Talk:2863: Space Typography

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Are the dot's actually roughly in line with the distances? 21:31, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

Yes they are. I eyeballed with a screenruler and calculated

  • 0.40 AU for Mercury (Should be 0.37)
  • 0.72 AU for Venus (0.72)
  • 1 AU for earth (reference)
  • 1.54 AU for Mars (1.52)
  • 5.24 AU for Jupiter (4.98) 21:48, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

But what size font?Danger Kitty (talk)

129 trillion pt, give or take. 23:02, 4 December 2023 (UTC)
Thanks for the decimal-point check. This is my worksheet: Image (open in new tab) PRR (talk) 02:13, 5 December 2023 (UTC)

The number of "e"s between h and r required to make Saturn line up is about 59 (tested using 27.2 pt font) Digin (talk) 22:17, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

There are currently three different figures in the explanation for how many "e"s are needed. One says the title text is correct as written, brackets and ellipsis and all. One says 59. One says 85. They can't all be right. LtPowers (talk) 13:22, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
"They can't all be right." Well, they can, if they don't correspond to the same thing. Are we using the font size from the comic, or from the hover text? Rexon Mobile (talk) 15:39, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
I think the [...] has to be condensing what should be a longer title text. If is was "correct as written", that's an extra 3 dots that don't correspond to planets or anything in that region of space. So unless someone can find some objects in that part of space, I think "correct as written" should be vetoed. Also, can't use periods, colons, or semicolons -- would need to separate the main sentence from the title text addition using perhaps a dash or a comma (as long as a comma isn't as comet). -boB (talk) 17:22, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
The sentence is using only the dots that are part of 'i's. Although the comic's text refers to "dots" without specifying that restriction, we don't have to assume that 'j's and punctuation must also correspond to solar system bodies. BunsenH (talk) 20:06, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
Who says only the dots over the i's are to be considered? The comic certainly doesn't specify that... it just says "use the dots as a map". Someone early on in the explanation made the assumption that only the dots on letters (i and j) could, but I don't believe that's a valid assumption. The fact that Randall doesn't end the sentence with a dot implies he knows that dot would count, so he didn't include it, though admittedly he did include a period on the title text. -boB (talk) 16:48, 6 December 2023 (UTC)
Sorry, the i dots are clearly all that are to be considered. Besides the obvious, they're not in line with the other dots (I would consider the possibility of a j counting, I think i dots and j dots share a name?). Those dots don't count, they aren't officially there. Are you not familiar with this? In literary works such as articles and university papers, if you quote something but want to trim parts in the middle which are irrelevant to why you're quoting it, in order to make it shorter, it would be inaccurate and a lie to do so, you'd be misrepresenting the original text, so you have to communicate that you snipped some stuff. You do that with an ellipsis in square brackets, "[...]" (with the square brackets helping make it clear this is not part of the original quote). Here it shows that Randall has left out some Es for brevity/space. "[...]" being the universal sign for "I left something out" being surrounded by E indicates clearly that Randall has left out some Es, we aren't seeing the full count. Which means to be an accurate distance, the ellipsis must be swapped out with the original Es, the ellipsis isn't there when measuring (and besides, if you try to count them, they have no planets assigned to them). NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:11, 9 December 2023 (UTC)
"I think i dots and j dots share a name?" : That'd probably be Tittle 19:05, 9 December 2023 (UTC)
Why do you say that "the i dots [...] clearly [are] all that are to be considered"? Is it just because that's all that Randall included in the comic? If he had included j's or periods or colons or other characters that include dots, would you still be saying that? A dot is a dot, and dots are what he's talking about. I don't see why any dot from whatever characters could appear would not equally meet the criteria of using the dots as as a map. As for the ellipsis, I was making the same argument you are, that it's being used in the sense of omitting characters rather than being used verbatim, as that would require the three dots represent planets or other heavenly bodies. -boB (talk) 14:27, 13 December 2023 (UTC)

I’m curious whether randall brute forced this, trained a neural network, or did it by hand. 22:31, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

He would probably answer: 2173: Trained a Neural Net 22:45, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

Trying to prep an image of a comparison between actual orbits and the comic, but it's taking longer than i'd like someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 23:20, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

I assume brackets around (i) are for the Saturn's rings? 23:26, 4 December 2023 (UTC)

Ooh, good call. Put that in. LtPowers (talk) 13:22, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
I assumed it was just a way to emphasize the i. In the comic, they are bolded, but that is not possible in title text. - 22:28, 5 December 2023 (UTC)

