Talk:2178: Expiration Date High Score

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If we assume this comic is contemporary, i.e. the year she found the beans is 2019, it makes Randall's girlfriend/wife 37 years old. 05:25, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Well... it makes Megan 37 years old. There is nothing here to strongly suggest that cueball and her are Randall and his gf/wife. --Lupo (talk) 05:54, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, to be exact it makes Megan 37 years, 13 days, 12 hours, 7 minutes, 13.3 seconds old (rounded to the nearest tenth of a second). This is based on 900/24.3 = 37.0370 (...) That would make her born on July 6, 1982 (if we work back from the date of publication of the comic). But to be realistic I guess she was probably rounding the score to the nearest decimal, rather than writing 24.32432... (i.e. 900/37), in which case I'm wrong. Either way, spurious accuracy is fun!! 19:07, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

What about #933? 21:35, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

I think it's pretty clear that the title text varies from comic to comic. Sometimes it's clearly a character's voice. Sometimes it makes more sense as a narrator's voice. Sometimes it's clearly talking about Randall's life. I realize that this site tends to attribute the title text to Randall's voice, but personally, I consider it an unattributed voice. Sometimes it's him, sometimes it's more of a narrator or character voice. Similarly, the actions in the comics are sometimes clearly influenced by events in Randall's life, but they're also clearly not other times. If it turned out that he made Megan 37 because his wife is 37, that wouldn't surprise me, but neither would it surprise me if he did something different, because he does that on a regular basis. (In other words, without additional evidence or supporting information, I think it's weird to state as a fact that the traits of various characters are, in fact, traits of Randall and his friends and family.) Mootstrap (talk) 02:38, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes. I'm not RM but if I were I'd just write in a pretty number that has no meaning at all just to be done with the comic. 03:58, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

When I was working at a gas station, someone brought in a propane tank which had expired in 1963 (or so). If 1963 and using this scheme, my score would be 96.6. 06:02, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Did you buy the propane tank, though? -- 07:09, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

Propane tanks do not "expire", that is they do not go bad with time, and you do not need to throw them out after the date. The date on these tanks is when they need to be inspected for damage, as mandated by Federal and state laws. If the tank passes inspection a new date in put on and you can keep using the tank (propane suppliers can legally keep refilling it.) Godzilla (talk) 13:40, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Except that it must be something you purchased so you can't use that one in the contest. Unless you then purchased it from whoever brought it in…
I don't see any rule requiring that the item be new (or otherwise not-yet-expired) when you purchase it, so can we buy old things from other people in order to inflate our score (potentially over 100)? 06:18, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
That also circumvents the argument "we moved since 2010". If you buy the apartment with kitchen and all equipment, you also purchased the expired item... --Lupo (talk) 06:20, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I think that part in the title text is referring to "how did we manage to not come across all of our expired items when we moved" rather than "this item was here before me moved in". Some very disorganised people might actually pack up and move all of the items (e.g. food) in their house without first checking or even noticing if it is expired. 10:52, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
That was my initial thought too, that she either did it without of noticing, or did not notice it on purpose, to at some point reach this score. But the loophole, good 'ol 42.76 brought up, put this idea up, as an alternative.--Lupo (talk) 10:56, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
The rules say that the item must be something you, personally did they BUY the pickles from Megan's mom? I'd want to see a receipt or something! (And if the pickles were dated to 1978, Megan (whom we've established is 37 years old was not born when the pickles were for sure, this is cheating! SteveBaker (talk) 13:36, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
They clearly attribute the pickle score to Megan's mum, not to Megan.Bischoff (talk) 13:42, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah - that makes more sense. I had initially read it as these were pickles MADE by her mum and given to Megan - not pickles that her mum purchased. Sadly, we can't work backwards from the 2030 date that Megan needs to wait until in order to beat that score to figure out her mom's age because we don't know on what year her mum discovered the ancient pickles. SteveBaker (talk) 13:48, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

There is one caveat to Megan's strategy: since the fraction (year you found item - year item expired)/(your age when you found it) converges to one as time goes on regardless whether the numerator is bigger than the denominator, as long as the item expired before the year of your birth, postponing the discovery reduces your score (considerably).

