Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Title text: As of this writing the NASA/JPL websites are still overloaded. Trying CURIOSITY-REAR-CAM_[256px_x_256px].torrent.SwEsUb.DVDRip.XviD-aXXo.jpg instead.
This comic is a reference to the NASA Mars Rover "Curiosity" landing on Mars on August 5, 2012 at 10:31pm PDT (August 6, 2012 at 5:31am GMT). NASA live-streamed the landing, but demand for the feed caused server issues. Thus, the time spent trying to download the landing images could be used as an excuse for things such as being late for work, falling asleep during the day, or just about anything demanding one's attention.
The image text is a reference to torrents, which are a more resilient peer-to-peer file-sharing method, due to the decentralized BitTorrent protocol, where the more people there are downloading a file, the more available it is. The name is a play on the file naming convention of release groups who name their files (typically for films or television shows) containing data on the file; source (CAM = Camera capture), language (SwEsUb = Swedish subtitles), source (DVDRip = Ripped from DVD), encoding (XviD = XviD codec) and group name (aXXo = aXXo, a well known DVD movie release group). Given that the filename is loaded with keywords that are irrelevant for a still image file, it is unlikely that this torrent will contain the expected pictures.
The first images received from Curiosity via the Odyssey orbiter were low-resolution thumbnails taken from the rover's rear-facing camera, thus the file name CURIOSITY-REAR-CAM_[256px_x_256px].
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- [The Curiosity rover is lowered onto the Mars surface by a Sky Crane.]
- Your excuse for anything today: "Sorry - I was up all night trying to download photos taken by a robot lowered onto Mars by a Skycrane."
I've already used that excuse today because I was up at 5:30 am (UK time) to watch it! Amazing. --SteveBell (talk) 11:50, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I think the torrent name may also allude to the possibility of ambush porn...? Zzyss (talk) 12:35, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- The following text was in the explanation, but was removed as vandalism: "Additionally, since this seems to be 256px_x_256px and has a "jpg" file extension it can be assumed that this is low quality image, not a video, and in all likelihood this is a reference to some sort of colonoscopy photo or something much much worse." Perhaps it has a point, but we could be seeing too far into it. --Waldir (talk) 15:59, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The presence of video-related data in the filename of an image (jpg) suggests it's a screenshot of a video. That, along with the Swedish subtitles, does seem to suggest that it is not in fact the mars lander "curiosity" but is perhaps an alternative "rear camera" that has been made available for people's "curiosity". --Mbread (talk) 14:21, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- There does seem to be a hint of a pornography reference in there.... --Jeff (talk) 16:01, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- Seems like if Randall tries that Torrent he's going to get a LOT more than he bargained for. --Jeff (talk) 16:02, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- The torrent itself, listed at http://isohunt.com/torrent_details/404794105/?tab=summary seems to have a baker's dozen files of black and white images that look to be "legit" and not pornography related. J-beda (talk) 17:52, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- So then what is the point of the title text? Is there no joke, and he's just sharing an alternate file in case others are trying to see the image?--DanB (talk) 17:58, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- It's quite possible that someone created the torrent after the comic was released. That would explain the unrelated name (DVDrip, etc) --Waldir (talk) 00:06, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
The actual filename for the first image is not as colorful :-) http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/673528main_PIA15971_full.jpg mem (talk) 15:33, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I think another part of the explanation is the sheer awesomeness of a robot lowered down to Mars using a Skycrane sending us photos that we can download. The way it's written it sounds like a totally made up excuse - and the joke is that it is actually true.
It is common for people to upload fake copies of popular files prior to their release on TV/Cinema - usually to try to get people download an ad-infested codec, or to click an ad-sponsored link. Often when they do, they fill the name full of keywords, so people searching for "aXXo" or "DVDRip" or "SWESubs" will find the dodgy release. I think Randall was making a joke about this, because that the file-name, suggesting a DVD Rip in xvid format, released by aXXo with Swedish subtitles is completely inappropriate for a .jpg file. XQx
) 05:24, 7 August 2012 (UTC)