Yeah, it's pretty amazing! What is it with XKCD and Pluto these days by the way? The Twenty-second. The Not So Only. The Nathan/Nk22 (talk) 19:36, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
- New Horizons space probe flyby of the Pluto system! I can't imagine that a space probe finally reaching a hitherto unmapped planetoid like Pluto wouldn't be exciting to certain people, especially an ex NASA guy like Randall. -Pennpenn 126.96.36.199 06:27, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Pluto is moving away from the Sun - and we've learned that as it does so, it enters the snowy part of its 248-year cycle. Hmm ... didn't Ned Stark say something about this? Cosmogoblin (talk) 22:11, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Alright, the only one that's still got me stumped is "moon buds." The phrase has no stock meaning (Googling it turned up pictures of weed, naturally), but my best guess is this suggests moons reproduce through budding. Any thoughts? Captain Video (talk) 00:38, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
- I have added something.
"Border of pride lands" might also be an indirect reference to the "dark region" on Mars in 1504:opportunity, last panel, which is itself a reference to the Hyena Country of "Lion King." Taibhse (talk) 09:56, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
A couple of other possibilities for the reference to hatching: http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/82353/giant-bird-in-space --188.8.131.52 10:26, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
So Megaman needs no further explanation? --184.108.40.206 11:04, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
The comment for Plug(inflating/deflating) is missing 220.127.116.11 13:30, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Those aren't bullet holes... they're speed holes! --18.104.22.168 13:46, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
The current explanation has that Randall has drawn "humorous pareidolia on top of it". I may be wrong, but isn't pareidolia the psychological process of seeing faces/objects etc in patterns, rather than those objects themselves. E.g. "I saw a mans face on the moon because of a psychological process called pareidolia" rather than "I saw a pareidolia on the moon, which looked like a face". --Pudder (talk) 14:20, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
The heart reference may be related to this popular animated gif that showed up on Reddit: http://imgur.com/7C2GfIF 15:42, 15 July 2015 (UTC) turbotong
- Not originally - I believe NASA were the originator of the "heart" label, though I could be wrong.
.jpeg compression only produces those artifacts on digital images. It was designed for professional photographers and did not take into account the effects of hard edges in the image since film images have no hard edges! It just got adopted by everybody else early on so we're stuck with it even though it can work very poorly on digital images. ExternalMonolog (talk) 17:30, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
- That's... interestingly not-quite-correct. The JPEG/JFIF method is a good-but-lossy version of digital image compression that outperforms (on compression terms) non-lossy methods of defining a digital image but doesn't work well with hard-edges. Photographs taken in digital format, or converted into digital format from a 'analogue' original, are often put through lossy compression because (for a wise amount of 'loss') the artefacts are easily lost in the already noisy and flowing 'real life' image details, just like the compression of MP3 (MPEG3 Audio Layer, or whichever related standard) applied to audio loses some detail but is generally drowned out by what 'remains', to the casual listener. (Images like graphs and diagrams are replete with hard edges, and have far fewer needs for subtleties of shade, so using the non-lossless PNG or even GIF (now that it's out of copyright, if that was ever your concern) would be better... Depends on whether you want need more than 256 different colours or a humorous animation. If you want both, there are also solutions, but that's the usual decision I'd be making.)
- I doubt that NASA uses .JPG images (at least between spacecraft and ground, although maybe for later web publication). There would probably be a (non-lossy) compression scheme (either inherently in the format of the image, or of the 'raw' image consisting of original arrays of bitplains, just to cut down on transmission time), so that as much exact science as possible could be extracted from the original pixels without 'smearing' and such artefacts. Professional (terrestrial!) photographers will often take RAW images (instead of/alongside the quick-and-dirty JPEG ones), for better quality (and no-artefact) images that might end up being blown up to poster-sized images, or from which a small segment will be blown up (e.g. ground-based amateur astronomical photography), that would otherwise so easily reveal the flaws.
- Also, IIRC, recent Pluto pictures had notably been created by NASA based upon high-resolution monochrome and lower-resolution colour images from two cameras (usefully analysed seperately, in their own right, and doubtless also needing different exposure times to create) combined together to create the headline pictures we've been seeing.
- Incidentally, noticable JPEG artefacts tend to be 8x8 pixel regions (most often seen when a small photographic region is digitally 'zoomed'). For those that need them, there are "artefact removal" tools in most decent image editing programmes that (with practice) can 'reverse' (or, rather, 'blend') the more obvious artefacts, after the fact. I suspect Randall's image's 'artefacts' are a selectively edited 'artefact addition' (easily done, with the likes of Photoshop and GIMP, and related to 'pixelating' method used to selectively obscure detail) on the original image. NASA never had to 'clean' the image, although some of its released images may have been 'dirtied' after down-conversion. 22.214.171.124 20:51, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
One of a number of pareidolic features Randall has outlined. 126.96.36.199 20:56, 15 July 2015 (UTC)