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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 15:42, 8 August 2012

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We already have Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". comic explanations!

(But there are still Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". to go. Come and add yours!)

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We had gathered that raw information, but had yet to put it all together.
Title text: We had gathered that raw information, but had yet to put it all together.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: May need more information.

This comic illustrates that some organization spends obscene amounts of money on their "cyber intelligence" budget, yet all that spending appears not to have informed them that the prefix "cyber-" fell out of fashion years ago. The prefix "cyber" is derived from "Cybernetic," which comes from the Greek word κυβερνητικός, meaning skilled in steering or governing. Cyber intelligence is spying in the digital world, one of many new words with the cyber- prefix. Many were invented in the 1980s and 1990s, following the example of "cyberspace", coined by William Gibson in 1982. If cyber intelligence departments were given names today, they might be called Internet Intelligence, Virtual Intelligence, Data Intelligence or Online Intelligence departments.

This may be due to the fact that government organisations are typically named by middle-aged or senior officials who are generally less likely to be familiar with the current trends in technology language. They are more likely to stick to the words that were used when they first learned about the technology.

The title text continues the joke by implying the organization learned about the demise of "cyber-" yet failed to process or analyze that data. It may also be a reference to the previous comic, which was a link to a survey for xkcd readers.


[Ponytail, pointing at a chart to her left, with text and two curves on a graph, is talking to someone off-screen to the right.]
Ponytail: Our overall FY2015 cyberintelligence budget was $8.1 billion-
Off-screen voice: -Yet it wasn't enough to pick up on the fact that no one else had used the prefix "cyber-" for like a decade?
Ponytail: Shut up.

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