1256: Questions

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 04:50, 13 February 2015 by (talk) (Section Ten: answering the unanswered, undeclaredly)
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To whoever typed 'why is arwen dying': GOOD. FUCKING. QUESTION.
Title text: To whoever typed 'why is arwen dying': GOOD. FUCKING. QUESTION.

A larger version of the picture can be found here .


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Many questions unanswered.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Google, a rather popular internet search engine, has a feature known as autocomplete that guesses at search queries before they are fully typed out. These guesses are generally made based on popular searches by other people. From time to time, a particularly strange or hilarious one may be found, as is evidenced in this comic.

The largest pictured questions are: "Why are there slaves in the bible" and "Why are there ants in my laptop".

All of the questions in the comic are "why" questions, so many of them are predicated on false assumptions, such as "Why are there pyramids on the moon".

Regarding the title text: in the Peter Jackson films of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Arwen becomes sickly for unspecified reasons as the plot advances, apparently giving Aragorn a more personal reason to fight. The only explanation given is by Elrond, who says "As Sauron's power grows, her [Arwen's] strength wanes." This subplot is entirely absent from the original novels.

From IMDB:
Arwen, like her father (and brothers) is considered to be a Half-Elf, the result of a union between an Elf and a mortal human. The Half-Elven of Middle-earth get a choice, to remain immortal and return to the West (Valinor) or to become mortal and to die as humans do. Elrond chose to remain an Elf. Arwen (like her uncle Elros) chooses to become mortal in order to wed and remain with Aragorn. Elrond senses this; this is what he means when he says that Arwen is dying. It is the same as in The Last Unicorn, when the unicorn is given the form of a human woman and can feel that she is no longer immortal ("I can feel this body dying all around me"). According to Tolkien, though, after Aragorn dies in the year 120 (Fourth Age), Arwen returns to Lórien, where she dies by choice the following winter.

Selected answers

The tables below have been created so as to split the comic into almost entirely arbitrary blocks, which have then been identified with similarly arbitrary numbers. As a general rule, section numbers work top to bottom, then right to left.

Illustrated Panels

Question Possible answer
Why aren't my arms growing? Arms stop growing because longer arms would not be a very useful way to spend resources. Human DNA has programmed the body to gradually ossify the growing arms and legs, closing the epiphyseal plate, at which point these extremities stop growing.
Why are there ghosts? There is no hard evidence of ghosts.
Why are there squirrels? Squirrels exist because they fit their biological niche better than any other species.
Why is sex so important? Sex is important because it is the primary method of reproduction in many different species.
Why aren't there guns in Harry Potter? In the Harry Potter universe, Muggle technology (human inventions) are often looked down on by wizards - the majority of half-blooded wizards like Harry won't touch one, let alone a wizard extremist like Voldemort. Not only does any Muggle device more complex than a wristwatch interfere with magical artifacts, but wands are usually more versatile than most guns; a revolver can't shoot lightning or summon items or teleport its user. Finally, while Harry himself may or may not consider using firearms due to his Muggle upbringing, Harry Potter is a series of children's books (which usually don't include guns) set in the United Kingdom (which has stricter gun laws than, say, the United States).

Section One

Question Possible answer
Why do whales jump? To the whale, it's like going into outer space!
Why are witches green? See Wizard of Oz.
Why are there mirrors above beds? Often, these are used by couples to view themselves during coitus.
Why do I say Uh? See Why do we say 'um', 'er', or 'ah' when we hesitate in speaking?.
Why is sea salt better? The question likely refers to the difference between common Fortified table salt and usually more expensive sea salt. While the major part of both of these is sodium chloride (NaCl) the idea behind the claim is the different composition mostly in regards to trace elements of sea salt compared to "normal" salt. Table salt's composition is often influenced by a country's health department and thus addition of trace elements is regulated. While these regulations are based on scientific studies there remain to be debates concerning the additions, such as iodine.
Why are there trees in the middle of fields? Many images of fields contain singular trees in the middle of them. While there exist such trees it is likely an artistic choice to give a more pleasing or aesthetically satisfying image compared to just a field. In modern agriculture those would in fact be quite troublesome since they are a hindrance to large machines used and a new tree would be unlikely to grow in a constantly worked field.
Why is there not a Pokémon MMO? Pokémon is a popular franchise, spanning game consoles, anime series, a trading card game, and many other things. Among fans, it is a frequent topic of discussion why a Pokémon massively multiplayer online game has not been officially announced by the series' developers Game Freak, as they often predict that such a game would be extremely popular, and bring in massive revenue for the company. However, if Game Freak were to develop a Pokémon MMO the MMOs would be strong competition against the console games and therefore reducing the Pokémon demographic significantly.
Why is there laughing in TV shows? Sitcoms were once filmed with an audience, so the actors could respond to their reactions. That's the historical reason why there were laughs in TV shows. The tradition continues, with the difference that now the laughter mostly comes from recorded tapes. See Laugh track.
Why are there doors on the freeway? Highway/freeway noise barriers sometimes have doors in them to allow workers access to both sides of the barrier.
Why are there so many svchost.exe running? See svchost.exe.
Why aren't there any countries in Antarctica? Antarctica is the southern most continent and is by large covered in ice and in general pretty cold. While it is a regular target of tourists and researchers it also lacks native human inhabitants. At the moment, the territorial claims concerning Antarctica are mostly handled via the Antarctic Treaty System. In short there are a few countries who claim certain parts of the continent as their own in theory but so far it is considered neutral territory and most maps don't concern themselves with displaying the (in some regards disputed) territorial claims because they do not matter at this point in time. If there are ever any worthwhile resources discovered, this might change.
Why are there scary sounds in Minecraft? To add atmosphere and to give players hints when there is a dark cave nearby. See Minecraft Wiki.
Why is there kicking in my stomach? See Feeling Your Baby Kick. Here, stomach means abdomen.
Why are there two slashes after http? See Sir Tim Berners-Lee admits the forward slashes in every web address 'were a mistake'.
Why are there celebrities? There are certain people who are more respected and well-known than other people, whether it be because of their acting career, major advancements to science, or a sex tape.
Why do snakes exist? The question is rather general and likely based on a widespread dislike for the reptilians. Be it due to their appearance, their spread, or the danger a few snakes pose to humans (often due to being venomous) many people have a dislike for snakes and would prefer them to not exist (similar to spiders).

