Talk:1190: Time

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Pretty sure we're just getting trolled with this one 04:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Can't tell if this is emo xkcd or trolling xkcd. Alpha (talk) 04:53, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Something seems a little fishy because the image url is different than normal. Bugefun (talk) 04:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Maybe the comic slowly changes throughout the day. Alpha (talk) 04:56, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh god, it does. Alpha (talk) 04:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
When uploading different versions of the image, use the naming convention time[iterationNumber].png. We'll compile all the images into one and display them as per Traffic Lights. Davidy²²[talk] 05:05, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, so the comic appears to be switching between two states here: between this and this. If nothing new happens, I'll get to clipping the comics together. Davidy²²[talk] 05:28, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Whoop, nope, this just came up. Is there more to come? Davidy²²[talk] 05:34, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, so a new one is posted every half-hour. Whoopee. Davidy²²[talk] 06:06, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
And there's a new one! Megan leaning back and looking up...
Well, the image changed, who has the time to make a script to catch the new images and compile them into a gif? Statharas.903 (talk) 07:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC) 05:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)It could be a reference to the old proverb " time and tide wait for none" Cueball and the girl could be waiting for the tide in the beach! (Just a guess) 05:11, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

This could be a cinematic custom to change scenes or to show the passage of time: fade to black (white) on Act I, come up on Act II. Get some popcorn during the intermission. -- Gerry (talk) 11:38, 29 April 2013 (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The picture does chance with time. The URL includes a changing timestamp that I can't decipher. Compare these two URLS (which have slightly different images:

Perhaps there is a way to hack the URL to view future images. 05:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I would also like to add that knowing randall, these are not the only images. For all we know, the image will still be changing in 5 years while a tree grows in front of them. My point is: Are the URLs hackable, or did he encrypt them? 05:33, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Likely there is a way to hack the URLs; they look like some sort of hash, probably a hashed timestamp. Of course, he could easily have added some salt to the hash, making it significantly *harder* to hack. But they're strings of a specific length, so it should be pretty easy to bruteforce it, fetch all the images, and then (maybe) reverse-engineer the sequence. *That* all depends on how many of them there are. 05:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Good god, do you see how many digits are *in* that hash? The sun'll have burned out by the time we've tested every possible combination of digits. Davidy²²[talk] 05:47, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It seems that the image is updated every 1/2 hour. 06:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Given that the images switch back and forth between other images already seen, and that the comic should be viewable in the future, it seems unlikely that it's any thing like a simple sha256 of part of the timestamp. I think it's more likely a function of half-hours and minutes (assuming we continue to get a new possible image every half-hour). 06:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The images do cycle, yes. But for some reason I have never seen the img where Megan is looking behind her. Also wouldn't it be difficult to show a sequential story (like the rising tide) if the previous images keep cycling ?

Hash appears to be SHA-256. I tried some obvious hashes ("1", "11901", "1190_1", "1190.1") to no avail. Maybe this is HMAC-SHA256? Also, I would suggest trying Unix timestamps. 06:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I've been trying to make educated guesses as to what's being hashed here: ... he could also be using hash(hash2(value)) which would be virtually impossible to crack. 06:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It's entirely possible that the "hash" is actually randomly generated. Just a thought. 07:03, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Regarding sha256. Its most likely some hash of a timestamp, but if he doesnt wants us to crack it, he would have prefixes a password.. sha256('secretcode17:30'). Im just saying, if he doesnt wants us to crack it, we most likely cant. I've tested all unixtimestamps from 1300000000 to 1364390334. Also "00:00" to "23:59", with and without the colon and a load of other formats. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Alright, this is probably not going to work, but I'm trying to exploit Randall's awesomeness here. Maybe he decided to take the time-stamps from the user? I don't know if that's even possible... That would then allow people in different time zones to obtain different images simultaneously. (What's the corollary of Godwin's law for a bunch of math-and-science nerds and relativity? Is there one?) Clicking the img src url on the comic's html page, give me this: : Never mind.. apparently others see the same image too.

Could he be doing this live? Monitoring the discussion on the net? Collaborative, crowdsourced comic-ing? Reminds me of those you-decide-what-the-character-does-next-and-flip-to-appropriate-page parallel plot novels. 07:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Let's just compare the two pictures and see how the bottom right changes, which I believe is water and they are indeed waiting for the tide. Statharas.903 (talk) 07:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm adding urls to pictures bellow, edit freely.
They change every 5 minutes, will try to keep track.

I have uploaded all the different images onto the wiki, in the order that they were revealed. To avoid needless duplication of effort, I'll put them up in the explanation page. Davidy²²[talk] 07:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

It just went back to the second image... 07:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

And now changed to something new.
The images do look alike, but they're all different. Thanks David. Statharas.903 (talk) 08:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
No..I checked the random string. They're exactly the same. In fact, now it's gone back to the second image. Again. 08:07, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Just found this JavaScript code embedded in the comic HTML source (Update: Reformatted to prevent eye-bleeding):

I'm no programmer but this looks important to me...

Moved it to pastebin, so it doesn't clutter the page so much. 14:22, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't really help. The script basically changes the image when something happens (probably some time passes, although it's possible there is more hidden there). WHAT image then appears is not directed by the script, but by the site. Specifically, the image displayed as first is taken from, while the script asks for ... which is, if you get correct "r", probably some json containing the image url. So, even if you hack the script, you will not get all possible urls. -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
... actually, given that the script part doesn't seem to do anything just now, it's even possible it's for later (ie, starts producing images when the correct time come). Or maybe there is a bug somewhere in the code :-). -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:27, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining. Why hasn't anyone posted this before? Could "location.hash" possibly have anything to do with the method used to generate the image hash key? Also, why is this code so difficult to follow (Obfuscation?)? So many questions... Sorry if this is just a huge waste of Time.
location is the URI of the page. location.hash is the part of the uri after the # character. If you go to, you'll see some debugging output in your browser's debugging console (Firefox: Web Console or Firebug, Chrome: Development Tools). But nothing to decode the algorithm... :-( -- 10:01, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't know what's doing it, but there's definitely some script (probably this script) that's refreshing the image automatically. I left the comic open for an hour or so and noticed the image had changed. I refreshed with #verbose in Chrome right before the 30 minute mark and got the following in the console.
connecting to event source: time07.min.js:1
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"832a7f13ca0fadc46e93475bb617d78211e32c81c3af0e289a51f8f149707759.png"}", lastEventId: "e2992bf0-9557-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"} time07.min.js:1
waiting 0 seconds before displaying comic 832a7f13ca0fadc46e93475bb617d78211e32c81c3af0e289a51f8f149707759.png time07.min.js:1
Resource interpreted as Image but transferred with MIME type application/octet-stream: "". time07.min.js:1
s {type: "comic/time", data: "{"spread":5,"image":"847265673986f085460bf1a95b96f7171bcd9a4f1f0a598b2188307d03bcfaa3.png"}", lastEventId: "79580fe8-9558-11e2-8001-1c6f659cb250"} time07.min.js:1
waiting 4 seconds before displaying comic 847265673986f085460bf1a95b96f7171bcd9a4f1f0a598b2188307d03bcfaa3.png time07.min.js:1
connection error i {type: "error"} time07.min.js:1
Resource interpreted as Image but transferred with MIME type application/octet-stream: "".
The script seems to poll the server every minute or two. It's different from before, where the image server itself redirected to the correct image. The auto refresh was probably always intended, but not quite ready when the comic went live. It may have turned out to be necessary too, so the image server doesn't have to do all the work. 14:45, 25 March 2013 (UTC) 09:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Moved to pastebin. 14:34, 28 March 2013 (UTC) --Johnsmith (talk) 22:51, 25 March 2013 (UTC) --Johnsmith (talk) 23:10, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me or or did Randall manage to make all of us perform a Denial of Service on, and ? seems much slower, and I keep getting "500 Internal server error" when accessing this site ( I guess that's the effect of having everybody hit F5 every few minutes :) 11:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Earlier today, the server handled all the image redirections. The script you see above went through several mutations (currently at #8), with each mutation it seems that Randall is adding more servers and trying to split the load between them. This is basically how a bot-net works - we all run code written by some evil genius, and he's changing the code as time passes to serve some hidden purpose. 15:44, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