Her mom's pickles could still have had an expiration date before 1978 - according to this article they were around in the 1950s and on store shelves by 1970. If they were home-canned she could also have dated them herself. -- 17:56, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Perishable foods had expiration dates in the 1970s at least (maybe earlier in some countries and some stores). But non-perishable foods did NOT had dates until the 2000's or later. A home canned jar of pickles could have a hand written date, but this would be the date it was canned, not an expiration date. Because anyone in the 1970s who knew how to can would know if they did it right the food would not go bad. If they did the canning wrong they would not need a expiration date to know this, they would know in a few weeks, by looking through the mason jar at the food inside. Or by looking at the food and glass spread around the pantry after the jar exploded. So Megan's mom could have a loaf of bread with a 1978 date, but not a jar of pickles. Godzilla (talk) 18:17, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

I hereby fervently protest against the age-discriminating rules. 09:25, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

Hear, hear! A 1-year-expired item shouldn't count 10 times more for a 10-year-old as for a 100-year-old. 17:55, 22 July 2019 (UTC)


"Since then many countries introduced laws and regulations requiring companies to put expiration dates on perishable goods. In some instances this can have the negative effect of people throwing out good food by blindly following the suggested expiration date. This behaviour can incentivise companies to adjust the expiration date so that people will re-buy the products sooner."

Since science and the truth are a big part of both and, I think it is important this explanation includes how/why food goes bad, and why expiration dates on jars/cans of food do not serve to protect people from eating bad food. If no one else gets to it first I'll try to type this explanation when I get a chance.

Until then I don't think the explanation should say "...many countries introduced laws and regulations requiring companies to put expiration dates on perishable goods." Although this is true, it is also true many companies put expiration on non-perishable products even through there is no law requiring them to do so. Like cosmetics and jars of pickles. Godzilla (talk) 13:54, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

To be fair, many items are labelled "Best Before" or "Sell By" - implying that the food item will be edible for at least some time beyond that date. Actual expiration dates on preserved food items do seem to be rarer. There are cases of canned food items from the early 1900's still being in good shape after 100+ years - and those would not have had any expiration date. But one issue is that back then, cans were made by soldering sheets of tin together - and the lead in the solder slowly leaches into the food making it unsafe to eat even though the food itself seems well-preserved. So for potential high scores, we should look to: The 11 oldest foods and beverages ever discovered - except that they'd not have any kind of formal expiration date. SteveBaker (talk) 14:10, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
"it is also true many companies put expiration on non-perishable products" <- I especially like the "best before" date on salt. Bonus points if the box has a description of how the salt has been in a mine for over millions of years... -- 07:13, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, while the salt wouldn't go "bad" or spoiled, it WILL probably return to natural rock form, meaning will stop being loose. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:22, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
The legal requirements of "expiration dates" for food are less stringent than many believe. In the USA, under FDA regulations, only baby formula cannot legally be sold after its expiration date. Wording like "use by" and "sell by" is not legally binding... more like "guidelines", as Capt. Barbossa would say. 15:57, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Other than dairy, there are NO expiration dates, only the date the manufacturer wants to stop selling the product, for quality/taste/color/etc. SDSpivey (talk) 23:25, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

I think the point that needs to be made in the explanation is both the items in the comic (a can of beans and a jar of pickles) do not go bad with time but in fact remain edible indefinitely.

Food going bad, in the sense that it will make you sick if you eat it, is most often caused by harmful bacteria growing in the food. Less often caused by fungi or yeast growing in the food and creating a poisonous substance, like methanol (wood alcohol.) The process of canning food involves boiling it to kill all possible pathogens, then sealing it in a can/jar while the food is still hot, with no air bubble. As long as this process is done correctly, as long as the jar lid has an air tight seal, and as long at the can is not punctured or gets a hole rusted through, no bacteria/virus/yeast/fungi can get in and the food can not spoil. Some food may discolor over time in the jar/can, or the texture may change, but it can not go bad in a way that makes it unsafe to eat.

If the canning process is done incorrectly and bacteria/fungi/yeast is sealed in the can/jar, the food goes bad in a few weeks, not years. Gases given off by the decomposition process often cause the can to swell, or the normal concave jar lid to bulge upwards. Sometimes the internal gas pressure is enough to burst the can/jar, as used to happen to people who canned at home using mason jars. If it does not burst, you are still going the know the food has gone bad the minute you open the can/jar, even without looking inside.

