XKCD and B612

By Phil Plait | August 2, 2009 11:22 pm

XKCD comic panel about an asteroid

I love XKCD, as do about a billion other geeks like me. But I’ll admit, one reason I’m linking to this particular one is so I don’t get a hundred emails telling me to link to it. I got the joke pretty quickly without having to read the alt text, in case you’re curious. But then, I read a lot about asteroids. And I’m a dork.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!, Humor

Comments (38)

Links to this Post

  1. Jay Lake: [links] Link salad, chum candy edition | August 3, 2009
  1. Gilles

    I don’t read a lot about asteroids, but I read Le Petit Prince when I was a kid.

  2. Supernova

    What is essential is invisible to the eye…

  3. Quiet Desperation

    Yeah! Death to the monarchy!

  4. jz

    What no off shore oil drillers?

  5. MHS

    Love Le Petit Prince!

  6. The Little Prince is one of my favorite books (even still) – thank you! So funny. :)

  7. Funkopolis

    Having been forced to read Le Petit Prince in high school, I’ve had this fantasy many times. That flower had it coming…

  8. enneract

    yea, I still don’t get it.

  9. Andrew Bolton

    …and for those of us who look at this blankly and think “Le Petit Prince? is that supposed to help?”

  10. This one hurt badly.

  11. Jon F

    Well, then you can get one hundred emails telling you to link this MttS gem (also from this morning):


  12. Ariane

    I don’t get it. Can someone enlighten me pretty please?

  13. I didn’t get the reference either. But Wikipedia is your friend :)

  14. T.E.L.

    That can’t be B612. B612 has three volcanoes. I see only one.

  15. MadScientist

    Awesome – I always wanted to do that to the little prince.

  16. dhtroy

    For those of you seeking enlightenment on what makes this so funny, please go have a look at the Wikipedia entry on “The Little Prince”

    The Little Prince

  17. Ariane

    Ah yes, I get it now. What would we do without Wikipedia?

  18. Jack Mitcham

    Weird, I’ve never heard of The Little Prince until just now.

  19. Chris

    That made me snort my coffee. But then I am easily amused.

  20. !AstralProjectile


    (The ‘h’ is supposed to represent an upside-down ‘4’)

  21. This one’s getting a lot of negative comments on reddit. Looks like not everyone is familiar with The Little Prince.

  22. Gary Ansorge

    SETI researcher:

    “Cool! We just found extraterrestrial life,,,oops, we just blew it up,,,never mind”.

    Never having heard of the Little Prince, that was my first thought upon viewing the cartoon,,,

    Gary 7

  23. My first thought was that NASA faked the mission, and the rover landed in some kids backyard. I actually laughed at that… :(

  24. I was about to send you an email about this myself, but then I thought, “Nah, let me see if he already linked to it.”

    The Little Prince is one of my favorites as well. I’m surprised more people haven’t heard of it, it should be up there with Alice in Wonderland in my opinion.

  25. marianna

    ah, i get it now. Thanks for the ‘princely’ tip y’all.

  26. Pieter Kok

    I find XKCD very much hit and miss, but this is definitely a hit (har har).

  27. andy

    Nuclear weapons: the baobab to end all baobabs.

  28. IBY

    hahaha! I also got the joke immediately. Poor Little Prince…

  29. Sarah E

    According to Wikipedia, St-Ex also has his *own* asteroid now:

  30. Keith

    He won’t have to worry about cleaning out those little volcanoes anymore.

  31. Calli Arcale

    Sarah E — there’s also asteroid 46610 Besixdouze. “besixdouze” is basically B-612 in French. 😉

  32. warbaque

    Calli Arcale — And B612(hex) = 46610(dec) :)

  33. Steve

    In the same vein. . . In high school earth science class, we watched a short film called “Mind Slaughter”. It was about a project to terraform Mars. A manned visit to the terraformed planet discovered that there was previously undiscovered subterranean intelligent life on Mars, that had been wiped out by the effects of terraforming. The deceased “intelligent life” was modeled using dryer hose.

    I doubt the government would try to “terraform” using nukes. . . but then again. . .

  34. Petrolonfire

    I doubt the government would try to “terraform” using nukes. . . but then again. . .

    This government – no.

    The last govt, OTOH, with Bush Junior in charge … sure would! 😉

  35. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Don’t I recall reading somewhere in a book by a certain Mr Plait that nuking an asteroid would likely only make things worse anyway? 😉

    Blowing it up would only mean a hail of radioactive metorites all ploughing down and causing even more impacts at multiple locations rather than just a one crater deal. Or so I gather …

    Add a coat of paint, or some precise rockets & shift B-612 outta the way instead & everybody wins! :-)

    Well, except for those who hate the book (why?) but, frankly, they’ve got issues …


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