824: Guest Week: Bill Amend (FoxTrot)

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Guest Week: Bill Amend (FoxTrot)
Guest comic by Bill Amend of FoxTrot, an inspiration to all us nerdy-physics-majors-turned-cartoonists, of which there are an oddly large number.
Title text: Guest comic by Bill Amend of FoxTrot, an inspiration to all us nerdy-physics-majors-turned-cartoonists, of which there are an oddly large number.


Bill Amend, author of the newspaper comic FoxTrot, draws for Randall in this special 'Guest Week' edition of xkcd. In it, Jason Fox, a geeky 10-year-old from Amend's strip, asks to draw comics for Randall. When Randall refuses, he uses the sudo command, used in Linux systems to perform an action as an administrator/power user. This forces Randall to agree. This is a reference to the very popular comic 149: Sandwich, which has now become a geek culture catch-phrase.

In the first comic, Cueball is making a pun on the word attractive. In the first context it means a person is "good looking" or "beautiful" which the (presumably) female character attributes to her hair. In Cueball's context, it means that he is feeling an increased gravitational pull from the woman, due to her increase in mass (see Gravitation). This setup is also very typical of the Jason Fox character, who, ostensibly ten, is supposed to be too young to like girls.

Werner Heisenberg postulated in 1927, his eponymous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which roughly states that in quantum mechanics one cannot know both the position and momentum of a particle. The joke is that Heisenberg's wife does not know the position of her keys, because she knows too much about their (the keys') momentum.

In many parliamentary and congressional halls it is customary, when calling an issue to vote to have the people who want the issue at hand to be passed to say out loud that they agree. The customary response to this is to say "Aye." The dissenters are then asked. Their response being "Nay." Then the volume (by rough decibels) of the assenters and dissenters are weighed. If it is close, a more formal vote may be called. "Aye" is pronounced as "I" and "i" is the mathematical value of the square root of negative one, which can be used to represent an imaginary number.


[Jason from FoxTrot is sitting at an artist's desk with a pencil, holding a phone.]
Jason: Hi, Mr. Munroe? I have a great idea! Let me draw some strips for you!
Mr. Munroe, through the telephone: Fat chance, kid.
Jason: Sudo let me draw some strips for you.
[There follow three strips. These will be separated by double new lines.]
[Cueball and Ponytail are looking at each other.]
Cueball: I find you more attractive than usual.
Ponytail: You do? Is it my new haircut?
Cueball: Actually, I think it's all the weight you've been putting on. Your gravitational pull is pretty severe.
[Cueball is now alone in the panel.]
Cueball: Just sayin'.
[Two people are in a living room. The woman is looking through a chest of drawers.]
At home with the Heisenbergs
Mrs. Heisenberg: I can't find my car keys.
Mr. Heisenberg: You probably know too much about their momentum.
[Cueball is standing on a stage, holding up a hammer. A crowd is in front of the stage.]
Why mathematicians should run for Congress
Cueball: All those in favor of the bill say "aye."
Congressman #1: Aye.
Congresswoman #2: Aye.
Congress–Mathematician: √-1

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isn't sudo used in any Unix system? so linux and mac108.162.216.62 23:29, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

From the last paragraph of the explanation: "The dissenters are then asked. Their response being 'Nay.'" I remember it being "No". In the US Congress a voice vote is conducted as follows: "Those in favor say 'Aye'..." ("Aye...") "Those oppose, 'No'..." ("No...") "The [ayes/noes] have it." --Troy0 (talk) 08:58, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Actually, it looks a bit more complicated than that. It appears that in the Senate, when a voice vote is called, appropriate responses are "yea" and "no," but for a role call vote, it's "yea" or "nay." In the House, the appropriate response to a voice vote is "aye" or "no," while a record vote merits a "yea" or "nay." Amusingly, for a so-called "yea or nay" vote (in which House members are called for voice vote alphabetically), the appropriate response is neither "yea" nor "nay," but rather "aye" or "no." Sources: https://www.senate.gov/general/Features/votes.htm and http://archives.democrats.rules.house.gov/Archives/voting_house.htm Orazor (talk) 09:04, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Why not add the links to other physics comics listed? -- Ата (talk) 09:54, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

Done this (as you could have), although I note that earlier FoxTrot is linked to the Wikipedia article: would it be better to link to the comic there? I didn't consider it necessary to link xkcd, but if this is done I think it should be to [xkcd | the explain xkcd article]. Also it may be worth linking the authors to their Wikipedia pages, but I think there's already enough blue text around. 14:39, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

For some reason, I think it's Wienersmith, rather than just Wiener. I might be wrong though. 15:26, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps this page should mention that it was reoccurring theme in Fox Trot to have Jason draw substitute comic strips for other well-known newspaper comics. This would be the first time his work was ever 'accepted'. 14:44, 22 August 2017 (UTC)