Talk:1944: The End of the Rainbow

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 02:27, 20 January 2018 by KieferSkunk (talk | contribs) (Different size quibble (sun's diameter compared to the earth's).)
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Hey, an early comic that I understand! Typed up a transcript (though the description of the first panel was already there, and the empty explanation already had the Incomplete Explanation set as "Created by a LEPRECHAUN"), but using an iPad and typing in Notes to avoid editing conflicts, so I can't see the comic while I'm typing. So the inherent magic of the Telephone Game comes into play, where the mind likes to summarize and put into different words, LOL! I think I managed to get it completely accurate, though. I'll see if I can come up with an explanation shortly. NiceGuy1 (talk) 07:10, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

If you think about leprechauns while thinking about pots of gold then there will indeed be leprechauns at both ends. 08:09, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

There is a *huge* difference between 10^-7 and 10^7... just fyi162.158.2.82 08:12, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

This is one of those cases where the phrase "Orders Of Magnitude" comes in, LOL! Kind of glad someone else beat me to providing an explanation now, not my goof. LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 08:22, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

I don't think that the part about solar gold volume is correct. The density used only applies to gold in solid state in room temperature, and the Sun is neither. In a way, gold indise Sun has the volume of the Sun itself. 10:41, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Yes I realized that a few minutes after posting my original edit, and added a parenthesis to explain that I used the volume that much gold would have on Earth-like conditions. Not that the fact has any concrete application anyway, but I thought it would show that the claim that there is more gold in the Sun than water on Earth can't simply be pictured as an ocean volume of gold. Maybe there's a sea somewhere that's about the right volume and you could say "taking all the gold from the Sun would fill <that particular sea>" 11:21, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
There may be more gold in the sun than water in the oceans but the oceans have a higher concentration of gold than the sun does. 11:40, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Leprechauns live on the night side of the Sun to avoid being incinerated, that's why we can't see them from this side. Zetfr 12:46, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

The night side... Of the sun... Is there a cartoon about this? I feel like there needs to be a cartoon about this. Just one observation: On the night side of the sun, there's no moon? Or if there is, what's lighting it up?  ;D This is even better than the "dark" side of the Moon.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

"far more than a [...] leprechaun's pot of gold" - I'm pretty sure a leprechaun's pot of gold is self-refilling, and therefore infinite. 13:06, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Oh no, the pot is just a container they had handy; The pot of gold is the measure of their ransom. ... No idea why I feel so sure of that. I don't think I want to re-read all the lore I studied as a kid to find the source...
ProphetZarquon (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

did anyone else notice that the cone from the clouds to your eye isn't actually a cone, since it's slightly truncated at the point, otherwise we'd see an ideal point (i.e. not see it.) just me, then. -- 13:08, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

I think the logic of the title text is: gold is at the other end of the rainbow is there, because in that moment the person (his/her brain) is thinking about the gold. To put in a dumber way: when you think about gold, then gold is in your brain, ergo if your brain is one end of the rainbow, and you're wondering if there's gold at the end of the rainbow, then in a self-fulfilling way, it is. 13:53, 19 January 2018 (UTC) .tnm

I don't think the current title-text explanation makes any sense: The title-text portion of the comic doesn't seem to reference leprechauns at all. Was the comic edited after being posted?
ProphetZarquon (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
I fixed the title text explanation. Also does this comic imply that if someone thinks about carnivorous giant neon zombie tomatoes while looking at a rainbow, then they exist at one end? ;) PotatoGod (talk) 15:45, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure the numbers are completly wrong, 0.3 parts per trillion probably comes from here (because the same article was used as a reference at some point in the history of the explanation), but I think this is the ratio of atoms, not mass. The answer on quora uses the same value of 0.3 parts per trillion but instead of 6*10^17 kg of gold, deduces from that number that there is 10^20 kg of golds. One atom of gold is ~195 times as heavy as one atom of hydrogen, and since the Sun is mostly hydrogen and also some heavier elements, the mass of gold over the average mass of atoms in the Sun should be a little below 195. The ratio between 10^20 and 6*10^17 is 167. There's still a ratio of 20 between that value (10^20 kg) of the mass of gold on the sun and the one from wolframalpha, and I'm quite expecting Randall to have used the latter, which is of 2 quintillion tons of gold on the Sun, IE "quintillions of tons" as expressed by Megan. Maybe that value is wrong, but I think it should be mentionned to show that Randall probably didn't just make up a number. 17:42, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

I've attempted to get to the bottom of this - Wikipedia gives limited sources. A search for [on WolframAlpha] gives 10^-7% by mass, but again, their references don't seem to support that (at least from a brief scan). Quora cites [1968 paper but I can't read that very well - I've attempted to analyse their data but I'm afraid I've been unable to determine how Quora reached their ".3 parts per trillion" from that paper. (I might drag out some textbooks and try again later.) In any case these two numbers are in wild disagreement, even if we assume Quora meant atomic ratios and multiply their number by 197 (atomic mass of gold; gold only has one stable isotope).
As mentioned, WolframAlpha's number gives 2.0x10^21 kg, or 2 quintillion tonnes, whereas Quora's gives 6.0x10^17 kg, or 0.0006 quintillion tonnes (0.12 quintillion tonnes if we mutiply by 197).
Of course, none of these results are small! I'd be happy with a pot of gold of even half a quadrillion tonnes. Cosmogoblin (talk) 20:26, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

How can 'more than' be off by a factor of anything, given that it's non-specific? It could be 'fractionally more than' or 'a thousand times more than'. 18:07, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

In this case, because the true amount is LESS than, not more than. (The author of that part of the explanation assumed the minimum amount that could be called "quintillions" is 2 quintillion, and the calculated true amount is 4000 times smaller.) Cosmogoblin (talk) 20:30, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Okay, I've got a different quibble about sizes here. Despite the fact that the sun is so far away from the earth that it appears as a relatively small disk in the sky, the sun is thousands of times LARGER than our planet. As such, the longer cone in Megan's explanation is such a gross oversimplification of the way light from the sun works as to be wildly inaccurate. If anything, this cone should be reversed (larger at the sun's end) to illustrate the portion of the sun's light energy that actually hits the whole planet, let alone just the area that any person is looking at when they see a rainbow. (Granted, the angle of the cone would be extremely shallow due to the distances involved, but it would still be larger-to-smaller, not smaller-to-larger as explained here.) The cone as she describes it only makes sense if we're talking about a very small portion of the sun's surface emitting that light. It's unclear to me if this was meant to be a flawed, oversimplified or metaphorical explanation (in which case it's not very clear), or if Randall was actually attempting to explain how this works, but this particular comic feels pretty far "off" to me in that respect, compared to similar comics he's done in the past. KieferSkunk (talk) 02:27, 20 January 2018 (UTC)