Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Title text: Well, we've really only settled the question of ghosts that emit or reflect visible light. Or move objects around. Or make any kind of sound. But that covers all the ones that appear in Ghostbusters, so I think we're good.
Displayed is a timeline chart showing the percentage of people in the United States who have a camera at every moment. Randall refers to the fact that today most people carry embedded camera devices using their cell phones or the even more modern smartphones.
The chart shows that after the 1980s the percentage increases rapidly, almost reaching 100% by 2013. The text below the image states that "We have conclusively settled the questions of flying saucers, lake monsters (such as the the Loch Ness Monster), ghosts and Bigfoot", implying that because almost everyone carries a camera the evidence should have arisen by now to settle any question about such phenomena. Of course, such evidence has not arisen — but that doesn't stop many people from continuing to believe the myths.
The title text declares that, in the case of ghosts, only the questions regarding phenomena that can be captured with a camera have been settled. The title text also makes a joke about the ghosts of Ghostbusters, a popular film that featured highly visible and noisy ghosts which left a slime. If such ghosts existed, recording them would be very easy.
add a comment! ⋅ refresh comments!
- Percentage of the US population carrying cameras everywhere they go, every waking moment of their lives:
- [A graph with years from 1975 to 2013 as the X axis and a percentage from 0 to 100 as the Y axis. The sole line starts at just above 0, jumps to 1-2 at around 2000, is at 10% at 2005, 75% at 2010, and around 90% at 2013.]
- In the last few years, with very little fanfare, we've conclusively settled the questions of flying saucers, lake monsters, ghosts, and Bigfoot.
I wouldn't be so sure, considering for example the number of times Loch Ness Monster was photographed. Note the case of 2004. On the other hand ... yes, it is going to be harder disprove some sighting if there is 20 videos from it instead of 30 eye witnesses. The secret services probably don't exactly like it - much harder to cover it too. Especially if 5 of those are on youtube before they get there. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:20, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
- Assuming within a given timespan a factor of lets say 10000 "ready to use" cameras being around at a given place, we would expect an equal factor of photos. So the only thing speaking agains this is that maybe at the places in question, there are not more people around, but a factor of 10000 less. 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Probably everyone's got their nose burried in their smart-phone, Twittering about what they think of the Haggis they had last night, instead of taking in the view. Thus nobody takes any photos at all... 188.8.131.52 14:15, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Unless your phone is equipped with a PPC (protected phenomenon chip), which almost all phones are required to carry by the CIA. Every time someone takes a picture of one of the protected phenomenon the chip recognizes the image and replaces it with a kitten. Why else do you think there are so many pictures of kittens on the internet? --Shine (talk) 14:31, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
- PPC is not needed nor is any phenomenon disproved thanks to the development of image editing software like gimp and photoshop. If I were to post authentic photographic proof that Big Foot shot Kennedy, most people wouldn't take it seriously. In fact, according to rule 34, now that I've mentioned it, there must be porn of it. The kittens are just more entertaining. Oh god, now it will have kittens in it. db (talk) 15:15, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Overlay this graph with the that of access to the tools and knowledge required to make highly convincing hoaxes (probably a few % by now, and rising rapidly) and you have the very quick period of time in which photographic evidence was convincing. Video is slightly more convincing, but I think even the window for convincing video is coming to a close. There was basically about a decade or so in which a considerable number of people could instantly make proof of a paranormal event if one were to occur. Anything older was too old for a sufficient number of decent-quality cameras to exist, and anything newer could've been made in Photoshop by a normal person. Seeing as camera hardware and optics are fundamentally more difficult things to improve on than image-editing and video-editing software, we may come to a point in the near future where no commonly available camera hardware can produce evidence that couldn't just as easily be a hoax. 184.108.40.206
23:55, 4 January 2015 (UTC)