369: Dangers

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Zero results: 'snake charming' and 'haberdashery'. (Things like 'car' and 'boating' and such are of course the highest, by a huge margin.)
Title text: Zero results: 'snake charming' and 'haberdashery'. (Things like 'car' and 'boating' and such are of course the highest, by a huge margin.)


This comic is a chart of the frequency of certain phrases in Google search results, based on the format "died in a ______ accident." At the time of this comic, if you enclosed search terms in quotation marks, Google looked up the exact phrase rather than the individual words in any order (this feature still exists today but with major tweaks).

The chart starts with several activities where the prospect of death is, while uncommon, still fairly understandable — skydiving involves falling thousands of feet, surfing involves fighting the roiling ocean, and injuries in skateboarding are common. Further down the chart the activities become safer until finally hitting the punchline: knitting and blogging involve sitting safely in a chair for several hours, leaving the reader to puzzle out just what a "blogging accident" could possibly be.

"Died in a blogging accident" was very rare in Google until this comic appeared. It could be found on over 10,000 webpages approximately 12 hours after the comic was posted. Similarly, both snake charming and haberdashery accidents also return hundreds of Google results.


Indexed by the number of Google results for
"Died in a _____ Accident"
[A bar chart showing "Type of Accident" vs "Google Results" each with a bar representing a number]
Skydiving: 710
Elevator: 575
Surfing: 496
Skateboarding: 473
Camping: 166
Gardening: 100
Ice Skating: 94
Knitting: 7
Blogging: 2

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


https://www.google.com/search?q=%22died+in+a+blogging+accident%22&biw=1366&bih=599&tbs=cdr:1,cd_max:1/10/2008&start=0&sa=N&filter=0 I seem to be incapable of finding any google search results before 10th of January 2008 featuring the phrase "Died in a blogging accident" that is not relevant to this XKCD comic. Weird. 17:51, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Google now has 687000 results for "Died in a blogging accident", "can be found on over 10000 web pages" doesn't reflect that, but I wouldn't know which number to use for an edit :) 00:28, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

I highly doubt the gardening search had anything to do with Spinal Tap. Gardening accidents are common. -- Flewk (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

According to some sleuths on StackExchange, it sadly seems the original "died in a blogging accident" posts no longer exist, as they were posts from a Myspace that is now gone. 09:06, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

There aren't any results for 'died in a knitting accident' before Jan 11, 2008. I wonder if there's a similar situation there?

When I attempted to find the two results for blogging accidents, I didn't use the date query feature, and instead narrowed it down by deleting search terms that came up that were usually signs of being influenced by the xkcd comic. However, with this search query: "died in a blogging accident" -xkcd -randall -instagram -chexquest -knitting

on page four, you get two results from the steelguitarforum: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=36877&view=next (from 2001) https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=881412&sid=2668da1dbca46c81ce7f6fd2b7b8b620 (from 2007) So, unless these dates were changed after the fact, this implies that these two search results were what Randall got. Unfortunately, these aren't people, instead they're a beer brand and a hard drive, respectively. 20:13, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

"until this comic" led me to a wikipedia page. I'm not sure that's the right link. --1234231587678 (talk) 20:27, 11 March 2024 (UTC)

You mean the bit that is "Died in a blogging accident" was very rare in Google until this comic appeared.? Links to Observer Effect (in a disambiguation-like list). I don't think it's the best (direct) link, but clearly supposed to be saying that now that people were aware of the possibility of "died in a blogging accident", there are now many more mentions of it than there were prior to publication.
I'm sure we could find a more appropriate wikilink. Something like the Streisand effect, but without the reversal-of-intent element to it, just straight and sudden cascading positive-reinforcement. (There must be some effect that means that, right?) 02:59, 12 March 2024 (UTC)