1699: Local News

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Local News
Will there ever be a physics term greater than 'tachyonic antitelephone?' According to this message from the future, the answer is 'no.'
Title text: Will there ever be a physics term greater than 'tachyonic antitelephone?' According to this message from the future, the answer is 'no.'


Typical news broadcasts are divided into local, national, and global news segments. The broadcast in this comic presented by Blondie, the news anchor, has been broken into real local, (about city council election) and what the newscaster calls "nonlocal". Rather than focusing on national or global news, the nonlocal segment deals with news of a nonlocality nature; more likely dealing with causal nonlocality.

A "tachyon" is a theoretical or thought-experiment particle which travels faster than the speed of light. It has many strange properties, including being able to go back in time. This is how the newscaster is able to send a beam back in time to kill her past self. The comic does not explain the paradox of how someone who died in the past could still be alive in the present/future, nor any of the many other paradoxes that arise when time travel is involved, a recurring theme in xkcd.

The title text asks if there could ever be a greater physics term than tachyonic antitelephone, a theoretical device which would allow messages to be sent to the past. The text then continues to answer the question via a message from the future (presumably sent by antitelephone). The answer is No - there will never be a greater physics term.


[Blondie as a news anchor is sitting behind a table with her arms resting on the tabletop.]
Blondie: In local news, city council elections were held today.
Blondie: In nonlocal news, I killed my past self with a tachyon beam.


  • Blondie was finally named as a new character based on this comic. See the discussion below and this community portal discussion.
  • And seeing she was often used as a news anchor that new category was also based on this comic.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


The title text is not saying that a tachyonic antitelephone will be the *achievement* of all time - it is saying that the term 'tachyonic antitelephone' is the greatest *term* of all time. 17:15, 27 June 2016 (UTC)Jesper

I'd say it's more ominous than that. The invention of the tachyonic antitelephone causes a total collapse in human society, ending all forward progress in the sciences. And thus, the term "tachyonic antitelephone" is never surpassed, because it heralds the end of humanity. 17:22, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

I feel that it is worth mentioning that there was a Star Trek episode in which Captain Picard was warping between three points in time and aimed three tachyon beams at the same point, creating an antitime thingy that ended all life. 18:38, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

It would be worth mentioning it's All Good Things..., last episode of TNG. -- Hkmaly (talk) 10:27, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

New character category

(Added after: I have posted a link to this entry in the Community portal with the same suggestion as here below:)
A blonde news presenter like this one has been used several times before like in 1600: MarketWatch, 495: Secretary: Part 2, 932: CIA and 618: Asteroid. And blonde woman with fairly long hair that is clearly neither Megan nor Ponytail has been seen often, like in 752: Phobia and 1645: Toasts. Would it be relevant to have either a new character called Blonde news reporter, or more general Blondie for both those with news and the other. Or maybe instead one for news reporter as there are also several other news reporters that are not this blonde woman like 957: Development, 756: Public Opinion, 1295: New Study and 1391: Darkness. There could be a category called News reporters or similar? --Kynde (talk) 20:57, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Based on the discussion she is now called Blondie --Kynde (talk) 07:26, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
And now there is also a Category:News anchor with 15 entries already. Six of these with Blondie as the anchor woman. --Kynde (talk) 10:24, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Please add an explanation of the term nonlocality. It is necessary to the strip's main joke! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Is this comic related to the recent new evidence that backward time travel may be impossible? 04:01, 29 June 2016 (UTC)realbart

Any link to this news? --Kynde (talk) 08:19, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

https://mic.com/articles/147150/physicists-have-new-proof-that-backward-time-travel-is-impossible#.n931VgNuq (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I wonder, is the concept of a "tachyonic antitelephone" supposed to be a nerdy reference to Steins;Gate, where a phone that could send messages back in time was invented? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)