Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Title text: Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time. Zing!
The comic parodies Sesame Street, an American children's TV show. The Count is a character in Sesame Street who teaches counting to viewers. The Count usually laughs after counting numbers, an innocent version of the sinister laugh that is a stereotype of old Hollywood horror films. In the book One Two Three ... Infinity, the writer describes African tribes that only have words for numbers up to three and their inability to distinguish or comprehend larger numbers.
The title text mocks anthropology majors for what is considered a widespread myth among current anthropology majors about primitive tribes and their ability to count. Randall makes a jab at the anthropologists saying they would have time to write letters to complain about things because they don't have to spend time doing real science and thus real research.
- [A television set with The Count from 'Sesame Street'.]
- The Count: One! Ah ah ah... Two! Ah ah ah... ...Many! ah ah ah...
- Primitive cultures develop Sesame Street.
The comic may also reference the Indo-European language-family, of which the oldest members have three grammatical numbering systems, singular (one), dual (two), and plural (many).
add a comment!
I think this is a reference to how many ancient cultures have three versions of grammatical, besides singular and plural, most early languages have dual as well, normally. 22.214.171.124 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I believe this is also a reference to the discworld universe, where the trolls have a base three number system which is mistaken to be primitive by most (basically one, two, many, many-one, many-two, many-many and so on)126.96.36.199 09:03, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
You are correct, Discworld gets the one two three reference from the one two three infinity by George Gamow. The line the Count uses in the comic is almost a direct quote in the first chapter about the primitive Hottentots tribe. The one other thing I failed to mention in my original creation of this page was the myth about vampires and OCD. That dropping seeds while fleeing vampires was a way to escape because they were forced to compulsively count the seeds. However I wasn't sure how many would remember the myth. Thank you for looking at this. Understudy (talk) 19:23, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the Discworld trolls have a base four number system, not three. Sciepsilon (talk) 02:19, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Excellent, I have not read the series in many many years. Thank you for the information. Understudy (talk) 22:09, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Bold text 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)