Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 2619 xkcd comics, and only 48 (2%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Health Data
Donate now to help us find a cure for causality. No one should have to suffer through events because of other events.
Title text: Donate now to help us find a cure for causality. No one should have to suffer through events because of other events.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by EFFECTS THE SITUATION - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Cueball is at the hospital for some form of check-up. Ponytail comes in to inform him of the tests they have ran, but her statements are frustrating, vague, and tautological. She says that his health data has revealed some "variables" but dances around what those variables are, only that they are the number one cause of "outcomes." This is tautological, simply defining what the words "variables" and "outcomes" mean.

Cueball tries to cut to the root of the issue by asking "what are my chances of survival?" Ponytail asks what is Cueball's family history, but rather than asking if his family has a history of similar symptoms to Cueball himself she is just asking if he has any family history whatsoever, another unhelpful inquiry as it does nothing to help with Cueball's questions.

The comic might be making fun of poorly defined health statistics: statistics for the leading causes of accidental death in the United States, for example, typically cite 'poisoning' as the number one cause, even though poisoning other than drug overdoses is actually quite rare. The comic takes vague statistics to the extreme, citing 'causality' as the leading cause of death.

It may also be a joke about replacing the name of an effect with simply, "effect", thus being similar in a sense to a simple random generator, like 2243: Star Wars Spoiler Generator.

The title text simply continues the joke, claiming that doctors are searching for a cure to 'causality'. This is obviously absurd and impossible, as it would destroy reality as we know it.

The comic as a whole is reminiscent of 830: Genetic Analysis and 1840: Genetic Testing Results (particularly the title text of the latter), as the information given by the doctor in all three is self-evident and useless as a result.

Transcript

[Cueball and Ponytail are talking to each other. Cueball is sitting on an examination table and Ponytail, in a doctor's coat, is looking down and reading from a clipboard with some illegible writing on it.]
Ponytail: I'm taking a look at your numbers, and it doesn't look good.
Ponytail: You have a lot of measurements. Quite a few variables.
[Ponytail looks up.]
Cueball: Is that... bad?
Ponytail: Variables are the #1 risk factor for outcomes.
Ponytail: The past is a big contributor to the future.
[Ponytail puts her arm with the clipboard down.]
Cueball: Isn't that just causality?
Ponytail: Causality is the leading cause of death in this country.
Cueball: So what are my odds?
Ponytail: Do you have a family history?
Cueball: Of what?
Ponytail: Just, in general.
Cueball: ...Yes?
Ponytail: Oh no.


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

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 and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!

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.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.