## 1017: "Backwards in Time"

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### 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Title text: "People tell me I have too much time on my hands, but really the problem is that there's too much time, PERIOD."

Isn't there a repeat in the date...? Oh wait... it's fixed already. I must have been thinking... *sunglasses on* backwards in time.
Last edited by Persona on Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:59 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Persona

Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: Backwards in Time

Why is the percentage counting down to 0% now? I feel like 0% should be the beginning of the universe, and it should count up to 100% when it reaches now. Or if this is about waiting, then 100% should be some point in the future.
lotharofthehillpeople

Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

It's probably that if 0% was the beginning of the universe, you'd run through most of time within very little %s then slow down... he wants the whoosh, so he speeds up as the download completes
Persona

Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Well he can keep the formula the way it is, with the percentage changing more rapidly as you approach now. Just that the result should be (100% - the current number).

Edit: I'm not even going to try to write a modified version of his formula in BBCode here
lotharofthehillpeople

Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

But then you'd have nothing happening (that you have knowledge of) most of the time...
Persona

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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I think I'm not quite explaining myself right, let me try again.

0% - 13.76 billion years ago - Universe begins
9.58% - 68 million years ago - Dinosaurs extinct
29.67% - 24,000 years ago - Caves painted
52.09% - 1844 - Rubber vulcanized
68.88% - February 1995 - Windows 95 debuts
96.692% - December 18, 2011 - Kim Jong-Il Dies

Somehow that seems more satisfying to me: all of history has been progress towards my download finishing. In fact, my three hours of waiting is only the last part of the download process - by the time I start waiting, it's practically done!
lotharofthehillpeople

Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

And so the freelanced creation of this application begins.

Also, having the listing as 0%=now, 100%=Big Bang gives for a more explosive finish. You're starting a download now, and you're timing it comparative to all time, therefore you can't also finish now, you're finishing in the past.

It's just one thing that's letting you be more like David Tennant, don't overthink it.

glasnt

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Location: SQUEE!

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?
Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.
Was it a rat I saw?
A nut for a jar of tuna.
Do geese see god?
Ma is as selfless as I am.
A Santa lived as a devil at NASA.
A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

muntoo

Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I'm trying to make an extreme sport out of watching him waiting.

rhomboidal

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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:25 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I'm pretty sure that the inversed p formula isn't quite right. Shouldn't it be:

\sqrt[3]{\frac{\ln{(T-\text{(current date)}+e^3)}-3}{20.3444}}?

That said I would love to see this built into a webpage where you could enter your start time and duration....

Happy hollandaise!

"The universe is a figment of its own imagination" -Douglas Adams

scikidus

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Location: New York, NY

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

the image is a link to a spreadsheet. it contains a listing of other big events that occurred during the (known?) existence of the universe.
dbam987

Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:30 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Using 20.3444 as in the comic, I get 13.7513 billion years.

However, using 20.3450 yields 13.75956 billion.

Using this number yields the following dates for the percentages he used:

7.308% : December 10, 2011
31.12% : February 15, 1995
47.91% : March 17, 1842
70.33% : 23781 years ago
90.42% : 68.35 million years ago
100% : 13.76 billion years ago!
Last edited by Venetian Road on Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:59 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:45 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

"Cannot run out of time. There is infinite time. You are finite. Zathras is finite. This... is wrong tool. No. No, not good. No. Never use that."

StClair

Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:07 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Mostly in reply to the alt text:

"The days are long, but the years are short."
Gretchen Rubin.
arthurd006_5

Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:49 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

scikidus wrote:I'm pretty sure that the inversed p formula isn't quite right. Shouldn't it be:

\sqrt[3]{\frac{\ln{(T-\text{(current date)}+e^3)}-3}{20.3444}}?

I think the artist is definitely wrong. But I made it:

\sqrt[3]{\frac{\ln{(\text{(current date)}+e^3-T)}-3}{20.3444}}?
thejudgeofall

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:53 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

"February 27, 1984 - I'm born"

12 days to 28, happy early birthday, Randall!

*Edit:

"September 23, 1733 - Enlightenment, Enlightenment" Now, with twice the enlightening!
I want to meet a philosophical pirate; they think, therefore they arrrrrrr.

Vael

Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:10 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

God, a red nugget; a fat egg under a dog!
Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog!

Why are we palindoming again?

(Although on the note of palindromes and dates: it struck me recently that 2012-12-21@21:02 will be a palindromic datetime. :twilight zone music: The world ends at 9:02 PM!
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

Pfhorrest

Posts: 1924
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

It would be even more awesome if he made the script so that it had microsoft sam read the first lines of the corresponding wikipedia article for each era!
sokratesz

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:45 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I went to the forum in hopes that someone made an app of this. Now I'm disappointed
PhDFluff

Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 2:06 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Hmm...I've downloaded both the Excel spreadsheet from XKCD, and the csv from here - and neither seem to have the actual formulae in them. Have I done something wrong? I'm using Firefox 10.0.1 on a PC.

Thanks (and hi - I'm new!)

Cheers
mattygroves

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:14 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

PhDFluff wrote:I went to the forum in hopes that someone made an app of this. Now I'm disappointed

Definitely hold out for version 2.0 with selectable universes.
If the male mind truly were a machine it would consist of a shaft and a bushing.

