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0781: "Ahead Stop"

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:01 am UTC
by LucasBrown
Image
Alt text: "They actually started the reversed-text practice in 1973 -- not for ease-of-reading reasons, but because too many people were driving backward down the highway blasting the Star Wars opening theme."

Interesting connection...
But if we really do read backwards, wouldn't that be "READ I"?

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:03 am UTC
by sugarhyped
LucasBrown wrote:But if we really do read backwards, wouldn't that be "READ I"?


true and true.

edit:I always want to read it the wrong way. Although I normally ignore writing on roads unless I am playing the alphabet game.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:04 am UTC
by grafpa
lol... took me a while to get this while drunk.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:04 am UTC
by SocialSceneRepairman
Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:04 am UTC
by existentialpanda
LucasBrown wrote:But if we really do read backwards, wouldn't that be "READ I"?

I think the "backwards" thing just applies to individual lines.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:06 am UTC
by sugarhyped
existentialpanda wrote:I think the "backwards" thing just applies to individual lines.


but the title of the comic is ahead stop.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:07 am UTC
by -.Mateo.-
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?


I know, that's the only thing I could think...seems like Randall had a major case of date-mix-up-itis

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:08 am UTC
by existentialpanda
sugarhyped wrote:
existentialpanda wrote:I think the "backwards" thing just applies to individual lines.


but the title of the comic is ahead stop.


All the "ahead stops" I've ever seen irl have had the words in separate lines. I don't know what yours look like.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC
by llyralei
Funny how I read these just fine on the highways but it took me an almost embarrassing amount of time to read the comic. Maybe I'm just tired.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:16 am UTC
by RogueCynic
I thought it was funny. A random comic with a hint of cynicism. So what if Randall confused the date on the Star Wars theme. Maybe John Williams stole it from some obscure piece.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:17 am UTC
by sje46
Backwards*

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:20 am UTC
by plin25
Despite not being a highway engineer, I know exactly the feeling. Whenever I'm going down the road and see one of these, I read it the "wrong" way and have to ignore it lest I get distracted.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:22 am UTC
by nerdzilla
Alt text: "They actually started the reversed-text practice in 1973 -- not for ease-of-reading reasons, but because too many people were driving backward down the highway blasting the Star Wars opening theme."


In Deloreans apparently

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:26 am UTC
by Chrisfs
It's because highway engineering jobs have always been contracted out to Yoda, who made a tidy sum from that sideline.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:26 am UTC
by The Origamist
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?


I guess they aged backward as well as read backward...

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:27 am UTC
by Chuff
I was complaining about this to my dad earlier today. Therefore, Randall, get out of my head.


Alright, now that that's over, this is a pretty basic comic. I guess it's kind of funny, though.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:36 am UTC
by jspenguin
Forth users should feel right at home.

FORTH LOVE IF HONK THEN

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:41 am UTC
by Arsidias
I'm going to give the 'XKCD Sucks' guy an aneurysm right now by saying:"Get out of my head!" I think this EVERY time I see writing on the street. I always read it as ahead stop and wonder if everybody else reads it the right way.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:42 am UTC
by Gasp
So were signs also backwards?

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:44 am UTC
by herm43506
So, I found myself thinking about this on Monday whilst cutting across three lanes of traffic and thinking, "It means saving a few seconds at a long red light via elaborate and questionably legal maneuvers." But I left out the part about the light and kept the "elaborate and questionably legal maneuvers" for my own enjoyment because there were people using one finger sign language and honking their horns at me.

Why, you may ask did I cut across three lanes of traffic? Because I saw the writing on my lane of the highway indicate that the lane I was in was not going where I wanted to go, which lead me to the thought, Do they print the lines from bottom to top like that all of the time? SH!T... There goes my exit!