If he is using us as a botnet, then maybe the next comic will be something alluding to that.
Probably like this:

When I saw this comic last night and that there was no explanation up, I thought to myself "How zen." I figured that Randall was going through a calm streak before throwing us the utterly ridiculous April 1st comic. Did it come early, or does he have something even bigger planned for us? 07:05, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, did you miss the bit where this comic updates every 30 minutes and all the server error messages being caused by the massive traffic to both the wiki and the main xkcd website? Davidy²²[talk] 07:08, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, when I said "last night" and "no explanation", I implied that I wasn't aware of that at the time, which is why I thought what I did. Of course, it is now "now" and there is an explanation, so that should answer your question. Also, since it's not April 1st, and Randall has consistently released something major on that day, the jury is still out, leaving my question quite open (though I was really only asking for opinions). 07:20, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

wanted to add an image to the list above, but didn't know at what timestamp to add it, got 69085b480cb82911b19fe8f114909756989eed89b0d227db0f59c1843de7ba24.png at 2013-03-26 09:47 CET (UTC+0100) /Puggan

The hours denote the time since the initial release of the comic. The page is still a work in progress, we're going to bring that all into one image file soon. Davidy²²[talk] 09:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

This site should seriously consider cloudflare, it's perfect at times like this and takes minutes to set up. I run all my sites through it and it saves a lot of page huts and bandwidth. Pyle

Or at least make the main page a static page that refreshes every so often. I'm guessing that most of the traffic is going to the front page with not as much traffic to the actual comic page Odysseus654 (talk) 15:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Some of the images on the wiki (looks like time38.png through time48.png) are slightly different than what is on the main site. The lines are slightly thicker, as though someone did them based on screen captures. Royce (talk) 14:37, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, at least we have the hashes so they can be re-retrieved, so nothing is really lost, right? Should we add links to the original? Odysseus654 (talk) 15:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I uploaded two of the "thicker" images and one of the "regular" ones, and I did the same thing for all of them: right-click->save-as. Given that the "thick" ones are all clustered together, I think the files on the xkcd site changed. Druid816 (talk) 18:21, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Story so far: linky Odysseus654 (talk) 19:30, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

I guess we shall find out in ~10 minutes if Randall is trolling us. 04:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

... so that's it?

Did I just miss something or we've all been epically trolled for 48 hours? 04:22, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Motherofgod, no, he's *still* going! Davidy²²[talk] 05:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

What makes you think he's done? 04:25, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm still waiting for the water level to drop precipitously... and then for red spiders to run over everything Odysseus654 (talk) 04:28, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, strip 1191 is up so I assumed it was over. I guess it's not. Until April's Fools maybe? 04:32, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

It is not over -- the image is still updating, at least it did for me Spongebog (talk)
Yes, it's not over. Last frame shows just a minimal movement of Cueball's head, but no doubt it's still ongoing. 04:49, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Given the fact the strips for the last 2 weeks have been comparatively simple, I expect Randall has been planning this for at least that long. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Considering the common theme with "today's" strip, anyone wanna guess that he's sending us a hex-encoded file over a really slow modem link, slated to complete April 1? Anyone wanna run "magic" over the hashes and see if they come up with a compression codec or something? Odysseus654 (talk) 04:45, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I liked this idea and crunched the hex data for 00:00 to 51:00 into a binary file ( Can't see anything resembling a file header, but that doesn't really say much. If this is compressed header-less data there wouldn't likely be any easily discernible patterns. Haven't really tried running the data through anything, zlib was one that came to mind but haven't tried it. I'm pretty shure it's not the seaside, but a lake - the water level is not changing at all.

Its probably going to loop back on itself, eventually, and repeat this way forever. 07:12, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

For those wondering about the Javascript behind this: I posted my analysis of the Javascript on the xkcd forums, and further de-obfuscated and annotated the code over on GitHub. Here's a quick summary though: it holds open a connection to xkcd's servers and listens for instructions and follows them. Those instructions are either "load a new image" or "reload the page". So, you don't have to mash F5, it will automatically update the image when they're available. We have no way to control how fast the images come or when they do, and it's quite possible for them to update forever. --Fiveofoh (talk) 06:41, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

This is a series of animation frames. I suspect they will only ever be shown once (based on the fact you can only get the current image, not previous or future images -- this is in keeping with the title, "Time", which passes and which you can't ever get back]. The filenames are UUIDs too long to guess, so somebody needs to start collecting the filenames here so that a proper flipbook can be assembled. Here's the latest URL: Go here to collect URLs:

We've kinda already been doing that. They're the big long filenames next to each timestamp. Davidy²²[talk] 09:06, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh my god it's game of thrones played out in 2D Evan Pyle

Is it just me, or do the last two frames look like someone just threw a rock at the castle? 14:20, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I believe it is the cannon ball that I have been expecting since they first started building castles. ChrisPUT (talk) 16:34, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Here's a bit of JavaScript to execute in your browser's JavaScript console. (Cmd+Alt+K on Firefox for Mac, for example.)

/* Collect all frame image URLs */
var images = [];'a[href*="/time"][href$=".png"]')).forEach(function (a) {

/* Create an image in the top-right corner of the screen */
var img = document.body.appendChild(document.createElement('img'));
img.setAttribute('style', 'position: fixed; top: 1em; right: 1em;');

/* Allow removing the image by clicking */
img.onclick = function () {

var texts = [0,51,169,174,322];
var delays = [0,1000,1000,1500,4000];

/* Cycle through the frames */
img.onload = function () {
	/* Pause a bit longer for the text frames */
	var idx = texts.indexOf(img.i);
	var delay = ( idx > 0 ) ? delays[idx] : 50;
	setTimeout(function () {
		img.src = images[++img.i % images.length];
	}, delay);

/* Start with the first frame */
img.i = 0;
img.src = images[img.i];

Jan! 09:22, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

---Thanks for the script!. Ctrl+Shift+J on Windows Chrome Shine (talk) 13:11, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

- updated script 'coz there are three text panels now. User schnitz 19:00, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

- updated script with another text panel 21:00, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

The one for the prior half hour (5AM - 5:30AM EST, 27 March 2013) is located at 09:26, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

And the one for the following half hour is located at 09:31, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Call me a paranoid, but I think this strip is all about 9/11:

  • If you read the strip number (1190) backwards, you get 09/11
  • This subject is recurrent on xkcd
  • As far as we have seen, there is a destroyed tower and they are rebuilding it
  • The next strip, following 1190 (or 09/11), mentions war against countries with large oil reserves but low military capacity. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I feel like that's kind of a stretch, I'm pretty sure it's just a story about a day at the beach.

If a new strip goes up every 30 minutes our time, and if each strip comprises of, let's say for the sake of simplicity, one minute in their time; to build the sand castle [frames 24-117 = 93 frames] so far it's taken almost 2 days our time, which would be about an hour and a half their time if each frame is a minute. Using my scale, an hour our time is 2 minutes their time, a day is 48 minutes, and our month is their 24 hour day. If we assume Randall plans to give us a 24 hour period from that world's time, and we use the minute-per-frame rate I made up, than we'd probably be looking at a month of images our time. I guess we'll just have to see how long he's got it planned to go on. -boB

Has it ended? All that's left is the sandcastle, and there doesn't seem to have been anything else changed on it for a few hours.

