522: Google Trends
Google keeps track of which searches are most popular in which regions as part of more general data mining to improve their service. For the enjoyment/education of others, they release select, non-personal parts of this data under the banner "Google Trends."
The first statistic – that "Men kissing" was popular in Utah, a state known for possessing a large population with very conservative social values, including opposition to homosexuality – is real. The others are made up for the sake of the joke. In order:
- "Installing Ubuntu" – Redmond, WA: Ubuntu is a Linux distribution; Redmond, Washington is home to Microsoft, the company that makes the rival operating system Windows.
- "Running for President in 2010" – Wasilla, AK: 2010 was not a presidential election year in the United States; Wasilla, Alaska is home to Sarah Palin, a politician known for making such gaffes and who was John McCain's running mate in the 2008 election that occurred a few weeks before this comic.
- "Lincoln Fan Fiction" – Chicago, IL: Abraham Lincoln was the US president from 1861 to his assassination in 1865; Chicago, Illinois is home to Barack Obama, who apparently reads (presumably erotic) fanfiction about the former president.
- "Raptors on Hoverboards" – Somerville, MA: Velociraptors are a favorite xkcd topic; There are also frequently references to Back to the Future as with the hoverboards here. Somerville, Massachusetts is home to Randall Munroe. The speed of a Raptor on Hoverboard is given in 526: Converting to Metric.
- "How is babby formed" – Wasilla, AK: "How is babby formed?" was the title (and most of the content) of an infamous Yahoo! Answers question (see the title text of 481: Listen to Yourself and 550: Density). Wasilla, Alaska is, again, home to Sarah Palin; a few months prior to this comic's release, Sarah Palin revealed that her daughter, Bristol Palin, was pregnant out of wedlock. Ironically, before her pregnancy, Bristol Palin advocated sexual abstinence before marriage as well as banning sex education in schools. Ignorance of common contraceptives like condoms can cause unplanned pregnancies to happen.
- "I hate this website" – Mountain View, CA: Mountain View, California is home to Google's headquarters. The implication is that Google employees are putting "I hate this website" into Google.
With regards to the excerpt Randall provides in the title text:
- Slash fiction is a genre of fan fiction that focuses on homosexual behavior.
- Lincoln/Obama (pronounced Lincoln slash Obama) fan fiction normally should be between Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama.
- The "more perfect union" line comes from the preamble to the US Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."
- Ethanol is the more scientific name for drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol.
- "10% ethanol" refers to automotive gasoline that includes 10% ethanol (usually made from corn or other vegetables), with the hopes of reducing the dependence on oil for fuel.
- Bloggers were recently amused to discover that,
- according to Google Trends, the search term:
- "men kissing" is most popular in conservative Utah.
- A few other embarrassing correlations:
- [A two column table]
- Search Term
- Top City
- Installing Ubuntu
- Redmond, WA
- Running for President in 2010
- Wasilla, AK
- Lincoln Fan Fiction
- Chicago, IL
- Raptors on Hoverboards
- Somerville, MA
- How is babby formed?
- Wasilla, AK
- I hate this website
- Mountain View, CA
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