715: Numbers

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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The typical internet user (who wants to share) has an IQ of 147 and a 9-inch penis. Better than the reverse, I guess
Title text: The typical internet user (who wants to share) has an IQ of 147 and a 9-inch penis. Better than the reverse, I guess


The graphics use the popular search engine Google to show how many hits (or web pages) are returned as relevant based on a given search replacing <X> by different numbers.

Bottles of beer
The top one is of the popular children's song 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. In this song, the singers begin with 99 bottles and with each repeat of the verse, decrease the bottles of beer by one. The graph shows a slowdown at 66 bottles of beer, something highlighted. A spike occurs at 49 bottles of beer, which seems to be a popular variant (possibly due to 49 bottles taking about half the time that 99 would).
On the second row, the left graph represents how many girl or boy friends someone has had. They seem pretty similar, though the logarithmic chart may be working on that. To the right is how old (in grade) Internet users seem to be. Going purely by grade, the average is at 7th grade. However, using the notation of Freshman (9)/Sophomore (10)/Junior (11)/Senior (12), there's a notable resurgence.
Penis length
The graph on the far right of the second row describes male Internet users talking about their penis length. Several websites report 5-6 inches is considered average, but it doesn't appear that way on the Internet.
Cup size
The third row contains four graphs. The far left is the breast size of the female Internet user. The actual breast size is generally considered a bell curve around a B or C cup, yet the hits on Google describe almost an exact opposite trend. Taken with the above male penis length and this describes a trend where either the "average" person posting information seems to embellish or the majority stay quiet.
I have never had a boyfriend
Next to it is the number of hits per (mostly) female Internet users talking about how old they are without having a boyfriend. There's a spike at 18. The comic was written in 2010; as of 2014 the spike does not exist. Google behaves very strangely in this case, as it shows two very different numbers for each search.
Age First number reported by Google Actual number of pages after advancing to the last one First number reported by Google after clicking on "More results from answers.yahoo.com" Actual number of pages after advancing to the last one (Yahoo Answers)
15 4 4 56,000 35
16 29,200 16 66,300 51
17 25,900 11 62,900 49
18 22,600 18 33,900 31
19 16,600 16 25,300 30
20 13,700 18 8,110 25
21 13,600 18 11,700 46
Glasses of water a day
Third from the left is the number of glasses drunk per day. Drinking water has a commonly accepted standard of 8 glasses a day of being the most healthy.
Number of lights
On the far right is a description of the number of lights. The spike at four is due to a famous scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode Chain of Command Part 2 where Captain Picard answers that there are four lights, despite pressure to answer that there are five. This is itself a reference to George Orwell's novel 1984, where Winston Smith is tortured until he "learns" to be unsure of the number of fingers being held up by his torturer, despite him only holding up four.
Number of problems
Bottom left is a reference to the popular Jay-Z rap song 99 Problems.
Bottom right describes the IQ of the Internet goer compared to the average. By the definition of the test, when the test scale was developed, the average was 100 with a standard deviation of 15. However, the comic implies that the average claimed IQ closes in on 145, more than 3 standard deviations above the real average! (In reality, many studies have shown that the real average is now higher than 100.)

The title text refers to the searches. In this, it humorously states that having a 9-inch penis and 147 IQ is better than having a 147-inch penis and 9 IQ.


Google Result for Various Phrases:
{Each panel is a scatterplot of the described X against the number of Google hits, with trend lines. The scales vary.}
<X> Bottles of Beer on the Wall
[There are peaks at 1, 49, 73, and 99. A dip in the middle is marked "They lose steam at 66." After 99 is a steep dropoff. The largest peak is around 100,000 hits.]
I've Had <X> Boy/Girlfriends
[Both lines descend at roughly the same rate from 1 to 10, although the boyfriend graph is smoother; the girlfriend graph has a small peak at 4 and a small dip at 6. The peaks are between 100,000 and 1,000,000 hits.]
I'm in <X>st/nd/rd/th Grade
[The curve is a bell peaking at 7th grade and about 500,000 hits. A second line labeled "Including Junior, Senior, etc." follows the bell curve until the peak, then dips only slightly for 10th grade and resumes climbing.]
I Have a/an <X>-Inch Penis
[The line ascends shallowly from 100,000 hits for 3 inches to a peak of 180,000 for 9 inches, then descends steeply to 20,000 for 13 inches.]
I'm a/an <X>-Cup
[A has a few hundred thousand hits; the graph dips to a few thousand for C, peaks again around 100,000 for E, and then tails off.]
I'm <X> and Have Never Had a Boyfriend
[The graph is mostly a simple bell, starting and ending around 300,000 hits for 13 or 21, but there is a sharp peak of 700,000 at 18 (well above the trend line).]
Drink <X> Glasses of Water a Day
[There are barely any hits below 4 or above 12; between the two it rises steeply to about 1,000 hits, with a steep, narrow peak of 10,000 at 8.]
There Are <X> Lights
[The graph descends smoothly from several hundred thousand hits for 1 to about 10,000 for 10, except for a peak of about 1,000,000 for 4.]
I Got <X> Problems
[The plot is extremely jagged, with the largest peak of 10,000,000 hits at 99, another of 10,000 at 96, and 100 and 88.]
My IQ Is <X>
[A smooth curve starts and ends at a few thousand hits for around 85 and around 170, with the peak at several tens of thousands for 140, but there are several prominent outliers: 100, 110, 133, and 142 are all around 100,000 hits, and 147 is around 1,000,000.]

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It seems pretty obvious that the spike at "I'm 18 and have never had a boyfriend" is thanks to porn sites. I don't think that has anything to do with "anxiety about reaching adulthood." ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think it should be noted that many of the graphs use.an exponential scale of measurement, which destroys any credibility the visuals had in a quite posssibly intentional moment of internet satire. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm from Poland and when I was joining Mensa, the test score was in the Cattell scale, in which 148 is required to join. So that may be a reason for 147 ;) ArchieT (talk) 07:28, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

I think it's a funny little coincidence, that the graph for breast size slightly resembles a pair of breasts 18:59, 19 August 2017 (UTC)