Today, fans of the webcomic xkcd woke up to a delightful surprise. Cartoonist Randall Munroe designed a giant world that can be explored in the comic by clicking and dragging.
Why did he do it? Perhaps to permanently distract the writers on the wiki at explainxkcd, which has managed to accumulate an impressive number of explanations for each box. Or it might have just been for fun. Munroe has a history of creating amazingly huge infographic-esque comics that range in topic from online communities to height, depth, and money.
You can explore the original comic, or take a look at one of the many iterations that is popping up. Already, Florian Wesch has constructed a zoomable map, and Wicked Glitch posted a spoiler map to help guide people through the maze.
Here are some of our favorite elements:
This, we’re assuming, is a Douglas Adams tribute.
A part of the falling whale’s monologue from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
”And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground!
That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?’
And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.’
…Or it could just be a whale in midair.
To be fair, The Lonely Island did also inform us of their purchase of a nautical-themed pashmina afghan.
Geeky math and science jokes are the reason many readers flock to xkcd, and this doesn’t disappoint.
An homage to North Dakota’s KVLY tower, which used to be the tallest man-made structure in the world.
Star Wars references never go out of style.
What are you finding?
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