1620: Christmas Settings
Title text: SOUND DOGS MAKE: [BARKING] [HISSING] [LIGHTSABER NOISES] [FLUENT ENGLISH] [SWEARING]
Presumably the panel is a set of dials to control the universe, and anyone having access to a room with these controls would from our point of view be in a God like position. While it would be easy for Randall to make physics references, with dials to control the specific size of fundamental constants of the universe such as the speed of light in vacuum, the comic chooses for a more comedic angle for the spirit of Christmas (as the comic was released two days prior to said holiday). The first dial shown controls how Santa Claus enters people’s houses.
The Santa enters houses through-dial, has ten different possible settings. The one it's set to at this point of the comic is the traditional chimney. Among the other nine there is the more logical option open window, but surprisingly there is no option called the door. But the other eight are increasingly weird or even impossible (though of course not for Santa, who can deliver a billion packets in one night and fly in a sleigh drawn by flying reindeer…). These options ranging from the ”feasible” like mail slot, heating vents or cat flap to the impossible/ridiculous (some even disgusting) as kitchen faucet, shower drain or toilet over the truly magical bathroom mirror and to the downright unpleasant - pores of your skin. (See 555: Two Mirrors regarding the mirror version).
In a quite unfortunate turn of events Megan trips and catches herself on the Santa dial, messing it up by clicking it twice. To make matters worse, when Megan asks what it was set to before so as to undo the mishap, Ponytail tells that she has forgotten. So they cannot put it back right.
Then, as so often seen with human behaviors (if they are indeed human beings at all?), Megan says she will simply take a wild guess and hope she get it right. As the only thing she really knows is that it is not on the right setting now, there is only 1/9 that she will get it right assuming she will at least change it away from the setting she ended up on.
As we can see in the comic the dial clicks twice, implying it has moved two positions; Megan has thus most likely changed the dial to either "kitchen faucet" or "mail slot". Or the dial was moved one click away and one click back to the original position. As we do not know which of these she will now change away from, It is impossible to guess from the comic where she end up putting it, all ten options are possible. Since this comic was released on the 23rd of December, we are likely to find out very soon.
The title text continues this by showing another ad-lib dial: Sound dogs make ranging from the norm (barking) to cat sounds (hissing, very embarrassing for a dog) over "lightsaber noises" and speech to swearing. This is a dial, most likely on another control panel for animal sounds (but it could of course specifically be the sound a dog would make in response to Santa's entry, by whatever method?)- It would thus give the same option of changing the expected vocal response of the dog away from (our norm of) barking, as the other dial with the way Santa enters the house. In popular culture, talking dogs are a commonly used trope; in contrast, swearing "dogs" are few, the most famous being Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, a puppet created by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel and performed by the latter.
The comic might also be a joke on real-life controls often having no clear "default" value - which, by the way, is sometimes the case for virtual controls as well.
Options for Santa
- Below is a table with the ten possible settings for Santa enters houses through...; starting with the originally chosen standard option and going clockwise through the rest:
|Option||Normal Entry/Exit for...|
|Chimney||Santa Claus typically comes in this way (see him here in a Victorian roof-top song and dance number). Also big bad wolves use this entrance in Disney’s cartoon.|
|Shower drain||Dirty shower water.|
|Mail slot||Letters, post cards and small presents delivers by the mailman.|
|Heating vents||Hot air used for central heating.|
|Bathroom mirror||See Candyman, or Bloody Mary (the latter has been used in 555: Two Mirrors).|
|Pores of your skin||Sweat leaving the body.|
|Toilet||Human waste and life-term prisoners (at least through the sewer).|
|Cat flap||Domesticated cats and dogs.|
|Open window||Burglars and other criminals. Also often used as an exit by teenagers in movies and other film media, or by people who have locked themselves out of their own house.|
Options for dogs
- Below is a table with the five possible settings for Sound dogs make; starting with the current and continuing with the order in the title text:
|Option||Normal sound for...|
|Barking||Dogs current standard sound in our universe...|
|Hissing||Typically a sound contributed to snakes, but also something cats are said to hiss, for instance as a reaction against a barking dog. It would thus be very frustrating for dogs if their noise was changed into that or their arch enemies.|
|Lightsaber noises||A lightsaber makes a very unique sound, and as they are one of the most known props from the Star Wars universe, it is very relevant as the newest Star Wars movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released a week before this comic. Star Wars was also the main theme a month ago in the comic 1608: Hoverboard, the coin collecting game that celebrated Randall's new book.|
|Fluent English||Speaking dogs are a common trope as are talking animals in general. A person who is native to a country where they speak English will usually be fluent in speaking English. But a person may not usually be described as being fluent in their Native tongue. But a person from a country who does not speak English as their first language, but who speaks it very well would speak fluent English.|
|Swearing||It would be unpleasant for people who dislike swearing, and a big problems for movies such as Lassie where most of the soundtrack would have to be replaced by bleeps. Swearing "dogs" are few, the most famous being Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, a puppet created by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel and performed by the latter.|
- [Megan and Ponytail are walking over to a console, Ponytail points towards it. They are drawn in a panel that is only half the width of the next panel below]
- Ponytail: Over here we have the universe control panel.
