottom anti-bottom->jet-jet signature, and most certainly not the clearest observed channel right now of Higgs->gamma gamma (as there is no neutral signature, which would be a track appearing some from the center, and there are clearly two jets to be seen). This is a difficult channel to observe, and is much more important in higher Higgs mass regions than the now observed, where b-bbar is present, but gamma gamma is much easyer to observe. 13:11, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Velociraptors are suspiciously missing from this comic... Just some random derp 19:18, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

I first thought of the Beverly Cleary mouse books too, but Ralph S. Mouse rode a motorcycle, not a bicycle. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Could it be a reference to Biker Mice From Mars? -- 08:05, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

I don't understand the knight tracks. They appear to move the same distance forward as they do to the side. Knights can't move like that.

The Higgs Boson frame is significantly different from all the others because it represents an image from a cloud chamber not tracks in snow. Brenda (talk) 09:15, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Which was is the bicycle going? There is a way to figure it out. Someone help 23:27, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

The Prius isn't a reference to dodgy pedals, but the drivers being horrible themselves. As you can see here, the car VEERS off the road. It does not brake, nor speed up.