1229: "Screensaver"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
keithl
Posts: 634
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

1229: "Screensaver"

Postby keithl » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:21 am UTC

Image
http://xkcd.com/1228/
Alt Text:"I'm entering my 24th year of spending eight hours a day firing the Duck Hunt gun at the flying toasters. I'm sure I'll hit one soon."

Nope. You've been staring at the screen for 20 years, but "it" happened thousands of years ago, after which the telemetry from the probe travelled across the galaxy at the speed of light for a long long time. Given the speed at which the screensaver appears to move, the frames were years apart and time dilated together, so the probe was coming toward us very fast. Good thing it hit a star, first.

User avatar
rhomboidal
Posts: 783
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:25 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:23 am UTC

I just use a black screen for my screensaver, so I'm really hoping to see some Hawking radiation one of these nights.

User avatar
Quicksilver
Posts: 437
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:21 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:25 am UTC

Maybe its your mom.

Jyrki
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:27 pm UTC
Location: Rusko, Finland

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Jyrki » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:59 am UTC

Is this not a case of?

Code: Select all

repeat
  newstar.x=random();
  newstar.y=random();
until newstar.x<>0 or newstar.y<>0;

But wouldn't it be more fun, if we had a live web cam feed from Hubble monitoring Betelgeuze? I mean, if/when it goes supernova, it would be so cool to be the first to see it, right?

User avatar
snowyowl
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby snowyowl » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:06 am UTC

Showoff. I spent hours staring at mine and never even saw a star get larger than 4x4 pixels.
The preceding comment is an automated response.

Admiralz
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:36 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Admiralz » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:17 am UTC

I actually remember seeing this happen on a Windows 3.11 PC with that screensaver. It did wash out the screen in white with an approaching star, but no "signal lost" screen. Just continuing on ...
... So sad ...
... Or maybe the probe transmitting the telemetry has a neutronium hull and can withstand the impact with a massive stellar body just to continue on ...

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Klear » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:30 am UTC

Admiralz wrote:I actually remember seeing this happen on a Windows 3.11 PC with that screensaver. It did wash out the screen in white with an approaching star, but no "signal lost" screen. Just continuing on ...
... So sad ...
... Or maybe the probe transmitting the telemetry has a neutronium hull and can withstand the impact with a massive stellar body just to continue on ...


Why do I have the feeling you are trolling us? Now everybody is going to try to see it for himself =(

User avatar
Splarka
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:24 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Splarka » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:04 am UTC

I duplicated the starfield screensaver as a kid. I got it to where you couldn't tell the difference. I then tried to make it possible to have a star pas very closely occasionally, but the framerate always dropped to nothing, and the other stars cut into it badly.
HTTP/1.1 - 203

Shouthigh
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:15 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Shouthigh » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:02 am UTC

When I looked at this I thought of Elite (on the BBC Micro at Chris Baker's house after school) but then I saw the title and did the math and realised what we were talking about. I wonder when the next Elite will be out? It's been a while...

User avatar
TimXCampbell
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:26 am UTC
Location: Very Eastern Kentucky, USA
Contact:

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby TimXCampbell » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:20 am UTC

Why look at a screensaver when you can see the real thing? Check this out:

ARKYD: A Space Telescope for Everyone

Only six days left to invest! (And if you can't do that, don't worry, because they've already raised their target goal and then some.)

hetas
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 5:17 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby hetas » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:10 pm UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:Why look at a screensaver when you can see the real thing? Check this out:

ARKYD: A Space Telescope for Everyone

Only six days left to invest! (And if you can't do that, don't worry, because they've already raised their target goal and then some.)

That presentation video is so much like a parody of a presentation video that I couldn't tell if it was a joke or not.

User avatar
peewee_RotA
Posts: 504
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:19 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby peewee_RotA » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:22 pm UTC

There wouldn't need to be much changed to make a flying toaster register on the light gun
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_gun ... al_targets
"Vowels have trouble getting married in Canada. They can’t pronounce their O’s."

http://timelesstherpg.wordpress.com/about/

Seli
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:01 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Seli » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:46 pm UTC

This reminded me of a throwaway scene in Pratchett's Only you can save mankind. Where one of the characters (a kid) had programmed a real time simulation of a trip to Alpha centauri. But apparently that took even longer than 20 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Only_You_Can_Save_Mankind

milN
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 12:53 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby milN » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:48 pm UTC

This does remind me, why aren't the stars in the screensaver blue-shifted? BadAstronomy should write an article on it :)

User avatar
Flumble
Yes Man
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Flumble » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:53 pm UTC


A million dollars sounds like quite an expense for a small satellite. CubeSats, for example, cost a little over 100,000 dollars to launch.
Oh, the telescope weighs 15 kg - the equivalent mass of more than 11 CubeSats. Never mind, they may even need some (social media) revenue to get break-even.

richP
Posts: 177
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby richP » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:15 pm UTC

My second thought regarding the alt text: I hope he's using an old CRT monitor with the Duck Hunt gun, or he's never going to get the toasters.