- Ponytail: These dials, for example, control Christmas.
- [A dial is shown. There is a label at the top and then there are ten settings, five symmetrically on the left and right side, but no setting straight up or down. It looks allot like the dial on a washing machine with different programs. The dial points towards the top left setting. All settings are labeled and there is a small line going to the point on the dial connected with each setting. The line at 3 and 9 o'clock are straight the other 8 are divided in two, where the first part goes horizontally and then bends either up or down, to end in the right position. Here the labele at the top and then the setting labels clockwise from top right, thus ending with the one the dial is set to:]
- Santa enters houses through...
- Shower Drain
- Mail Slot
- Heating Vents
- Bathroom Mirror
- Pores of Your Skin
- Cat Flap
- Kitchen Faucet
- Open Window
- [Ponytail is passing by this control panel looking back at Megan who trips and falls towards the console.]
- Megan: Whoops!
- Megans legs: Trip
- [Megan catches herself on the dial of the control panel and accidentally turns the dial. Ponytail has taken her hands to her mouth.]
- Dial: Click Click
- [Megan is standing in front of the console looking at the dial, Ponytail is standing behind it.]
- Megan: What was the Santa dial set to before?
- Ponytail: I forget.
- Megan: I'll just guess
- In the original version of the comic Ponytail erroneously said: These dials, for example, controls Christmas.
- This was soon changed to the current (and grammatically correct) version with out the "s" at the end of controls These dials, for example, control Christmas.
- Thus proving that it was intended that there were more than one dial, we just see the one that Megan later changed by mistake for the sake of the joke of the comic.
Physical constants control panel
- Below is a table with ten of the most likely dials to find on a Universe Control Panel for physical constants.
- (Please feel free to reorder or change out constants, if there are some “more important” constants left out, or reorder the list if that would feel more appropriate), and add more explanation.
- If just one of these constant had a slightly different value, life as we know it (or even star formation) might not have been possible, (see the anthropic principle). So it was good that it was only the Santa setting Megan screwed-on (up).
|Dial label||Value||Constant governs…/what would happen if it changed etc.|
|Planck constant||h = 6.626 069 57 × 10−34 J·s|
|Speed of light||c = 299 792 458 m·s−1|| A low speed of light would delay the imagery one sees, as well as dramatically increase Redshift effect  and potentially allow Faster-than-Light travel. Of course, FTL wouldn't be as beneficial if C was lessened.
However, it is likely that light (unfettered, i.e. in a vacuum) travels at the speed of light not because it is specifically the speed of light, but because it is the speed limit of all things. Changing 'c' would then no more allow FTL travel than raising it might make light outpace the likes of gravity wave effects.
|Gravitational constant||G = 6.67384 × 10−11 m3·kg−1·s−2||This setting would make things heavier or lighter, and cause orbits to change, potentially causing either collapse of orbital systems, or objects to escape.|
|Fine-structure constant||α = 1⁄137.036||Someone must have turned the dial just a little away from 1/137…|
|Boltzmann constant||k = 1.380 6488 × 10−23 J·K−1|
|Elementary charge||e = 1.602 176 565 × 10−19 C|
|Bohr radius||a0 = 5.291 772 1092 × 10−11 m|
|Electron mass||me = 9.109 382 91 × 10−31 kg|
|Proton mass||mp = 1.672 621 777 × 10−27 kg|
|Temperature at absolute zero||T = 0 K = −273.15°C = −459.67°F|
|π||pi=ratio of circumference to diameter for any circle ≆ [[3.2]]||Noneuclidean planar geometry|
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