Talk:1569: Magic Tree

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search

Explanation may benefit from adding that cell phone tower appearance has evolved to be more treelike. [Comet] 05:07, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I know XKCD isn't really heavy on proportions, but the heads look slightly bigger in all but the last panel. It kinda makes both characters look like children initially. -Pennpenn 07:02, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Could the "giants in yellow helmets" be a reference to Clash of Clans? Aruta (talk) 10:13, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think so. Sobsz (talk) 10:30, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

It's not Batesian mimicry

Evolutionary biologist here: it's not Batesian mimicry. It's mimesis.

Archetypal mimesis is a stick insect looking like a twig, because predators don't care about twigs. It's the same thing here: trees looking like telegraph poles, because people don't care about telegraph poles.

It has nothing to do with the telegraph pole's defences (what would that mean?). Without defences, you can't have Batesian mimicry. 11:29, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Cell phone towers evolved to look like trees to defend themselves against people who would object to their presence on grounds of visual blight. [Comet] 22:41, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I think that cell towers do have defenses. When you wound them, they start emiting utility workers, policemans and lawyers. (I'm sure the operator will get message if BTS is disconnected.) -- Hkmaly (talk) 12:49, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't if it is relevant but there is an old MSX game called magical tree that displayed the tree in side view in a very similar way. ZeroA4 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

That is a striking resemblance and an identical name. Makes me wonder if it was an inspiration. 05:36, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

The third paragraph needs amending. "...attempt to mimic cellphone towers" implies conscious evolution, and the reference to the tower's "defenses" is a relic of the Batesian mimicry reference. What I'm guessing is happening (I'm not an evolutionary biologist) is that trees with a slightly more towerlike appearance are slightly less likely to be cut down by predatory Beret Guys, and will survive to pass similar traits onto their offspring, and over millions of years certain lineages of celltowertrees will increasingly resemble treecelltowers built by humans in turn to resemble them. The claim that this is a "standard textbook example of convergent evolution" is tongue-in-cheek more than facetious; a real example of it ought to be used rather than the Terry Pratchett reference, which seems to illustrate conscious evolution. 17:00, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Original transcript

Randall's original transcript (no changes by me) is this:

[Beret guy excitedly points to a pillar about a meter across. There's a sign on the side. Beret guy is pointing it out to his friend, Fancy Haircut]
Beret: Check it out! I threw my magic beans on the ground here yesterday, and this big tree appeared!
[Now in silhouette we see the pillar is several hundred feet tall, covered in antennae, and the figures are as ants in its shadow.]
haircut: that's a cell tower.
beret: no way-- it has branches! See? I'm gonna climb it!
[Beret guy begins to shimmy up the side of the pole. Somehow. With impressively powerful thighs I guess.]
haircut: No, they just put those there to make it look-- ...never mind.
haircut: Why do I have no signal?
beret, with an axe: there were scary giants with yellow helmets in that tree! luckily, I cut it down before they ate me.

Is Megan "Fancy Haircut"? --Dgbrt (talk) 18:22, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?