In regards to "why do snakes exist on earth?": Because evolution. Snakes fill a gap in the ecosystem as predators and hunt different species, including vermin. Snakes are in that regard similar to many other predatory animals. The question on why snakes developed with their distinct streamlined shape is still debated but likely it either provided an advantage when burrowing or swimming.

Why do oysters have pearls? From Wikipedia:
Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside the shell, or an attack from outside, injuring the mantle tissue. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. Pearls are commonly viewed by scientists as a by-product of an adaptive immune system-like function.
Why are ducks called ducks? See Duck#Etymology. According to Wiktionary, the noun duck can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic word dūkaną ("to dive, bend down"), and, in turn, the Proto-Indo-European dʰewb- ("deep, hollow"), which is the origin of the verb to duck. The link between the noun and the verb comes from ducks' tendency to dive under water for short periods of time.
Why do they call it the clap? An old folk remedy for gonorrhea was to clap on the sides of the penis.
Why are Kyle and Cartman friends? The question relates to the TV show South Park. Both are children living in the small titular town in Colorado. Cartman is widely accepted to a be very bad person, one of his many character flaws being his antisemitism. Kyle on the other hand is a Jew. However, both, along with two other kids, Stan and Kenny, are the core focus of the show (or used to be) and to some extent are considered to be friends. While there are episodes which show Cartman being not entirely a horrible person and him holding Kyle in a position of at least a worthy adversary, most of the time the question should be "Why is anyone friends with Cartman?" However, they most likely remain "friends" because they are in the same class at school and are therefore "forced" to be around one another.
Why is there an arrow on Aang's head? Aang is the main character of the TV series Avatar - The last Airbender and features as part of a large body spanning tattoo an arrow on his head. These tattoos are made to replicate the markings of one of the shows fictional animals, the air bison which are regarded as the original air benders. They are given to human air benders once they attain the status of masters. Because Aang acquired this status very early in life he was already tattooed accordingly.
Why are text messages blue? This likely refers to imessage chat being blue. These messages are blue when sending a message to another apple device.
Why are there mustaches on clothes? Because some people buy them. Mustaches, especially handlebar-style mustaches, were a popular fad at the time of this comic.
Why are there mustaches on cars? Fuzzy pink mustaches are used to designate cars in the Lyft service.
Why are there mustaches everywhere? See Movember
Why are there so many birds in Ohio? There are an estimated 400 bird species in Ohio, but there are 2.74 nesting pairs per acre.
Why is there so much rain in Ohio? Lake-effect rain develops in the same manner as lake-effect snow.
Why is Ohio weather so weird? See Lake-effect snow.

Section Two

Question Possible answer
Why are there male and female bikes? From Wikipedia:
Historically, women's bicycle frames had a top tube that connected in the middle of the seat tube instead of the top, resulting in a lower standover height at the expense of compromised structural integrity, since this places a strong bending load in the seat tube, and bicycle frame members are typically weak in bending. This design, referred to as a step-through frame or as an open frame, allows the rider to mount and dismount in a dignified way while wearing a skirt or dress.
Why are there bridesmaids? See Bridesmaid#Origin and history.
Why do dying people reach up? In many works of fiction dying people are regarded with an outstretched arm, grasping for unseen objects towards the sky. In all likelihood this originates in the idea of heaven as the place where (good) people go after death. People "reach for the light" which is seen when dying according to similar beliefs or possibly for already dead relatives or other associated people waiting for them. An alternative hypothesis is that they want to hug/touch their loved ones one last time.
Why aren't there varicose arteries? Blood moves through veins due to irregular pressure from skeletal muscles combined with valves to control direction. In varicose veins these valves malfunction affecting blood flow. In arteries blood flow is produced directly from pressure caused by the heart.
Why are old Klingons different? From Wikipedia:
For Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), the Klingons were retconned and their appearance and behavior radically changed. To give the aliens a more sophisticated and threatening demeanor, the Klingons were depicted with ridged foreheads, snaggled and prominent teeth, and a defined language and alphabet. Lee Cole, a production designer, used red gels and primitive shapes in the design of Klingon consoles and ship interiors, which took on a dark and moody atmosphere. The alphabet was designed as angular, with sharp edges harkening to the Klingon's militaristic focus.[5] Costume designer Robert Fletcher created new uniforms for the Klingons, reminiscent of feudal Japanese armor.
Why is programming so hard? Programming is the art of writing instructions for a computer to do. Since the computer has a limited set of instructions for you to use it involves a new way of thinking for many. It is also hard because the computer itself is not smart or adaptable to unexpected problems. For instance when a human is told to sort books in a shelf, he or she can do that despite there might be things in the way (he or she will just move it to the side). A computer generally just crash if it doesn't have instructions on how to deal with the unexcepted problem.
Why is there a 0 Ohm resistor? A resistor is usually designed to create a certain resistance, measured in Ohm in an electronic device. A 0 Ohm resistor seems pointless as it would only provide the same resistance as a normal cable. However, Wikipedia's Zero-ohm link article gives sufficient explanation.
Why do Americans hate soccer? Soccer, or football in British English, is rather unpopular in the USA compared to most other regions of the world. Finding a particular reason behind the (dis)like for certain sports, apart from cultural spread, is difficult. One possible explanation is soccer's tendency to have far fewer points scored in an average game and a higher likelihood of draws compared to such things as American Football, basketball or baseball, which are far more popular. In how far this is a legitimate argument for regarding soccer as "less interesting" is up to debate.
Why do rhymes sound good? The brain enjoys repetition especially in music.
Why do trees die? Some common reasons include lack of water, lack of nitrogen in the soil and being chopped down.
Why is there no sound on CNN? Some stations broadcast a second audio program, an alternative sound track that your TV can be configured to use instead of the primary program. This is intended to be used for broadcasting in an alternate language, or for Descriptive Video Service to make a program accessible to the visually impaired. Many programs that don't actually use SAP will still broadcast an SAP that is identical to the primary program; however, this is not required. If your TV is configured to use SAP and a particular channel isn't broadcasting SAP at that time, there won't be any sound.
Why aren't Pokémon real? Pokémon are fantasised creatures that were designed to produce an interesting battle mechanic in a game. Some of the pokémons abilities would be impossible on earth as we know it. For instance, Magcargo is hotter than the surface of the sun[1].
Why aren't bullets sharp? See Terminal ballistics.
Why do dreams seem so real? Most dreams occur during a stage known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement). During REM, your brain is highly active and its wave pattern is the same as the wave patterns in a person who is awake. It should be noted that dreams can occur during other stages of sleep but most dreams that are vivid occur during the REM stage.