It's zooming out! When look at the gifs showing the frames in succession, the last 3 show the castle getting slightly smaller each time!

It's true! The most recent also shows the edge of another castle, leading me to believe it's part of some kind of sand castle contest, probably including some of xkcd's other recurring characters!
Weird, now it's not showing that, Randall must have put something up too soon.

A controllable version of the same comic is available at - slow/fast movement, pause, control back and forth. It also has the image # on the top left. Auto updating. 20:56, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Can you add on-screen buttons, so it's usable on phones and tablets without hardware keyboard? -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

looky here: 23:14, 27 March 2013 (UTC) That was a glitch on the server that revealed a future frame, but it has been corrected and that link is now a 404 not found. I guess if we want to see it in context we'll just have to "Wait for it." -- Bugstomper (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Well now we're back to that picture as the present frame. Racerdude09 (talk) 03:14, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Is someone gonna update the transcript to note them building a sandcastle, as well as the dialogue so far (consisting of Megan and Cueball saying goodbye to each other at No. 52)?-- 00:38, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else think that they're roleplaying Dom and Mal in Limbo? Fry-kun (talk) 05:36, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I think they're bulding a sand replica of King's Landing for the Game Of Thrones season 3 premiere -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My first idea regarding the sand castle was also about Game of Thrones, but i dismissed it as being too biased.. -- 13:31, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I have modified the code "/* Collect all frame image URLs */" to see only images of the "Frame by Frame Breakdown" section :

/* Collect all frame image URLs */
var images = [];'#Frame_by_Frame_Breakdown').parentElement.nextElementSibling.nextElementSibling.querySelectorAll('a[href*="/wiki/images/"][href*="/time"][href$=".png"]')).forEach(function (a) {

(Sorry for my English... and the ugly code...) -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Anyone else think this is going to be related to Wed's cartoon? I'm half-expecting Black Hat to show up from the future, with advanced weaponry, to take oil from the sandcastle of the past. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Guys, i think we might have lost a few frames in between, no? When did he upload the first image? like, the exakt time... knowing this we could calculate the amount of images there should be and compare to what we have... Caranhyas (talk) 18:04, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

The four comics from 89:00 to 90:30 (most recent so far) look the same to me, but the PNG files have different CRCs for the image data blocks, though the metadata in the PNG files are all the same. I wonder if there might be something subtle hidden in the images, or the way they're compressed. 22:54, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

There is a very minor difference in the water level on those images, even though the water level has been static in most of the other images. 02:05, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the title text is a reference to anything except for... wait for it... THE MONGOLS ;-) 23:00, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Unless the 99:30 image was misnamed, it's not included in the list of images. Does anyone know where this frame went? Bob 14:18, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Is that rain in two recent panels? Larry (talk) 14:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)r

Can someone identify for sure what Cueball is doing in 105:00? His arms seems to be crossed, and his holding something in his hand. mem (talk) 14:30, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Looks to me like he is shivering, which would allude to a cool down common with rain storms? Jeremy1026 (talk) 14:51 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Looks to me like he's brushing sand off himself; see the shower around him similar to her hair at 10:00? 03:07, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Megan just wheeled in a trebuchet! This is going to be fun! 16:34, 29 March 2013 (UTC) Now she's launching a rock. I wonder which tower it might hit. March 2013, at 17:08. Flew over the first two and might impact far right tower if it continues. 17:48

I think this is all an elaborate 'joke' which will keep running until Monday - April Fools' Day Joncaves (talk) 17:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Re explanation of hour 110:00. My first thought was "How can a person whose face is an empty ovoid look upset?". However, looking at the image again I can see how it does. Respects to Randall. Possibly an April Fool, but I will be even more impressed if it runs beyond Monday. I'm waiting for the tide to come in. jasq 23:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I googled some hashes. The first two seem to show up here, in a directory tellingly labeled "wait":

The "wait" folder there contains hashes that weren't found in the database and might or might not someday be discovered. They are probably there *because* someone was looking up hashes to see if they were common words. 23:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

To review, the first two are: 8eb156cce408df8bb83528382d6a2aa2ce6c74f3c573fd12b058cd1c56420672 1e349a579b5f9b5ed487ddf7e88244b70330941ddedac9c6abf6ed2e3f589b97 Googled the third one, but it only shows up on xkcd discussion forums :( Hashed some of the hashes, but didn't see the result in the list, so it dosen't look like a hash chain. Someone should google all the other hashes, and someone else should figure out what the guy in the "wait" directory (presuming it wasn't Randall) was hashing. --Venal dwarf (talk) 21:37, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Comparing all the filenames to the hashes on that page, I found a total of four that overlap. The first two, as mentioned. But also one from the middle of day 1, and one from the end of day 1.
00:30 - 01/00:30 - 8eb156cce408df8bb83528382d6a2aa2ce6c74f3c573fd12b058cd1c56420672.png
01:00 - 01/01:00 - 1e349a579b5f9b5ed487ddf7e88244b70330941ddedac9c6abf6ed2e3f589b97.png
12:00 - 01/12:00 - a3aa116efca3c01d8a64c0c7e79158dc8a62241aba767064e3a6c724cc5ade93.png
23:30 - 01/23:30 - 1da3859627430022485c53ad90e88e8771b2bec2d60e910b59ef332325bba29f.png
--Venal dwarf (talk) 22:36, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
There is a fifth one also, from 01:30 - e25be2dd49fe9f33c3543cdf640b67e0f2146cc576db5da007a135a278e524ee.png
I converted all 1153 hashes in the file to lower case and did a wget on them but it did not turn up any files from the future. Bugstomper (talk) 05:31, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Is Randall training us like Pavlov's dogs - every 30 minutes we are compelled to refresh the web-page? Joncaves (talk) 01:59, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone have an opinion on how we should continue naming the saved timeNN.png files if the updates do not continue on the half hour? Right now the link for the skipped update 242 got renamed to the nonexistent time242NA.png and the next update's link is time242.png. But what do we do if the updates are changing to once per hour? By the way it does look like the next half-hour update has been skipped too. -- Bugstomper (talk) 05:57, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

It does seem to have gone hourly as of midnight EDT. I stuck in "NA" as a placeholder since I wasn't sure what to do with the files, and wanted to make it clear that the half-hour updates were skipped in case it goes back or changes in some other way. Maybe start naming them by the time, instead of sequentially, e.g. "012200.png". If the pattern holds, the "no update" lines can be removed. (Or both might make more sense, like "time243-012200.png".) 06:08, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm partial to timestamping filenames for stuff like this. I have this zsh line running right now:
while { : } { wget -O "`date +"%Y-%m-%d %a %H%M%S"` Time .png" ; sleep 30m } 
(I was wishing for a convenient way to use the server-side timestamps, 'till i noticed that it's always 2013-04-12 Fri 09:05'38—which i'm guessing is the script's mtime.) 08:28, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Anyone else getting a 404 error with the latest image ( Joncaves (talk) 15:19, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Strange: As far as I know always redirects to the current frame. But if you visit the current one (133:00) at and check the displayed image, it says 'c6976fbb244af4fc2286ffe3ac2cf78d408c1f610ecd71e18b4a677a048f084d.png' while time.png redirects to '1d9ce7199935b1b629d6b8744e62c7700a3780357b2dc74bb70471db616ddadb.png'. If you take a md5 of both images, they appear to be the same.

