XKCD Umwelt

April 4th, 2012 Leave a Comment

I always dread April 1, but there’s usually at least one good prank. This year, Randall Munroe’s xkcd comic provided an awesome example of something cool.

The comic’s title, Umwelt, is explained in the alt text.

Umwelt is the idea that because their senses pick up on different things, different animals in the same ecosystem actually live in very different worlds. Everything about you shapes the world you inhabit–from your ideology to your glasses prescription to your choice of web browser.

Why is this comic so cool? It’s displaying one of several thousand based on information gathered from your browser. Check out the Reddit post for more details.

On April 2, when I first read it from Chrome in Texas where I was “vacationing,” I got a Texas-weather-themed comic, ironically about tornadoes. Checking the comic from Firefox gave me a snake comic, which changes as you change your browser’s width.

XKCD Umwelt

Back home in Oregon, I’m seeing a PNW-Northern Lights-themed comic, and on VPN, I’m getting a funny corporate-themed one. If you’re an employee inside the firewall, hit the link to see.

XKCD Umwelt

Very cool stuff and given that more than 2,000 different comics have been reported (it’s become a treasure hunt), Randall put in an enormous amount of effort drawing all the comics and configuring which to show based on specific browser information.

Maybe at some point, he’ll published a description of the techniques he used to pull off this epic trick.

Hit the link and see which comic you get.


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