March 26th, 2013


An Amazing Event Occurring In Staggering Slowness

xkcd and Time

Long time readers will know of my love for Randall Munroe's web comic xkcd. Not only has it moments of pure silliness, math, physics and computer jokes, but how the heck does he manage to create poignant stick figures with emotions? Then there are his amazing tour de forces, which can be massive drawings or fascinating infographs. Great stuff and you should read him every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Since the start of yesterday's (Monday 25 March 2013) post, the xkcd forum has been going nuts. The comic is called "Time" and the mouseover ALT-text reads "Wait for it." Since I was in the middle of running some backups, I couldn't wait, but figured things would be happening later. And oh, were they ever. Even though it was taking hours for anything to become clear as the comic evolved slowly, one panel at a time every half hour. One poster on the forum called in sick to follow updates. Naturally, given the coding community, there were all sorts of attempts to suss out Randall's file name hashing to try to see ahead -- very funny stuff. And before the sandcastle appeared, people worried about whether the comic would be dark or not.

As of 12:30pm EDT, the Wikipedia entry describes:
Comic no. 1190 ("Time") began publication on March 25, 2013, with the comic's image updating every 30 minutes since midnight on that date. The images appear to constitute frames of a story, with characters moving (either slightly or not) from image to image. The mouseover text reads "Wait for it.", and the scene depicts a male and female character apparently building a sandcastle complex on a beach. No purpose or explanation of this comic has been made available.

We still don't know where this is going. There has been speculation about time and tides. About April 1st next week. How long it will run. I don't know.

But I'll be checking back.

One version of the whole thing animated, updating as needed, can be found here.

UPDATE 3/28Th: A faster slower animated version is here.

Four days running and still there has been amazing changes...

Dr. Phil