Section Three

Question Possible answer
Why do testicles move? The scrotum shrinks and expands to account for temperature changes.
Why are there psychics? Psychics are humans who supposedly have supernatural abilities to know things. A better question would be to ask why do people suppose there are psychics.
Why are hats so expensive? Hats can be expensive depending on the quality of material, size, location, and demand. A probable answer is that hats are simply difficult to make, causing high prices.
Why is there caffeine in my shampoo? Because the producers want you to believe that caffeine penetrates the hair roots and thereby somehow protects it from negative testosterone impacts and from premature hair loss.
Why do your boobs hurt? The most probable reason is that your bra doesn't fit correctly. It could also be a hormone imbalance or awkwardly shaped breasts.

Section Four

Question Possible answer
Why aren't economists rich? Economists study how laws of self-interest bring about an efficient allocation of resources. In order to become rich, one has to enter a market seeking profit by trading or producing goods or services.
Why do Americans call it soccer? Association Football is called Soccer in the USA because American Football is the more popular version there.
Why are my ears ringing? Tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, can result from stress, foreign objects in the ear, hearing damage, wax build up, or any other number of causes.
Why are there so many Avengers? The number of Avengers has varied greatly over the years and decades, each time with it's own justification for why they need to work together, but the simplest answer is money. Cross-branding and cross-merchandising is successful to the brand and brings in new readers, plus creates a new franchise to profit from.
Why are the Avengers fighting the X Men Avengers vs. X-Men was a 2012 Marvel crossover event that, like many other recent comic book events, had heroes fight other heroes. In this case, the Avengers and the X-Men fought over the Phoenix Force, a godlike power that often possesses Jean Grey or her descendants (in this case, her alternate universe daughter Hope Summers). The Avengers believed the Phoenix Force is too powerful for humanity to control and wanted to contain it, while the X-Men believed the Phoenix was the messiah for mutants and could fix all of the Earth's problems.
Why is Wolverine not in the Avengers Wolverine has been an Avenger, in some circumstances. e.g. in the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon series, the episode New Avengers had Wolverine (along with Spiderman, War Machine, The Thing and Luke Cage and Iron Fist) substitute while the 'original' Avengers were unavailable to deal with the current crisis (which of course included the fate of the 'proper' Avengers). However, in general his anti-authority personality makes him a difficult team-member to field, and he has frequently disassociated himself even from the X-Men. But, in Avengers vs. X-Men (see above) Wolverine sided with The Avengers, and more modern treatments have even included the character in about as much a permanent a membership of the group as Logan is ever likely to have.

But if the question is about why Wolverine didn't appear in The Avengers, the answer is that The Avengers is being produced by Marvel/Disney, while Fox still has the rights to the X-Men and all Marvel mutants in general. Unless there is studio agreement, the two properties cannot cross, except through complicated machinations. For example, there are plans to bring Avengers mainstays Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch to both the Avengers and X-Men franchises, but only the Fox films have the right to call them the children of Magneto, and Marvel/Disney cannot even identify them on-screen as "mutants".

Section Five

Question Possible answer
Why are there ants in my laptop? Ants usually come in your laptop when there are little crumbs of food. It is advised to get screen protectors.
Why is Earth tilted? The Earth is not tilted. Axial tilt is just a result of conservation of momentum when the Earth was formed, because not everything orbits in the same way. It is pure happenstance that Earth's axis is not normal to its plane of orbit.
Why is space black? What we call black is the absence of light. Space is mostly empty. Whe we look at a part of space where there is nothing that can reflect the stars' light, it consequently appears black to us.
Why is outer space so cold? Space is not cold. There is no matter in space. However, most of space has very little radiation hitting it, so a person won't recieve any energy, but will still radiate some away, resulting in a net loss of energy, colloquially "heat."
Why are there pyramids on the moon? There are no pyramids on the moon.
Why is NASA shutting down? NASA isn't shutting down. This question might have something to do with the Government Shutdown of 2013 or perhaps due to the then-current shuttle program ending, but that is not the entirety of NASA.

