1256: Questions

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Questions
To whoever typed 'why is arwen dying': GOOD. FUCKING. QUESTION.
Title text: To whoever typed 'why is arwen dying': GOOD. FUCKING. QUESTION.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect:
Please include the reason why this explanation is incomplete, like this: {{incomplete|reason}}

If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Google, a rather popular internet search engine, has a feature known as autocomplete that guesses at search queries before they are fully typed out. These guesses are generally made based on popular searches by other people. From time to time, a particularly strange or hilarious one may be found, as is evidenced in this comic.

All of the questions in the comic are "why" questions, so many of them are predicated on false assumptions, such as "Why are there pyramids on the moon".

Regarding the title text: in the Peter Jackson films of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Arwen becomes sickly for unspecified reasons as the plot advances, apparently giving Aragorn a more personal reason to fight. The only explanation given is by Elrond, who says "As Sauron's power grows, her [Arwen's] strength wanes." (This subplot is entirely absent from the original novels.)

From IMDB:
Arwen, like her father (and brothers) is considered to be a Half-Elf, the result of a union between an Elf and a mortal human. The Half-Elven of Middle-earth get a choice, to remain immortal and return to the West (Valinor) or to become mortal and to die as humans do. Elrond chose to remain an Elf. Arwen (like her uncle Elros) chooses to become mortal in order to wed and remain with Aragorn. Elrond senses this; this is what he means when he says that Arwen is dying. It is the same as in The Last Unicorn, when the unicorn is given the form of a human woman and can feel that she is no longer immortal ("I can feel this body dying all around me"). According to Tolkien, though, after Aragorn dies in the year 120 (Fourth Age), Arwen returns to Lórien, where she dies by choice the following winter.
Selected answers

(Some questions in the transcript are linked to their answers.)

Question Possible answer
Why is there not a Pokémon MMO? Pokémon is a popular franchise, spanning game consoles, anime series, a trading card game, and many other things. Among fans, it is a frequent topic of discussion why a Pokémon massively multiplayer online game has not been officially announced by the series' developers Game Freak, as they often predict that such a game would be extremely popular, and bring in massive revenue for the company.
Why is there laughing in TV shows? Sitcoms were once filmed with an audience, so the actors could respond to their reactions. That's the historical reason why there were laughs in TV shows. The tradition continues, with the difference that now the laughter mostly comes from recorded tapes.
Why are ducks called ducks? According to Wiktionary, the noun duck can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic word dūkaną ("to dive, bend down"), and, in turn, the Proto-Indo-European dʰewb- ("deep, hollow"), which is the origin of the verb to duck. The link between the noun and the verb comes from ducks' tendency to dive under water for short periods of time.
Why are there male and female bikes? From Wikipedia:
Historically, women's bicycle frames had a top tube that connected in the middle of the seat tube instead of the top, resulting in a lower standover height at the expense of compromised structural integrity, since this places a strong bending load in the seat tube, and bicycle frame members are typically weak in bending. This design, referred to as a step-through frame or as an open frame, allows the rider to mount and dismount in a dignified way while wearing a skirt or dress.
Why is Poseidon angry with Odysseus? Poseidon was the patron deity of the city of Troy, which after a 10 years siege by the Greeks fell due to Odysseus' list of the Trojan horse. As the Greeks were returning home, Poseidon cursed Odysseus' ship to prevent him from reaching his home in Ithaca. The adventures which Odysseus encounters during his quest for reaching Ithaca are the main theme of Homer's Odyssey.
Why are there two Spocks? This is probably a reference to the 2009 Star Trek movie in which the franchise was given a continuity reboot. The modified setting is explained in-universe by time travel, with both the villain Nero and the original-timeline Spock being brought back from the 24th century to the 23rd, creating a timeline in which both older Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) and the younger Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) coexist.

Another possibility is that the question refers to the episode "Mirror, Mirror", which mostly takes place in an alternate universe populated by ruthless versions of most of the characters (including Spock).