Linux0s

Posts: 222
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:34 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Enter a progress here (the formula works with p in [0,1], not a percentage as stated in the comic) and get your year (edit: now with a Wikipedia link):

Last edited by inductiveload on Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 4:06 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

StClair wrote:"Cannot run out of time. There is infinite time. You are finite. Zathras is finite. This... is wrong tool. No. No, not good. No. Never use that."

"You are the One who was. You are the One who is. You are the One who will be."
Thanks for Zathras
mokmok

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:16 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I cannot but refer to an old writing of Asimov.

http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html
peetmaster

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:14 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Well, 44.9694% is now my favorite percentage. You know, I might try and see if I couldn't write a program that allowed you to input an amount of time, press *start*, and then watch it give you things that happened at intervals.
Last edited by dhokarena56 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

dhokarena56

Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:52 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

"Man, it feels like I've been sitting here so long the dinosaurs would be dead already."

"Nay, we got another 5 minutes."
Read My Book. Cost less than coffee. Will probabaly keep you awake longer.

neoliminal

Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:39 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Is Randall friends with someone at Fitocracy? This is the only place I've ever heard it mentioned. The first time, I tried it out and didn't care a lick for it.
dp2

Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:06 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I can't believe no one has commented on the 31.12% box. I couldn't stop laughing when I read "Windows 95 debuts. OJ found not guilty."
JediMaster012

Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:56 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Hm, when I open the spreadsheet in OpenOffice I get "Err:508" messages in the "How far back", "What's Happening" and "How long ago" boxes. Seems to be a case of an error in parantheses, ie there are more opening parantheses than closing ones or vice versa. But there's nothing wrong with the parantheses, as far as I can tell (69 opening ones, 69 closing ones).

Can anybody help me out?
LordHorst

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:17 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

So, the way I read this, Randall is the ultimate in long-suffering.

Misellaneous person: "So, how long was that lecture, Randall?"
Randall (with deep suffering): "At least as long as the age of the universe."

Coyne

Posts: 232
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:07 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Ambiguous punctuation is fun. I'm heartened to discover OJ was not responsible for Windows 95.
This signature intentionally left empty.
The Origamist

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### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

enjoyed.

also enjoyed the Zathras comment. fitting.
beav

Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:11 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

StClair wrote:"Cannot run out of time. There is infinite time. You are finite. Zathras is finite. This... is wrong tool. No. No, not good. No. Never use that."

I <3 you for the B5 quote. Zathras was one of my favorite characters.

"Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Is very sad life, will probably have very sad death, but at least there is symetry."

"Zathras talks to dirt, sometimes talks to ceiling and walls but dirt is closer."
"Greyarcher":Trying to build a proper foundation for knowledge is blippery.
"JimsMaher":Squirrels are crazy enough to be test pilots.
The Velocirapture is Imminent!

eran_rathan

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Location: rapidly approaching c, in some other reference frame

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

I knew my teacher in high school had us watch the OJ Simpson verdict...I think we were in the middle of math or something not in a classroom with a television, and we moved to one that was. I also knew my mom died in October of 1995, at the start of my Freshman year of high school, so when I saw February 1995 I had to be sure that how big "around that time" meant. Grrr...Randall you made me look up the OJ Simpson trial. :-/
"She’s a free spirit, a wind-rider, she’s at one with nature, and walks with the kodama eidolons”
Spoiler:

Sprocket
Seymour

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Location: impaled on Beck's boney hips.

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

http://dannyayers.com/stuff/sliders/xkcd.html

it gives the names of people in the appropriate year, with a few caveats...
danja

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Like Dunbar in Catch-22, I read xkcd comics in order to extend my own life through boredom.
DillyD

Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:11 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

lotharofthehillpeople wrote:I think I'm not quite explaining myself right, let me try again.

0% - 13.76 billion years ago - Universe begins
9.58% - 68 million years ago - Dinosaurs extinct
29.67% - 24,000 years ago - Caves painted
52.09% - 1844 - Rubber vulcanized
68.88% - February 1995 - Windows 95 debuts
96.692% - December 18, 2011 - Kim Jong-Il Dies

Somehow that seems more satisfying to me: all of history has been progress towards my download finishing. In fact, my three hours of waiting is only the last part of the download process - by the time I start waiting, it's practically done!

Watching things go slower and slower as you approach 100% would be agonizing for something like a long lecture or an hour+ on a treadmill.

The comic's solution is best. Now someone make me an app I can watch while on a treadmill.

Someguy945

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### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

Reminds me of this little 321-Contact gem:

squidfood

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:00 am UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

just a correction to point out flowering plants have been around for much longer than 68million years
Yeah_And_stuff

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

### Re: 1017: "Backwards in Time"

glasnt wrote:And so the freelanced creation of this application begins.

Also, having the listing as 0%=now, 100%=Big Bang gives for a more explosive finish. You're starting a download now, and you're timing it comparative to all time, therefore you can't also finish now, you're finishing in the past.

It's just one thing that's letting you be more like David Tennant, don't overthink it.

Yeah, it's all that wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.

San Fran Sam

Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:54 pm UTC

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