Section Spider Six

Question Possible answer
Why are there tiny spiders in my house? During autumn in particular male spiders reaching maturing will set off to find a mate. By chance they may end up in your house. When encountering spiders in large numbers, it is more likely that they are young from the same female spider. Females lay up to 3,000 eggs at a time. These questions also plays off of Munroe's longstanding fear of spiders, especialy the red spiders mentioned in several early comics.
Why do spiders come inside?
Why are there huge spiders in my house?
Why are there lots of spiders in my house?
Why are there spiders in my room?
Why are there so many spiders in my room?
Why do spider bites itch? This mostly happens as a immune response to histamines under the skin which are injected through saliva.
Why is dying so scary? Part of human nature is the fear of the unknown, and death is the ultimate unknown because it is not knowable until it's experienced, and there is nobody to report what the result was. This leaves it open to speculation, and many major religions are based on preparing ones soul for death. Also, dying would leave loved ones families with the responsibility of taking care of their remains and finances. And finally, most people don't want to die, living for as long as possible, possibly because the unknown is too unbearable to cope with. Still though several people are not afraid of death and dying, and recognize life is short and to cherish each moment while we can. Death is inevitable, so we should not fear it.
Why is there no GPS in laptops? It is not impossible for laptops to have a GPS, and some do. But there are design difficulties that have to be overcome including battery draining, room within the crowded device to place a receiver, WiFi can give a location just as well, and the product casing could interfere with its ability to functional normally and receive the signals necessary to operate as intended. Some Dell computers have these, but the privacy one needs to give up to accept the terms and conditions makes it unfavorable.
Why do knees click?
Why aren't there E grades? E grades actually exist in some districts, but they are rare. In their long and bizarre history, E was originally used where F is today (E was the lowest grade), but in those systems, students often received E's for an "Excellent" grade, creating much confusion. F was used in place instead and E was eliminated from a standard grading scale.
Why is isolation bad? Isolation is when a person deliberately secludes themselves away from others, often far-removed from society. This can happen in locations as small as a city apartment and as large as the open woods. People evolved as social animals and it is generally held that those who isolate themselves suffer from depression or other forms of psychological imbalance. Of course society can trigger many of these imbalances causing an individual to isolate themselves. Isolation is often seen as therapeutic so people can spend time with themselves constructively, often finding peace within themselves and through mediation. Monks and hermits generally live in solitude as well. Many people view a decision to be isolated as noble, and others as healthy. While general interaction is largely healthy, in the crowded modern world, isolation is neither good or bad; it depends on the person and what that isolation does to them.
Why do boys like me? Attraction comes in many forms: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, among others. Many people will lie about what they like about you to get something else (money, sex, etc), but most are genuine. It is not possible to assert definitively why one person may like another person, and that is something that needs to be discussed openly and honestly with them and nobody else.
Why don't boys like me? Similar to the answer above about what makes one desirable to another, there are an equal number of factors that make one unappealing. This can include everything from physical appearance to how one treats others. If a person is rude and unfriendly, most people find that not-conducive to healthy relationship and avoid the person who is asking. Not being liked by someone you like however does not mean you're wrong or are a bad person and in most cases has to do with the person you are asking about.
Why is there always a Java update? Java is a software that runs on most computers and mobile devices that is crucial to its security and stability. The reason why it always updates is because it needs to stay current with the ever-upgrading fleet of browsers, operating systems and software that supports Java. Additionally Java updates itself so each version can run optimally. Software coding and debugging is a never-ending process towards perfectly stable releases.
Why are there red dots on my thighs?
Why is lying good? Lying and other forms of dishonesty is typically seen as bad because it lowers one's credibility and makes them less likely to be trusted in the future. It is almost always advantageous to tell the truth, as lies have a way of escalating as you need to keep expanding on the lie to cover your tracks. There are instances however where lying may be used in more noble circumstances. For example, if a friend asks your opinion on something they have made (such as a poem or painting) that you do not like, it is okay to tell them you like it because protecting their feelings and your relationship is more important than how you feel. Often military personnel are trained to keep national security secrets at all costs and will lie about what they know to save themselves and the country.

Section Seven

Question Possible answer
Why are there slaves in the bible? Slavery was viewed differently in the early years of human civilization before the contemporary moral and ethical conversations began centuries later. The bible justified slavery for a number of reasons, notably to pay off some sort of debt. Slaves were seen as property and their work provided value to the slave owner. Similarly slave owners rationalized their ownership through scripture, pointing out that it was in the Bible and therefore okay with God.
Why do twins have different fingerprints? Fingerprints are not only from the DNA, but from the conditions in the womb which differ from child to child.
Why are Americans afraid of dragons? This question was the title of a 1974 essay by Ursula K. LeGeuin in which she makes a semiotic analysis of dragon mythology. She argues that our belief in dragons (and those outside of America as well) stems from childhood, much like other ferocious fictional creatures such as goblins and hobbits, but many hold onto these fears as a way of avoiding reality. In her closing argument, she writes, "They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom."
Why is HTTPS crossed out in red? The site accessed has an invalid SSL certificate.
Why is there a line through HTTPS? The site accessed has an invalid SSL certificate.
Why is there a red line through HTTPS on Facebook? Facebook has an invalid SSL certificate.
Why is HTTPS important? For security reasons, as a site with HTTPS has encrypted traffic.

