The Welcome Wagon


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There’s got to be more to it than warp drive, right? What about Mr. Clean Magic Easers? How could you consider a species for eventual admission into the United Federation of Planets if they can’t even get tough, baked on spaghetti stains off their glass top ranges? I say it breaks down like this: You want to roll with the galactic big boys? You need ten things. 1) Warp drive 2) Equality 3) Mostly functional government with short campaign periods, minimal television coverage, and strict caps on campaign donations to minimize big business influence 4) Press’N Seal Wrap 5) Magic Erasers 6) Dyson vacuums 7) Segways (Not that anyone actually uses them. We just need to see that you CAN make them.) 8) Multiroom DVR or GTFO 9) Peanut butter and jelly in the SAME jar (Same as with the Segway or a nuclear bomb. Just a proof of concept.) 10) … I don’t know. World peace or something.

COMMENTERS: What are the other necessities for initiating first contact with a new species? Should they have created, abandoned, re-created and re-abandon 3D movies? What are the hallmarks of true readiness to join the galactic society?  Should they have developed a method for merging a Pizza Hut AND a Taco Bell?

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      • Yeah, that thing's awesome. I seen & used 'em in bathrooms at SFO, San Jose, & JFK Airports. I want one for my house NOW!!!

      • Wait, warm? Damn. My college just placed them in half the bathrooms and they do a crappy job of getting your hands dry, have no heat to the air, and keep me from having a way of opening the doors to the bathroom without having to actually touch the handle. Too many men don't wash their hands after the bathroom for my taste.
        So I can't bloody stand the things, even if their ecological impact is quite low.

    • They Dysan Airblade is the single coolest restroom feature, ever. Efficient and fast. And it looks cool, too. I would put one in my bathroom at home, if they weren't ~$1000 each. They claim 80% less electricity than a warm air hand dryer and 70% smaller carbon footprint than paper towels.

      Yeah, I'm an envirogeek. Deal.

    • Theres actually a very good reason USB doesn't do that. And not realizing that has disqualified you, we will be back in another century.

      • What possible reason could there be?

        (And why would you think anyone who wasn't a tech expert would know that?)

        SURELY you could tape two USB's back-to-back and create a perfectly symmetrical double-USB.

  1. – Invention and use of any item similar to the Snugee or Forever Lazy
    – Occurrence on any entertainment medium of anything resembling "Jackass"
    – Invention of Sythahol INSTEAD of Alchohol

    The above items [only a few of many] would be immediate removal from all current or future consideration to be allowed into Federation

  2. I submit that half the suggestions you just made should be hallmarks of REJECTION by the UFP. "You built a micro-scooter that you stand on and moves at walking speed? You're too lazy to WALK? You're too lazy to open TWO jars of lunch spread? No, I don't care that no one uses them, SOMEONE thought it was a good idea. That means the whole PLANET is tainted! You're OUT."

  3. I postulate that any society ready for first contact has out grown the need for reality TV shows and TV Talk shows. This would clearly show sufficent maturation of the species as to their emotional control as well as sufficent growth of their intelllect. Of course by this measure, the growth of such shows in our time on TV and the internet indicates Humanity peaked in the 1970's and has been slowly sliding backwards down the scale of evolution since.

  4. they have to have some form of bacon, not necessarily an exact duplicate, obviously they won't have pigs, but they have to eat the fat off the back of some kinda of fat animal in their world, and they have to consider it a deity-food

      • Yeah, but that's modifying the original format. If it was a default feature, yes. Although they're making more games for Mac now that Steam moved to that system. I can finally play Portal and have my computer look like Aperture Science! That's actually when I got Steam, on my Mac. Sadly it died a slow, wireframey obsolete death and I decided to jury rig one.

  5. Pretty sure canon proves the only requirement for first contact is warp drive, which I think is mostly about the fact that you're going to meet soon anyways so might as well get it out of the way peacefully. Sort of like making an effort to meet your college roommate before he stumbles in at 3am drunk with the town slut.

  6. I feel that if a civilisation hasn't developed Yeast Extract Sandwich Spread to at least the level of Vegemite, then they aren't ready. Promite or Marmite simply will not do. A great Yeast Extract also speaks volumes about their beer industry.

    Also, I love the way that your #8 above turns into a sunglasses smiley face.

    • I was actually going to say this same thing, but on the other hand, the use of a Vegemite-like-substance as a flavouring for chips (or whatever is the snack-food of choice on said planet) should automatically mean a refusal.
      Yes US/World citizens: We made Vegemite a flavour for potato chips. It is an abomination.

      • That is until you encounter a planet ruled by Vegemite and start a galactic war after they realize you've been eating their kin.

    • Indeed! I'm also a huge fan of the Kentucky-Fried Pizza Huts, the Kentucky-Fried Long Johns, and so on… It makes me happy to know that when the franchise wars take place, we'll be left with more than just Taco Bell.

  7. All I can think of is that episode of either the twilight zone or the outer limits where aliens threaten mankind unless they improve themselves, So mankind declares world peace only to find out the aliens wanted a warrior race and exterminates them.

  8. All restaurants offer free refills on drinks. Really, you don't appreciate what a hall mark of civilization that is until you spend a couple hours walking around in 40 degree heat and 90% humidity, escape into a shady but not air conditioned restaurant, order a Coke with your lunch and they bring you a frigging can.

    • Oh, and abandonment of all non-decimal measurement systems. Seriously, America's peers unit-wise are Liberia and Burma.

      • Here here. Metric forever. A liter of water is a cubic decimeter of space and weighs a kilogram. Everything else comes from that. Nothing could be easier. I mean, how many people know how many feet in a mile anyway? But anyone who knows metric knows 1000M are in a kilometer, because it's so easy.