I was confused by this as well, I'm grabbing the images myself via time.png and got the 1d9ce7 hash. How will these duplicates be displayed in the table?Lockyy (talk) 17:48, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm seeing some strange stuff now. I have a script that uses wget of time.png to get the redirected hash png like Lockyy is doing. And I can verify that when you go to the 1190 page in the browser you get a different hash. But the previous hour and this hour, unlike the ones before it, the two hash pngs are different. And when I refresh the screen in my browser at the 1190 page, first I see the image I get from time.png, then the image refreshes with the other one. I'm not sure what this means or what we are supposed to do with it. I added the time.png hashes to the table for the last two hours but we probably need a way of indicating the difference. -- Bugstomper (talk) 20:38, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

This latest hourly update did the same thing. If you are fast enough you can even get the first image in your browser by right click view image before it changes to the second one. I edited in something that shows that. It probably could stand some reformatting by someone with better graphic design sense, but at least right now all the information has been captured. - Bugstomper (talk) 21:18, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Looking at it some more, I see that wget of the page at gets you an img link to time.png and then there is the javascript that must after some delay get the different hash url image. That means that we had better be sure that we do not miss any manual checks of hourly updates because the scripts will never find that second image unless someone has a way of getting a script that runs the javascript as if it was a browser. As long as someone posts the hash of the image from the browser every hour, I can ensure that we have the hashes the scripts can get because I have a cron job checking for those updates every 15 minutes. -- Bugstomper (talk) 21:49, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
And with the update for day 06/18:00 it appears to be back to normal, one consistent image per update -- Bugstomper (talk) 22:22, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Just if somebody else wants this, i hacked a little bash script to download all images to the current listed here. It skips already downloaded images so it can be reused later when more images are here.

curl -s |
egrep -o  "/wiki/images/[0-9a-f]/[0-9a-f]{2}/time[0-9]*.png" | 
while read url; do
    imgname=$(basename $url)
    printf -v target "image%03d.png" ${id:-1}
    [[ -e $target ]] && continue
    echo $target
    curl -so $target$url

-- 18:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

To ease waiting times:

This is awesome. I love the internet. --Jeff (talk) 19:15, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I've offered up own explanation. The obvious metaphor is how time continues to flow and things change when you’re not watching. And how this could be a conceptual art project that could continue the rest of our lives... 19:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC) Lawrence Person

Correcting your link: my own explanation -- 20:49, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
This comics may not really continue forever unless Randall will put some sort of repetition into it. May not be simple loop but something more sophisticated, but still, images shown up to now doesn't show any kind of repetition yet. -- Hkmaly (talk) 12:28, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

anyone else notice the water is slowly rising? not unlike a tide (depending on the time scaling implemented? perhaps a flooding river (as might correspond to the mention of a river)? 18:08, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

I checked your claim that the water is rising, and I agree. Good catch! I measure the rate at about 1 pixel per 25 frames starting at about 100 hours. Though a more careful look could surely refine that estimate. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I measured the water level with a ruler. The water will take another 20 days before reaching the sand castle if rising at a constant rate. 01:27, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Oddly this contradicts the text, which says that the river is going down: "Any idea where the river is now?", Cueball replies "Still pretty far out. It actually retreated a little this week." --AH

"It's *still* pretty far out". I think this means that it's getting less far out. 07:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
"It actually retreated a little this week." ~~dang

This comic has been running and updating so long I think perhaps it is a sand castle creation/destruction program that autonomously lets the two indefinitely build, destroy and rebuild new sand castles all the time… 09:55, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe. We don't have enough data to say that for sure yet. We just need to "wait for it". 10:07, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I think numbers in "As of this writing, it is still updated after more than XXX hours - even after Y new, different comics were posted on the front page" at the top of the page should be calculated using {{#expr}}. I changed it for number of comics, but I have no idea how to calculate number of hours since it was posted.DiEvAl (talk) 11:15, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

When Megan coughed and Cueball asked if she was okay, did anyone else think of Lanes? Cueball explains that cancer treatment results are not known until much later, "and often the first sign is a cough or a bone pain. So you spend the next five or ten years trying not to worry . . . ." ~~wrybred

I don't want to be a downer but this is just my interpretation thus far. I hope it is a happier theme but if you are correct wrybred, my further explanation would be the following... I think that building sandcastles is an analogy for living their life. Going for a swim in the body of water and the cough could represent the start of the cancer or possibly some time where they had to go out and "wade" in the possibilities of what cancer could mean. Time passes and Cueball says "I don't think we can build it much taller than this. It's been fun, though" which represents that they believe they have done as well as they can with the lives they have been given. They comment on the river retreating even though we the audience observe a body of water on the right hand side rising could represent how we can be fooled into believing things are going alright when in reality they are not. The reference to not understanding what the river is doing also fits this explanation well as someone with cancer may occasionally feel confused about their illness. Presently while I write this they are possibly preparing for a flood which represents the return of the cancer. If I were to guess what is next I might guess that they will watch as the flood comes in and destroys some of what they built but it is better than not having made the sandcastle in the first place. I could be way off, but Randall has given us a lot of TIME to think about what this is all about and your mind wanders. I also would note that this may not be about a particular cancer story, just any cancer story. Nhoel (talk) 13:51, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Could Cueball and Megan be building a European city, as it evolved, was damaged and remodelled where 1 day of strips is 100 years? Maybe Cueball is curretly remodelling Notre Dame de Paris or Westminster??? If so, it should get interesting around day 17 17:34, 4 April 2013 (UTC)rbnm


# Assumes you have a complete set of numbered PNG images in a
# directory called "./images". (See the script above) Makes a
# directory called "./cropped" containing N images that are 1 pixel
# wide by 395 pixels tall, each of which contains the second to last
# column of one of the input images.  Finally, concatenates all those
# images into montage.png, which will be Nx395 pixels and can be read
# as a graph of water depth over time.

mkdir -p cropped
rm cropped/*.png
for i in images/*.png
    f=`basename $i .png`
    convert -crop 1x395+550+0 $i cropped/${f}_cropped.png
    echo $f

montage cropped/*.png -geometry 1x395+0+0 -tile x1 montage.png

echo Wrote result to montage.png
Codegardener (talk) 21:00, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

He's making a mini-version of the whole sandcastle on top of the mound! You can see the two turrets on the left and the mound in the center!

They're inside an hourglass! ;) - Filippo

i believe that he made a fractal version of the scene atop the middle sandcastle... are we going to have an infinite zoom for a bit (or maybe forever?) - ck

Maybe it's some sort of reference to Model Rail where Cueball ends up with multiple model railways in his basement...-- 13:14, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Since it hasn't been brought up yet; reference to 878, this is Nesting, and there are FOUR visible layers.
- "It's the second rule of 'model train layouts': No Nesting." (Strike and replace with the building sandcastles.)
- "Whats the first rule?", "Do not talk about ... That rule was actually voted in by our friends and families.", "Philistines"
Drifter 19:26, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Actually did bring it up, which is why I believe they're building a large trebuchet. Bdemirci (talk) 22:09, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you Bdemirici &, sorry for the duplicatation. Now which came first... the coment or or the comic, 77...'s reference came before the center structure gained its malformed parapets. Drifter 10:38, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Whoa -- big change in scale, zoom in on Megan holding a mini trebuchet at about 5 pm central time Friday the 5th.-- 22:20, 5 April 2013 (UTC)--~~

A tiny trebuchet for use on the tiny turrets? Megan is kinda awesome. --Druid816 (talk) 22:32, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