Section Eight

Question Possible answer
Why are there swarms of gnats? The reason gnats (and other creatures) tend to swarm together is likely a safety-in-numbers protection, and as a big gathering to find a mate.
Why is there phlegm? Phlegm is a thick, viscous fluid produced by the mucus membranes as a way to clear the airway and aids in the release of bacteria, disease and debris in those passages.
Why are there so many crows in Rochester, MN From a Minnesota Paper, the Star Tribune, "Laws prevent the city from poisoning the crows". "Duffy [Steve Duffy, a co-owner of U.S. Bird Abatement Services, which has contracted with Rochester to get rid of the crows] isn't sure why Rochester has such a bad crow problem; probably a confluence of many bird-friendly conditions that has also made it a magnet for geese. He's seen worse cases, but called Rochester's situation 'hideous.'" And best of all, "The city has twice this winter hired experts to chase them off. They tried lasers and bullhorns — hey, get out of here, you crows — and even employed raptors to pick them off, one by one. That worked, for awhile." Unfortunately, they mean a bird of prey, not a velociraptor.
Why is Psychic weak to Bug In Pokémon, Pokémon of the psychic type like Mr. Mime are weak to three types of attacks: Ghost, Dark, and Bug. The general theory is that Psychic Pokémon, relying heavily on their thoughts for attacks, are weak to fears, which ghosts, darkness, and bugs can be classified as.
Why do children get cancer? Cancer is an aggressive and often fatal disease that has the potential to affect all humans as well as other organisms. There are multiple types of cancer, each with their own epidemiology, but children are not immune to succumbing to the horrific effects of the disease. Children are human beings and are subject to the same illnesses adults have, regardless of age, or their innocence. There is no divine or supernatural explanation for this. Simply put, life is a battle for all humans regardless of how small they are.
Why is Poseidon angry with Odysseus? Poseidon was the patron deity of the city of Troy, which after a 10 years siege by the Greeks fell due to Odysseus' list of the Trojan horse. As the Greeks were returning home after the Trojan War, Oddyseus' ship accidentally landed on the island home of the cyclops Polyphemus, who imprisoned the crew and ate many of them. In order to escape, Odysseus blinded the cyclops. Poseidon, Polyphemus' father, was extremely angered by his son being blinded, so he cursed Odysseus' ship to prevent him from reaching his home in Ithaca. The adventures which Odysseus encountered during his quest for reaching Ithaca are the main theme of Homer's Odyssey The Odyssey also says that before sailing, the crew forgot to offer a sacrifice as was ordained.
Why is there ice in space? Space is Cold. The background radiation, which is used to measure the temperature of space's vacuum, is estimated at about 3K (−270 °C; −454 °F). Water freezes at 273.15 K (0ºC; 32ºF). Because the temperature in space is less than the freezing point of water, liquids freeze in space, turning into ice.

Section Owl Nine

Question Possible answer
Why is there an owl in my back yard? Owls can be seen all over the world, and live in a wide variety of habitats. They are mainly noctural, and spend a large portion of the night hunting. The owl in your back yard is likely looking for food.
Why is there an owl outside my window? As with the question above, the owl is likely to be hunting for food.
Why is there an owl on the dollar bill? On the front of a dollar bill, near the upper right '1' is a tiny section of the design which can be seen to represent an owl. Conspiracy theorists will note that owls were symbolically linked to the Masons, while others will instead see a spider.
Why do owls attack people? While owls and human often live in close proximity without problems, as with other species, owls may attack if they feel threatened. When people irritate or otherwise make owls feel unsafe, they retaliate with violence to protect themselves.
Why are AK47s so expensive? The market value of an AK47 varies depending on where in the world you live. With strict gun control laws, obtaining an AK47 in the UK is likely to be more expensive due to the risks involved for those supplying the weapon. In ex-soviet countries and the middle east, AK47s are more plentiful, and hence the price is likely to be lower.
Why are there helicopters circling my house? This question is likely a joke because it is so incongruous to the others in this section. The joke is that people would be Googling about owls attacking people and assault rifle prices, which could, ostensibly alert authorities to come to your house to arrest you. If this is not the case, then the helicopter could be there for myriad reasons.

Section Ten

Question Possible answer
Why are there gods? All gods and goddesses man made and are part of ancient and fictional mythology and folklore that are used to give spiritual guidance and explanations for phenomenons that were yet unexplained by natural processes. Lightning for example was thought to be produced by Zeus, King of all Greek Gods.
Why are there two Spocks? This is probably a reference to the 2009 Star Trek movie in which the franchise was given a continuity reboot. The modified setting is explained in-universe by time travel, with both the villain Nero and the original-timeline Spock being brought back from the 24th century to the 23rd, creating a timeline in which both older Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) and the younger Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) coexist.

Another possibility is that the question refers to the episode "Mirror, Mirror", which mostly takes place in an alternate universe populated by ruthless versions of most of the characters (including Spock).

Why is Mt Vesuvius there? The simple answer is that volcanoes are created by interactions where the Earth's tectonic plates meet. These conditions only exist in a few places on Earth.

The question could also be asking, "why is Mt Vesuvius near such a heavily populated area?" Humans have lived near Vesuvius throughout history, due to its pleasant climate, rich soil, and proximity to other major cities. The Italian government offers generous cash incentives to move people away from the danger zone, but finds few takers.

This question could also be a reference to mountaineer George Mallory's famous answer as to why he wanted to climb Mount Everest: "Because it's there."

Why do they say T minus? Time before the launch of a spacecraft is denoted as T minus because the launch has not happened yet. Any time after the launched is stated without the minus, for example T 3 seconds, so time before the launch can be seen as "minus" time. The T stands for "Test" or "Time".
Why are there obelisks? Obeiis article has more
Why are wrestlers always wet? Professional wrestling is strenuous activity, whether its fake or not. Strenuous activity results in sweat, giving the bodyan appearance of being wet. Greco-roman wrestling and Turkish Oil Wrestling both involve oiling the body, giving a similar appearance.
Why are oceans becoming more acidic?
Why is Arwen dying? Because Peter Jackson wanted to give Aragorn manpain
Why aren't my quail laying eggs? Have you tried turning them off and on again?
Why aren't my quail eggs hatching? Problems in incubation, probably.
Why aren't there any foreign military bases in America? Further information: United States military deployments

This is a very interesting question, albeit one likely based on a regional misunderstanding. Presumably, this question is asked by Americans who assume that the existence of U.S. military bases abroad is a general trend among countries, as opposed to being the rarity that it is. In fact, only a handful of other countries have military bases outside of their borders, and the three—France, the United Kingdom, and Russia—that have more than one or two are all countries that, like the United States, were on the winning side of World War II, have massive military expenditures, and have UN Security Council vetoes. In other words, only the most militarily elite countries have bases overseas. The U.S. is unique, however, in that it has far more overseas bases than any other country (and, pretty much, far more of anything else than any other country, when it comes to the military), and in that it has bases in several other highly-industrialized nations, including South Korea and the United Kingdom, and, most notably, the World War II Axis powers: Germany, Japan, and Italy. France, Russia, and the U.K.'s bases, on the other hand, are almost all within areas that they previously controlled.

