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Sokar: I have issues with the Schrödinger's cat experiment. [...] In the period before observing the outcome, [the cat] is said to be in "superposition," a state of both decay and not decay, meaning [it] is both dead and not dead. Observer-dependent physics undermines the gods' decision three thousand years ago to ban cats from straddling the borders of the Netherworld. We won't have it! Kimiko: I have reservations about reconciling a quantum mechanics thought experiment with Egyptian mythology. More importantly, what possible threat could superpositioned cats pose? Sokar: Somewhere, Niels Bohr walks among us, unobserved and immortal.
Dresden Codak is a webcomic by Aaron Diaz that has been running at an irregular (and very slow) pace since 2005. It offers whimsical humor focused on physics, philosophy, and transhumanism — except for the Hob storyline, which, while having the same focus, was much more serious. The current story, Dark Science, starts out humorous, but this doesn't last long.Dresden Codak is a sometimes Dada, sometimes Mind Screw comic focusing on the (mis)adventures of several often unrelated characters:
Kimiko "Thunderbolt" Ross: A misanthropic, cybernetically-enhanced Mad Scientist.
Alliterative Name: Kim's dad (Kaito Kusanagi) and Kim herself as a child, before she had her surname changed.
Anachronism Stew: Kimiko knew that a group of people were time travelers because they were dressed in a mismash of styles from all eras and segments of the 20th century, in a similar fashion to how other centuries are portrayed in modern media.
Arc Symbol: the "rising sun" half-circle, aka the mark of Dark Science.
Bifauxnen: Kim starts rocking this look after abandoning the way-too-big dress given to her in Dark Science.
Big Eater: Kimiko's prostheses run on glucose , which requires her to eat huge amounts of sweet stuff.
Blue and Orange Morality: Nephilopolis has this in spades, on top of its already Vast Bureaucracy. There's the Department of Recursion which exists solely to repeat things, the Department of Inquisition which values tenure over measurable fact note They find it more likely that Kim is a weather balloon than that she is the first person to object to their rulings, citing that one outlier does not disprove a pattern. Of course, they tell her this as she's standing directly in front of them., the Department of Opposition lets you commit any crime you want, provided you fill out the proper paperwork, and the Department of Taste, which determines what opinions you can have and who you can befriend.
Vonnie: I thought I could...pass you as human.
Kimiko: I am human.
Vonnie: You're foreign hardware; you'll be dismantled. Even worse, they wiped my social score. I'll never be able to afford new loved ones.
Brick Joke: Alina jokes that a group of time travelers can't get in because they don't know how to use the doorknob. After a lengthy diversion about axolotls, the time travelers open the door, and make a comment implying that they had been arguing about how to work a doorknob.
Cerebus Syndrome: The comic started out as lighthearted and whimsical. Characters talked to Egyptian gods, Niels Bohr is apparently a cat, and everybody was all happy-happy-joy-joy-let's-go-to-the-moon-and/or-play-tabletop-RPGs. Then this came along. And then this, which seems to swing right back to comedy again.
Changed My Jumper: The time travelers in the Hob storyline who look like mashups of several pop culture characters.
Character Blog: Kimiko, D.H. Ron, and Tiny Carl Jung have their own Twitter accounts.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Possibly averted in that Kimiko seems no more or less human after losing her arm and legs in the Hob storyline.
Considering that Diaz is an avowed transhumanist, it's pretty clear that the comic is a complete aversion.
If anything she's more human now.
Believed by the time travelers from the future. When talking about the mediators, they said "There were, however, those who had sacrificed their humanity to merge directly with technology." Of course they're generally depicted as Luddites and the mediator they dealt with was the somewhat misanthropic to start with Kimiko so they were probably wrong.
Insane Troll Logic: The Department of Inquisition in Nephilopolis believes that science is about finding the most credible explanation, so therefore the explanation of the one with the best credibility score has to be correct. That this results in them concluding a very real human standing right in front of them is really a weather balloon is neither here nor there.
Kimiko: If I may - [Trap Door] Department Head: You may not.
In Name Only: Ronnie's "adaptations." Kimiko sponsors them in order to harvest the energy of their original creators spinning in their graves.
Lawful Stupid: Alongside Vast Bureaucracy, is Nephilopolis' hat. So far, every character in the story works for one department or another, and everything is regimented and regulated. You even have to fill out paperwork to have an opinion on a work of art.
While she's normally a well-adjusted young lady, in high stress situations, Vonnie routinely reverts to citing rules and regulations, insisting that they be followed to the letter. She even called the police on herself when she was part of an unauthorized escape from custody.
Kick the Dog: Dark Science has Mathias Melchior, Director of the Department of Opposition, who in his first appearance trips a scientist/bureaucrat carrying a huge stack of paper and tosses a old lady with a walking frame off the side of a building. But then again, that's his job.
The time colonists were a parody of the primary crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Their leader, in particular, is a dead ringer for Patrick Stewart. He refers to his second in command as Number One and later responds to a request with "I will make it so." Another set of TNG parodies appear in "Dark Science", with a dark-skinned guard with a silver sash being a pretty clear reference to Worf.
Unknown, but the fellows apprehending Balthazar here seem to have something of a resemblance to "Spy"
Melchior of the Dark Science arc has an uncanny resemblance to The Thin Man from [[Film/Metropolis]].
The Singularity: Kimiko mentions it a few times in the comic. She (and the author) are futurists, after all.
In addition, the time travelers are refugees from an alternate timeline where this almost happened, but they rebelled and killed off anyone beyond baseline human intelligence, and the series climax involves a second, small scale one causing a Deus Exit Machina.
Belphegor: His mind is an unpalatable web of lies and deception. Suffice it to say, he's an ass.
Space Amish: The time travelers in the Hob arc destroyed future Earth because they believed post-singularity technology had taken all meaning from their lives, and they planned to colonize the past Earth and live like us "noble savages"
It does tend to refer to all sorts of weird and obscure topics; but the author, unsurprisingly, expects readers to augment their own intelligences with the Internet while reading, as mentioned in the comic comment here.