983: Privacy

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Eventual headline: 'University Researchers Create Life in Lab! Darkness, Faulty Condoms Blamed.'
Title text: Eventual headline: 'University Researchers Create Life in Lab! Darkness, Faulty Condoms Blamed.'


This comic is about Cueball and Megan attempting to find some privacy to "hook up", which is slang for engaging in sexual activity.

They start at a dormitory, which would offer some privacy. Unfortunately, the door is locked. They go to another dorm, but it is occupied by someone playing a MMORPG who is "in a raid", which means that the gamer is teaming up with others to "raid" something, probably an enemy, and loot their items. This also pokes fun at the fact that some raids may take a very long time to execute, in this case apparently taking on the order of 24 hours. (This comic was published on a Monday morning.)

In the third frame, the two try to go to the library's rare book collection. Such a place would usually be deserted, making it usable for sexual activity. However, it is currently occupied by a visiting Nelson Mandela, who is on a tour of the school.

Moving on to more bizarre places, they next try an accelerator tunnel, another place that would be private. However, the particle accelerator is in use and the door is sealed tight. This would be a normal safety feature to protect researchers (and their genitals) from being exposed to potentially dangerous ionizing radiation from the particle beam.

The couple then try a beaver lodge, which, despite being private, is too tiny to fit in, and the only entrance is underwater. What makes it more difficult to get in is that it is winter, and the ground is presumably frozen solid.

The last place they attempt to go to is hyperspace, science fiction jargon for an ‘alternate dimension’ that starships supposedly use to travel faster than light. The word is frequently used in the Star Wars movies. However, there is no evidence that anything like hyperspace exists in reality, and in fact current theories of physics do not allow it.

An inverse proportion is a relationship in statistics where one value decreases when the other value in the relationship increases. In this case, the caption posits that the more you want to make love, the less private space there is available to do so.

The title text indicates that the two eventually found privacy for sex in a laboratory, but inadvertently got Megan pregnant. This is a parody of news articles discussing whether scientists can create synthetic life in a lab. This eventual headline appears in a few 1037: Umwelt frames as "Scientists Create Life In Lab", with a similar secondary headline/caption as the punchline.

The comic 658: Orbitals is similar in nature to this comic.


[Cueball and Megan holding hands in front of a door. Megan is attempting to turn the doorknob.]
Other Dorm:
[Cueball and Megan holding hands inside another dorm room. The roommate is sitting at a computer wearing a headset.]
Roommate: I'll be done Tuesday.
Roommate in raid
Library Rare Book Collection:
[Cueball and Megan looking through a closed door. Inside Nelson Mandela and two university workers are talking amongst various items on display.]
Occupied by tour for visiting Nelson Mandela
Accelerator Tunnel:
[Cueball and Megan in silhouette in front of an imposing-looking door. The door is marked "NO ENTRY" with a radioactive trefoil symbol, and has a passcode scanner beside it.]
Sealed while beam is in operation
Beaver Lodge:
[Megan climbing on top of a dirt mound while Cueball stands on the ice beside it. A cross-section reveals a beaver inside the mound and a submerged entrance.]
Frozen over for winter to keep out predators, only accessible via underwater entrance
[Megan reading a textbook in front of a table piled with five other textbooks. Cueball looks over Megan's shoulder.]
Cueball: Are you sure?
Ruled out by current understanding of physics
College Law #27:
The availibility [sic] of private space is inversely proportional to the desirability of the hookup.

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If your roommate's in a raid, he's not gonna turn around and notice you shacking up any time soon. World of Warcraft is serious business. Davidy22[talk] 06:55, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Is the transcript the original one? 21:51, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

No, the name Cueball is never mentioned by Randall. But in general it is close to the original one at all.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:23, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't see how the tour for visiting Nelson Mandela could be interpreted as suggesting that Nelson Mandela was in the rare book collection and the tour was going to visit him - that just seems ridiculous. It's pretty clear that Nelson Mandela's visiting the library. -- 13:38, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. I have fixed the entry to reflect the same. It's worth noting that you could have done it first, and explained your edit here. This is, after all, a wiki editable by anyone. Orazor (talk) 09:56, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Is the fact that the roommate says Tuesday a joke on how long raids can last? That he can reply with a day of the week rather than a time? I think I have seen jokes about the lengths of raids in other places, but I'm not sure. Athang (talk) 21:43, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Well if it's WoW then Tuesday is reset and maintenance shutdown day (usually). -Pennpenn 05:15, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

This is a larger idea, so I didn't want to add it without running it by people: Might it be that the visiting Nelson Mandela is a joke about the stereotypical priorities of college students? I.E. that Megan and Cueball are so engaged with the idea of hooking up that a visit from a notable figure is ignored. -- Xkcdeal (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

At first, I thought the "other dorm" one was showing the roommate setting up a RAID array... Whoop whoop pull up (talk) 19:01, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

This is just applied Murphy's Law, isn't it? 23:31, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

A positive consequence of this law: not desiring hookup provides large (infinite?) amount of private space. 04:10, 9 January 2021 (UTC)

World of Warcraft raids take time + people, unless you're at like max level and are doing super low level raids. Yikes on bikes. Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 16:55, 16 April 2024 (UTC)