Title text: Whoa, and if you overlay a Fibonacci spiral on a golden spiral it matches up almost perfectly!
- If you click on the comic at xkcd you get to a spiral page on xkcd.
- The arrow at the bottom of this comic points to the "Random" button at the bottom of the xkcd page.
- You can go to the comic, as always, by clicking on the date line above this comic.
Note: A flawed version of this comic was posted at first and then quickly a correct version was uploaded. But this gave rise to several misunderstandings and confusion. See the Trivia section below.
This comic is a flowchart style, like many. Interestingly, the first option, Do you like flowcharts? loops back to itself if you say Yes. As the yes lines of other options point to the type of graph they describe (for example, the yes line of Do you like line graphs? points to a line graph), this may be interpreted as a recursive reference to the flowchart itself, although it points to the option itself rather than the START node. Also, this may cause the reader who actually likes flow charts to go into an endless loop of choosing Yes, until they are so annoyed by flowcharts that they do not like them anymore and can progress by saying No.
After asking about flowcharts, the reader is asked whether they like line graphs. If they follow the yes line, it becomes a line graph where "Time" is the x-axis and "Your Happiness" is the y-axis, and shows that your happiness increases with time. If you don't like line graphs, they are asked the same question about scatter plots where again the lines turn into the points and the axis of such a plot.
Taking yet another line, the reader is asked "Charge a battery?" If they follow the line marked yes they are asked whether they are A/C or D/C current and are led to a portion of the flowchart which resembles a circuit diagram of a rectifier bridge with a battery connected to it.
If the reader follows the "no" line, they are asked if they like spirals. If they choose "no" they are asked whether they would take the path of least resistance. This part of the flowchart resembles a circuit diagram, and the word "resistance" is a pun because resistance can have several meanings. In electricity it is an electrical quantity that measures how the device or material impedes the electric current flow through it. Going left is the "Never" option, which goes through extra resistors and a diode, therefore making the "Yes" option the "path of least resistance". However, when asked if you choose the path of least resistance and answers never it could also mean that you do not try to avoid a little trouble.
Whether they choose "Yes" or "No", they arrive at "Do you like when people find the golden spiral in random images?" If they choose "yes" the line fades into a drawing of a golden spiral, and we see that the flowchart is structured around it. If they choose "no" they are asked if they are tired of flowcharts. If not, they are taken to the beginning to start over again. If they are tired, the line points to the "random" button on the xkcd website.
The title text and the faint image of a golden spiral parody the fact that the golden spiral is superimposed on nearly everything. The golden spiral is a spiral that has the growth rate of the golden ratio, a number that has inspired both artists and mathematicians alike. However, people try to find the golden ratio in seemingly random objects, and they fall to confirmation bias when drawing a golden spiral on top that seemingly fits. The comic links to , where one can see exactly that- golden spirals Randall "found" in random photographs. This may be a spoof of the viral video Illuminati Confirmed. The limit of the ratio of two consecutive terms of the Fibonacci sequence is equal to the golden ratio, so a Fibonacci spiral matches up almost perfectly for a good reason, unlike the coincidental matchings of the pictures in the mobile site link.
This comic bears reminiscence of 730: Circuit Diagram, although it is not exactly the same idea. Putting a golden spiral over other things was again used in 2322: ISO Paper Size Golden Spiral, like the spiral page on xkcd which this comic is a link to.
List of Items in Flowchart
|Text in boxes||Explanation||Successor(s)||Predecessor(s)|
|Start||Start here||Do you like flowcharts?||Tired of flowcharts yet?|
|Do you like flowcharts?||Asking whether or not the reader likes flow charts. Recursively returns to itself until the reader is annoyed enough to not like flowcharts and can move on to the next point.||Do you like flowcharts?, Do you like line graphs?||Start, Do you like flowcharts?|
|Do you like line graphs?||It asks if you like line graphs||Data or axis? [The one after yes to line graphs], Scatter plots?||Do you like flowcharts?|
|Data or axis? [The one after yes to line graphs]||It is asking if you wish to be the data or the axis. If you choose the line, the flow chart line turns into a line graph with a positive curve. The same question will be asked later if you say no to line graphs and yes to scatter plots.||[A line in a line graph], Time or your happiness?||Do you like line graphs?|
|Time or your happiness?||If you choose time the flow chart line becomes the x-axis of time and if you choose your happiness it becomes the y-axis in the line graph with the line from before indicating that your happiness increases over time (maybe because you like line graphs and are now becoming part of one?)||[Time axis], [Your Happiness axis]||Data or axis? [The one after yes to line graphs]|
|Scatter plots?||If you don't like line graphs then maybe you like scatter plots?||Data or axis? [The one after yes to scatter plots], Help charge a battery?||Do you like line graphs?|
|Data or axis? [The one after yes to scatter plots]||It is asking if you wish to be the data or the axis. If you choose the data, the flow chart line turns into a scatter plot that is also a flowchart where each of the 10 flow chart boxes is black with two white arrow, one pointing up and the other to the right. They are all connected with multiple connections. The same question was asked earlier if you said yes to line graphs.||[A flow chart that looks line points in in a scatter plot], X of Y?||Scatter plots?|
|X or Y?||Which axis do you prefer? The line you chooses turns in to this axis in the scatter plot.||[X axis], [Y axis]||Data or axis? [The one after yes to scatter plots]|
|Help charge a battery?||From here on the flowchart is at the beginning of morphing into a circuit diagram.||Like spirals?, Are you A/C or D/C?||Scatter plots?|
|Are you A/C or D/C?,||Asks whether you are an AC current or a DC current.||Positive or negative phase?, positive or negative DC terminal?||Help charging a battery?|
