back to article Randall Munroe: The root nerd talks to The Register

There are a million easy ways to get famous on the internet - or perhaps they're all one way but it's been done a million times. Randall Munroe If you're a budding celeb in search of glory, all you need to do is shoot a sex tape, like Paris Hilton - or maybe do a Miley Cyrus and unleash a vast torrent of semi-clad selfies. …

Good interview

Love the comics. Now leave him alone!

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Re: Good interview

Exactly. Someone who is famous for what they do, rather than who they are, is to be cherished and respected.

I get all I want from Randall via his comics and now his book, long may it continue. If I met him in the street and recognised him I wouldn't say hello, it would just be a nice thing to mention when I got home.

Not like when I saw Vic Reeves on the tube one evening. I made a deliberate effort to completely ignore him no matter what he did to try and attract some attention and recognition (as opposed to leaving him alone out of respect). That must have hurt :)

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Re: Good interview

On the contrary, if I were to meet him (and recognise him), I would stop him, shake his hand and thank him very much for all that he has produced and to please keep on doing what he does so well. I would tell him that I am giving his books and posters to friends and family as presents.

Finally, I would tell him that he is one of the poets of our generation and that he should be proud of it.

Gushy sentimental stuff, I know, but if you can't gush as a fan, then who can you gush to?

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Re: Good interview

"On the contrary, if I were to meet him (and recognise him), I would stop him, shake his hand and thank him very much for all that he has produced and to please keep on doing what he does so well."

Very much my reaction when I got to meet they fellow behind Ninite.

I don't know as I'll ever get the honour to repeat that experience (meeting one of me heroes), but should I ever meet Mr. Munroe, I will try to be less of a gibbering idiot than I was with Mr. Kuzins.

As with Mr. Kuzins, I expect that meeting Mr. Munroe would be an experience wherein the ancient axiom "never meet your heroes, you discover they have feet of clay" would not apply. I expect, from all that I have read, that Mr. Munroe would be humble and awkward, rapaciously curious and stunningly intelligent as he is reputed to be.

And that, if nothing else, he's accept my heartfelt gratitude. Not for the wit, or the feeling of belonging, or the unity across the globe with other nerds his works have provided. Not for the humour and wit, intelligence, or even for taking the time to let me thank him.

I expect he'd understand when I said that it is knowing that someone else in this world deals best with confusion, grief, fear, loneliness, anger and even despair through art, thought and seeking to help others. Knowing that Mr. Munroe - how may well be one of the brightest minds of our generation - has the same reaction as I do when confronted with these emotions makes me feel less alone.

He's a private guy. I respect that. He has, however, shared with us glimpses into the difficulties with which he struggles. That he can continue to be witty, humorous, helpful and kind through all of that is of itself amazing.

That he occasionally lets us see the humanity of the artist makes me feel less alone.

My apologies for an inability to express myself appropriately. Better to be mushy here where he's unlikely to read it than to gibber at the man in person.

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Re: Good interview -- but don't ask about the home situation

Read the comic and he's told you as much as he wants to tell you.

Particularly 'lanes', http://xkcd.com/931/

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Boffin

Whatever else you do...

Please don't distract him.

It's bad enough already when Wednesday comes around and he's been too busy to post on time.

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Happy

Every so often I think xkcd is going downhill... and then he comes out with something genius, most recently the Rosetta comic.

I do sometimes wonder if he is just trolling explainxkcd.com though

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Facepalm

"period table"

Is that a table of punctuation? Or a table from a specific era?

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Re: "period table"

Or a table about the menstrual cycle?

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Flame

Re: "period table"

I think that was an intentional stupid typo joke. Gotta be, right? Right?

ElReg! You need to proof-read your articles, and not just periodically!

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Re: "period table"

Maybe that's how they say it the states, after all they miss letters off the end when saying maths.

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Headmaster

Re: "period table"

"...after all they miss letters off the end when saying maths."

Brevity, wit, etc.

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...or maybe it won't

"...after all they miss letters off the end when saying maths."

No, they are missing letters from the middle of the word when they say maths.

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ZSn

Ring

The reply about his personal life is not surprising - as has been given away in his comics his girlfriend (now wife it seems) has had quite serious cancer. Not something I guess he would want to discuss.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ring

Also, for someone who is quite private, he chose to reveal it but did it in a very dignified way. Randall Munroe isn't just the nerd's nerd; he is a gentleman, and among so much tat on the web, a shining example.

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Re: Ring

The man is literally - not figuratively - the prototypical gentleman and scholar of our era.

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Re: Ring

But is he an acrobat?

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Joke

Re: Ring

El Reg: Tell me about your private life

Randall Munroe: [Proffers ring-finger, keeps schtum]

El Reg: sudo Tell me about your private life

Randall Munroe: Not in sudoers, this has been reported.

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Monetization!

He needs to sell out to the Cheezburger Network for monetization and stuff.

OK, well clearly he shouldn't - that would be hideous, but I do wonder how occasional T-Shirts, posters and maybe now book advances (still very low even for bestsellers) make living wage money. The fact that the strips are not surrounded with ads, deep linking is encouraged, etc., makes you wonder why other sites (*cough* reg *cough*) surround themselves with flash ads and stuff.

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142

Re: Monetization!

Well there's only one Randall to pay, but scores of Reg staff...

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Re: Monetization!

With mere silver and gold a man will not be satisfied?

I guess Randall is satisfied.

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Re: Monetization!

Maybe he makes enough to be happy? Work-life balance and all that.

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JDX
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Re: Monetization!

