2747: Presents for Biologists

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Presents for Biologists
A lot of these are actually non-venomous, but I can see which species you mistook them for. If you pause the crane for a sec I can give you some ID pointers for next time!
Title text: A lot of these are actually non-venomous, but I can see which species you mistook them for. If you pause the crane for a sec I can give you some ID pointers for next time!


In this strip, Black Hat is a supervillain subjecting 'James Bond' (drawn as Hairy) to a death trap. The James Bond film franchise (particularly in its early years) had a reputation for villains capturing James (often alongside a female companion) and placing him or them in overly complex death traps, rather than simply shooting them (which, of course, consistently allows Bond to engineer an escape).

In this scenario, the trap consists of slowly lowering Bond and his companion into a pit of venomous snakes. The intent, presumably, being that the very common fear of snakes, combined with a likely slow and painful death from the snakebites, would kill them in a particularly gruesome way. However, Bond's companion in this strip is Hairbun. Rather than being frightened, she's fascinated by the various species of snakes represented there, including one she hasn't seen before, and asks to be lowered faster, so she can observe it more closely before she loses sight of it.

The caption reveals that Hairbun is a biologist, and comments that many things that would be considered elaborate death traps in fiction (such as a giant pit full of different kinds of snakes), would be a good gift for a biologist.

The title text reveals that Hairbun has identified at least some of the species represented in the pit and points out that a lot of them are non-venomous. While that might seem mildly reassuring, the way she phrases it implies that she's also identified venomous varieties in there. Moreover, she can also guess which species the villain mistook them for and offers help in correctly finding and selecting venomous species in the future. Her unprompted willingness to do this suggests that she's genuinely so enthusiastic about snakes that it overwhelms any fear for her own safety.

The scientific implications of Bond villain traps were also referenced in 123: Centrifugal Force.


[James Bond, drawn as Hairy, and Hairbun are hanging upside down from ropes attached to one of their ankles. Underneath them is a pit with many snakes. Hairbun is pointing down, while Black Hat to the left is operating a lever. Bond is yelling at Black Hat, indicated by lines emanating from his head. Hairbun is also yelling, but that is in the direction of the snakes beneath them. There seems to be many snakes in the pit, at least eight heads can be seen, and there are also snakes whose heads are not visible. At least six snakes are partly outside the pit. They have different patterns of spots, shades, and stripes.]
Bond: You won't get away with this!
Hairbun: Ooh! Ooh! That one is a new species for me!
Hairbun: Hey, can you lower me faster? It's getting away!
[Caption below the panel:]
There's a surprising amount of overlap between "Good presents for biologists" and "Things villains want to do to James Bond."

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Is it really a snake? --Purah126 (talk) 02:13, 9 March 2023 (UTC)

How sure are you that this is not Miss Lenhart? I mean, she's presenting as a scientist. Nitpicking (talk) 03:27, 9 March 2023 (UTC)

She's stolen her attitude from John Galt, who tells the bad guys' flunky how to repair the failing torture machine. 12:41, 9 March 2023 (UTC)
Looking at the current edit, I now agree that she is Science Girl. She has the little braids and all. Nitpicking (talk) 01:12, 10 March 2023 (UTC)

Would the biologists be less interested in the shark tank if the sharks were equipped with frikkin' lasers, or would they have enough general interest in science that it would increase their enjoyment? 17:27, 9 March 2023 (UTC)

That's a pretty lazy job of attaching the victims to the ropes. If they are sufficiently physically fit, its possible to bend up at the waist, grab the rope, and climb up out of harm's way / release their foot and swing off to the side. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 00:37, 13 March 2023 (UTC)

They won't be able to release their foot, though, because it's tied with an ominknot. 11:15, 13 March 2023 (UTC)