Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 4 xkcd comics,
and only 0
(0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!
Go to this comic explanation
|Number of Computers|
Title text: They try to pad their numbers in the annual reports by counting Galileo's redundant systems as multiple computers, but they're falling behind badly either way.
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Rough draft, needs better phrasing and transcript|
In this comic is a graph of all computers in the world, on a log scale. Also on the page is a graph representing all computers destroyed by throwing them into Jupiter.
Space probes sent to Jupiter are typically scheduled to deorbit and fall into Jupiter's atmosphere. There are multiple reasons for this, including avoiding contaminating Europa with Earth pathogens, never mind the huge gravity well that would have to be overcome for such a probe to return to Earth.
The caption below the comic humorously implies that NASA's reasons for causing the probes to deorbit is merely to destroy computers for the sake of destroying computers (and failing horribly, given they have destroyed three computers out of >100 billion).
- [A graph with two red lines. The X-axis is a time-line with eight ticks with every second tick labeled below the axis, ranging from around 1940 to 2030. The Y-axis is a logarithmic count ranging from one to 100 billion. There are 12 ticks with the first and then every third tick after that larger than the two ticks in between. All the large ticks are labeled, but only the first two of the small ticks are similarly labeled. Labels are written to the left of the axis. All labels on both axes are written in gray. The first red line is a straight line (thus exponentially growing), starting close to the bottom left corner eventually reaching the upper right edge of the graph. The other red line begins around 1990 and has three straight steps. Each step is labeled with gray text, the last part of the line (after the present 2016), is dotted. Both of the red lines have an arrow pointing to them with a label above the arrow.]
- Left red line: Number of computers created
- Right red line: Number of computers destroyed by hurling them into Jupiter
- Labels on right red line:
- Galileo probe
- Galileo orbiter
- Juno (scheduled)
X-axis: 1960 1980 2000 2020
- 1 billion
- 1 million
- [Caption below the panel:]
- NASA needs to pick up the pace if they ever want to finish the job.
Is this out of date? .
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 missing explanations are listed here. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.
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.
If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.