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<big>''Welcome to the '''explain xkcd''' wiki!''
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
We already have [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-10}}''' comic explanations]]!</big>
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(But there are still {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-10)}} to go. Come and [[List of all comics|add yours]]!)
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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
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remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
 
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== Latest comic ==
 
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<span style="float:right;">[[{{LATESTCOMIC}}|'''Go to this comic''']]</span>
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== New here? ==
 
== New here? ==
Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com xkcd] web comic, it should be here.
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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
 
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
 
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
  
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations, feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
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Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
  
 
If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
 
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Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1861 (37220%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Russell's Teapot
Unfortunately, NASA regulations state that Bertrand Russell-related payloads can only be launched within launch vehicles which do not launch themselves.
Title text: Unfortunately, NASA regulations state that Bertrand Russell-related payloads can only be launched within launch vehicles which do not launch themselves.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: How big and how reflective must the teapot be in order to be seen by telescopes on earth?

Russell's Teapot is a philosophical argument that reflects on the difficulty of trying to prove a negative. It involves a hypothetical teapot orbiting a heavenly body, whose existence hasn't been proven, and states that it cannot be disproven (Somebody put it there secretly?). It is very often used in atheistic arguments. Russell's Teapot is an analogy which Bertrand Russell devised "to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others."

"He wrote that if he were to assert, without offering proof, that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because his assertion could not be proven wrong." (Wikipedia)

Cueball is trying to settle the teapot argument by actually launching a teapot into space via a crowdfunding campaign.

"CubeSat-based design" refers to a type of miniaturized satellites that is made up of 10-centimeter cube units (here seemingly consisting of 3 units) and enables cost-effective means for getting a payload into orbit.

The title-text refers to Russell's paradox, also formulated by Bertrand Russell. Russell's paradox was a flaw found in naïve set theory where one could consider "the set of all sets that do not contain themselves" (a "set" is a mathematical term for a "group of things"). The paradox arises with whether this set, in turn, contains itself: if it does, then it cannot; if it doesn't, then it must. Similarly, like in the barber paradox, the vehicle which launches only vehicles which do not launch themselves is impossible: if the vehicle takes off, it must launch itself as well as the teapot, and thus can never be launched (without violating alleged NASA regulations, at least).

Transcript

[Cueball is standing in front of a blueprint labeled "CubeSat-Based Design", containing a satellite with a teapot in the top.]
[Caption below the panel:]
I'm crowdfunding a project to launch a teapot into orbit around the sun to settle the Russell thing once and for all.


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

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