The above facts are more important then who/how/why expiration dates get put on which products. Godzilla (talk) 17:13, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

SO my mom's fridge! When I was a kid, my brother had a buddy who would put on his best game show announcer voice and say "It's time for Search... For... Fungus!", then check the fridge for OLD things. Hysterical, laughed our heads off, and helped us out by getting rid of the old stuff, LOL! Me and her recently cleaned her fridge, and similarly found some pre-move items. LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:53, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

All Aussies can win this game with their personal vegemite jar. And they're still EATING it. 09:35, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Canned food is first put into the can and sealed and then heated up to around 60~80 degrees Celsius. After it cools down, the label is placed on it. - sirKitKat 06:06, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

So, cool story, if the food is older than you are, your score will decline as you age. If you're older than the food, your score will increase ~ logarithmically.

If the food is older than you, you are still living with your parents, so it isn't your house, and your score doesn't count ;) 20:06, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

My mother has some of the same herbs in little tins that she had since shortly after she bought that house, in early 1969. Not doing the math, since she's not me. But it's probably a high score — Kazvorpal (talk) 01:42, 2 August 2019 (UTC)

If a baby bought a product with a short expiry date before the end of the calendar year, then discovered it early in the next year, with this all being in the baby's first year of life, an infinite score is attainable. 13:53, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

"i don't know how to do links where it says one thing and goes to another, can someone fix that?"[edit]

To the IP editor who put in that edit comment, here's the longer explanation, in case you come back and see this... There are three basic link-types to consider:

  • Internal to ExplainXKCD - use double-square brackets for links, with or without the underlines for spaces of the URL, e.g. [[Title of page]] or [[Title_of_page]], and that will give the link under the same text. To change what it says, insert a pipe/bar and the alternate text in before the closure, e.g. [[2178: Expiration Date High Score|this comic]] should point to this comic, though general convention is to just have the "Number: Title" version bare and in context, as "this/that comic" or whatever is a bit terse.
    • It works for all proper pages, not just comic-numbered ones, like Cueball, although a link to a [[Category:Some category]] would just invisibly add that Category to the page (best done after the Talk-insert markup) and if you want to add a category index page as an inline clickable link, use a preceding colon [[:Category:Some category]] or [[:Category:Some category|this text links to the Category index]], such as Comics featuring Black Hat. That's a commonish issue, I find.
  • Interwiki links - double-curly brackets to activate the template that has been set up (if one has) to properly format the link to the alternate site's page. {{w|Wikipage title}} or {{w|Wikipage title|link text}}, for example. Start with "w|" for Wikipedia, "wiktionary|" for, well, Wiktionary, and (though it's a different family of resource) someone set up "tvtropes|" for ease of use. That last one renders slightly different, perhaps as a warning not to get sucked into a Wikiwalk if you decide to wander into it... ;). But, in general, it makes interwiki links as inobtrusive as internal linking, e.g. this one to Wikipedia's page on Wikipedia...
  • All other links - Single-square bracketting [], which renders as a 'note-link' that isn't very nice (there are ref-based ways of properly footnoting, usually no need for that though). To give it alternate text, add within the []s a space and the display-text you want. Bare URLs (if interpretable) get rendered as literal-links with display text. Examples: Note[1] or with alternate text or literally just on its own.

There are other useful things (e.g. literal wikilinks with an 's' appended after any {{}}s gives links to the inner literal pages but rendered as plurals, and the uppercased first-letter of a page title can be lowercase (but sometimes it's too complicated to rely on that). But best practice is to use [[]]-links if possible, fall back to {{}}-links if that's necessary (and you know that the template name you need exists) and only go the full [url] route if you have to.
I'm sure there's better guides on how to do this (no errors, no missing info) in the site's help-pages or on general external mediawiki resources, but as the editor who prompted this info hadn't found it (and I had to work much of this out on my own, from seeing what others had done correctly/incorrectly over a number of years) I thought it worthwhile to give this 'summary', hopefully not too wrong in substance... 16:26, 26 April 2022 (UTC)