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Oct 17 2007   1:02PM GMT

xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language

GuyPardon Guy Pardon Profile: GuyPardon

xkcd comic -- exploits of a mom

Yuval Shavit, a triple threat of writer/coder/sarcasm maven over at SearchITChannel.com, turned me on to the xkcd webcomic a few months ago. Today, he pointed out the edition above, an example of DB humor that might just result in coffee-laced chuckles in server rooms worldwide.

xkcd is written by by Randall Munroe, a Christopher Newport University graduate who worked on robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia before he began producing xkcd full-time.

These days, his witty, snarky comic is produced three times a week and has found its way into the offline world on prized geeky t-shirts everywhere. Techies who live and breathe acronyms (and challenge themselves to identify them) may be disappointed to learn that xkcd doesn’t actually stand for anything; according to Randall, “It’s just a word with no phonetic pronunciation. It stands for the comic and everything the comic stands for!”

What does the comic stand for? Mostly funny pokes at a geek’s challenges, including work, the quest for love, the oddity of daily life and quirks of technology, but that’s probably too narrow. Randall is unapologetically nerdy, honest and manages to inject his sparsely drawn figures with actual pathos, along with a brand of humor that seems to speak directly to the reptile brain of techies everywhere. With subjects ranging from raptors to Red Spider, zeppelins, Vanilla Ice, Mussolini, Guitar Hero and Firefly, xkcd plays on the heart strings of modern geek culture to hilarious effect, though occasionally with a thoughtful note. Cory Doctorow loves it, and so do I.

If you happen to live in Massachussetts, keep an eye out for the next real-world meetup. And if you’re looking for updates, here’s the xkcd RSS feed.

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