Why aren't there any foreign military bases in America? Further information: United States military deployments

This is a very interesting question, albeit one likely based on a regional misunderstanding. Presumably, this question is asked by Americans who assume that the existence of U.S. military bases abroad is a general trend among countries, as opposed to being the rarity that it is. In fact, only a handful of other countries have military bases outside of their borders, and the three—France, the United Kingdom, and Russia—that have more than one or two are all countries that, like the United States, were on the winning side of World War II, have massive military expenditures, and have UN Security Council vetoes. In other words, only the most militarily elite countries have bases overseas. The U.S. is unique, however, in that it has far more overseas bases than any other country (and, pretty much, far more of anything else than any other country, when it comes to the military), and in that it has bases in several other highly-industrialized nations, including South Korea and the United Kingdom, and, most notably, the World War II Axis powers: Germany, Japan, and Italy. (France, Russia, and the U.K.'s bases, on the other hand, are almost all within areas that they previously controlled.)

These bases can be controversial in some countries, while in others they are a major source of economic and political stability. The U.S. traditionally justifies their presence as a necessary and crucial element in its efforts to promote peace domestically and worldwide. Despite their major role in U.S. foreign policy, and in the general political structure of the globe, the American public often largely ignores them, and they rarely become a major political issue (apart from an occasional mention by Libertarian presidential candidates).

So, essentially, the absence of foreign military bases within the U.S. is primarily because there aren't really any other countries in a position to place bases there. Furthermore, such bases wouldn't do much good, as no battles have been fought within the U.S. since the U.S. Civil War and the U.S. mainland has seen almost no military action. (The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was 18 years before Hawaii became a U.S. state.)

There are, however, foreign troops stationed at some continental US military bases. For example RAF (British Royal Air Force) 39 Sqn and 361 Sqn at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada flying Reaper and Predator drones. But this are not foreign military bases, they are just guests.

Why is there no king in England? Note: For simplicity's sake, "England" here is being read as "United Kingdom." The various name changes, mergers, and splits of kingdoms are complicated.

The basis for this question is that for the past several hundred years, there has almost always been a queen in England, the sole exceptions being when the king has not had a wife. However, there is a distinction between being the queen of England (that is to say, a monarch) and being the queen consort of England: The former refers to a woman who succeeded to the throne in her own right, becoming sovereign, while the latter refers to the wife of the king. Both roles, though, are commonly referred to as "Queen of England," creating the impression that there is always such a person. The logical question, therefore, is why Elizabeth II's husband, Philip, is not considered the king of England. The answer lies in Britain's system of male-preference cognatic primogeniture, which causes the monarch of England to usually be a man, not a woman. As a result of this, British laws were generally built around the presumption that the monarch would be a man (and that said man would be married to a woman, comic 223 be damned). Since the creation of the modern British throne in 1707, only two women have reigned as queen in their own right; it just so happens that these two women have been two of the most famous and longest-reigning monarchs in world history, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. This fact may add to people's enhanced perception of the lack of a British king. Victoria and Elizabeth's respective consorts, Albert and Philip, have been styled as princes—Albert as Prince Consort and Philip as "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." Both were explicitly granted their titles by their wives, though Albert was already a prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Philip had previously been a prince of Denmark and Greece, but had renounced both titles before marrying Elizabeth.

The title king consort also exists, but has never been used in the United Kingdom.

Notably, should Prince Charles succeed to his mother's throne, it has been announced that his wife, Camilla, will be styled as princess consort, not as queen consort, just as she has declined the title Princess of Wales, which is strongly associated with Charles's first wife, Diana. Assuming that Charles succeeds, this means that Britain will not have anyone referred to as "queen," after decades of not having anyone referred to as "king."

