Title text: The days of the week are Monday, Arctic, Wellsley, Green, Electra, Synergize, and the Seventh Seal.
In this comic, Cueball (or perhaps Randall) says he can't distinguish between sets that have exactly seven objects. This leads him to exchange the items in the sets without noticing, to the point where, when attempting to list a single set, each item mentioned actually belongs to a different set.
This is shown in the comic when Cueball tries to enumerate the seven dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (a task some people might find difficult, although they would not just chose words from other sets of seven to fill in the gaps...)
The title text also makes it clear that even a simple set of seven items, like the days of the week, also goes completely wrong.
The comic is a reference to the oldest set-theoretic definition of the natural numbers in which for each natural number, an equivalence class is defined over all sets which contain the same number of items. As Cueball is known for mathematical thinking he could be presumed to have taken the underlying equivalence relation to heart, and (over)applying it to real life, genuinely judges sets to be identical if they both contain N objects.
The number seven being the number for when sets become indistinguishable is possibly a reference to Miller's law; however, this refers to elements within the same set becoming indistinguishable, rather than indistinguishability of different sets of the same size, as the original tests involved either distinguishing between the items or repeating them back in the correct order.
For each of the seven lists below, the relevant item's traditional position on its own list of seven is equal to its position on the list in the comic. So, since "phylum" is the second major taxonomic rank, "phylum" is the second item on the list in the comic.
The seven "dwarfs" mentioned and their relevant sets of seven are (Items in the set are written in bold):
|Disney's Dwarfs from the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)||Sneezy||Dopey||Bashful||Sleepy||Grumpy||Happy||Doc|
|Major taxonomic ranks||kingdom||phylum||class||order||family||genus||species|
|Continents||Asia||Africa||Europe||North America||South America||Australia||Antarctica|
|Seven Layer Dip (recipe)||refried beans||cheese||ground beef||sour cream||guacamole||salsa||chopped black olives/tomatoes/green onions|
|Layers of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) data transmission model||application||presentation||session||transport||network||data link||physical|
|Wonders of the Ancient World||Great Pyramid of Giza||Hanging Gardens of Babylon||Statue of Zeus at Olympia||Temple of Artemis at Ephesus||Mausoleum at Halicarnassus||Lighthouse of Alexandria||Colossus of Rhodes|
Title text list
The title text extends this saying he also does the same with the set of the seven days of the week.
The sets Cueball's "days of the week" come from are (the relevant items number in the set is written in brackets before the item):
- Days of the week: (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
- The Seven Seas (modern version) - there are many possible lists of 7 named bodies of water, but one possibility where “Arctic” comes second in alphabetic order is: Antarctic, (2) Arctic, Atlantic, Caribbean, Indian, Mediterranean, and Pacific.
- Seven Sisters, historically women's colleges in U.S.: Mount Holyoke, Vassar, (3) Wellesley, Smith, Radcliffe, Bryn Mawr, and Barnard
- Traditional spectral colors: red, orange, yellow, (4) green, blue, indigo*, and violet.
- Pleiades, Seven Sisters, nymphs and daughters of Atlas and Pleone in Greek mythology (in reverse alphabetical order): Taygete, Sterope, Merope, Maia, (5) Electra, Celaeno, and Alcyone.
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen R. Covey: Be proactive, Begin with the end in mind, Put first things first, Think win-win, Seek first to understand and then to be understood, (6) Synergize, and Sharpen the saw
- In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, there are Seven Seals, simply numbered one through seven. The Seventh Seal is also the name of a movie released in 1957, which belongs to a lot of sets of seven (see below).
- [Megan and Cueball are talking]
- Megan: Can you name all the dwarfs from Snow White?
- Cueball: Sure, there's, um...
- Cueball's thoughts: Sneezy, phylum, Europe, sloth, guacamole, data link, Colossus of Rhodes
- Caption: I have this problem where all sets of seven things are indistinguishable to me.
- Arctic (no. 2 on the title text list) could also be a reference to climate zones: Arctic, North Temperate, Northern Subtropical, Tropical, Southern Subtropical, South Temperate and Antarctic.
- There are however usually only five mentioned according to the Köppen climate classification. They are: Tropical, Dry, Temperate, Continental and Polar climate.
- Concerning the seven colours of the spectrum (no. 4 on the title text list) indigo is stuck in by Isaac Newton to add up to the seven notes in the Western musical scale
- It should be noted that Newton probably meant the colours cyan and blue as we think of it today, rather than blue and indigo.
- Also note that in a rainbow you usually cannot distinguish more than six colours with cyan melting in with green and blue and the same for indigo with blue and violet.
- This is highly dependent on the language you speak. Russian, for example, has both sinij and goluboj to describe different blues that in English are both blue. Japanese, as another example, has blue and green together (kinda) in 青.
- These are also the traditional seven artists' pigments, with the accompanying mnemonic "Roy G. Biv". Indigo dye is a widely known and readily available colouring agent. The ongoing ubiquity of the pigment (think denim) gives it a unique prominence in spite of its uncertain status as a spectral colour.
- The Seventh Seal (no. 7 on the title text list) could also refer to the 1957 film by Ingmar Bergman. Indeed, we can put it in quite a few sets of seven...
- This was Bergman's seventh film with an English title beginning with the letter ‘S’ (ignoring articles). A Ship Bound for India, Summer Interlude, Secrets of Women, Summer with Monika, Sawdust and Tinsel, Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal.
- Similary The Seventh Seal is also the seventh Bergman film whose Swedish title starts with ‘S’, although the list has some different members. Skepp till Indialand, Sånt händer inte här, Sommarlek, Sommaren med Monika, Sommarnattens leende, Sista paret ut, Det sjunde inseglet.
- The Seventh Seal was also one of seven Bergman films submitted by Sweden for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film during the 1950s and 1960s. The Seventh Seal, The Magician, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, The Silence, Persona, Shame.
- According to the Wikipedia page on The Seventh Seal, the Jesuit publication America wrote, "It also began a series of seven films that explored the possibility of faith in a post-Holocaust, nuclear age. In 'The Virgin Spring' (1960), 'Through a Glass Darkly' (1961), 'Winter Light' (1962) and 'The Silence' (1963), he poses traditional faith questions in identifiably religious language. The characters struggle self-consciously with their inability to believe in God and form relationships with one another. In 'Wild Strawberries' (1957) and 'The Magician' (1958), the issues are veiled in layers of metaphor. The theological questions become apparent only by placing them in the context of the other films of the period. With 'The Silence' he concludes that God is unknowable, and the human person must simply continue life's journey seeking understanding and happiness however one can. At that point, God-questions drop out of his films altogether."
- One way to remember the names of the Seven Dwarfs from the Disney film is: three emotions (Happy, Bashful, Grumpy), two S's (Sleepy, Sneezy), two D's (Dopey, Doc). Cueball assumes that Megan is asking in the context of the Disney film, but other works have named the dwarfs differently; see Seven Dwarfs.
- Megan's question uses the plural dwarfs. Astronomers also refer to the plural of dwarf stars as "dwarfs". The word "dwarves" is used in J. R. R. Tolkein's works, but has been seen as far back as the early 1800s. 
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