539: Boyfriend

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Boyfriend
...okay, but because you said that, we're breaking up.
Title text: ...okay, but because you said that, we're breaking up.

Explanation[edit]

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Various mathematical definitions may need to be revised, the very confident and general interpretation of Cueball's behaviour as typical stereotype could use citation or may be worded more carefully.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
In classical statistics, statistical significance is used to determine whether a conclusion can be confidently made about the implications of a given set of data. 
If some data set is determined to be an appropriate sample of a given population, then conclusions can be made by determining trends in the data. Since one can never be 
completely sure that their data is truly representative, or their statistical analysis completely accurate, calculations of the likelihood of error are made. Once these 
calculations are made, it can be decided that a given conclusion is statistically significant because it passes a certain threshold for the likelihood of error. Because 
the statistical analysis that was done concluded that it is significantly more likely that the conclusions made are accurate than inaccurate, these conclusions are termed 
statistically significant. 
In this case, Megan has analyzed the amount of time that Cueball spends with her versus others in his life. Based on the data she has gathered, she constructed a 
box plot. A box plot is a way to present data that utilizes boxes to show the range that a certain percentage of data points fall into. The boxes denote quartiles, so the 
large box demonstrates the range that the middle 50% of the data falls into, and the line in the center of the box denotes the median of the entire data set. The bars 
extend to the outer limits of the data set, encompassing the highest and lowest points (but excluding outliers). Box plots are useful to show the spread of data, and how 
it may be skewed. For more on box plots, see wikipedia:Box_plot. Megan uses the data she has collected to show that the amount of time that Cueball spends 
with her is significantly higher than the amount of time he spends with others, since the amount of time they spend together is high enough to be an outlier when she 
completes a statistical analysis of the time he spends with people in his life. 


Cueball accepts her claim, and she responds with a witticism that combines the phrases "statistically significant" and "significant other".
The title text can be interpreted in multiple ways. Firstly, Cueball may be resistant to the title of boyfriend. As he indicates, he is currently casually 
dating multiple people, and may therefore be resistant to any single individual attempting to establish a monogamous relationship. It could also be inferred that anyone 
taking the time and effort to statistically examine their relationship with him is off-putting, as this behavior could be viewed as obsessive. It could also be theorized 
that the term statistically significant other seems cold, and Cueball would rather date someone who makes him feel as though their relationship is 
significant, not simply someone who is an outlier in terms of time spent together.

Transcript[edit]

[Megan is on the phone.]
Megan: Can my boyfriend come along?
[Cueball talks to Megan.]
Cueball: I'm not your boyfriend!
Megan: You totally are.
Cueball: I'm casually dating a number of people.
[Megan points to a chart with gray box plot with a single black dot as an outlier to the far right.]
Megan: But you spend twice as much time with me as with anyone else. I'm a clear outlier.
[Cueball puts his hand on his chin while Megan spreads out her arms.]
Cueball: Your math is irrefutable.
Megan: Face it—I'm your statistically significant other.


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

Discussion

first | welp i Donthaveusername. Feel free to talk