Why are there female Mr. Mimes? Mr. Mime is a Pokémon introduced in the first generation of the games, and despite its name, it can be either of a male or female gender. As the Pokémon was introduced before the concept of gender in Pokémon games, it is likely that the people in charge of translating its Japanese name (Barrierd) did not take this into account during the process.
Why are there so many crows in Rochester, MN From a Minnesota Paper, the Star Tribune, "Laws prevent the city from poisoning the crows". "Duffy [Steve Duffy, a co-owner of U.S. Bird Abatement Services, which has contracted with Rochester to get rid of the crows] isn't sure why Rochester has such a bad crow problem; probably a confluence of many bird-friendly conditions that has also made it a magnet for geese. He's seen worse cases, but called Rochester's situation 'hideous.'" And best of all, "The city has twice this winter hired experts to chase them off. They tried lasers and bullhorns -- hey, get out of here, you crows -- and even employed raptors to pick them off, one by one. That worked, for awhile." (Unfortunately, they mean a bird of prey, not a velociraptor).
Why aren't there guns in Harry Potter In the Harry Potter universe, Muggle technology (human inventions) are often looked down on by wizards - the majority of half-blooded wizards like Harry won't touch one, let alone a wizard extremist like Voldemort. Not only does any Muggle device more complex than a wristwatch interfere with magical artifacts, but wands are usually more versatile than most guns (a revolver can't shoot lightning or summon items or teleport its user). Finally, while Harry himself may or may not consider using firearms due to his muggle upbringing, Harry Potter is a children's book (which usually doesn't include guns) set in England (which has stricter gun laws than, say, the United States).
Why are the Avengers fighting the X Men Avengers vs. X-Men was a 2012 Marvel crossover event that, like many other recent comic book events, had heroes fight other heroes. In this case, the Avengers and the X-Men fought over the Phoenix Force, a godlike power that often possesses Jean Grey or her descendants (in this case, her alternate universe daughter Hope Summers). The Avengers believed the Phoenix Force is too powerful for humanity to control and wanted to contain it, while the X-Men believed the Phoenix was the messiah for mutants and could fix all of the Earth's problems.
Why is Wolverine not in the Avengers Wolverine has been an Avenger, in some circumstances. e.g. in the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon series, the episode New Avengers had Wolverine (along with Spiderman, War Machine, The Thing and Luke Cage and Iron Fist) substitute while the 'original' Avengers were unavailable to deal with the current crisis (which of course included the fate of the 'proper' Avengers). However, in general his anti-authority personality makes him a difficult team-member to field, and he has frequently disassociated himself even from the X-Men. But, in Avengers vs. X-Men (see above) Wolverine sided with The Avengers, and more modern treatments have even included the character in about as much a permanent a membership of the group as Logan is ever likely to have.

But if the question is about why Wolverine didn't appear in The Avengers, the answer is that The Avengers is being produced by Marvel/Disney, while Fox still has the rights to the X-Men and all Marvel mutants in general. Unless there is studio agreement, the two properties cannot cross, except through complicated machinations. For example, there are plans to bring Avengers mainstays Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch to both the Avengers and X-Men franchises, but only the Fox films have the right to call them the children of Magneto, and Marvel/Disney cannot even identify them on-screen as "mutants".

Why is Psychic weak to Bug In Pokémon, Pokémon of the psychic type (such as Mr. Mime) are weak to three types of attacks: Ghost, Dark, and Bug. The general theory is that Psychic Pokémon, relying heavily on their thoughts for attacks, are weak to fears (which ghosts, darkness, and bugs can be classified as).