Since he said he left Nasa when his hobbies were bringing in more money, and that was several years ago when he was far less well known, I think we can assume he does OK.

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Excellent

Great interview.

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Facepalm

Someone lost at least 1 geek point

sudo has been around a lot longer than linux has been around - 1980 vs. 1991:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux

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Re: Someone lost at least 1 geek point

Oh yeah, so I guess he has one less than several million now? Wow.

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Love the guy's work. Not sure I could pick a favourite comic but the 1337 series (starts with http://xkcd.com/341) always makes me chuckle. And little Bobby Tables, of course.

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Pint

He's the anti-Kardashian

See above.

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Seuss reference?

Is that a quick trick duck stack in the photo?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seuss reference?

Not a Seuss reference. It easier to get your ducks in a row if you use a LIFO stack.

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Coffee/keyboard

Tips hat.

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Pint

Hey, Creator? More humans like Randall, please.

Not too keen on the Karcrashians, but I guess we need some shiny things for the suggestible to follow, as you in your wisdom have no doubt sussed out.

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That bastard gave me OCD

I think I spent half my life clicking <PREV on his bloody web site!

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Re: That bastard gave me OCD

Whenever I'm bored, I start clicking random. Always cheers me up.

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Happy

Re: That bastard gave me OCD

Top Tip:

Click |< then >NEXT, repeat the second instruction for several hours....

Fantastic stuff all of it, What If? promotes many stimulating conversations at work but we always need to read on to learn the answer.

Keep up the good work Mr Munroe.

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Linux

Re: That bastard gave me OCD

Especially if you download the app for your Samsung Smart TV.

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Another reader here

What I especially like is the sheer variety of his off-the-wall-ness

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Yep, another!

Love his work! Just bought the audio book of What If? Narrated by Wil Wheaton, of all people.

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obligitory xkcd reference ...

I know there must be one, but I'm not scholar enough to find it.

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Coat

Re: obligitory xkcd reference ...

http://xkcd.com/*

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Fun speaker, too

I recently took the family to his lecture at the Royal Institution in London; a sellout event of course, and great fun although the line to get the book signed afterwards was ridiculously long. When we had to leave early to get our train the RI offered to send us a signed copy in the post, which we received a couple of days later - generous of the RI but I don't like to think how long it took Randall to sign everyone's copies.

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Re: Fun speaker, too

I went to his lecture at the Union Chapel, it was funny and insightful. The queue was insanely long too. People had brought posters, books, etc to get signed. I wish I'd brought my mug (with the chart of programming skill against blood alcohol content) and an indelible marker.

Not only did he sign everything, he also drew a stick figure on every one - I got cueball (I'm bald), my mate got black hat (he was wearing a beanie). I doubt it was a coincidence and it was an excellent touch.

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copy-right

way to tip-toe around the CC licensing... and what he does about scrappers making a living leeching off him...

or hitting Non-pc topics ( obama, (revenge is mine) Harper, muslims, quebec

gmos, vaccines, copyright trade treaties..

etc.

on the other hand... live casting the comet landing deserves a medal.

packrat

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Amazing body of work, remarkable bloke...

...but am I the only one to spot the (surely deliberate) error on page 4 (et seq.) of "What If?" ....?

The implications of the rotation ceasing and the resultant surge occur on the wrong coastline, methinks.

Be glad if other navigators on El Reg would check that out for posterity.

Nice if we were to win a prize....

I call dibs on a signed copy!

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Re: Amazing body of work, remarkable bloke...

He says every East facing shore will face a huge storm surge, but the preceding sentence mentions the waves traveling East to West.

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Headmaster

Re: Amazing body of work, remarkable bloke...

"He says every East facing shore will face a huge storm surge, but the preceding sentence mentions the waves traveling East to West."

Imagine a wave leaving England and headed for North America. It will be travelling from East to West, and when it gets here, it will hit the Atlantic coast, which "faces" East, if you define coasts as facing the water they abut.

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Facepalm

Re: Amazing body of work, remarkable bloke...

Doh! I'm a muppet. The OP is in all cases then!

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IT Angle

Re: Amazing body of work, remarkable bloke...

Earth rotates from West towards East, which is why the Sun rises in the East. Thus on average water in the oceans (ignoring waves, currents) is moving from West to East at the same sort of speed as solid ground at the same radius from the earth's axis of rotation..

Not having seen the book out here in the colonies, and not being much enlightened by previous commenters, I have to take a guess here that the topic under discussion was "What would happen if the solid bits of the earth (continents, islands etc) stopped rotating about the earth's axis suddenly?" or similar. Clearly the liquid bits would try to continue in the West>East direction that they had inherited by friction and containment from the solid bits (an idea I picked up from a guy named Newton) resulting in a rush away from the East-facing coastlines towards the West-facing ditto, eg from North America to UK and Europe. Storm-surges anyone? Or tsunamis beyond imagining, dumping a large percentage of the oceans' contents onto the previously dryish conintental lands. It would take quite a while for gravity to refill the oceanic basins by draining the floodwaters back to where they belonged, and there would surely be quite a lot of back-and-forth sloshing, but nothing comparable (if any observers were left to compare such things, were the observers regarded in the question as immoveable or moveable matter?) to the primary devastation.

Good Read Suggestion: Flood by Stephen Baxter, 2008, from Gollancz

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Randall Munroe in El Reg?

We're not worthy...

We're not worthy...

We're not worthy...

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Always loved his work. The 4 panel explanation of SQL injection attacks being a personal favourite (Little Bobby Tables). Then he included into one of his cartoons a game a friend and I started at university. I feel I must get serious nerd points for that.

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