Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
The comic references both Dirty Harry and Rain Man, as the caption suggests.
In Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood's character, Harry Callahan, uses a magnum revolver. His most commonly quoted statement is whether or not he fired 5 shots or 6. If he fired only five, the next shot would kill his victim. If six, he wouldn't have any more bullets to shoot.
In Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman's character, Raymond, is autistic and has an eidetic memory. As such, he can instantly remember any number of objects instantly, such as the number of toothpicks in a box that was spilled, or the number of bullets that came out of a gun.
The comic depicts a scene in Dirty Harry in which Callahan confronts a bank robber, only with Raymond taking the place of the robber. For the record, Raymond is correct; Callahan actually pulls the trigger one more time in the original scene, and the gun proves to be empty.
The title text notes the usefulness of not having to count shots from an energy gun because the only limitation is the amount of power left.
- [Detective "Dirty" Harry Callahan stands near a wall, pointing a revolver at another figure, presumably a suspect, reclined on the ground. A shotgun is on the ground next to the reclined figure.]
- Harry Callahan: I know what you're thinking--"Did he fire six shots or only five?" In all this excitement, I-
- Suspect: Six. Definitely six.
- Harry Callahan: Shit.
- Dirty Harry Meets Rain Man
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There's "instantly" twice in a sentence. Because I'm not a native english speaker, I don't know if this is acceptable, and for the same reason I'll not edit it. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- You were correct, it isn't. Actually that whole sentence bothers me, but I suppose it gets the point across well enough. 18.104.22.168 07:23, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
- Technically even directed-energy weapons would run out of shots eventually, since they tend to have batteries, and batteries don't last forever. I suppose you could get around this by using solar power or something, but you would need solar panels larger than the gun itself, most likely. Jake (talk) 15:27, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
- It's not that it would have an unlimited amount of shots, it's that they wouldn't be limited in the same way that conventional existing firearms are. Most guns you can find out how many bullets are in them, even with made up firearms you can make an educated guess, based on the size of various things about the gun. With an energy weapon you could hypothetically have a gun with five shots or five hundred shots in the same size battery, depending on whatever factors your sci-fi bothers with (although pretty much all guns in media have [plot] number of shots regardless). -Pennpenn 22.214.171.124 06:49, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
- Plus, rather than firing individual bullets, it would shoot a steady beam. That way there's nothing to count. 126.96.36.199 17:03, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Nice try, title text; clearly you have yet to meet The Borg. Bonus points for shields annoying Rainman by adapting to plot velocity instead of total count. Elvenivle (talk) 03:46, 1 December 2015 (UTC)