Transcript

(This strip is a rectangular word cloud, titled 'Questions found in Google autocomplete'. Embedded in the cloud are 5 single panels, with illustrated questions. Questions are grouped by section and given in roughly columnar order for the horizontal text, followed by the vertical text. None of the questions have question marks. The comic links to a large version of the word cloud.)
Title
Questions found in Google autocomplete
The single panels
[We see Cueball from the torso up, with arms outstretched.]
Cueball: Why aren't my arms growing
[Megan stands with a grey ghost on either side of her.]
Megan: Why are there ghosts
[Beret Guy stands, looking at a squirrel.]
Beret Guy: Why are there squirrels
[Cueball stands.]
Cueball: Why is sex so important
[We see Ponytail from the torso up.]
Ponytail: Why aren't there guns in Harry Potter
Section one
Why do whales jump
Why are witches green
Why are there mirrors above beds
Why do I say Uh
Why is sea salt better
Why are there trees in the middle of fields
Why is there not a Pokemon MMO
Why is there laughing in TV shows
Why are there doors on the freeway
Why are there so many svchost.exe running
Why aren't there any countries in Antarctica
Why are there scary sounds in Minecraft
Why is there kicking in my stomach
Why are there two slashes after http
Why are there celebrities
Why do snakes exist
Why do oysters have pearls
Why are ducks called ducks
Why do they call it the clap
Why are Kyle and Cartman friends
Why is there an arrow on Aang's head
Why are text messages blue
Why are there mustaches on clothes
Why are there mustaches on cars
Why are there mustaches everywhere
Why are there so many birds in Ohio
Why is there so much rain in Ohio
Why is Ohio weather so weird
Section two
Why are there male and female bikes
Why are there bridesmaids
Why do dying people reach up
Why aren't there varicose arteries
Why are old Klingons different
Why is programming so hard
Why is there a 0 Ohm resistor
Why do Americans hate soccer
Why do rhymes sound good
Why do trees die
Why is there no sound on CNN
Why aren't Pokemon real
Why aren't bullets sharp
Why do dreams seem so real
Section three
Why do testicles move
Why are there psychics
Why are hats so expensive
Why is there caffeine in my shampoo
Why do your boobs hurt
Section four
Why aren't economists rich
Why do Americans call it soccer
Why are my ears ringing
Why are there so many Avengers
Why are the Avengers fighting the X-Men
Why is Wolverine not in the Avengers
Section five
Why are there ants in my laptop
Why is Earth tilted
Why is space black
Why is outer space so cold
Why are there pyramids on the Moon
Why is NASA shutting down
Section six
Why are there tiny spiders in my house
Why do spiders come inside
Why are there huge spiders in my house
Why are there lots of spiders in my house
Why are there spiders in my room
Why are there so many spiders in my room
Why do spider bites itch
Why is dying so scary
Section seven
Why is there no GPS in laptops
Why do knees click
Why aren't there E grades
Why is isolation bad
Why do boys like me
Why don't boys like me
Why is there always a Java update
Why are there red dots on my thighs
Why is lying good
Section eight
Why are there slaves in The Bible
Why do twins have different fingerprints
Why are Americans afraid of dragons
Section nine
Why are there swarms of gnats
Why is there phlegm
Section ten
Why are there so many crows in Rochester, MN
Why is Psychic weak to Bug
Why do children get cancer
Why is Poseidon angry with Odysseus
Why is there ice in space
Section eleven
Why is there an owl in my backyard
Why is there an owl outside my window
Why is there an owl on the dollar bill
Why do owls attack people
Why are AK47s so expensive
Section twelve
Why are there helicopters circling my house
Why are there gods
Why are there two Spocks
Section thirteen
Why is Mt Vesuvius there
Why do they say T Minus
Why are there obelisks
Why are wrestlers always wet
Why are oceans becoming more acidic
Why is Arwen dying
Why aren't my quail laying eggs
Why aren't my quail eggs hatching
Why aren't there any foreign military bases in America
Section fourteen
Why is https crossed out in red
Why is there a line through https
Why is there a red line through https on Facebook
Why is https important
Section fifteen
Why are my boobs itchy
Why are cigarettes legal
Why are the ducks in my pool
Why is Jesus white
Why is there liquid in my ear
Why do Q Tips feel good
Why do good people die
Why are ultrasounds important
Why are ultrasound machines expensive
Why is stealing wrong
Vertical questions
(The following are vertical.)
Why is there Hell if God forgives
Why aren't there dinosaur ghosts
Why do iguanas die
Why is GPS free
Why are trees tall
Why are there female Mr Mimes
Why is there lava
Why is YKK on all zippers
Why is life so boring
Why do I feel dizzy
Why are there weeks
Why are dogs afraid of fireworks
Why is there no king in England


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Discussion

Another reason Poseidon is angry with Odysseus - early in the Odyssey, Odysseus blinds a cyclops who happens to be Poseidon's son.

Why did I just type the following in, when doubtless someone else has already done this..? ...a former great post just went to the main page. They probably need error-checking/rearranging/something. And feel free to delete this entire comment if it becomes superfluous. 178.104.103.140 10:19, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Just copied your comment into the transcript area. 72.246.0.10 13:12, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I did delete it here, just because it's copied to the main page. Thanks for your great work!--Dgbrt (talk) 22:18, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Although I appreciate the LOTR reference, is this really the intent? What is Randall's wife's name? Delete if this is a bridge too far into personal life. --131.70.204.120 16:29, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

I answered all the questions, for my amusement. Feel free to use any answers you deem appropriate or accurate enough for the wiki. 213.66.207.152 20:06, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm confused that answers are being presented in different formats. Is the hyperlinked transcript a temporary state before answers are transferred to the table? Or is the transcript just a cleaner and more desirable alternative? 98.166.43.28 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

All answers here: http://www.reddit.com/r/xkcd/comments/1l3na7/questions/cbvigrd -- Connectink

