Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Title text: Also, if you read his speech at Rice, all his arguments for going to the moon work equally well as arguments for blowing up the moon, sending cloned dinosaurs into space, or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars.
On May 25, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy gave a speech before a joint session of Congress, in which he set as a goal for the American people the task of landing a man on the moon and returning him successfully to earth. Though Kennedy didn't live to see that goal become a reality - he was assassinated in 1963 - the Apollo 11 space capsule landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in July, 1969.
During that speech, Kennedy said the sentence that the comic is referring to, and the map provided shows that the vast majority of the regions he mentioned are actually in the Northern Hemisphere, despite Kennedy calling them "the whole southern half of the globe", not to mention the Southern Hemisphere has regions which are not included (like Australia).
The title text refers to a September 1962 speech Kennedy gave at Rice University. One of the most famous quotes from that speech is, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." Randall suggests that all of the arguments Kennedy made for going to the moon could also serve the cause of many different "innovations".
- "The great battlefield for the defense and expansion of freedom today is the whole southern half of the globe - Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East."
- -John F. Kennedy, 1961 speech to Congress.
- [An ovoid world map, with Latin America colored in red, Africa in yellow, the Middle East in green, and Asia in Blue. There is an arrow pointing to the top of the map marked 'northern half', and another arrow pointing to the bottom half marked 'southern half.' The majority of these places are actually in the northern half.]
- Okay, so I'm half a century late on this, but it's been bugging me: did JFK own a globe?
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OF COURSE! A Penis-Shaped Obelisk on Mars! And it's got to be big enough to been seen with an ordinary backyard telescope.--22.214.171.124 00:31, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
- And, yes, I imagine it would be hard. 126.96.36.199 23:17, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
- "Hard" .... *facepalm*. 188.8.131.52 14:37, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
Woah, woah, no cloned velociraptors in spaaace. Not on my watch. BruceJohnJennerLawso (talk) 05:25, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
- However, leave off Latin America and the rest seem to be pretty much in the hemisphere centered at the Persian Ocean.--184.108.40.206 07:14, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I was under the impression that latin America did not include south America, just the part of north America south of the USA. 220.127.116.11 02:20, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Randall lacks to take in account the USA-centric view of the USA. If you define "south" as "more south than the USA", the speech sounds legit (especially if you subtract the Soviet Union from Asia - surely the enemy but not the "battlefield" Kennedy talked about). 18.104.22.168 12:12, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
- Ah I see, so the USA-centric view puts the equator as the southern border of USA to Mexico... So pretty much everything is the southern Hemisphere then! Makes sense! Lol. 22.214.171.124 00:46, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
The title text in the first illustration for http://what-if.xkcd.com/124/ also references the Kennedy Rice speech. 126.96.36.199 10:34, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Look. Kennedy was zoned out on painkillers most of the time. He didn't know what he was saying and probably didn't care. The praise lavished on his Presidency is mostly hype. Jakee308 (talk) 02:50, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Is it possible that the dash in Kennedy's quote should be a comma? In which case he was saying the battlefield is everywhere except US, Canada, and Europe? 188.8.131.52 07:52, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
See xkcdsw. 184.108.40.206
06:14, 18 August 2015 (UTC)