I think she should "outgrow these toys and focus on something practical" ;-) DiEvAl (talk) 22:59, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Looks like they are re-enacting the trebuchet incident on the mini-castle. AH -- 23:53, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Meta-physical time again: "I don't understand what the sea is doing" - wasn't it a river earlier? Is it a different sea? The river of time maybe? Where is Randall leading us? Joncaves (talk) 03:09, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm thinking it may have to do with the title text from this comic.
I think it's obvious. They're not on a beach. They're on a recently exposed portion of the river bed. In time the river will come back and engulf the whole area. 10:16, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I have redownloaded the 199:00 image based upon the hash here and it does still say "river", so Randall hasn't adjusted the "past" to fit the "present"... Mark Hurd (talk) 05:50, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
I've read somewhere that they are not on the beach. They are on some sort of a boat covered with sand. First they were in the river, and now they reached the sea. DiEvAl (talk) 14:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
So if they are on a boat then it isn't the river/sea that is rising it is the boat that is sinking (or having more weight added to it). Joncaves (talk) 18:35, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
It's pretty obvious to me. They're on a beach with a river running through it. Yes, beaches sometimes have rivers in them. And also, rivers that run through beaches tend to be very unstable and to move their bed all the time, because of the fact that it's running water through loose sand. That's why they talk about the river moving. 08:04, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
This comic. -- Zuffelnok (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
xkcd Time Catapult done correctly -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Man, you have just too much... wait for it... time! Caranhyas (talk) 16:34, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Just so it doesn't get lost, these are the last 2 hashes I've seen: e3e8169439be717a5661dba80cca623330516d87749f5c5bd83d4a4aae19b89a.png, a2c0f3ed4be680f5b794f0137a55af8704598a2105e1eff5fce750b07800c19b.png

Are they building a giant trebuchet? Another zoom out maybe? Bdemirci (talk) 05:13, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I love how Randall is reacting to the discussion here. Is it a sea? Or a river? Let's have Cueball drink from it to clarify ;) Blue Charizard (talk) 09:42, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

It could be brackish water ... and I have seen some fresh water rivers I definitely wouldn't want to drink from Joncaves (talk) 15:10, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
So this tells us 3 things:
1) It's likely a sea.
2) This comic, or at least a script (not in a programming sense) for it was very likely made by a human. So it's not randomly generated. We already knew this, but now it's confirmed once again.
3) Randall is still working on this comic, or at least he was some time after he started releasing it.
DiEvAl (talk) 16:51, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I think by tasting the water Cueball was preparing himself for the inevitable - the water is going to continue to rise and nothing they can do will stop it: they are going to drown. This strip is about the slow, inextirpable, approach of Death - and this isn't the Death from a Terry Pratchett novel. Joncaves (talk) 20:29, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Between the 376th and the 81st strip it can be noted how much the water has rised. And I've noted how there's no wind in the beach (river's mouth?), the flags don't move and the sea has no waves. Don't know if there's a meaning there. --Yinosanchez (talk) 21:18, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
I think you shouldn't compare it to frames before about 220, because that's where zoom changed last time. Also it looks like it will reach the castle in a day and a half from now.DiEvAl (talk) 22:17, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
The likely implication of the lack waves etc is that they are in an estuarine environment, where the rising tide may not have a bore at all. This might explain a few things, like the reference to a river, the strange behaviour of the sea, and perhaps might explain Cueball tasting the water (to see if he could determine the saltwater content). Eeijevs (talk) 22:34, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
Megan's reaction to getting the water in her mouth (cough, pffthh) and Cueball's are pretty similar ... call me crazy but I think there's something weird about the water beyond its salt content ... -- 04:20, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
And 2 hours after I said that, Megan built something right next to the water. I wonder if this was a coincidence... DiEvAl (talk) 09:34, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
It is, of course, a damm to buy them some time. :-) -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
It wouldn't work as a dam in a 3D universe. It would have to extend infinitely in z to act as a dam. Then again, there's also no good way to support a platform with two posts. 20:24, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Can someone please move the list of images and their hashes to another page? Randal is showing no signs that the images will stop anytime soon. 22:32, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I understand the sentiment, and considered at least commenting out the future tables, but this page does not need to be changed when the latest frames are uploaded, only when the hashes are added, and those of us still keeping the live XKCD page open do find it easier to just open the last few frames missed when looking away or sleeping.
I do wonder if the wall of text is worth reducing by actually making the hashes a link with something like "Direct link" as the text. Is anyone still attempting to generate the hashes? Mark Hurd (talk) 05:10, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I went ahead and made all the tables collapsed by default. If the comic continues beyond another couple of weeks, I vote for moving them to another page. --Druid816 (talk) 06:44, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
If the comic ever comes to an end, we could clear out the archived hashes and put all the image links into a multi-column table. The hashes are only really useful to editors trying to upload new images, they don't really add that much to understanding the comic. Davidy²²[talk] 10:29, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Just a theory. On Friday, April 19th at 00:00 there will be 1200 images in the comic, at the same time the strip 1201 of xkcd should be posted on the site. I'm guessing that will end it. (UPDATE: Math is wrong, was still counting half an hour updates. Sorry about that. The numbers will match on May 2nd at 6 in the morning, nothing special there.)--Yinosanchez (talk) 18:27, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps it is about global climate change? "The sea is rising." and now they are building a very tall structure to cope with this ?AH -- 01:54, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Actually, looks like they're building a boat!!! 10:04, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
This is in no way close to a boat, look at any shipyard, that's not how you build a boat! -- 10:25, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
It is how you build an observation deck, though, or an airport control tower. And if you have the lumber to build such a structure, you could much more easily build a raft. So it's not like they're in any real danger of drowning when the tide gets higher. - 20:40, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

It could be a raptor-proof tower .... not seen any of those in XKCD for a while -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Looks like that small tower that Megan added in 500-502 is acting like a levee. The water outside it is higher now (569) than the water inside it. I can't imagine it'll help much, though. --Mlv (talk) 20:40, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Graph of water level over time Codegardener (talk) 22:10, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

It appears that a couple of frames (4 and 427) get revisited a couple of frames later:

md5sum -b * | sort | uniq -w32 -D 04:16, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Has it slowed to once every 2 hours for new frames? -- 14:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

For some reason, over the fast few hours the image wasn't automatically updating, and I had to refresh the page to see it. Now it looks like the image and static data XKCD servers are down... at least for me. 03:50, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Looks like everything's back to normal. Fortunately, the aubronwood animation page has correctly captured the frames that I missed (although it had a few duplicates during XKCD's weirdness, it's fixed now). 15:20, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I haven't been able to retrieve anything since 23:40 EDT. Larry (talk) 06:05, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone else considered the relationship of this comic to John Cage's musical composition "As Slow As Possible?" Taibhse (talk) 07:08, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I did, in upstream link. (talk) 00:34, 17 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
It surely can't be a coincidence that the comic released the day after this comment was all about John Cage, can it? DarthCrap (talk) 10:15, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed that. So who is trolling whom here? This group, or Randall? I would love it if he set up a foundation to keep this cartoon updating for the next N years, where N is the time backwards from this year to some particular early machine, ENIAC or Babbage's Analytical Engine or the Jacquard loom or the abacus, or whatever. (Refer to how the foundation sponsoring the Cage piece got their 639 years.) Taibhse (talk) 08:02, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Another intergenerational project at Taibhse (talk) 08:59, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Just wondering, could the river/sea conundrum have anything to do with and the original accompanying text "Don't ask me why there's a river running through the ocean. Please."? Blue Charizard (talk) 17:45, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Notice the last couple of frames have begun to show waves in the rising sea. (Frames 627-628) Taibhse (talk) 07:32, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

