1. Dialog IDU: What is “…left … on read” supposed to mean? Is “read” a location? Or just nerd-speak for a file attribute?

  2. So … they received a message from aliens. The didn’t respond for some reason (??? I guess that makes sense, it has such tremendous consequences it could be discussed forever and they may hesitate to answer it). One guy says do you ever worry the aliens may declare war because we ignored them. Which… I’m sure would have been discussed when they made the decision to not respond, so such a question would be rhetorical.

    This reads like a guy got a message from aliens and shrugged it off as unimportant and the other guy is worried that that will start a war. But that makes no sense.

    So I think the joke is: social media is a thing; referencing social media phrases in other situations is funny.

  3. Yes I’m not sure about other platforms, but if you have an iPhone and you send someone an iMessage, the text will show as read when the recipient views it. Apparently its disrespectful to leave it “on read” and not respond.

  4. @ woozy: He is not worried it will start a war. The word balloon indicates that there is an interplanetary war going on and he is concerned that they may be responsible for having started it.

    Didn’t respond quickly enough to please the aliens, so of course it means war…it’s like they’re dealing with certain countries on Earth. 🙂

  5. I’ve had “friends” get on my case and in my face for reading a message from them and not responding in a timely manner. I guess that would be amplified in this case.

  6. >He is not worried it will start a war. The word balloon indicates that there is an interplanetary war going on and he is concerned that they may be responsible for having started it.

    That’s what I get for elliding over complications. I didn’t want to explain having started a war vs. might start a war and I didn’t think it changed the explanation much.

    Although… come to think of it. If they were in a war, I’m pretty certain that it would have been discussed whether the cause was not responding to the message so that seems like an idiotic question.

    So I guess the joke is: What if social media petty anxieties can have serious consequences such as interplanetary war, wouldn’t that be funny? … to which I’d respond…. meh….

  7. John Kowalkowski, I’ve had people apologize for not having responded immediately to my messages — which suggests they believe immediate responses is the norm and therefore even if they don’t complain about my own untimely replies, they’re passive-aggressively silently criticizing me.

  8. What confuses me about this cartoon is that it’s talking about an interplanetary war that, based on spoken context alone, seems like it involves Earth.

    But based on visual context, it looks like Earth was left untouched. (Those men in that office look like they haven’t been affected by an alien race declaring war on their home planet.)

    So are other planets caught up in this interplanetary war, while Earth was somehow spared? Or was Earth attacked, and is somehow holding her own against advanced invaders?

    I’m confused about this. What’s the general consensus here?

  9. They aren’t on Earth. The star pattern in the background is arranged based on how Orion and the Big Dipper would look if you were to look at them from other side of the Milky Way. You can find this type of data on the star gazer’s website.

  10. “So … they received a message from aliens. The didn’t respond for some reason ”

    The reason being that they (we?) didn’t recognize it when it arrived. Sure, we saw an unusual light in the sky for a few days… we called it a “supernova” and assumed it was a natural phenomenon. And anyway, we didn’t have any extra stars we could explode to send a reply, anyway.
    SF has any number of stories about first-contact-gone-wrong, exhibiting many creative and interesting ways for the “gone-wrong” part to come up.

  11. Apparently “message left on read” is a meme, and also a song.

    And then there’s this article:

    “The anxiety of being left on read is silly but it is real, and unique to this time. There is no analog equivalent. Well, perhaps if you were to stop by a friend’s house and knew for sure they were home but were inexplicably not answering the door – but in that case I’d like to think you’d give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume they’d fallen over in the shower or something. ”


    No analog equivalent? People didn’t get cranky in the 18th and 19th centuries when they didn’t get a reply to their latest letter or post card?

  12. Yes, in 37 states and Puerto Rico (okay I looked it up as I only knew about the law on this in NYC) it is legal to turn left on red – IF both streets are one way. Meaning if one is on a which is a one way and wants turn onto a street which also happens to be one way and there is a light at the intersection, where it is legal one may do so while the light is red.

    While I have not passed this corner in some years, but I presume it is still the same, when one comes off of the upper deck of the 59th Street (aka Queensboro, Ed Koch) bridge the exit street is one way. It ends at a street that is also one way and has a traffic light. One may make the left turn (as that is the direction the cross street goes) onto that cross street even if the traffic light is red, presuming it safe to do so.

  13. I would love for Robert to stop replying to some of my text messages. Typical exchange –

    Him – “where?” Me – “meet me at registers” him – “ok” Is that ok really needed? I just have stop and shelp out my phone again (and with a winter jacket on that is not easy) in case there is some other message. Then there are the times he posts ok back to my ok.

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