        Yeah, I'm a metric geek. Deal.

        • And anyone who knows metric knows that a kilobyte is 1000 bytes, and a megabyte is 1000 kilobytes, and a gigabyte is 1000 megabytes, right? I think the binary-decimal clash in computer talk would certainly disqualify us from membership.

          Everyone (who needs to) knows there are 440 yards in a quarter mile, 5280 feet in a mile, and exactly 2.54 centimeters in an inch.

          On the other hand, a baker's dozen is a nice sign of civilization, even though everyone knows a dozen is exactly 12.

      • How 10-finger centric of you. Any decent civilization with a universal translator should easily be able to convert between units. When we meet a society with 12 or 7 fingers, are we really going to suggest that they need to accommodate the median number of digits of our species?

  9. Sooo this might seem random, but what happened to Joel's beard in panel 2? It seems to be spreading to his mouth. Is his thick, living hair-mask having ill-thoughts about its hapless host and trying to kill him via asphyxiation? Is this something we should be worried about?
    Fight, damn you Joel! FIGHT IT!

  10. I am terribly disappointed. Normally I consider solid Star Trek knowledge to be a hallmark of Hijinks Ensue, but there's a glaring error here. "They need to have a reasonably stable government, equality for all citizens and some kind of economic balance"

    When the vulcans first made contact with earth, humans were living in a state of anarchy following the devestation of World War III, there was no stability of any kind, it was the first contact which brought stability, both through help from the Vulcans and humanity stopping being so self-centred following the knowledge of other civilisations. This is all seen in Star Trek: First Contact.

    It's finally happened, I've become such a geek that I've corrected someone about Star Trek on the internet.

    • Um… the time travelly past events in First Contact happened pre-Federation. The Vulcans that visited Earth did so under no Federation regulations because it didn't exist yet! They were just checking out some weird warp signatures.

      Bam! You have been Warp School'd!

      • Yes, but given the success of that first contact it seems odd that they would develop first contact rules putting such strict requirements far beyond what was necessary for humans.

        • Here…

          There's a section in here on why the Vulcans chose to investigate Cochrane's warp flight, and when GO1 came into being…mainly because one success doesn't guarantee future successes.
          The general underlying story arc of "Enterprise" the series was that the Vulcans held Humanity back for 100 years due to fear of them. You could chalk that up to ethnocentricism, but not entirely. Most likely they were fascinated by our achievments, in spite of our illogic.

          Once the UFP came into being, too many problems cropped up to not have the rule, which wound up being broken multiple times during each series.

          Yes, Trek nerd too.

  11. I'm pretty sure the only requirement for acceptance is that your females must look good in a mini-skirt and are willing to learn about this hu-mon thing called "love".

  12. How about, "you need to be able to make anything taste like cheese". We may be way the hell off on moon bases and flying cars, but at least we can buy cheddar cheese flavored almonds.

  13. This is a momentous day for me. I've been reading through the HijiNKS ENSUE archives for roughly the past 1.5 years in fits and spurts. Yesterday I finally caught up. Today is the first day I've seen a strip in somewhat real-time fashion. I've got a daily circuit of about 15 web comics that I read at work and that has been refined from a larger list over the years. I have to say that HijiNKS and SMBC are by far my favorites with a solid second tier of Cyanide&Happiness, Penny Arcade, and xkcd. Joel, thanks for all the laughs man. Your comic and your comments that follow are consistently hilarious and I've done my best to turn my friends on to your special brand of crazy. Keep up the great work. Once I get my laptop paid off at the end of the month, I'll be sending you some internet monies to help support the cause.

  14. I would say one of the requirements would be a permanently sustainable energy infrastructure. Do you really want to generate your antimatter using coal power?

    Oh, that and flying cars. I can't tell you how disappointed I was in 2000 when they didn't magically appear. And now as we approach 2015, I think Marty McFly has corrupted our time stream, as they don't seem to be coming to Hill Valley either.

    Yeah, I'm a sci-fi movie geek. Deal.

  15. First contact? What a ridiculous human concept. Meeting upon the field of battle and engaging in honorable combat is only true way to determine a civilization's worth. "First contact" is made when blood is drawn and only those with the blood of warriors running through their veins are deserving of conquest by the Klingon Empire.

  16. Let's face it, the only real qualifications an alien species would need in order for us to want to make contact with them are:

    1. They sell cheap gadgets in bulk.
    2. We can sell them cheap gadgets in bulk.

    • Technically, the Federation is a more-or-less a communist society (sensu Marx, not sensu Stalin).

      So they wouldn't be much more impressed with Democrats.

      Heyo, politics!

  17. They need a solution on how to get people to calm down whenever there's another flu knockoff coming. Oh no! H1N1! It's a renamed flu so it must be a horrible plague!

    • All new flus tend to be horrible plagues (particularly for the elderly, or those with immune difficulties. I have a friend with Crohn's Disease who was rightly scared by swine flu). It's the subsequent selection for less-lethal variants (you don't want to kill off the population you're using to spread yourself) that downgrades the badness of new flus.

      Swine flu was actually a serious problem where it first appeared. by the time it made it down to us in Australia, it was just another fly, albeit slightly out-of-season (unless you have Crohn's).

  18. Most of 1-10 can be ignored of the planet in question has something we want… like dilithium or any other impossible multiple of lithium. Seriously how many times did anyone in Star Trek actually land on a planet that by the end of the episode you say 'wow yeah I think we should let them into our federation'. However the founding members are the Vulcans, Humans, Andorians, and Tellarites so it's not like you have to actually 'like' them.

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