1973: Star Lore

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Star Lore
That one is a variable star which pulses every 30 seconds. Its name comes from a Greek word meaning "smoke alarm."
Title text: That one is a variable star which pulses every 30 seconds. Its name comes from a Greek word meaning "smoke alarm."


Computers, chargers, and other electronic items often have status lights in various colors. In a dark room, these lights appear as pinpricks of light, similar to constellations. Presumably, Randall's room has many such items. This comic may be part of the My Hobby series in the sense that his room doesn't really look like that, rather, he claims it does for humor value. It's also not clear whether this refers to Randall's bedroom (typical US usage of "my room" refers to one's bedroom) or some other room Randall spends a good deal of time in. However, since a bedroom is generally the only room in which one might spend significant time in the dark, it seems very likely this is referring to Randall's bedroom.

The comic's narrator is explaining how some of his lights remind him of stars, which gives him an opportunity to show off his knowledge of sci-fi trivia: "The Five Sisters" could be a reference to a pentagon-shaped constellation from Isaac Asimov's book Foundation's Edge, though it could not have been 'known to the ancients' since it was less than 100 years old; though it could also be a somewhat more oblique reference to the Pleiades cluster (often called the Seven Sisters). It could also refer to the cluster of 5 lights next to the speech bubble, which is reinforced by the next bubble talking specifically about the bigger red light in the cluster. Interestingly, there are some green stars. Stars might look green due to a neighbouring star, but green stars are actually impossible due to the principle of black-body radiation. However, green status lights on electronics are common.[citation needed]

In the title text, the narrator describes his smoke alarm status light as a pulsing variable star. A smoke alarm (which in modern Greek is "synagermós kapnoú"), whatever name might be derived from the ancient-Greek version) is a device that detects smoke, which would indicate a fire. These are commonly placed in houses as a safety precaution. Typically, many smoke alarms have a status light that blinks to assure that they are still functioning. A subtle blinking light is more clear in its (intermittent) activation than a steady one that might actually be inactive but reflecting external illumination, while a high-intensity photoemitter capable of being seen in near-direct daylight would be annoyingly bright when the lights are off at night.


[A black panel with 31 dots of different sizes and in various colors (white, red, yellow, blue and green). These bright dots are scattered around three white speech bubbles for off-panel speakers. Next to the top left corner of the first bubble, there are five dots close together. Two white, two yellow (one brighter than the other) and a red dot that is clearly larger than any of the other four.]
Person 1 (off panel): That cluster was known to the ancients as the Five Sisters.
Person 1 (off panel): The red one is a supergiant and will probably explode within the next million years.
Person 2 (off panel): Wow!
[Caption below the panel:]
There are too many status LEDs in my room.

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Doesn't appear that "Five Sisters" is a reference to anything, according to my Google searches. Does anyone have anything on that? 15:13, 28 March 2018 (UTC)Martin

If I had to guess, it's most likely a reference to the Pleiades (Seven Sisters), which is a constellation. 15:18, 28 March 2018 (UTC)Luck

I can't be certain, but I believe this is a direct quote from a Star Wars comic I read a few days ago. I will try to dig it up. 23:44, 28 March 2018 (UTC)Dave

"Five Sisters" is a reference a pentagon-shaped constellation from Isaac Asimov's Foundations Edge ~~Tyler

I keep 'cellulose' tape over my LEDs, darkened with permanent marker, to dim their harsh glare when the rooms are unlit. On important ones, I keep a small sliver uncovered, so that from the right angle (like from the doorway) they can be seen even with the lights on. I do wish more devices had a "dim" setting on a timer, so the LEDs could be bright during the day & barely lit at night. In particular, my backup power battery has a large, obnoxious blue screen that lights up the whole room unless I keep it facing the wall. ProphetZarquon (talk) 15:48, 28 March 2018 (UTC)

The red LED probably is a super bright LED :-) Sebastian -- 16:00, 28 March 2018 (UTC)

(Also responding to ProphetZarquon) I agree that super bright LEDs are annoying, especially the one on my monitor! But I don’t think that status LEDs can appear impressive, like in the comic. The superbright ones, which are standard today, illuminate the room too much. 19:32, 28 March 2018 (UTC)
In my bedroom, the computer monitor on my desk faces the head of my bed. When the monitor goes into sleep mode it flashes a bright blue light at my face. That light has actually triggered dreams when I didn't manually shut it off before going to bed. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 03:34, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
I would wager that given Randall's history of computer problems, having the supergiant red explode at any point in the next millenium (i.e. could be next Thursday), would solve a lot of problems 16:58, 29 March 2018 (UTC

The second part of the title text could be a reference to the word "planet" which comes from a Greek word meaning "wanderer". 17:17, 28 March 2018 (UTC)

It seems plausible that the title is partially a veiled reference to the Marvel Comics character Star Lord, which sounds almost the same as "Star Lore." JohnHawkinson (talk) 23:53, 28 March 2018 (UTC)

Not really - Star lore or starlore is the creating and cherishing of mythical stories about the stars and star patterns (constellations and asterisms); that is, folklore based upon the stars and star patterns. Using the stars to explain religious doctrines or actual events in history is also defined as star lore. Wikipedia... 04:23, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

The cluster of 5 lights is likely either a modem or router. Modems usually have a row of lights to indicate power, uplink, downlink, sync, and traffic at a minimum, whereas a router might have multiple lights indicating connections to a number of network ports. I can really relate to this comic, especially during the peak period of active gear in my home office at one time (It's not so eerie these days)! Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 01:42, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

This reminds me of a Doonesbury cartoon Mardi Gras 02:55, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

My room

The current explanation states that the usage of "my room" typically refers in the US to the bedroom. As a non-US citizen I can see how this is true for children, teenagers and young adults who yet live in their parent's home. Or when living in a shared apartment. But in any other case I'd assume "my room" refers to the whatever equivalent of a man cave, whereas bedroom is "bedroom". No? Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:09, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

Converted header to bold label Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 11:27, 29 March 2018 (UTC)


"Cluster" has a computing term as well as an astronomical one - a group of computers connected to each other and working together on a common task. "Five sisters" would be an interesting- name for a 5-machine cluster, and would fit the description well. They need not be identical machines; perhaps the one with the red light is large, and due to a failing fan is expected to overheat. 19:35, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

  • The red one is a supergiant, and will probably explode within a few million years. For many super-giant stars that we can see from Earth, they have probably already exploded, but their light is still travelling to us and we won't see the explosion until centuries or even millennia after the actual event, if the star is in the Milky Way. Even more for stars in other galaxies. Nutster (talk) 00:58, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
Not likely. See 1342: Ancient Stars. Zetfr 09:41, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
Number of "Stars"

The transcript currently states there are 32 points of light in the comic, but when I decided to count them myself, I came up with only 31 - 19 across the top section and another 12 in the lower half. Does anyone else see 32 dots, and if so, can you tell me where I'm missing one? A brown dwarf or a black hole, maybe? Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 11:59, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

I also counted 31. I edited the Transcript to reflect that. Tqdv (talk) 22:04, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, there's 31: 13 white, 5 yellow, 2 green, 7 blue, and 4 red. 19:53, 23 October 2022 (UTC)