Today's XKCD is good but it looks like the omitted the first Google suggestion when you begin to type "Why does " Go to google and begin to search that... Dont' see it in today's comic. -- Glitch (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Google's suggestions can vary from user to user. At its most benign, this can be location based. For example, in Seattle, when I type "washington", I get suggestions related to Washington state and not the District of Columbia. At its most sinister, these suggestions can be based on what Google perceives your political beliefs to be. Try typing "gun" into Google. Did you get "gun show" or "gun control?"More info here. --Rael (talk) 14:00, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
How odd. I got gunbroker, and then as soon as I typed space, I got gun control as well. 97.87.12.114
WHY do people complain about this? As long as you're going to get into a debate, in an open minded manner, and are going to critically evaluate the strength of arguments presented (regardless of source), then your starting inclinations shouldn't matter!
Moreover, the general internet user is only searching for zeitgeist terms so they know what websites to quote on a Facebook status, so that they can pat themselves on the back. Repeat for next topic.
Personalised results keep you comfy in your happy bubble.
In any case, the "fix" is simple. Enable do-not track requests, private browsing, or connect through proxies (Given the IPv4 saturation, most people are likely configured to have dynamic IP addresses anyway). If you're concerned about geographical location based filtering, just switch the domain name that you search on! 220.224.246.97

Why doesn't Queen Anne count as a "woman who reigned as queen in her own right"? --Nick Douglas (talk) 21:50, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

If I'm not mistaken, Queen Anne was queen dowager acting as a regent, rather than being queen in her own right. Sailorleo (talk) 03:54, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
You are mistaken. (Perhaps you're getting mixed Anne up with Mary II.) 141.101.99.37 20:31, 8 January 2016 (UTC)



Today's Comic was brought to you by the grep "why"! 98.195.202.130 18:24, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

It seems that Randall is confused about the meaning of life. All the questions he asked begin with why. I like what happens when you type "where is"... I got "where is chuck norris". --97.87.12.114 11:41, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

The term "King Consort" may not have been used in the UK, but i believe it was used before in pre Act of Unification England. When Mary Tudor married Philip II of Spain, he was accepted by Parliament and the court as King of England, but was not granted any power. It may not have been elevated to an official title yet, but he was king consort. Dr Pepper (talk) Dr Pepper

My question is "Why do we need to answer all the questions, when the answers have nothing to do with the comic?". The answers are fun and interesting, but they should be in the trivia section. The comic is explained well without them. 108.162.217.125 21:36, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Maybe because this is a wiki and, as such, ALL information must be present. I'm not certain whether the answers help explain the comic but, as it is, I'm not entirely sure of Randall's objective with this one. 108.162.219.148 04:20, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
The purpose of this page is to EXPLAIN the comic. If you don't know what the comic is about you probably should not be trying to EXPLAIN the comic, and you probably should not comment as well. The purpose of this comic is to demonstrate in a visually interesting way the questions that we, users of the internet, ask. But without this EXPLAINATION it is fairly obvious that finding the answers to these questions do nothing to EXPLAIN the comic, especially since the answers do not give the readers any further understanding into the comic. Adding random information to a page does not EXPLAIN anything. Wiki does not mean “ALL information must be present”. Adding unnecessary information DISTRACTS from the EXPLAINATION and confuses readers, this impairs the ability of this wiki to EXPLAIN the comic. 108.162.216.209 21:44, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

The dinosaur ghost question was duplicated in the answer boxes so I deleted the extra one. Also been filling out a ton of fields.4jonah (talk) 01:35, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Why is there an incomplete tag? What questions are unanswered? Djbrasier (talk) 19:10, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

I answered the last 2 remaining questions in section six. Can this be closed now?4jonah (talk) 21:00, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Under "Why is outer space so cold?" it says "space is not cold", but then for "Why is there ice in space?" it begins with "space is cold". This is somewhat confusing. Please clarify. Is space cold or isn't it? 162.158.255.120 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

No idea how to edit the actual article, but it might be worth mentioning that the succession laws of the UK are no longer male-preference, and are now absolute cognatic primogenture/ absolute primogeniture. 141.101.106.107 12:45, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Something's fishy. One question has the answer "Space is Cold." and another has the answer "Space is not cold." 108.162.212.92 00:24, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

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