Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Mathnet was a segment on the children's television show "Square One Television", where police mathematicians solved crimes and other mysteries by math. This comic plays on that by implying, when the show was cancelled, the Mathnet department of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was shut down, forcing the mathematicians to become regular detectives.
Here, George Frankly, one of the two lead detectives on the show, tries to glean some sort of mathematical meaning out of the murders, saying that the number of bodies, two, is the third Fibonacci number, a set of numbers where the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1 and then each number is the sum of the previous two; looking like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8... (Sometimes the sequence is considered to start with 1 and 1, or 0 is considered the zeroth term in the sequence; both of which would explain why Frankly calls 2 the third number rather than the fourth.)
The title text goes on to extrapolate, saying that the George saw a Mandelbrot set in the blood spatters, a formula used to create certain kinds of fractals that look somewhat like blood spatters.
- [A crime scene is surrounded in tape. A large black pool is on the ground, with splashes around it, and some sort of tool. Two people are standing outside the tape.]
- Policeman: Looks like a murder-suicide.
- George: Any interesting mathematical patterns?
- Policeman: No, George, just two dead bodies and a lot of blood.
- George: Two... that's the third Fibonacci number!
- Policeman: Not now, George.
- When Mathnet shut down, the officers had trouble reintegrating into the regular L.A.P.D.
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That officer is a fool. I'd say it'd be much more likely to relate to the first prime number (assuming you ignore 1, as apparently you're supposed to) than the third Fibonacci one, barring any prior incidents that might or might not be attributed to the same killer. Of course, we'd perhaps have to wait until three crime-scenes later to work out which of these patterns our Malevolently Mathematical Mastermind of Murder has memetically manipulated for us... Holy Torii, Batman! (And no wonder the policemen like both donuts and coffee cups... They're the same...) 184.108.40.206 00:20, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
- The first prime number is -1!!! 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
" a man (presumably a former Mathnet member" - Not just anyone, the officer calls him George. George Frankly was the main character on the show. Just putting it out there. --Alcatraz ii (talk) 22:43, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
You know, this being a wiki and all, you could have added that yourself. Never mind, I've done it for you. 18.104.22.168 20:42, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
The original Fibonacci problem was formulated about the count of multiplying pairs of rabbits, starting with one pair. So 2 is definitely the 3rd number, not 4th, in that formulation. 22.214.171.124 22:21, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
off topic:i think this is a homage to this show 126.96.36.199 09:04, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I am unsure, but could the use of the word 'Golly' in the title text be a reference to the popular program to run Conway's game of life which goes by the same name? 188.8.131.52 16:53, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
There was a week-long series of Mathnet wherein the Fibonacci series was the focus and a recurring theme, including columns of tiles and artwork, and a parrot who'd call out "Eureka!" The mystery was of the "I inherited a clue about a key..." type. 184.108.40.206 13:46, 18 September 2015 (UTC)