These bases can be controversial in some countries, while in others they are a major source of economic and political stability. The U.S. traditionally justifies their presence as a necessary and crucial element in its efforts to promote peace domestically and worldwide. Despite their major role in U.S. foreign policy, and in the general political structure of the globe, the American public often largely ignores them, and they rarely become a major political issue (apart from an occasional mention by Libertarian presidential candidates).

So, essentially, the absence of foreign military bases within the U.S. is primarily because there aren't really any other countries in a position to place bases there. Ironically, although no battles in the traditional sense have been fought within the U.S. since the U.S. Civil War and the U.S. mainland has seen almost no military action, foreign air force bases might have been useful on September 11, 2001. (The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was 18 years before Hawaii became a U.S. state, but Hawaii was still a fundamental part of the United States as it was an incorporated territory.)

There are, however, foreign troops stationed at some continental US military bases. For example RAF (British Royal Air Force) 39 Sqn and 361 Sqn at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada flying Reaper and Predator drones. But this are not foreign military bases, they are just guests.

Section Eleven

Question Possible answer
Why are my boobs itchy? It could be anything from dry skin to a rare life-threatening disease. Could also be related to pregnancy, PMS, or puberty. Here's a thorough list of possible causes and remedies.
Why are cigarettes legal? Despite the obvious detrimental affects nicotine has on health, like caffeine and alcohol, it is easy to regulate. Substances like marijuana and other drugs are mainly illegal because the government and regulatory agencies have no control over their production and distribution and therefore cannot profit from it. Nicotine however, which is the key ingredient in tobacco can be regulated and taxed and is.
Why are there ducks in my pool? Most likely, they're looking for a place to mate. Which means you'll soon have baby ducks in your pool. Most migratory birds are protected by wildlife laws, so you want to prevent them from moving into your pool in the first place. The DFW Wildlife Coalition has some tips.
Why is Jesus white? This is an ethnocentric viewpoint that varies throughout cultures. In African cultures he is portrayed as black. In short, whatever culture he is introduced to, those inhabitants will have him fit their own image.
Why is there liquid in my ear? It's called otorrhea, and can be caused by infection, trauma, or changes in pressure. A common cause is Swimmer's ear, an infection of the outer ear canal.
Why do Q tips feel good? The inner ear contains erectile tissue (as does your inner nose which is why sneezing feels good) so you are massing tissue which gets aroused upon stimulation.
Why do good people die? Everybody dies, but loved ones and ones who were known to make memorable or valuable contributions are mourned and revered more than a person who has left much pain to others as their legacy; we remember the good ones and that's why it hurts more.
Why are ultrasounds important? Ultrasound scans provide a great deal of information about a fetus, thus increasing the chances of a healthy birth. They have many other medical uses.
Why are ultrasound machines expensive? As hospital equipment goes, ultrasound machines are actually a bargain. A new ultrasound machine costs about $20,000-$75,000, depending on features. Comparable devices are much more expensive: The CT scanner runs $90,000-$250,000, while the MRI machine easily goes over a million.
Why is stealing wrong? Stealing is theft and it is illegal. Taking something that is not yours without permission or payment hurts the livelihood of other individuals as well as damages their trust in others.

Vertical Questions

Question Possible answer
Why is there hell if god forgives? There is not a single answer to this question. The answer varies based on the religion and that religion's sect mixed with personal interpretations of that religions scripture and how a person decides to follow it. However the idea of what Hell will be like also varies. There is no one answer to this question, but the easiest explanation is that the individual did not pray hard enough, correctly, was not part of the right religion, and their forgiveness was contingent on something that the person either did not do or know to do (or say or think)
Why do iguanas die? All living things die, but iguanas may suffer from kidney failure.
Why is GPS free? GPS was originally developed by the U.S. military for its own use, not for commercial purposes. Once the satellites were launched and service began, anyone could receive the signals. Because it is a one-way transmission, there is no incremental cost to provide service to more users, and no practical way to prevent use without payment.
Why are trees tall? Tall is a relative term, and Redwoods are famous for their height - among the tallest in the world. The reason for this is, in part climate, fog, rain, good soil, few predators, among others.
Why are there female Mr. Mimes? Mr. Mime is a Pokémon introduced in the first generation of the games, and despite its name, it can be either of a male or female gender. As the Pokémon was introduced before the concept of gender in Pokémon games, it is likely that the people in charge of translating its Japanese name (Barrierd) did not take this into account during the process.
Why is there lava? Lava is simply magma (molten rock) which has been ejected from volcanoes. Once it is flowing on land, it is called lava. Magma is heated by the earth's core to create a liquid surface under earth's crust that the land floats on. Sometimes it has to come out through faults and fissures (and volcanoes).
Why is YKK on a zippers? YKK Group is the name of a large group of Japanese manufacturing companies, which among other things manufacture a lot of zippers.
Why is life so boring? It is up to an individual to find meaning and interest in life. Monotony, predictability and lack of physical and intellectual stimulation would lead to a feeling of boredom.
Why aren't there dinosaur ghosts? Ghosts are a supernatural phenomenon that have not been empirically proven to exist. Those who believe in ghosts implicitly believe in a soul (of which a ghost is a materialization of), and it is a commonly held belief by religious institutions and ghost-hunters that animals do not have souls and thus dinosaurs would not have any either.
Why is there no king in England? Note: For simplicity's sake, "England" here is being read as "United Kingdom." The various name changes, mergers, and splits of kingdoms are complicated.

