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Latest revision as of 17:52, 5 June 2018

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 2177 xkcd comics, and only 13 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Go to this comic explanation

Expiration Date High Score
"Wait, we've MOVED since 2010. How on Earth did--" "Look, some of us were just born to be champions."
Title text: "Wait, we've MOVED since 2010. How on Earth did--" "Look, some of us were just born to be champions."

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by someone, born champion. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon. EXP 20190721

Randall is introducing the rules of the game Expiration Date High Score hence the title.

If you find an item which you purchased, but is now past its expiration date, you get a score which is what percent of your lifetime elapsed between when the item expired and when you found it.

Megan, looking in a cupboard, find a can of beans that expired in 2010 (9 years ago), and that gives her a score of 24.3. Megan's age is thus revealed to be 37, found by substituting 2019 and 2010 into the formula. 100*(2019-2010)/37 = 24.324.

Cueball then remarks that she will never beat her moms Jar of Pickles that was from 1978. Megan then wonders if there are more cans (from 2010 or before) in the cupboard, and asks Cueball to remind her to not look any further until 2030. At that time the can would have been 20 years old, and she would be 48 given such a can a score of 100*(2030-2010)/48 = 41.6. That should thus beat her moms jar.

If her moms jar would have run out in 1978 (not clear from the text), and for instance was found last year in 2018, then the formula for the mothers score would be: 100*(2018-1978)/Moms age. And this should then not be more than 41, thus revealing the mother age to be around 100 years old today (98 last year). Of course the jar could have had an expire day some years later, or have been found earlier. Else Megan's mom should have been above 60 when given birth to Megan. Of course Megan could also just take this extra long wait in case the next can is not from 2010 but only 2013 etc.

Cueball's final remark is that this is a terrible competition, the worst ever. Because keeping food that can spoil could potentially be dangerous, if not so, at least disgusting when finally trying to get rid of it later.

Many perishable items, such as food, cosmetics, medications, batteries, or condoms, have expiration dates, or sometimes best by dates. The only other rule is, that it has to be something you have purchased yourself, so that heritages or stuff that was left in the basement when one moved in, does not count. A score of 100 or higher would indicate the item expired when you were born or before you were born, meaning it was already expired when you purchased it.

The joke is, that owning expired items without noticing for a long time, is here getting you a high score, while in reality it is not considered favorable to have food that has expired long time ago.[citation needed]

The other joke is both the items in the comic (a can of beans and a jar of pickles) do not go bad with time but in fact remain edible indefinitely (as long as the jar/can is not opened and is undamaged.)

Food going bad, in the sense that it will make you sick if you eat it, is most often caused by harmful bacteria growing in the food. Less often caused by fungi or yeast growing in the food and creating a poisonous substance, like methanol (wood alcohol.) The process of canning food involves boiling it to kill all possible pathogens, then sealing it in a can/jar while the food is still hot, with no air bubble. As long as this process is done correctly, as long as the jar lid has an air tight seal, and as long at the can is not punctured or gets a hole rusted through, no bacteria/virus/yeast/fungi can get in and the food cannot spoil. Some food may discolor over time in the jar/can, or the texture may change, but it cannot go bad in a way that makes it unsafe to eat.

Megan's mom does not have a jar of pickles with a 1978 expiration date because in 1978 jars and cans of food did not have expiration dates. Since then many countries introduced laws and regulations requiring companies to put expiration dates on perishable goods. In some instances this can have the negative effect of people throwing out good food by blindly following the suggested expiration date. This behavior can incentivize companies to adjust the expiration date, or put expiration dates on non-perishable goods, so that people will re-buy the products sooner.

The title text continues the conversation from the comic. Cueball remarks that they moved since 2010... Thus the beans were apparently bought while living in a different home, meaning they were moved along with their other belongings. This is somewhat unusual as many people take moving as an opportunity to go through their old stuff and get rid of things they no longer need. Since the rules clearly states that you have to have bought it yourself, it could not have been in the house when they moved in, they had to have brought it along (unless they later bought something that was already expired). But given Megan's final answer that "some of us were just born to be champions" indicates that she did bring it along, anticipating this game, and thus given her self a great score. And as is clear she is willing to wait 11 years to try to beat her moms score.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

[Title up in the panel] What's the most expired item you've found in your house? Calculate your Expiration Date High Score (must be something you purchased)

[Equation in a circle] Score = (year you found item) minus (year item expired) divided by (your age when you found it), multiplied by 100

[Megan and Cueball talking in a kitchen, with Megan holding a can.]

Megan: These beans expired in 2010! That's... let's see... 24.3! New personal best!
Cueball: You're never going to beat your mom's jar of pickles from 1978.
Megan: Maybe there are more cans in there. Remind me not to look until 2030.
Cueball: This is the worst competition.


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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk.

There are a lot of comics that don't have set-in-stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

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Please only submit material directly related to (and helping everyone better understand) xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.