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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
''Welcome to the '''explain xkcd''' wiki!''
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We currently have [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-3}}''' comic explanations]]. Come and [[List of all comics|add yours]]!
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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
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and only {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)}}
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({{#expr: ({{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)) / ({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9) * 100 round 0}}%)
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remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
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<span style="float:right;">[{{fullurl:1091: Curiosity|action=edit}} '''edit this explanation!''']</span>
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<span style="float:right;">[[{{LATESTCOMIC}}|'''Go to this comic explanation''']]</span>
 
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== New here? ==
 
== New here? ==
Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com xkcd] web comic, it should be here.
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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, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
 
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
 
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== 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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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.
  
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;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 posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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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.
  
 
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Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". xkcd comics, and only Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". (Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",".%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Houston
'Oh, hey Mom. No, nothing important, just at work.'
Title text: 'Oh, hey Mom. No, nothing important, just at work.'

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Incomplete. Why is NASA unengaged in the issue? What is the relevance of prioritizing a call from mom over an exploding manned space ship? Why is the anachronistic monitor present: is NASA less responsive now?
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

NASA mission Apollo 13 was intended to be the third manned landing on the moon. On its way there, however, during a routine stirring of the hydrogen and oxygen tanks, an explosion occurred that damaged the craft. Frantic efforts by Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center (located in Houston) resulted in the safe return of all three astronauts to Earth. Immediately following the explosion, astronaut James A. Lovell calmly reported to Mission Control: "Houston, we've had a problem" - a notable understatement which was famously misquoted in the 1995 film adaptation of the mission as "Houston, we have a problem".

A similar situation is depicted in the this strip (including the design of the spacecraft, the nature of the problem and the famous misquote), except with much less help from Mission Control. Although it's not clear if Cueball is only one person at mission control, or if he is only one of many, but upon recieving the message from the spacecraft, he seems fairly indifferent. Instead of attempting to resolve the issue, he mocks the crew for not knowing how to stir. He then blows the crew off in favor of a call from his mother.

In reality, Mission Control worked diligently and tirelessly to solve numerous problems such as if and how to adjust the spacecraft's trajectory, how to have the astronauts jury-rig CO2 removal equipment intended for the command module to work with the lunar module (to which the astronauts had evacuated) using just the equipment on board. and how to power equipment back up within strict limitations.

At first glance, this comic appears to be an "alternate reality" view at what could happen today, given technical customer service lines are notoriously un-helpful and/or staffed by people not well versed in the products they supposedly support. It is meant to contrast history with Cueball's (lack of) action. It leaves implicit the consequences of this inaction, for greater shock.

The monitor suggests he is describing what would happen today. The comic can be read as a commentary about your favorite objection to how the world has gotten worse: - NASA's quality issues in recent decades (and/or the funding cuts or direction shift contributing to same) - the perception view that millennials are less committed to work - the lack of national commitment to grand projects - the idea that we are "falling behind" in technical skills, causing Cueball to fail to recognize the seriousness of the problem - the objections by some to lack of governmental support for those in need - by others to the lack of individual commitment for the same

Similarly, it can be read as a parody of the idea that you are responsible for fixing your own problems, an old idea that is being used in many contentious contexts today.

In short, it seems a comic designed to provoke legitimate conversation and enjoyable whining.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Name for capsule? Also, descriptions need work.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
[The lunar lander and module shown with debris near by in foreground, in space with the Earth in the background.]
Lovell: Houston, we have a problem
[Cueball sitting In front of two monitors wearing a headset.]
Cueball: Cool.
Lovell: ...What? Houston, we stirred our O2 tank and it exploded!
Cueball: Sounds like you suck at stirring.
[Capsule shown from a greater distance, with Earth beside it.]
Lovell: ...Houston? Are you-
Cueball: Listen, I've got another call.
Cueball: Good luck landing your airplane or whatever.
*click*

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New 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, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

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.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

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, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

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