The long, rambling diatribe about literature seemed odd at first, but I think Charlotte Brontë would be proud she was able to represent Pluto and Charon. 04:07, 5 December 2023 (UTC)

I don't understand. What's this about Charlotte Brontë? I don't see any reference to her in this comic. 20:17, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
It's a joke about umlauts. 06:37, 6 December 2023 (UTC)

For what it's worth, the asteroid belt spans the area covered by the word "measure" 14:10, 5 December 2023 (UTC)

It would be nice if the word gaps were aligned that way, but there is no obvious alignment with either the edges of the asteroid belt, or the location of the Kirkwood gaps. The asteroid belt would stretch from the middle of the M in "measure" to the P in "space", with the most prominent Kirkwood gaps corresponding roughly to the letters A, R and E. Rexon Mobile (talk) 15:33, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
If he really wanted to represent the asteroids, I think he might have found a way to include a word like "riiii[...]iiight" so there would be lots of dots. Barmar (talk) 15:51, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
So asteroids are mostly between the As in "measure" and "space". Neat. -- 19:18, 6 December 2023 (UTC)

I added the table with the count of 'e's and adjusted the wording where it said 85 'e's from the Sun to say an extra 13 'e's in the word "here". I worked this out using an image from Wikipedia ( in PowerPoint but don't have upload privileges to post. Would be nice if someone could do that. Denver87 (talk) 15:30, 5 December 2023 (UTC)

Amazingly (assuming my math was right so please someone check) the sun to scale would be very close to the size of the actual dots used to represents the planets. (Planets wouldn't be visible.)

I don't see why the mnemonic for the order of the planets would be relevant to this comic. Should it be removed? Rexon Mobile (talk) 17:40, 5 December 2023 (UTC)

Absolutely. No relevance to the comic. removed someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 18:18, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
I put it in because it was another mnemonic about the solar system. [*shrug*] BunsenH (talk) 19:59, 5 December 2023 (UTC)
what?! it should at least be mentioned. this comic wouldn't exist in a world without well-known solar system mnemonics :D
Lordpipe (talk) 10:35, 6 December 2023 (UTC)
Maybe in a "Trivia" section? BunsenH (talk) 16:53, 7 December 2023 (UTC)

The mnemonic scans as "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", with the one hiccup that the emphasis lands on the second syllable of measure. --NotaBene (talk) 22:46, 6 December 2023 (UTC)

I'm so glad "dark black" is specified in the description, lest anyone get confused by looking for light black instead. 03:41, 7 December 2023 (UTC)

Lots of people get lost in the inner solar system. That is, they get lost on Earth, and Earth is in the inner solar system. Yet I don't think this mnemonic would help them much. -- 07:47, 7 December 2023 (UTC)

what if? news![edit]

I can't find it anywhere here, but there is now an official what if youtube channel with (currently) two videos uploaded! Also, I think the most recent one *isn't* a duplicate of one already covered in other what if? media! (yeah i know this isnt related to the comic but this is where people will see it) 23:38, 5 December 2023 (UTC)Bumpf

No, it's been covered somewhere in one of Randall's books. But for anyone who's wondering, here's the link.
If it's been covered already, i find it strange that its first upload was November 30, 2023... someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 00:19, 6 December 2023 (UTC)
A quick reading of the video's comment indicate that it is taken from the first book, so "the most recent one *isn't* a duplicate of one already covered in other what if? media!" is incorrect, no matter when the free access was added on Youtube. 08:35, 6 December 2023 (UTC)
Oops :) that's what the "I think" was there for 23:41, 6 December 2023 (UTC)Bumpf

Outer Planets[edit]

We need a similar sentence for the outer planets. Jupiter is already in the first one, so it will provide a link connecting the two scales. 17:49, 8 December 2023 (UTC)

I'm going to wait until we know where(/if) Planet X might be... 17:51, 8 December 2023 (UTC)

Here is a sentence in French that covers all 8 planets with good precision: "On intimide, irrespectueusement, chaque alien en déclarant qu'une phrase aussi bébête peut le dépanner en cas d'égarement désespéré dans le système planétaire de Mercure, Vénus, la Terre, Mars, une géante gazeuse, Saturne,Uranus et Neptune : rien ne le sauvera." Unlike Randall's, this sentence contains no 'o' other than the Sun. It was designed by French physicist Gilles Esposito-Farèse. Zetfr 19:53, 20 December 2023 (UTC)