999: Cougars

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Cougars
If you're lying in bed tonight and you see yellow eyes glinting in your window, are you being stalked by a puma, a mountain lion, a panther, a catamount, or a cougar? Trick question--in North America, they're all names for the same species, Puma concolor! Isn't learning fun? Anyway, sleep tight!
Title text: If you're lying in bed tonight and you see yellow eyes glinting in your window, are you being stalked by a puma, a mountain lion, a panther, a catamount, or a cougar? Trick question--in North America, they're all names for the same species, Puma concolor! Isn't learning fun? Anyway, sleep tight!

[edit] Explanation

Randall is giving reason number 58 why he should not have children. We see fictitious "father Cueball" talking about the Wikipedia entry for "List of fatal cougar attacks in North America". As stated, many of the victims were young children near home.

If you tell a child about something dangerous, but without giving them necessary context to feel protected from it, you are likely to cause nightmares, sleeplessness, or other fear-related issues. In most cases this would be considered bad parenting, hence this is a reason why a person who enjoys doing so perhaps should not have children.

The title text demonstrates that not only is Cueball sharing factual information, he is intentionally adding hypothetical detail (e.g. "yellow eyes glinting in your window") to make the danger seem even worse. The child is unlikely to agree that learning this is fun.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball is sitting at a computer; a child is standing behind.]
Cueball: Whoa, ever seen Wikipedia's list of people who were attacked and killed by cougars?
Cueball: Crazy how many of them were kids who were just playing outside their houses.
Reason #58 I should never have children: My love of learning and sharing knowledge about the world.


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Discussion

Lesson on sometimes flawed logic: It may seem obvious to you, but if XKCD thought about this a little more I hope he would recognize that we would make the greatest father any child could hope for. XKCD could teach his child something that no school or university ever could: to simply be inquisitive and curious about the world around him just as much as XKCD is himself, that and make sure that there are no cougars and raptors in 100 mile radius of his child. - e-inspired 98.211.199.84 15:26, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

That said, he probably doesn't have a filter. Which would be disastrous in other ways besides horror. Anonymous 16:08, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
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