|Positive or negative phase?||Conventional current will flow forwards during the positive phase of AC current, whereas in the negative phase the forwards directions matches the actual flow of electrons (see 567: Urgent Mission).||Positive or negative DC terminal? [To either side of this box]||Are you A/C or D/C?|
|Positive or negative DC terminal?||This box looks like a rectifier bridge, which is used to convert AC to DC. The single output leads to a battery which is joined in a circuit to the bottom of the rectifier bridge.||Battery [plus or minus]||Positive or negative phase?|
|Like spirals?||Well, do you? If you do you instantly go to the question of golden spirals. If not you take a detour.||Take the path of least resistance?, Do you like when people find the golden spiral in random images?||Help charge a battery?|
|Take the path of least resistance?||This one is a pun. If resistance is seen as electrical resistance, then the bottom one labeled yes is the one with least resistance. The other labeled "Never" sends you through more resistance, and a 'protective' diode. But in either case you are lead to the same decision box. Also the resistors could look like spirals - making this detour for those who dislike these even more painful.||Do you like when people find the golden spiral in random images?||Like spirals?|
|Do you like when people find the golden spiral in random images?||Here is a question regarding if you like the idea that some people can find and superimpose a golden spiral on a random image. No matter which options you choose you are forced to admit that it is totally BS (bullshit). But maybe you like it anyway? If you choose the Yes, even though it's total BS option the flow chart continues to the side of the chart, then starts to spiral up only to fades out to a very faint golden spiral aligned to the other items in the flow chart. It is almost impossible to see it before you follow this line. The other option is of course No, it's total BS. If you do like it - then click on the comic on xkcd.||Tired of flowcharts yet?, [A very faint golden spiral]||Like spirals?, Take the path of least resistance?|
|Tired of flowcharts yet?||Have you had enough of flow chart? If not then you are returned to the start box at the top of the chart. Maybe you have not tried all options yet, although you have already answered that you are tired of flow charts if you get this far. If you have had enough and answers Yes, I want to look at something else this option leads to the random comic button below the comic (only on xkcd). This decision literally breaks the fourth wall in traveling through the image's nominal boundary to point at a specific button to look at some other comic.||Start, [The xkcd Random comic button]||Do you like when people find the golden spiral in random images?|
- [A flow chart. The first option the start box is white text on a black rectangle. The other boxes are rhombuses standing on edge. Except for the first there are always two options going out. Most only have one option coming in, but there are exceptions with two options going in.]
- [One arrow points to the first real choice.]
- [Below the text on the two options going out from each option will be indented. The top of these two options will be the one to be mentioned first below. Then the chart will be mapped like this going back to the previous unfinished option.]
- Do you like flowcharts?
- [Yes goes back where it came from.]
- Do you like line graphs?
- Data or axis?
- [The line is just a line – but now as the line in a line graph.]
- Time or your happiness?
- Your happiness
- [These two lines turn into the x and y axis of the line graph.]
- Scatter plots?
- Data or axis?
- [The data line turns into the points in a scatter plot.]
- X or Y?
- [These two lines turn into the x and y axis of the scatter plot.]
- Help charge a battery?
- Are you A/C or D/C?,
- Positive or negative phase?
- [The D/C option also goes to this next option, but directly. This next rhombus looks like a part of a circuit diagram.]
- Positive or negative DC terminal?
- [These two lines goes to the + and – poles of a battery.]
- Like spirals?
- Take the path of least resistance?
- [Never goes through two resistors and a diode before reaching the point of the Yes option, which then also goes though yet another resistor. Both thus end at the same option, which is also the one that Yes to like Spirals ends up at:]
- Do you like when people find the golden spiral in random images?
- Yes, even though it's total BS.
- No, it's total BS.
- [Yes option takes the chart into a fading line that turns into a golden spiral spanning the whole chart.]
- Tired of flowcharts yet?
- Yes, I want to look at something else
- [No takes you back to the start box at the top.]
- [Yes takes you out of the comic and points to the Random button at xkcd.]
- A corrected version of the comic was uploaded later on the same day.
- This is the second time in February 2015 this has occurred; previously with 1482: NowPlaying.
- It appears that an unfinished version of the comic was uploaded, with several of the lines and labels missing, and the bridge circuit incorrectly drawn.
- This original comic can be seen on the link.
- The errors were:
- Missing yes/no at the line graph options.
- Missing yes/no at the scatter plot options and missing the line for the yes option going to the second Data axis.
- Missing yes at charge a battery options.
- Missing DC from the AC or DC options and missing the line for the DC option going to the terminal.
- Missing the arrow pointing to the terminal from the "-" option of the phase.
- Missing +/- at terminal option and missing the line going from the negative pole of the battery to the terminal.
- The terminal, which is a rectifier bridge, had both diodes drawn in the wrong direction on the left side of the decision box.
- There was a + floating between the phase and terminal option. This was deleted.
- Missing yes at the spiral options.
- Missing yes/never! at the least resistance options. Also the arrow pointing to the next option was missing.
- The comic has reference to charging a battery, and was posted on the 270th birthday of Alessandro Volta, the original creator of the battery. This could, however, have been a coincidence.
- Later after the initial release of this comic Randall added a link to this page. It's viewable in the HTML-source or here: https://xkcd.com/1488/info.0.json. The text is: "This is a gods-damned flowchart, huge surprise. a transcription and explanation and other things available on an external site http:\n\nwww.explainxkcd.com\nwiki\nindex.php\n1488 ]]\nhttp:\n\nwww.explainxkcd.com\nwiki\nindex.php\n148".
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