How could a small hill of sand stopped the entire sea. The world might be two dimensional, or Randall might have wanted to gain some time but it doesn't make much sense. (talk) 12:06, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Seriously? Ok - time to review the physics of hydrostatic fluids, folks. Depth is the only variable in calculating fluid pressure. Whether its a bucket or the ocean, the pressure at any given depth in a fluid is the same. A small hill of sand can stop the entire sea. Waves, however, are another matter... Uglystick (talk) 14:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
A small hill can stop the sea if it extends infinitely in the Z axis, otherwise the sea will simply flow around it. The other alternative is to encircle the castle with it, forming a moat, but then we wouldn't be able to see the inside. So this can't be a normal 3D universe. Lending some weight to the 2D or nearly 2D nature is that the first platform they put up was installed on only two posts. But the platform itself had width. Maybe they're stuck between two panes of glass like an ant farm. 15:15, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
A 2D world would also explain why the structure they're on can stand. It's an imperfectly 2D world though; it's been mentioned below that a pole should in theory stop the water easy. I guess it has some 3D realities to it, i.e., a wall should stop water, but a pole shouldn't. (talk) 19:18, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Water depth is increasing quadratically? (Probably not, but it looks nice on the graph so far. My current guess is that it's a sine wave that will peak out at 103 pixels.) Codegardener (talk) 15:18, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

I think in the end it's about what you build up during life and how "the time" washes all of it away, eventually (talk) 16:05, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

If this were a 2D universe, wouldn't the best course of action be to bury one of the poles directly at the water's edge? That way, like the small sand hill, the sea would have to rise to the very top of the pole before it would flood the remaining sand structures. (talk) 16:33, 16 April 2013‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Just a remark: Frame 458 (time458.png on this page, or hour 337:00) is corrupt, i.e. it deviates from the original that can be retrieved via the hash address. Probabely it was a screencap rather than a direct copy - someone should reupload it.. Oh and the structure on the poles is definitely the mighty Randall's Arc (though it doesn't rain)... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Now they are 'building castles in the air' - dreaming of a future that will never come to pass? Joncaves (talk) 11:43, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Why should building castles in the air be harder that building farm in clouds? -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:37, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

The bucket on the pulley used to be carrying just sand. Now, if I read the situation correctly, it's carrying something that's heavier than Megan, so she can't use the pulley (or, possibly, anything else) to pull it up. Lead? Depleted uranium? Dwarf star remnant? 15:06, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Seems to me like she was trying to raise herself up in the bucket, then lost her balance and collapsed part of the middle castle when she fell. - Acrisius (talk) 15:39, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
That probably makes a little more sense than "dwarf star remnant". 16:09, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Especially considering that dwarf star remnant loosely placed on ground would fall through it. Even if the ground would be armor-plated. Unless it explode first. Hmmm ... this may be good question for the what-if - what will happen if you put dwarf star remnant with size of apple on ground somewhere on earth? Or neutronium? (What happens with black hole was already explained when LHC started.) -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:20, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

My favorite episode from the Batman TV series was one where the Riddler gave Batman a nonsense clue which contained a surveillance microphone. He'd then eavesdrop on what Batman “deducted” his next coup would be, and he made it happen. Seeing how the discussion here does seem to affect the events in the comic, I wonder if Randall is pulling a Riddler on us. Just as an experiment, I thought I'd mention that it's odd there are no seagulls at the beach ;-) 16:49, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I like the way that the sea/river/metaphor is now slowly eroding the base of the tower on the right. Also, where are the fish ;-) Eeijevs (talk) 21:15, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
I like how the erosion of the castle is accurate [1].--Deplicator (talk) 11:11, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Aquaman?--Druid816 (talk) 23:06, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Still no seagulls! Taibhse (talk) 09:09, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

We seem to be missing time 561 from Wednesday? Jillysky (talk) 13:20, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

And at the moment 599:00 and 600:00 are duplicates. I don't know if something happened (or didn't happen) then, or if the above issue is still being processed. Mark Hurd (talk) 18:00, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Fiiixed Davidy²²[talk] 00:47, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

In the frame-by-frame breakdown, the "Image" field simply gives the time in hours, while the "Time" field gives the time in days+hours. It would be helpful if the "Image" field instead gave an ordinal number indicating the number of frames (e.g., this would help to correlate the Transcript on this page with the frame numbers here. The current "Image" field need not be deleted (I personally prefer time in hours to time in days+hours), but it might be relabeled as "Time in Hours". Implementing this would require some use of scripts, and would be best if adopted by the person updating the frame-by-frame breakdown in the first place. 16:42, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

If it's helpful to you guys this text file gets created automatically [2]. I admit it had some problems in the beginning but I think they're all worked out now; it's been adding for days now without any problems. I know you cannot see line numbers in the browser, but if you copy and paste the whole lot into an editor the line numbers are 1 higher than the corresponding png frame.--Deplicator (talk) 01:44, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

When the server had a problem one image was 100 minutes late, and another was 50 minutes late. Because of this there was a file between time682 and time683 that wasn't posted here (time683 should have been time684), and many files after that are displayed here an hour before they should have been displayed, with the wrong filename. It also affects as I had got many of the files on there from here. I am currently trying to correct this. Patzer (talk) 03:01, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I think it's now fixed. Patzer (talk) 03:59, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Anyone have the slightest prediction on how many frames this Time series will last? 07:44, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Sure, it will be exactly 42π! ... or rather e42? Hmmmm… Trofobi (talk) 08:52, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
5,601,594 images if he follows the John Cage time frame, and maintains hourly changes; plus/minus one or two depending on the fence-posts. -- Taibhse (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think we have seen the profile of various famous castles come and go, but nobody has identified any of them. 17:51, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't see anything obvious, but the second castle (revealed by the zoom) looks a lot like
and now the castle she is working on begins to resemble the Taj Mahal...Taibhse (talk) 20:00, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, not so much, now. Taibhse (talk) 20:50, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
It looks like Hogwarts.-- 21:36, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I wonder if this could be building up to an all black panel for April 22. 09:07, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

I just setup an own cronjob which checks the image hash periodly and writes them to a list when its changed: It checks every 10 minutes so it also should notice if the interval changes --Stummi (talk) 09:12, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

The castle on the top appears to be the Disneyland Paris castle ( Galois (talk) 21:46, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

...which is a rip-off of Neuschwanstein castle: - still both don't exactly resemble the one in the comic.. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm guessing that the water will keep rising indefinitely, and we'll be left with an upward-moving strip that occasionally zooms out as the bottom layers are very slowly filled in with black "water." One thing that would make this interesting is the varying heights of the constructed structures (sandcastle turrets, platform, etc.) which would make the process of "overflow" from the right-hand side interesting to watch. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Oh the symbolism of it: Cueball leaves, Megan finishes building their castle, rests and lets her guard down. The next thing to happen is, a cute girl walks in, sees what the two have built together and leaves. The very next frame, the castle starts to fall apart.

I'm expecting the lower level-castle to be swept away by the water, while the high-level castle will remain intact. This is quite reasonable, assuming Cueball and Megan knows how high the flood will come and thus they built the platform to an appropriate height. It may be interpreted as the lower-level castle being the work of our life, which is inevitable finite, and will be eventually overtaken by death. Recognizing this, some choose to build a castle for the "after-life". Life-death reflections have been common on xkcd in the past as well. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The pace at which the water is rising has begun to slow. I think it's just a regular tide, and it only has a few more pixels to go before it begins to ebb. Codegardener (talk) 14:49, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

I call cancer. The tide slowly increasing, the castle threatened, the upper castle... I don't know, it just all gives me that impression. -- 09:02, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I have to hand it to him though. He has entirely captivated all of us. I can't help but check every day (as opposed to every MWF) to see how the story unfolds. Many thanks to geekwagon for keeping me up to date! Puck0687 (talk) 14:26, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me, or are the last 4 images missing? I don't know how often this gets updated, if it's still manual at all, I may have did bad calculations with timezones, but at least the current image isn't there. 19:39, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure this page is updated manually, so you'll have to wait for someone to update it. Nothing has been missed though. If you want to keep up to date, I suggest using one of the links under Explanation>Related Stuff, especially the aubronwood link. Those update automatically. 20:54, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

