xkcd is a Creative Commons webcomic that focuses on technical issues (Open Source, Perl, etc.). The author is Randall Munroe, an engineer with a background in physics. The series is interesting in various respects, one of which is that it's inspired a few real-life stunts.

Some favorite xkcd strips are posted below with comments added in some cases. These strips are distributed under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 2.5.




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In response to the preceding cartoon, two xkcd fans purchased a katana for Richard Stallman:


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String Theory is a branch of physics that's controversial because it can't be tested. From one point of view, this means that the theory isn't science. It's actually philosophy or magic.




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Lisp is a respected programming language. It's elegant and focused. However, in practice, many engineers would prefer to use Perl. Perl is messy, but it's much easier to do things in this language.




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Cory Doctorow is a blogger and author who's involved with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons. He won the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award and the presenters provided him with xkcd-inspired attire, complete with balloon. You can read one of his stories at this link.

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“Backslashes” are a programming feature. They can be used to turn ordinary characters into special characters and vice versa. When you use a backslash to turn a special character into an ordinary character, you're “escaping” the character.




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In Spring 2007, xkcd ran the following strip:


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The numbers shown in the strip include the latitude and longitude of a park in Cambridge, Virginia plus the date September 23, 2007. Not too surprisingly, a lot of people showed up at the park on the indicated date:


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A chess-related stunt from the same year (2007):


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