Astounding backstory behind XKCD's "Time"


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As a favor for future civilizations, we should sequester carbon in the form of clean-burning waxy nodules. Burn for fuel, liquify and crack for hydrocarbon chemicals.

Won’t it be nice if they don’t need your primitive fuel?

I am sure I would be impressed, but I’ve just had a dinner with too many glasses of wine to follow this…

That would be ideal. But we’re talking about collapse-recovery situation. Items like a solar panel or windmill are harder to put together than a steam engine.

Yea, well, the Vilani had all those disadvantages plus an inedible biosphere, and look how much of the galaxy they managed to conquer.

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There has been a lot of effort put into understanding this one cartoon. Don’t these people have jobs?

You kidding? It’s the 21st Century.

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This is fucking beautiful. The attention to detail is astounding.


This cartoon went on for weeks. I’m not sure people spent more time trying to understand it than, say, the time it takes to watch a season of a television show.

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Not sure if serious or satire.

But in case of the former: This “one cartoon” is, by any meaningful definition of the term, a work of art. A lot of very smart and very sensible people devoted their entire lives to the study, interpretation and appreciation of art over the ages.
Those people most definitely made our collective human experience infinitely richer.

Or, to put it simpler: Didn’t Roger Ebert had anything better to do with his time than watch a bunch of movies?


Then why does the windmill pre-date the steam engine?

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Randall Monroe is way too smart for anyone’s good. If we’re taking votes on who we should clone to populate the earth in his post-apocalyptic world I vote for Randall himself.


Sounds like a wonderful time for goatkcd.

Traveller reference, FTW!

How do I get to see how this played out in realtime? There are viewers galore, but all of them have the cartoon speeded up, so I’m watching like a zillion times too fast!

They’ve got nothing on the Darrians, who managed to reach tech level 16 on one major planet with only a handful of minor colonies.

The one I used pauses on the interesting bits, and it was adjustable.

Mechanical wind-powered mills are not electricity-generating wind turbines, which need magnets and electric motors and ways to regulate voltage and so on. That’s like comparing plants to PV panels because they’re both solar powered.

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Find one that lets you step through individual frames. Get yourself a comfortable chair and plenty of food and water. Then once every hour click “next.”