For me, this is clearly about cancer and the impacts it has on a relationship over time. Randall's now wife was diagnosed and treated for cancer recently and through this comic, he's trying to portray the anxious wait they faced through treatment and remission. He has put us into his shoes by keeping us waiting in suspense to see how things end up. The passing of time represents their life together. At first it's just them relaxing together, probably the dating phase. Soon they start building a life together, represented by the sand castle. The castle evolves over time, much like their life has. Difficulties and gaffes in their relationship are depicted, for example when cueball trips and breaks down part of the wall. Eventually all efforts are diverted and put into defending against the approaching sea, which represents the cancer. The wall, the platform, all represent the steps taken to prevent and/or prepare for it's impending progress. The river represents the cure for cancer, which is still pretty far out, as cueball mentioned. There are many many more clues I see and explanations I can give to support this idea (castle in the sky, the rain, progress with research, etc.), but this is just starting point. I'm excited to see where the comic will end up, but I guess we just need to "wait for it". --Nick (talk) 21:25, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

You make a good case, and much of the dialog supports that interpretation. Many of us must have been thinking along the same lines. A couple of points...there doesn't have to be only one meaning for the symbolism. Also, there doesn't have to be an "end."
The John Cage connection also seems obvious.
I have been struck by the similarity (and difference) to the Engineers in "A Mote in God's Eye." Innate engineering ability combined with naivete.
I am confident that Randall knows there are literally thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds?) of fans out there giving them moral support and good wishes. Hmm...I wonder if readers are personified by the little girl? Probably not. Taibhse (talk) 22:50, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

The cancer metaphors are quite intriguing, but my take is environmental, possibly pollution and global warming. The French girl (beret) could be a nod to the Disneyland Paris castle. If so it’s our first interactive feedback with Randall on the 1190 strip.Galois (talk) 22:42, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Environmental pollution is tied to cancer incidence. Taibhse (talk) 00:18, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Global warming was suggested by
Cueball: Sea level rises and falls, right? It's changed before.
Megan: Not this fast.
I don't know about the beret; Beret Guy has been a recurring theme. Just search xkcd for "beret." But never on a little girl? Taibhse (talk) 23:26, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm taking it that "sea" is a phonetic substitute for "c," "meaning "cancer." For better or worse, this kind of phoenetic clue was used in the Batman movie: Batman: Pretty fishy what happened to me on that ladder. Gordon: You mean, where there's a fish, there could be a Penguin. Robin: But wait! It happened at sea! See? "C" for Catwoman! Sigh. I wish I knew what "river" and "rain" represented. Medicine, maybe? 23:03, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Medicine isn't supposed to make the "C" grow. Just the opposite.
And on that note, back when I was working in "Muppet Labs" there was a great little book of cartoons circulating in the lab titled "CDC." Sample: "CDC?" "ICDC. DUCDC?" "O,ICDC2!" Skiasaurus (talk) 05:06, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Nothing at all to do with the zombie comics from the actual CDC. But there's the disease theme again -- the CDC.
And what programmer could miss the reference to "C." It gets tangled, which is the best way to do symbolism. Quantum-alphabetic entanglement. Taibhse (talk) 00:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Well, I don't know if the intention here is that the "river" is making the "sea" grow. My point is that the dialogue is so nonsensical at points that it seems to be code. I'm taking every noun as a metaphor for something. "Sea" being "cancer" seems to fit ("The cancer can't make more of itself forever, can it?") I guess go back through the dialogue and see what other words could substitute for what they're saying. Like I said, I don't know what "river" or "rain" or "ground" could be in this metaphor. 00:56, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Or "sand." This sand has some rather remarkable, not to say marvelous, properties! Taibhse (talk) 03:08, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

If it's true this represents their struggle with cancer, this strip might very well continue into the future, updating alongside her real-time cancer progress, possibly for years, hopefully not for mere months. Randall knows how this will end no more than we do. 23:49, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Guys, if a new frame comes out and it's not uploaded yet, please consider uploading it yourself in the correct time slot. I'm trying to keep up, but there's always 8-hour gaps in our archives every time I go to bed. Davidy²²[talk] 00:33, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I automatically download all frames as a base for my tide measuring script and I've closed lots of the 8-hour gaps every day. Now at least someone else is doing it, too and I currently can't see any gaps at all. Thanks alot for the collevtive effort! --TreibAir (talk) 07:41, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe a baby on the way? Waiting for the unknown tide to roll in (in 9 months)? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think this is the last day. It's been exactly a month, they seem pretty done with it, and tomorrow's friday....On top of that, the most recent comic was the flipping of a switch on a time machine, in which, something happened, but we don't yet know may be that the "Time" comic is being refreshed. ...Just a thought.... 03:20, 26 April 2013 (UTC)Luke Wah

The time machine, once switched on, reversed time to the point at which it was switched on, thus switching itself off. It doesn't seem to be connected to this. ~ Anariston

I'm still hoping they'll suddenly ride in on a tidal wave and smash the entire structure. You know, for closure. ~Pixie

I expect that from now on (Friday April 26th 2013) there will be no more story and the sea will erode the castle until nothing is left (most likely software generated). Maybe Cueball and Megan will return someday, walk to the shore, sit down and, after a while, start building a castle... Jacx 11:56, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Starting at frame 895 the black started fading to white, I think. 12:03, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Yup, You're right, it's clear when you turn on the difference feature on geekwagon 18:02, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any fading to white -- we're on frame 905 now and everything looks as black-and-white as usual. O.o --Therrufying 21:06, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Ah, ETA: I see fading now, but only after frame 910 in the Aubronwood animation. I guess it just wasn't visible on my old computer screen until now. --Therrufying 16:36, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree - the water has started eroding the castle to the right, and it makes sense for the erosion to potentially loop the comic back to frame 1. That said, the title text was "wait for it". This could be a euphamism suggesting "keep waiting, this comic changes", but it does have an implication that there is a "finale" to the comic that you should wait for. Hard to tell as it's vague. TheHYPO (talk) 13:54, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

The most recent event is Megan walking in, saying "bye!" in *lower case*, and leaving. From the lower case, which is different from the rest of the comic, I infer that she was talking to *us*, not (eg) herself or the sandcastle! I reckon it's just going to fill up with water until the page is a static black rectangle. Especially since she and Cueball just talked about going off and exploring, grabbed their bags, and left. -cosmogoblin 13:57, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

I suspect the small text was to show a "small voice" - talking quietly and sadly perhaps? It does look like this could be the end of the story though - the last few frames don't seem to have done much after the "fade" in frame 895 - Hippyjim 15:15, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the small voice. The sea level is still rising, and interestingly, the sand barrier on the far right is eroding on *both sides* -- not just the seaward side, as previously. Changed properties of the sand or the sea, or both? I think the comic from here on is just going to be erosion. Entropy always wins. :( ~Therrufying 18:02, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
The "both-sides" erosion is normal and realistic. If you haven't noticed, the water is on the left side of the embankment for some time already, look at the smooth horizontal line of black pixels between the rightmost castle tower and the embankment. The water just seeped through the sandy embankment and soaked it and starts to erode it. 01:25, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
The large pile of sand never did form a barrier to the sea. Taibhse (talk) 06:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes it did; Megan's first barrier worked like that, the one she built after Cueball tasted the water. It didn't let in the sea until it overflowed. That was around frame 660-663 (in the Aubronwood animation). --Therrufying 16:36, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Um...that's what I said. The /large/ pile of sand didn't ever act like the /small/ barrier.  :) Taibhse (talk) 18:29, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, it may have been what you /thought/, but it wasn't very clear from what you /wrote/ that you were actually agreeing with me and not with the previous commenter. Sorry for misunderstanding. --Therrufying 13:31, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

