Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Cueball pulls a lever. A bolt of lightning comes down and strikes him.
After being dazed for a moment, the comic then takes one of two routes; the first is that of a normal person and the second is that of a scientist.
A normal person would decide not to pull the lever any more, because it seems to cause him to get struck by a bolt of lightning.
But a scientist would pull the lever again to see if it was just a coincidence or if the lever actually caused the bolt of lightning. A scientist requires that results be repeatable before he accepts the results.
The title text refers to the scientist's method of pulling the lever again and again, trying to understand how the machine works as opposed to the normal person, just avoiding pain.
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- [Cueball pulls a lever.]
- [Lightning hits Cueball.]
- [Cueball still stands, obviously battered.]
- [Arrow labeled "Normal Person".]
- Thinks: I guess I shouldn't do that.
- [Arrow labeled "Scientist".]
- Thinks: I wonder if that happens every time.
- [He reaches for the lever again.]
After reading this, I was just waiting for Hatguy to lure various animals over to the lever in order to test it without being harmed in the process... 18.104.22.168 11:06, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
"Cueball pulls a lever. The lever causes a bolt of lightning to come down and strike him." I doubt that. "Cueball pulls a lever. A bolt of lightning comes down and strikes him." is correct. It may be coincidence, we cannot know that without testing. Undee (talk) 10:32, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
- Agreed. And fixed. -- 22.214.171.124 07:59, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
This makes me think that scientists are, in essence... insane... because isn't that the definition of insanity... pulling the lever again... and expecting different results? 126.96.36.199 02:46, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
What makes you think the result is expected to change? The scientist path isn't pulling the lever again because he's expecting a different result. He's pulling it again to see what happens. Learning more about lightning machines is worth the pain. 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Timothy Wilson, UVa, tested if people (or rather college sophmores, i imagine) perfer sitting queitly or getting shocked. For males, it played out as shown. 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)