718: The Flake Equation
Explanation
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The Flake equation is a parody of the Drake equation, which estimates the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the galaxy.
The title text refers to Fermi's Lack-of-a-Paradox as a parody of the Fermi paradox: the contradiction between the high estimated probability of extraterrestrial civilization and humanity's lack of evidence for such civilizations.
Another comic parodying this equation is 384: The Drake Equation.
Transcript
The Flake Equation:
P = W_{P} × (C_{R} + M_{I}) × T_{K} × F_{0} × F_{1} × D_{T} × A_{U} ≈ 100,000
Where:
- W_{P} = World Population (7,000,000)
- C_{R} = Fraction of people who imagine an alien encounter because they're crazy or want to feel special (1/10,000)
- M_{I} = Fraction of people who misinterpret a physical or physiological experience as an alien sighting (1/10,000)
- T_{K} = Probability that they'll tell someone (1/10)
- F_{0} = Average number of people they tell
- F_{1} = Average number of people each friend tells this "firsthand" account
- D_{T} = Probability that any details not fitting the narrative will be revised or forgotten in retelling (9/10)
- A_{U} = Fraction of people with the means and motivation to share the story with a wider audience (blogs, forums, reporters)
Caption: Even with conservative guesses for the values of the variables, this suggests there must be a huge number of credible-sounding alien sightings out there, available to anyone who wants to believe!
Discussion
Anybody notice that the real product of the numbers he gives is 6.3 (10), not 100,000? 02:32, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
No, it's not - you've multiplied Cr and Mx when you should have added them. The real product is 126,000 = 100,000. 162.158.69.51
There was a later comic about our capabilities' precluding of UFO sightings and such. I may find it at some point. --Quicksilver (talk) 02:51, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Settled
googlesearch=site:explainxkcd.com ufo
http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1235:_Settled
Kevin McCready (talk) 13:25, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Is there any significance to the word "flake"? Urban Dictionary says it stands for "unreliable person", but certainly not in context of alien sightings. --162.158.90.217 13:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
It's a portmanteau of "Drake" and "Fake". --172.68.10.94 10:58, 4 February 2017 (UTC)