My first thought: I wonder if he hacked flying toasters to have the dog snicker at him after he misses?

JudeMorrigan
Posts: 1246
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby JudeMorrigan » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:15 pm UTC

This comic is a spoiler for Time, isn't it?

User avatar
VectorZero
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:22 am UTC
Location: Kensington

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby VectorZero » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Oh, After Dark. How long did you distract me?
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.

User avatar
yellow103
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby yellow103 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:44 pm UTC

What about getting out of the endless maze on windows 95?

rmsgrey
Posts: 3376
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:05 pm UTC

Shouthigh wrote:When I looked at this I thought of Elite (on the BBC Micro at Chris Baker's house after school) but then I saw the title and did the math and realised what we were talking about. I wonder when the next Elite will be out? It's been a while...


Estimated release date is March next year: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/146 ... -dangerous

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 2900
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:46 pm UTC

Pulling together several the themes of satellites, telescopes space and kitchenware: could you launch a perspex cubesat containing a teapot, then use the ARKYD to take a picture of it, thus disproving Russell and hence proving the existence of God? You could probably get some funding from the Vatican.

Edit: it seems Russell specified a solar orbit. That's going to be more difficult: you're gonna need a bigger rocket (I guess, I'm not a rocket scientist).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

vbiliyar
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:51 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby vbiliyar » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:54 pm UTC

Can someone explain this comic? Looked up starfield screensaver, but I'm still unsure what's going on. Is it showing you flying into a supernova?

Jokertyf
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:56 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Jokertyf » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:44 pm UTC

Am I the only one here who thought this was a majora's mask reference?

ijuin
Posts: 800
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby ijuin » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:12 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Pulling together several the themes of satellites, telescopes space and kitchenware: could you launch a perspex cubesat containing a teapot, then use the ARKYD to take a picture of it, thus disproving Russell and hence proving the existence of God? You could probably get some funding from the Vatican.

Edit: it seems Russell specified a solar orbit. That's going to be more difficult: you're gonna need a bigger rocket (I guess, I'm not a rocket scientist).


Well, Russel's argument wasn't that it had to be a teapot--it was that a non-falsifiable claim is not the same thing as a verified claim. One can make all sorts of claims about God and the universe, but making the claims plausible requires more than simply saying "you can't prove that it isn't the way that I said". Basically, it is a variation of "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", which restates it as "lack of evidence of absence is not evidence of presence". Claiming that something is true because of a lack of proof of falseness is similar to claiming that a lottery ticket must win because it has not been proven to be a losing ticket.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2419
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:33 pm UTC

Right, but you're missing the bit where putting a teapot into orbit and naming it Russel is still awesome.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Klear » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:49 pm UTC

I'm willing to bet that there will be a teapot in the orbit between Earth and Mars before the end of this century.

User avatar
cellocgw
Posts: 1897
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby cellocgw » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:55 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:There wouldn't need to be much changed to make a flying toaster register on the light gun
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_gun ... al_targets


yeah but how would you make the registered hit do something to the (non-API) screensaver? We want to see exploding toasters!

klear wrote:I'm willing to bet that there will be a teapot in the orbit between Earth and Mars before the end of this century.

For sufficiently advanced definitions of "teapot," no doubt :mrgreen:
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
Former OTTer
Vote cellocgw for President 2020. #ScienceintheWhiteHouse http://cellocgw.wordpress.com
"The Planck length is 3.81779e-33 picas." -- keithl
" Earth weighs almost exactly π milliJupiters" -- what-if #146, note 7

User avatar
thevicente
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:19 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby thevicente » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:36 pm UTC

That is probably the oldest piece of software still in widespread use.

Also, I just moved my mouse to exit from it to read this page

hujackus
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:30 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby hujackus » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:31 pm UTC

I enjoyed scouring the web for old screensavers. I knew better not to download anything though as the best ones have long been deprecated into obscurity.
http://www.masswerk.at/flyer/flyer.html

danix
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:51 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby danix » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:34 pm UTC

vbiliyar wrote:Can someone explain this comic? Looked up starfield screensaver, but I'm still unsure what's going on. Is it showing you flying into a supernova?


It's one of the standard screensavers in After Dark, which I guess is what Randall is referencing (especially given the alt-text).

Incidentally, I have installed a Flying Toasters screensaver on my Mac.

VectorZero wrote:Oh, After Dark. How long did you distract me?

We were even more distracted by the later versions. Now I've got the theme song for You Bet Your Head stuck in my brain :lol:

JimsMaher
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:14 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby JimsMaher » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:55 am UTC

Shouldn't the error message be in MS Sans Serif ?

ijuin
Posts: 800
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby ijuin » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:46 am UTC

Klear wrote:I'm willing to bet that there will be a teapot in the orbit between Earth and Mars before the end of this century.


As soon as it can be done for a million dollars, somebody will be sure to try it (Note that this doesn't mean a million dollars for the whole launch, but rather a million to add the teapot to a payload already headed for a near-Earth solar orbit).

