434: xkcd Goes to the Airport
|xkcd Goes to the Airport|
Title text: Under three ounces, but it stains panties.
The various characters of xkcd cause problems at the airport due to their various quirks.
Panel 1: Beret Guy and Megan are lost, following each other in a loop. Beret Guy displays his obsession with baked goods as he also does in later comics: 442: xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel and 452: Mission.
Panel 2: Cueball tries to carry a lockpick set (a tool able to unlock doors without the original key) through security. The security guard tells Cueball that he has to come with him, but Cueball wants to tell the guard about "this hacker girl" before going with the guard. This may be spoofing the incidents where someone has been manipulated into smuggling drugs or other contraband by a romantic interest they met on the Internet. The hacker girl could be Elaine from the 1337-series.
Panel 3: On the plane, Cueball has been instructed to disable the wireless transmission functionality of his device. Many airlines require passengers to disable mobile phones on aircraft as well as other radio transmitting devices because they may interfere with the radio-based navigation and communication equipment of the aircraft. However, his laptop is running Linux and he doesn't know how to change the wireless settings; he's reading the manual for the program that controls the wireless radio. However, this is probably not the ideal situation, as the airplane is pressed to take off. Man pages were also referenced in 293: RTFM. Much later a plane was again linked to a man page in 912: Manual Override.
Panel 4: Black Hat tries to carry a container of liquid through security. According to US law, the maximum amount of liquid that can be taken onto a plane in a container is three ounces (89 ml), a security measure taken to prevent terrorists from taking explosives onto planes. When the guard has doubts about the amount of liquid in the vial, Black Hat implies that the liquid is actually blood from a churchmouse. This is referred to later in 526: Converting to Metric, which claims that a fieldmouse has much less blood than that. The guard is visibly uncomfortable and clearly does not want to deal with the issue any further.
The title text continues off the final panel, saying that there are less than three ounces of blood in a churchmouse, but it "stains panties", an undesirable scenario. However, this undesirable scenario is paralleled by the implied undesirable scenario of a terrorist attack due to explosive liquids, the possibility of which caused the law. The title text seems to parody the prospect of an explosion with the relatively insignificant staining of panties, a term for women's underwear. This may also be a menstruation joke.
- [Standing outside the Airport. There is a sign saying "Airport" and a plane in the background.]
- Megan: Okay, what airline?
- Beret Guy: I'm following you.
- Megan: ...I'm following you.
- Beret Guy: I assumed we were walking to the bakery.
- Megan: You always assume that!
- [Presumably the security checkpoint. The Security guy is digging through Cueball's bags.]
- Security guy: Lockpicks? These are... illegal, actually. Where did you get them?
- Cueball: Oh man, it all started with this hacker girl.
- Security guy: You need to come with-
- Cueball: Sure, sure. But man, let me tell you about her!
- [On a plane. Cueball is on a laptop.]
- Announcement: If your device has a "Transmit" function, please disable it.
- Cueball: Okay - hang on, I'm halfway through the iwconfig man page.
- [Security checkpoint. Security guy is examining a vial of dark liquid.]
- Security guy: Sir, is this container under three ounces?
- Black Hat: Not sure, how much blood is there in a churchmouse?
- Security guy: . . .Why don't you just go.
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