1539: Planning

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 14:33, 17 June 2015 by (talk) (Explanation: he didn't say they would BUY them. Who's selling nuclear bombs anyway?)
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[10 years later] Man, why are people so comfortable handing Google and Facebook control over our nuclear weapons?
Title text: [10 years later] Man, why are people so comfortable handing Google and Facebook control over our nuclear weapons?


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: First attempt at an explanation.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Ponytail asks Megan why people seems to be comfortable with Google and Facebook getting so much control of their lives, as this is what happens when they are handing over all these data.

Megan says she does not know, but she finds equally disturbing that we have built thousands of nuclear weapons, which are now spread around the planet. And now no one seems to care anymore, but has moved on to other things (like data delivered to Facebook etc.)

This comic was posted on the day that Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would add 40 new ICBM's to its nuclear stockpile this year.

Her best solution to appease Ponytail is to just go with the flow, since this kind of big-picture planning actually doesn't exist (it just seems to happen on auto-pilot), without anyone actually thinking about the consequences. This is of course a scary thought, but it seems like Randall believes this is what happens in the world, and probably not just with weapons and data.

In the title text we move ahead 10 years, to a similar conversation where the two parts of the above have been mixed. A future equivalent to Ponytail asks why we all think it is OK to hand over the control of our nuclear weapons to Google and Facebook. What would certainly be a dangerous route to take.


[Megan and Ponytail are walking]
Ponytail: Why are people so comfortable handing Google and Facebook all this control over our lives?
Megan: I dunno.
Megan: Our species built thousands of nuclear weapons, scattered them around the planet, and then moved on to other things.
Megan: Maybe it's best to accept that some of this big-picture planning is just happening on autopilot.

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One thousand likes to nuke... say, Malawi. Or Malibu.

Wouldn't it be scarier if it all turned out to be according to someone's plan? Would it be better if things were? Do your politics jive with your answer? 12:14, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

I think nuclear weapons of soviet union are in bad hands no matter if accounted for or not. The shortage of good hands in russia seems more acute than in US. I mean, even the US nuclear weapons are more scary than google, but if google would somehow get the soviet union nuclear weapons, I would consider it improvement. At least they would no longer need to censor the searches ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 12:30, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Seriously you've read too many creepypastas, seriously. Miguelinileugim (talk)
Well maybe it is a Creepypasta but it is not much better that Putin has them under control than some Bellasarus tyrant... etc. But do you really think that there was full control of all nuclear weapons in Russia and the other states after the breakdown of USSR? I do not... But fair enough to take it out of the explanation. It can be stated down here as personal opinions. --Kynde (talk) 15:50, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Anyone from Ukraine here to comment that? -- Hkmaly (talk) 14:25, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

I read Megan's comment differently. The explanation seems to paint it as a "Why don't you care about this instead?". I read it as "People are stupid. Here's another example of people being stupid" Jdluk (talk) 13:28, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

I fully agree, and nowhere does she say she finds it more disturbing. 13:34, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I also agree now I have seen your comment, and have corrected my explanation accordingly --Kynde (talk) 15:50, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

I don't quite agree with the second part of the explanation text: "this kind of big-picture planning actually doesn't exist ... This is of course a scary thought,..." As the first commenter mentioned, it would be scarier if there was such planning of the lack of care and handling for the consequences -- the arms race was planned, the consequences probably not so much. It's on auto-pilot, or otherwise said "it will be someone else's problem... later".
However denuclearization has been a topic even since 1946 (see the Baruch Plan). It's just that WMD are old news and media outlets will likely prefer to highlight the "threat" of Google and Facebook on people's lives. Draws more headlines and it's easier with a subject that common people can easily understand, as they read one-liner news feeds while tweeting about their latest cappuccino, pin their location in foursquare and then continue on reading on how much their activities can be followed.
Not to mention as with some of Randall's strips, I have the feeling the comic is just a prelude for the title text punch line. Ralfoide (talk) 16:34, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

There's an irony in that both the arms race was planned and the consequences were planned, to a degree. The RAND Corporation (no relation whatsoever to Ayn Rand) was responsible for a lot of long-term nuclear planning, and to a degree, is still involved in The Business. In fact, they were satirized by Dr. Strangelove as the "Bland Corporation", and the famous RAND analyst named Hermann Kahn was Kubrick's technical consultant. Nuclear planning wasn't and isn't unconscious, but the irony is that Randall is still right in that we have and still do hand over a lot of our thinking to corporations. NuclearStudent (talk) 04:11, 28 December 2016 (UTC)NuclearStudent (talk) 4:18, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

Explanation styles

Why are so many explanations lately just paraphrasing of the text in the comic -- it does not offer any explanation at all. The above explanation can be cut down to two lines. Spongebog (talk) 17:25, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

I thought the Title Text was one of those "bread, eggs, breaded eggs" jokes (would link to TVTropes if I knew how). 14:56, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

I also think it's inappropiate to just describe what happens in the comic. A proper explanation should include details about what the comic means, not only what it says. I've rewritten everything up to the part about the title text in an attempt to fix that. Hope it looks better now. 12:11, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Great that you improved the explanation, instead of just complaining about it. ;-) --Kynde (talk) 12:56, 19 June 2015 (UTC)