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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Positive and Negative Reviews
This restaurant is great! I was feeling really sick, but then I ate there and felt better!
Title text: This restaurant is great! I was feeling really sick, but then I ate there and felt better!

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: New page

The comic shows reviews from people who purchased a made-up sports drink multi-pack containing twelve 20 oz (591 mL) bottles. The people who gave negative reviews are Merlin (the wizard from the legends of King Arthur) and B. Button (from the short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and its film adaptation). Merlin remembers the future; in the T. H. White novel series The Once and Future King, he was born at the wrong end of time and has to live backwards. Benjamin Button was born with the physical appearance of an old man and grows younger as time progresses. They apparently perceive causation backwards: Merlin was thirsty then he drank the SmartQuench 9000, but he perceived it as drinking and then becoming thirsty, while BButton was dehydrated and was not anymore after drinking 3 bottles, but perceived it other way around.

Particles of matter can have a positive or negative electric charge. Particles have associated antiparticles with opposite charge. For example electrons are negatively charged particles, and their antiparticles are positrons, which are positively charged. Antiparticles can be interpreted as if they were the associated particle moving backward in time: positrons are interpreted as electrons moving backward in time. This is analogous to negative reviews being interpreted as positive reviews from people traveling backward in time.

The caption seems to say that there are only positive experiences—some going forward, some backward in life. However, Randall gives an example in the title text of a positive review which is actually about a negative experience by a person traveling backward in time (the person ate at a restaurant then got sick). The conclusion is there are both positive and negative events, but the way they are perceived depends on both the event and whether one sees it going forward or backward in time.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[A picture with four small bottles and a larger one is shown. The text to the right reads:]
SmartQuench 9000
Sports Drink
20 oz  12-pack
[Below is a list with reviews; a picture for the user (avatar) and the name below, the rating (in stars) and the text to the right.]
---Customer reviews---
Amy 2015 [4 of 5 stars] Perfect after a run
Anon513 [5 of 5 stars] My favorite flavor
Merlin [1 of 5 stars] Drinking this made me thirstier
Mike63 [4 of 5 stars] Good price
B Button [1 of 5 stars] Drank 3 bottles on a hot day and got dehydrated!
[Caption below the frame:]
Physics tells us that negative reviews are really just positive reviews from people traveling backward in time.

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