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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
 
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
  
 
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Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
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Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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Revision as of 21:16, 24 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1720 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Linear Regression
The 95% confidence interval suggests Rexthor's dog could also be a cat, or possibly a teapot.
Title text: The 95% confidence interval suggests Rexthor's dog could also be a cat, or possibly a teapot.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: 95% interval and the cat not mentioned from the title text.

Linear regression is a method for modeling the relationship between multiple variables. In the simplest case, it can be used for two variables wherein the model determines a "best-fit" line through a scatter plot of the datasets, together with a coefficient of determination, usually denoted r2 or R2. When only two variables are included in the regression, R2 is merely the square of the correlation between the two variables. R2 is a number between 0 and 1 that indicates how well one variable can be used to predict the value of another. A value of 1 means perfect correlation, while a value close to 0 indicates a weak relationship between the variables.

Constellations are patterns created by linking the apparent positions of stars. Different civilizations have recognized different constellations (the modern IAU, for example, lists 88 "official" constellations), and one could create their own constellations by connecting assorted points.

In this comic, a set of data has had linear regression and some form of statistical analysis applied to it, indicating that there is low correlation between the two. The data points are so widely scattered that (as noted in the comic) it is easier to connect the data points in a constellation-like pattern than it is to determine whether the correlation is negative or positive (without looking at the trendline, of course). Because of this, Randall suggests we should be suspicious of any conclusions drawn from this data.

"Rexthor the Dog bearer" seems to be a spoof on Thor, a Norse god who wields a hammer. By replacing his hammer with a dog and adding "Rex" (an archetypal dog name), Randall creates a comical, dog-bearing version of Thor.

The mention of a teapot may be a reference to Russell's teapot, or possibly to the "teapot" asterism in the constellation Sagittarius.

Transcript

[Two square panels show identical sets of scattered black dots, with only the red additions being different.]
[The left panel shows a slightly rising red line drawn through the middle of the panel, passing near a few dots but not obviously related to most of them. A red text is below the dots:]
R2=0.06
[The right panel shows many of the dots connected by red lines to form a stick figure of a man resembling the constellation Orion, with the hand on the reader's right raised and holding an object. A red text is below the dots:]
Rexthor, the Dog-Bearer
[A caption is below and spanning both panels:]
I don't trust linear regressions when it's harder to guess the direction of the correlation from the scatter plot than to find new constellations on it.


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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

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