The basis for this question is that for the past several hundred years, there has almost always been a queen in England, the sole exceptions being when the king has not had a wife. However, there is a distinction between being the queen of England (that is to say, a monarch) and being the queen consort of England: The former refers to a woman who succeeded to the throne in her own right, becoming sovereign, while the latter refers to the wife of the king. Both roles, though, are commonly referred to as "Queen of England," creating the impression that there is always such a person. The logical question, therefore, is why Elizabeth II's husband, Philip, is not considered the king of England. The answer lies in Britain's system of male-preference cognatic primogeniture, which causes the monarch of England to usually be a man, not a woman. As a result of this, British laws were generally built around the presumption that the monarch would be a man, and that said man would be married to a woman, comic 223 be damned. Since the creation of the modern British throne in 1707, only two women have reigned as queen in their own right; it just so happens that these two women have been two of the most famous and longest-reigning monarchs in world history, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. This fact may add to people's enhanced perception of the lack of a British king. Victoria and Elizabeth's respective consorts, Albert and Philip, have been styled as princes—Albert as Prince Consort and Philip as "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." Both were explicitly granted their titles by their wives, though Albert was already a prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Philip had previously been a prince of Denmark and Greece, but had renounced both titles before marrying Elizabeth.

The title king consort also exists, but has never been used in the United Kingdom.

Notably, should Prince Charles succeed to his mother's throne, it has been announced that his wife, Camilla, will be styled as princess consort, not as queen consort, just as she has declined the title Princess of Wales, which is strongly associated with Charles's first wife, Diana. Assuming that Charles succeeds, this means that Britain will not have anyone referred to as "queen," after decades of not having anyone referred to as "king."

Why do I feel dizzy? Balance is achieved from fluids in the inner-ear, but dizziness can have nearly a dozen causes.]
Why are dogs afraid of fireworks? Loud noises can trigger their flight or fight responses when they are nervous.
Why are there weeks? Weeks were originally important for religious reasons, primarily the requirement to observe a sabbath (day of rest) every seventh day. Today it is used to evenly divide months into equal pieces, much like the months divide a year. Similarly, hours and minutes divide a day.
  1. [[1]]


[This strip is a rectangular word cloud, titled 'Questions found in Google autocomplete'. Embedded in the cloud are 5 single panels, with illustrated questions. These are described at the end. Questions are given in roughly columnar order. None of the questions have question marks.]
Questions found in Google Autocomplete
Why do whales jump
Why are witches green
Why are there mirrors above beds
Why do I say uh
Why is sea salt better
Why are there trees in the middle of fields
Why is there not a Pokemon MMO
Why is there laughing in TV shows
Why are there doors on the freeway
Why are there so many svchost.exe running
Why aren't there any countries in antarctica
Why are there scary sounds in Minecraft
Why is there kicking in my stomach
Why are there two slashes after HTTP
Why are there celebrities
Why do snakes exist
Why do oysters have pearls
Why are ducks called ducks
Why do they call it the clap
Why are Kyle and Cartman friends
Why is there an arraow on Aang's head
Why are text messages blue
Why are there mustaches on clothes
Why are there mustaches on cars
Why are there mustaches everywhere
Why are there so many birds in Ohio
Why is there so much rain in Ohio
Why is Ohio weather so weird
Why are there male and female bikes
Why are there bridesmaids
Why do dying people reach up
Why aren't there varicose arteries
Why are old Klingons different
Why is programming so hard
Why is there a 0 ohm resistor
Why do Americans hate soccer
Why do rhymes sound good
Why do trees die
Why is there no sound on CNN
Why aren't Pokemon real
Why aren't bullets sharp
Why do dreams seem so real
Why aren't there dinosaur ghosts
Why do iguanas die
Why do testicles move
Why are there psychics
Why are hats so expensive
Why is there caffeine in my shampoo
Why do your boobs hurt
Why aren't economists rich
Why do Americans call it soccer
Why are my ears ringing
Why are there so many Avengers
Why are the Avengers fighting the X men
Why is Wolverine not in the Avengers
Why are there ants in my laptop
Why is Earth tilted
Why is space black
Why is outer space so cold
Why are there pyramids on the moon
Why is NASA shutting down
Why is there Hell if God forgives
Why are there tiny spiders in my house
Why do spiders come inside
Why are there huge spiders in my house
Why are there lots of spiders in my house
Why are there spiders in my room
Why are there so many spiders in my room
Why do spider bites itch
Why is dying so scary
Why is there no GPS in laptops
Why do knees click
Why aren't there E grades
Why is isolation bad
Why do boys like me
Why don't boys like me
Why is there always a Java update
Why are there red dots on my thighs
Why is lying good
Why is GPS free
Why are trees tall
Why are there slaves in the Bible
Why do twins have different fingerprints
Why are Americans afraid of dragons
Why is there lava
Why are there swarms of gnats
Why is there phlegm
Why are there so many crows in Rochester, MN
Why is psychic weak to bug
Why do children get cancer
Why is Poseidon angry with Odysseus
Why is there ice in space
Why are there female Mr Mimes
Why is there an owl in my backyard
Why is there an owl outside my window
Why is there an owl on the dollar bill
Why do owls attack people
Why are AK47s so expensive
Why are there helicopters circling my house
Why are there gods
Why are there two Spocks
Why is Mt Vesuvius there
Why do they say T minus
Why are there obelisks
Why are wrestlers always wet
Why are oceans becoming more acidic
Why is Arwen dying
Why aren't my quail laying eggs
Why aren't my quail eggs hatching
Why aren't there any foreign military bases in America
Why is life so boring
Why are my boobs itchy
Why are cigarettes legal
Why are there ducks in my pool
Why is Jesus white
Why is there liquid in my ear
Why do Q tips feel good
Why do good people die
Why are ultrasounds important
Why are ultrasound machines expensive
Why is stealing wrong
Why is YKK on all zippers
Why is HTTPS crossed out in red
Why is there a line through HTTPS
Why is there a red line through HTTPS on Facebook
Why is HTTPS important
Why are there weeks
Why do I feel dizzy
Why are dogs afraid of fireworks
Why is there no king in England
[We see Cueball from the torso up, with arms outstretched.]
Cueball: Why aren't my arms growing
[Megan stands with a grey ghost on either side of her.]
Megan: Why are there ghosts
[Beret Guy stands, looking at a squirrel.]
Beret Guy: Why are there squirrels
[Cueball stands.]
Cueball: Why is sex so important.
[We see Ponytail from the torso up.]
Ponytail: Why aren't there guns in Harry Potter

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Another reason Poseidon is angry with Odysseus - early in the Odyssey, Odysseus blinds a cyclops who happens to be Poseidon's son.

