1845: State Word Map

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 04:54, 2 June 2017 by 162.158.75.100 (talk) (Explanation)
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State Word Map
The top search for every state is PORN, except Florida, where it's SEX PORN.
Title text: The top search for every state is PORN, except Florida, where it's SEX PORN.

Explanation

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Similar in spirit to 1138: Heatmap, this comic pokes fun at many maps that attempt to use data to discern unique characteristics about various sub-regions, in this case American states. This map may have been inspired by this map posted on Twitter by Google Trends the day before the comic was posted.

This map does not say anything real, but says: You can make these maps say whatever you want by adjusting the methodology. Half of the time you're just amplifying random noise because the underlying data doesn't change that much from one state to another. But whatever. Nobody checks this stuff. Just pick whatever normalization lets you make fun of Florida.

The joke is that none of these states actually say these words, and Randall has just done exactly what he says he can do (make fun of Florida by putting whatever he wants.) He also has not obtained the data from anywhere, just 'Something Something'.

The comic continues to make fun of Florida in the title text by saying that Florida searches for sex porn instead of porn, when porn is already about sex.

Florida is often the butt of many jokes, including the Florida Man meme and many mocking jibes regarding its historically-messy electoral history. See TV Tropes for examples of the "Only in Florida" phenomenon.

Randall previously used a map of the United States as the basis for a gag in 1767: US State Names.

Transcript

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Most-Used Word in Each State

Based on Something Something Search Data

You can make these maps say whatever you want by adjusting the methodology. Half the time you're just amplifying random noise. Because the underlying data doesn't vary that much from one state to another. But whatever. Nobody checks this stuff. Just pick whatever normalization lets you make fun of Florida.


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Discussion

New Hampshire and Maine are merged together? Significance? JohnHawkinson (talk) 04:19, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

That's weird, because there're definitely 50 words. Am I overlooking something... PvOberstein (talk) 04:22, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, there are two words assigned to the merged state. It's just that the political boundary line is missing. JohnHawkinson (talk) 04:26, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Oh, duh. PvOberstein (talk) 04:54, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Added trivia about Randall's error. Wonder if he will spot it and correct it later?--Kynde (talk) 13:10, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
The picture update here doesn't show any difference and the original picture still lacks the border line. So I've changed the trivia according to this.--Dgbrt (talk) 14:24, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
Now the border line has been added. But the original picture here on explain xkcd also has the line. This is really weird. Anyone who has the original picture without the border line? Else we should remove the trivia, as there is no proof... --Kynde (talk) 19:18, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
The original both picture uploads never had that border. You must mix something up. I've done a new upload right now, but you have to wait maybe a few hours until this damn cloud server cache will show this. BTW: Please avoid double nested lists in the trivia section. That's a bad style ;)...--Dgbrt (talk) 19:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

"The comic continues to make fun of Florida in the title text by saying that Florida searches for sex porn instead of porn, when porn is already about sex." But is it really, though? 108.162.212.59 05:40, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Exactly - since terms like "food porn", "bacon porn" and "space porn" have started to gain popularity, the Florida approach makes more and more sense. --162.158.90.66 07:55, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Besides, we know from another XCKD that abusing link() with a modified kernel is yet another form of porn :-) --Keybounce (talk) 16:12, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

The Insert non-formatted text heremisspelling map reference is clear, but the first thing I thought of was all the conclusions in the recently published book Everybody Lies about people's real opinions and desires drawn from Google data. 108.162.246.107 06:27, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

The word "porn" has become slightly more generic than that in informal speech. See eg. Scenery Porn on TVTropes. So, searching for "sex porn" is probably mostly redundant, but not necessarily completely so. --162.158.92.148 13:16, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Alas, "porn" is rather entrenched as meaning sexual, so "sex porn" is indeed pretty completely redundant. And there's enough of it that a search is unlikely to have a generic use appear in the first several pages of results, making specificity unnecessary. It's widely understood that a qualifier is required when using it generically, such as a Subreddit I know of called EarthPorn (which features beautiful landscape pictures). - NiceGuy1162.158.126.76 04:28, 8 June 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:28, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

As a non-native speaker and also someone who failed statistics: how is distinctive e.g. with the syphilis thing different from most? should this be explained more? 162.158.202.160

"Distinctive" would indicate that it makes the state stand out from the others. If the most common cause of death in Louisiana were also one of the top 5 in most of the other states, then it would not really be distinctive in that it doesn't make Lousiana stand out from the others. If you took the list of most frequent causes of death for each state, and then removed all the causes that appeared in the "Top 10" of the other states, then the top entry for each state might (or might not) make it distinctive - for example, "eaten by an alligator". A more precise way of determining "distinctive" would be to calculate the mean and standard deviation of death rate for each cause of death across all states, and then calculate how many standard deviations each state's mean is from the national mean. The state cause that deviates the most from the national mean would be considered "distinctive" in that is an outlier in the national distribution.

Not sure if important enough to be included in official explanation, but a couple days before this comic, a map showing the most misspelled words in every state was making the rounds on Facebook, etc. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/what-are-most-misspelled-words-every-state-n766361 the color scheme is pretty similar, too 162.158.74.135 17:03, 2 June 2017 (UTC)katherine

I thought an aspect of the Florida joke was a callback to the Google misspelled words map, which also featured a single state (Wisconsin) labeled with the state name instead of a word.

It's just subtle enough that it might be. I think, though, that if it were an intended joke "Florida" would have been misspelled. OldCorps (talk) 14:58, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
From the timing reported here, and the similarities (including pairing words with states) I'd say this comic is flat out a direct reference to the Google Trends map, blatantly making fun of it as a whole. I could see "Florida" landing in Florida being part of that. Oh, and according to the link provided above, "Wisconsin" wasn't an accidental label, it's actually their most misspelled word! - NiceGuy1 162.158.126.76 04:21, 8 June 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:28, 13 June 2017 (UTC)