XKCD or Why we need science literacy : Earth Sciences Edition

Science Literacy Week logo

September 19-25 is Science Literacy Week and we are celebrating it at the Leddy Library.

As we explained yesterday, one noble reason to become science literate is to understand the jokes of the web comic, XKCD by Randall Munroe. Randall describes himself as, "I'm just this guy, you know? I'm a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, I worked on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 I live in Massachusetts. In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around." Munroe is also the author of What if? : serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions and Thing explainer : complicated stuff in simple words , both of which can be found on the shelves of the Leddy Library.

Every day this week, I'm going to offer some XKCD comics dedicated to Physics, Mathematics, Biology-Biochemistry-Chemistry, Computer Science, and - today - Earth Science!

Don't worry if you don't get the jokes - each cartoon is linked to it's respective XKCD Explain entry!


VOLCANO TYPES

http://www.xkcd.com/1714/

ALT-TEXT: It's hard living somewhere with antlions, because every time you find one of their traps, you feel compelled to spend all day constructing a tiny model of Jabba's sail barge next to it.


SKY COLOR

http://www.xkcd.com/1145/

Alt-text: Feynman recounted another good one upperclassmen would use on freshmen physics students: When you look at words in a mirror, how come they're reversed left to right but not top to bottom? What's special about the horizontal axis?


RED ROVER

http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1449:_Red_Rover

Alt-Text : I just learned about the Slide Mountain Ocean, which I like because it's three nouns that sound like they can't possibly all refer to the same thing.


ACTUALLY

http://www.xkcd.com/1318/

Alt-text : Protip: You can win every exchange just by being one level more precise than whoever talked last. Eventually, you'll defeat all conversational opponents and stand alone.


MAP AGE GUIDE

http://xkcd.com/1688/large/

Alt-text: Does the screeching chill your blood and herald death? If yes, banshee. If no, seagull.


GEOHASHING

Alt-text: Saturday is game night


Earth Temperature Timeline

Alt-text: [After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before.


Tomorrow: XKCD Bio,Chem and BioChem!