Why did I just type the following in, when doubtless someone else has already done this..? ...a former great post just went to the main page. They probably need error-checking/rearranging/something. And feel free to delete this entire comment if it becomes superfluous. 10:19, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Just copied your comment into the transcript area. 13:12, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I did delete it here, just because it's copied to the main page. Thanks for your great work!--Dgbrt (talk) 22:18, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Although I appreciate the LOTR reference, is this really the intent? What is Randall's wife's name? Delete if this is a bridge too far into personal life. -- 16:29, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

I answered all the questions, for my amusement. Feel free to use any answers you deem appropriate or accurate enough for the wiki. 20:06, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm confused that answers are being presented in different formats. Is the hyperlinked transcript a temporary state before answers are transferred to the table? Or is the transcript just a cleaner and more desirable alternative? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

All answers here: http://www.reddit.com/r/xkcd/comments/1l3na7/questions/cbvigrd -- (Some signature that looks like spamlink)

Today's XKCD is good but it looks like the omitted the first Google suggestion when you begin to type "Why does " Go to google and begin to search that... Dont' see it in today's comic. -- Glitch (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Google's suggestions can vary from user to user. At its most benign, this can be location based. For example, in Seattle, when I type "washington", I get suggestions related to Washington state and not the District of Columbia. At its most sinister, these suggestions can be based on what Google perceives your political beliefs to be. Try typing "gun" into Google. Did you get "gun show" or "gun control?" (Another thing that looks like a spamlink) --Rael (talk) 14:00, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
How odd. I got gunbroker, and then as soon as I typed space, I got gun control as well.
WHY do people complain about this? As long as you're going to get into a debate, in an open minded manner, and are going to critically evaluate the strength of arguments presented (regardless of source), then your starting inclinations shouldn't matter!
Moreover, the general internet user is only searching for zeitgeist terms so they know what websites to quote on a Facebook status, so that they can pat themselves on the back. Repeat for next topic.
Personalised results keep you comfy in your happy bubble.
In any case, the "fix" is simple. Enable do-not track requests, private browsing, or connect through proxies (Given the IPv4 saturation, most people are likely configured to have dynamic IP addresses anyway). If you're concerned about geographical location based filtering, just switch the domain name that you search on!

Why doesn't Queen Anne count as a "woman who reigned as queen in her own right"? --Nick Douglas (talk) 21:50, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

If I'm not mistaken, Queen Anne was queen dowager acting as a regent, rather than being queen in her own right. Sailorleo (talk) 03:54, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
You are mistaken. (Perhaps you're getting mixed Anne up with Mary II.) 20:31, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Today's Comic was brought to you by the grep "why"! 18:24, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

It seems that Randall is confused about the meaning of life. All the questions he asked begin with why. I like what happens when you type "where is"... I got "where is chuck norris". -- 11:41, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

The term "King Consort" may not have been used in the UK, but i believe it was used before in pre Act of Unification England. When Mary Tudor married Philip II of Spain, he was accepted by Parliament and the court as King of England, but was not granted any power. It may not have been elevated to an official title yet, but he was king consort. Dr Pepper (talk) Dr Pepper

My question is "Why do we need to answer all the questions, when the answers have nothing to do with the comic?". The answers are fun and interesting, but they should be in the trivia section. The comic is explained well without them. 21:36, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Maybe because this is a wiki and, as such, ALL information must be present. I'm not certain whether the answers help explain the comic but, as it is, I'm not entirely sure of Randall's objective with this one. 04:20, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
The purpose of this page is to EXPLAIN the comic. If you don't know what the comic is about you probably should not be trying to EXPLAIN the comic, and you probably should not comment as well. The purpose of this comic is to demonstrate in a visually interesting way the questions that we, users of the internet, ask. But without this EXPLAINATION it is fairly obvious that finding the answers to these questions do nothing to EXPLAIN the comic, especially since the answers do not give the readers any further understanding into the comic. Adding random information to a page does not EXPLAIN anything. Wiki does not mean “ALL information must be present”. Adding unnecessary information DISTRACTS from the EXPLAINATION and confuses readers, this impairs the ability of this wiki to EXPLAIN the comic. 21:44, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

The dinosaur ghost question was duplicated in the answer boxes so I deleted the extra one. Also been filling out a ton of fields.4jonah (talk) 01:35, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Why is there an incomplete tag? What questions are unanswered? Djbrasier (talk) 19:10, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

I answered the last 2 remaining questions in section six. Can this be closed now?4jonah (talk) 21:00, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Under "Why is outer space so cold?" it says "space is not cold", but then for "Why is there ice in space?" it begins with "space is cold". This is somewhat confusing. Please clarify. Is space cold or isn't it? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

No idea how to edit the actual article, but it might be worth mentioning that the succession laws of the UK are no longer male-preference, and are now absolute cognatic primogenture/ absolute primogeniture. 12:45, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Something's fishy. One question has the answer "Space is Cold." and another has the answer "Space is not cold." 00:24, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Using a search filter, "why" appears 301 times, to date. Klyxm (talk) 3:56, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Just a random guy passing through. For the question "Why are there psychics?" the example answer seems very confusing. Perhaps someone thought the word was "physics" instead of "psychics"? (Timestamp 20:14 21 March 2019)

Histamines are not injected into the skin in a spider's saliva. 1. It's injecting venom, not saliva. 2. Histamines are generated by the body as part of its immune response. -- 15:19, 7 April 2019 (UTC)