Edit: Formatting

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:45 am UTC
by Pez Dispens3r
Bonus points in that, read top-to-bottom, it sounds vaguely Yoda-ish.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:48 am UTC
by Richard.
LucasBrown wrote:Interesting connection...
But if we really do read backwards, wouldn't that be "READ I"?


Yeah.

But with the perspective he used in this comic, if he put 'I' on its own line it would make it annoying to read; and/or it might be interpreted as a lane divider marker, random vertical line, etc.

It looks better this way.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:50 am UTC
by AlsoPenCover
Richard. wrote:
LucasBrown wrote:Interesting connection...
But if we really do read backwards, wouldn't that be "READ I"?


Yeah.

But with the perspective he used in this comic, if he put 'I' on its own line it would make it annoying to read; and/or it might be interpreted as a lane divider marker, random vertical line, etc.

It looks better this way.


No it doesn't.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:52 am UTC
by Richard.
AlsoPenCover wrote:
Richard. wrote:
LucasBrown wrote:Interesting connection...
But if we really do read backwards, wouldn't that be "READ I"?


Yeah.

But with the perspective he used in this comic, if he put 'I' on its own line it would make it annoying to read; and/or it might be interpreted as a lane divider marker, random vertical line, etc.

It looks better this way.


No it doesn't.


K

EDIT: I was thinking of the capital letter "I" that looks like the one I just typed thrice, the horizontal lines on the top and bottom in the comic make it more I-ish and less vertical line-ish.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:11 am UTC
by tuckels
My favourite are the ones that say "WAY WRONG".

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:15 am UTC
by Mighty Jalapeno
I hate when things go backwards on the road. What do silver octagons mean?

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:16 am UTC
by MikeBabaguh
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?

I came running to this thread as soon as I realized he had erred, which was immediately. Considering the nerdy intellectual group that frequents this forum, myself included, I predict a shitstorm.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:18 am UTC
by v_mulligan
MikeBabaguh wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?

I came running to this thread as soon as I realized he had erred, which was immediately. Considering the nerdy intellectual group that frequents this forum, myself included, I predict a shitstorm.

Yeah, I was naïve enough to think that I might be the first to spot that. Not a chance on the xkcd fora.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:19 am UTC
by pfloriani
Burma Shave
The laws of time
The driver bends
Are such a crime
These wrong way signs

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:32 am UTC
by elirirz
I couldn't resist signing up to comment. I'm pretty sure reading "ahead stop" caused me to miss at least a few stop signs.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:38 am UTC
by gce15p
news flash randall, star wars came out in 77

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:38 am UTC
by Bossi
Being a traffic engineer myself, I just want to say that these periodic forays into our world never fail to crack us up. Cheers!

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:39 am UTC
by musashi1600
-.Mateo.- wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?


I know, that's the only thing I could think...seems like Randall had a major case of date-mix-up-itis


1977: A New Hope
1983: Return of the Jedi

It's an understandable mistake.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:41 am UTC
by bitwiseshiftleft
Turns left? No!

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:45 am UTC
by unus vox
sje46 wrote:Backwards*


*facepalm*

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:50 am UTC
by Randomness
Well that explains Yoda's speech patterns.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:15 am UTC
by L33tsaber
Done his homework, Randall has not, hm? (But half this thread has already realized that, so my work was done here before it even started.)

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:16 am UTC
by gazzaj
My favourite is

CHILDREN FOR WATCH SCHOOL

That, and the "Hammer Time" that people keep writing on the bottom of STOP signs.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:24 am UTC
by 00Davo
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Never mind that - they were humming the Star Wars theme in 1973?

Perhaps that's part of the joke?

Hmm.

Re: "Ahead Stop" discussion (#781)

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:28 am UTC
by michael24easilybored
Dear XKCD writer. Have you considered that highway engineers might just know a few things about how people read road signs that you don't? Maybe, just maybe, it is easier for drivers to read road markings that are painted that way. Have you actually carried out and investigations into how people read best when trying to concentrate on the road? Stop assuming other people are all wrong.