User avatar
TimXCampbell
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:26 am UTC
Location: Very Eastern Kentucky, USA
Contact:

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby TimXCampbell » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:49 am UTC

Long ago, before Facebook, but after dinosaurs, a friend showed me the Flying Toasters screensaver. I was impressed but puzzled.

I asked, "Where are they going in such a hurry?"

My friend replied, "Perhaps a better question is: What are they running away from?"

Have you ever laughed while simultaneously feeling a chill down your spine?

User avatar
da Doctah
Posts: 876
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:27 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby da Doctah » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:07 am UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:Long ago, before Facebook, but after dinosaurs, a friend showed me the Flying Toasters screensaver. I was impressed but puzzled.

I asked, "Where are they going in such a hurry?"

My friend replied, "Perhaps a better question is: What are they running away from?"

Have you ever laughed while simultaneously feeling a chill down your spine?
I could never watch those toasters without picturing the "Rite of Spring" segment of "Fantasia".

hermitian
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:16 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby hermitian » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:40 am UTC

danix wrote:It's one of the standard screensavers in After Dark, which I guess is what Randall is referencing (especially given the alt-text).


I don't know if it was in After Dark first, but the starfield screensaver is in Windows XP. I think it was also in 95 and 98, but truthfully I don't remember. The years of staring at it has warped my memory.

Brian-M
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:31 am UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Brian-M » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:55 pm UTC

Thinking about it, I genuinely hope that this comic inspires generations of programmers to put hidden Easter-eggs like this into real screensavers, so that they pop up randomly for a few minutes after an average of several thousand hours of run-time.

yellow103 wrote:What about getting out of the endless maze on windows 95?

If you map out the maze, it spells out a secret message. :)

vbiliyar wrote:Can someone explain this comic? Looked up starfield screensaver, but I'm still unsure what's going on. Is it showing you flying into a supernova?

The starfield simulator makes it look as if you're gently gliding through space (really, really fast). This comic pretends that this is an actual video feed from a real probe or spaceship, and that it eventually flies into a star.

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 2900
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby orthogon » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:04 pm UTC

I was going to suggest that the teapot would be made of unobtanium to keep the weight down; it would become a design classic and a must-have kitchen accessory for middle-class Pastafarians and Teapot Agnostics everywhere. However, it turns out that Russell (how are we spelling him, btw?) specified a china teapot. I thought that was likely to be a showstopper for the xkcd space project, but I found this product on Amazon, which weighs in at 640g including the box (the yellow one is 100g lighter :? ), leaving nearly 700g for all the other stuff. Unfortunately it's just a few millimetres too big to fit in a 2U cubesat. Can anyone find a smaller one? Or do we need to design our own? Ideally the spout and handle would deploy once it was in orbit, then we'd have a chance of fitting it in 1U.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

User avatar
yellow103
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby yellow103 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:19 pm UTC

If you watch the pipe screen saver long enough, a faucet appears.

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby Klear » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:26 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:I was going to suggest that the teapot would be made of unobtanium to keep the weight down; it would become a design classic and a must-have kitchen accessory for middle-class Pastafarians and Teapot Agnostics everywhere. However, it turns out that Russell (how are we spelling him, btw?) specified a china teapot. I thought that was likely to be a showstopper for the xkcd space project, but I found this product on Amazon, which weighs in at 640g including the box (the yellow one is 100g lighter :? ), leaving nearly 700g for all the other stuff. Unfortunately it's just a few millimetres too big to fit in a 2U cubesat. Can anyone find a smaller one? Or do we need to design our own? Ideally the spout and handle would deploy once it was in orbit, then we'd have a chance of fitting it in 1U.


I think that when you are launching a teapot on an orbit between Earth and Mars, you can afford to have one custom made =/

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 2900
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1229:Screensaver

Postby orthogon » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:36 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:I was going to suggest that the teapot would be made of unobtanium to keep the weight down; it would become a design classic and a must-have kitchen accessory for middle-class Pastafarians and Teapot Agnostics everywhere. However, it turns out that Russell (how are we spelling him, btw?) specified a china teapot. I thought that was likely to be a showstopper for the xkcd space project, but I found this product on Amazon, which weighs in at 640g including the box (the yellow one is 100g lighter :? ), leaving nearly 700g for all the other stuff. Unfortunately it's just a few millimetres too big to fit in a 2U cubesat. Can anyone find a smaller one? Or do we need to design our own? Ideally the spout and handle would deploy once it was in orbit, then we'd have a chance of fitting it in 1U.


I think that when you are launching a teapot on an orbit between Earth and Mars, you can afford to have one custom made =/

As my mum always says: Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves (please use xe.com to convert this maxim to your local currency).

However, you've given me an idea. Rather than doing it for Science, or Theology, the best bet is probably to frame it as Conceptual Art. Somebody is bound to pay $100 million plus for a work of art consisting of an teapot in solar orbit. We can probably get Anish Kapoor to make it.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: gmalivuk, Keyman and 42 guests