Breadpig Publishing were kind enough to send me a review copy of xkcd: volume 0, the first-ever collection of strips from Randall Munroe's fantastic, unrepentantly geeky webcomic XKCD: A webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.
I've been a fan of XKCD since I happened upon his Help! I'm Trapped in a Universe Factory strip, and Randall was kind enough to write a fictionalized version of me into later toons. We got to meet last summer at a science fiction convention in Springfield, Mass, and hit it off like a house on fire.
So I was delighted to find myself holding an actual book -- cover price $18, portion of profits goes to building schools in Laos through the Room to Read charity -- and turning the pages. Randall once told me that he'd rejected earlier book offers because his older strips were only available at a very low resolution, and it seems like many of these were included on the basis that they're funny and interesting enough to overlook the lower-quality reproductions. The tool-tips -- hidden punchlines that show up if you hover your mouse over the XKCD strips -- are included as small-caps print tucked among the frames, and this is nearly as good as the screen experience.
The book is full of eastereggs; the pages appear to be numbered in ternary. There is a cryptographic puzzle hidden in the margins, along with many small, Sergio-Argones-like doodles and gags. More than anything, xkcd: volume 0 feels like it is a part of the XKCD continuum, a mix of blog, webcomic, doodle and tweet, handsomely presented and long overdue.
xkcd: volume 0
That point of light between Saturn’s rings is Earth, captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on April 12. More about the image here at NASA JPL. It reminds me of the last photo taken by the Voyager I spacecraft before engineers shut off its imaging systems. Carl Sagan had persuaded NASA to turn Voyager I’s cameras […]
As AI improves, the mystery of consciousness interests more programmers and physicists.
Most of us need a computer interface implanted in our brains like we need a hole in our head. That said, there are benefits to bridging the gap between mind and machine. Joel Murphy is the founder of OpenBCI, an inexpensive, and non-invasive, brain-computer interface (BCI) platform. People have used OpenBCI to control robots, compose […]
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]
They probably just sleep a lot. But still, you can remotely keep an eye on them when you’re at work and missing them deeply with this HD monitor from Kodak.If you have a new puppy that destroys everything in sight, or you just want to be a little more security-conscious, this WiFi camera is a […]
Thinking of a business idea is the easy part. Doesn’t even have to be a “good” idea, you can still get people to throw money at a non-existent venture, but to do that you need to at least have something even resembling a viable business plan. Why doesn’t anyone do it then? Because building that semi-viable […]