14:00, 26 April 2013 EDT image is Kaori Emora (talk) 18:39, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

It's just about over: the picture is fading out now. 22:47, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe it's just that a large moon is finally rising. That could affect the sea (and the light.) Taibhse (talk) 06:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me, or did the sea/river started to rise faster since the picture started fading to white? -- 14:58, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the time between frames is constant. Some consecutive frames, like the ones featuring the trebuchet (212-214), are less than a second apart.-- 18:51, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Does the ladder and railing look like the axis for a graph? Is this a graph of people or area affected by water rise due to global warming - as a function of time? 15:58, 27 April 2013 (UTC) rbnm

That's...a bit of a stretch. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Alpha (talk) 17:44, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I've logged the fade panels (8-bit r=g=b) by image #, where image# 895=hour 774. 895-0,896-2,901-4,906-4,907-8,908-8,909-10,910-10,911-12,912-12,913-15,915-15,916-17,917-18,918-20,919-20,920-21,921-23,922-23,923-24,924-26,925-29,926-30,927-31,928-34,929-37 The fade appears to be accelerating. Galois (talk) 20:47, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Someone should extract alpha channel from pics, make graph from it, and try to find functon that approximates it 21:26, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't have a web page to share plots, but here's the poly fit. Starting with time 774 as x=0: it's [3.6647e-4 x^3 + 2.4545e-3 x^2 + 0.5396 x + 0.4184] up to time 810. Galois (talk) 22:36, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Time 811 - the black color stayed the same at 41 (r=g=b), 812-46, 813-48, the poly is now [4.4605E-004 x^3 - 1.5824E-003 x^2 + 0.59043 x + 0.33353]Galois (talk)

It's fading to white a lot faster now than the sea is rising. Unless something else happens, I'd say it's all white by tomorrow. So, maybe if one source of entropy doesn't get you, another will. 12:54, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

The fade rate poly is now [7.912739E-004 x^3 - 0.018842 x^2 + 0.794901 x + 0.09838], and is still on the same progression. At this rate, the panel hits 255 (full white) at 09:00 UTC, 4/29/13. Wait for it. Galois (talk) 14:24, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Do you know what the frame number will be when it hits white? Randall's pretty close to an even 1000, I'm wondering if he's engineered it to turn white for either 1000 or 1024. --Mynotoar (talk) 20:20, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I believe it'll be filed as time966.png.--Druid816 (talk) 20:52, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Beret Girl at 950! Bdemirci (talk) 18:18, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Just wanted to let you guys know (since you are the most hard core of 1190 fans), you can do this now (talk) 19:32, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Updated projection: fade to white (rgb 255) at image # 967 (10:00 UTC) Galois (talk) 23:18, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Just an afterthought, a meteor hit directly on the sand castle would let Randall go out in a blaze of glory. I hope beret girl is OK.Galois (talk) 23:27, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Seems like the story is not going to stop with total fadeout: image is still readable, as what was black is going to be 100% transparent (and probably still black), and white is still opaque. Maybe geekwagon page owner (or someone) could add a feature of removing alpha channel? --Electrichk (talk) 08:47, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

The early 80s song Fade to Grey from the band Visage comes to my mind. Memories of what happened start to fade over time and get more and more pale. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Again, if you're awake and the frame for the current hour hasn't been uploaded yet, please upload it yourself. I am doing the brunt of the work right now, and I am not available 24/7 to get the latest frame up. Davidy²²[talk] 10:37, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

969 (+848) is completely blank on my LCD. I also cannot see Beret Girl in (967 or) 968 corresponding to +847 that User:'s edit suggests. I can see Beret Girl using's Paint with Black and White trick. This does include 969 which is otherwise actually monotone on my LCD, even on a great angle. Mark Hurd (talk) 13:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Try viewing the comic from an extreme angle. I was able to see the Beret girl in 967+968 by tilting my screen forward on my laptop. You can't really see it otherwise. If that fails, use Photoshop or look at the diff functionality here. 969 is completely blank to me. 13:20, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Wait, I got those numbers mixed up, I think. 968 and 969 have Beret Girl in it, you just need to view at an extreme angle to see it. 970 (+849) looks blank to me, but there's still something there. The scene uses RGB 254,254,254, which is why it doesn't appear at all on my screen. You can reveal it using the diff or a smart selection tool in Photoshop or the like. 13:28, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, using the diff function on is probably the easiest way to see it. She seems to be dragging something (looks like a canvas?) into the scene. But I can't see frame 969 (let alone 970) on geekwagon, the last frame there seems to be 968, and it appears completely white on my monitor without the diff view. -- 13:46, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Just copy the image to Paint and set the image property to Black & White. All non-white (255,255,255) pixels are set to black (0,0,0) and the image is revealed. 13:35, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
NB With Chrome, copying the image from xkcd [3] or here File:time970.png (+849) with right-click -> Copy image looses the detail. You need to get the .png into Paint for it to work. Copy image URL and Paint's File > Open will do it. Mark Hurd (talk) 14:10, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

OK, *now* it's completely white (as of day 36 10:00) Larry (talk) 14:08, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

And [4] (972 +851:00 36/11:00) was missing for a couple of minutes... Mark Hurd (talk) 15:07, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

And now there is an image again (frame 971/972)! Looks like slightly uneven black ground under a white sky. Wow, I really thought that was it when it faded to white. Cool cool cool. --Therrufying 15:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Hmm... we gonna see a guy floating in a barrel?? -z64dan 15:56, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

And now we're off to see the wizard!! This is great! A comic within a comic! Taibhse (talk) 17:23, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't see this as a comic in a comic -- I see it more as act 2 (after the fadeout of act 1, with the stage crew jumping the gun and being caught on camera heading on stage to change the set). Theoretically, this second act can be as long as the first one -- The Quest for the Source of the River/Sea. (Hmmm, that reminds me of the song "River in the Sea" from the musical Ten November, a 2 minute sample available at Meteoricshipyards (talk) 18:18, 29 April 2013 (UTC) Tom A.

By "comic within a comic" I meant that not only do we await a new xkcd installment several times a week, but now we also have a single panel (1190) with an ongoing story. This is even better than Click and Drag! Taibhse (talk) 19:10, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Just wanted to say: I don't think the beret girl is a girl at all. It's a boy with an old-fashioned navy-style cap. Popular with boys at the beach (in the old days). See images here ( and here ( I also like the fact that, just before the castle completely fades away, you can barely see the little boy bringing more materials (maybe another support beam?) to continue the work. I like the continuity of letting the beret boy (not girl)

Wether it's a navy cap or not may be open to interpretation (though I'd still bet it's a beret - it surely looks a lot more like the one the beret guy wears, and I think Randall would have put a little more effort into that detail if he wanted it to pass off as a navy cap). As for it being a boy, no. It's definitely a girl, you can clearly see it has a longer hair, and come to think of it, Randall rarely draws any hair at all for male characters anyway. -- 23:36, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I am hoping that this "Time" somehow connects to the "Click and Drag" comic i.e. when the camera zoom out far enough, we'll see that they are actually in the "Click and Drag" world. -- 23:59, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Odd, it looks like +861, +862, and +863 are out of order, judging by the ground not changing at all and the characters not walking continuously. I wonder if that was an accidental mistake in XKCD server's delivery of the images or if there's an actual meaning to it. 02:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

During the last glacial period the sea level was more than 100 meters lower than it is nowadays, so coastal structures looked very different and the continents exposed much more land. I believe the first act of this comic references medieval ages in Europe where people would witness (over the scope of hundreds of years or longer) losing land and coastal towns to the sea but not understanding the process, as Megan states. I'm expecting the second act, and possibly further acts, to reference the abundance of scientifical discoveries made during the last few centuries. 12:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)