Talk:2568: Spinthariscope

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 22:49, 14 January 2022 by (talk)
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Someone has already updated the Wikipedia page to mention this comic reference, before anyone here has gotten around to writing the explanation Barmar (talk) 19:56, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

I added an initial explanation, but I don't recognize the references to gallium and tritium (although I know what glowsticks are), so someone else should fill in about that. Barmar (talk) 20:13, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

Seems like there's something off with how the "ratio" is worded. It is a safe and legal toy, so the "actual safety and legality" is actually high-ish, right? 20:44, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

- If "actual safety" is a large number and "apparent safety" is a small number, then their ratio (actual divided by apparent) is a large number. If "sctual safety" is a small number and "apparent safety" is a large number, then their ratio is a small number. So the comic's wording is perfectly fine and logical, and the paragraph about products in the explanation is not needed. (It's also kind of, um, **untrue**, but I'm trying to be kind to whoever wrote it.) 21:44, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

If you take the amount of screaming in terror (high for the spin-thingie) and DIVIDE by the actual danger (low for the spin-thingie), then you get a ratio that in a rational world would always be close to 1 - the worse something is, the more (rational) people would want it banned. I think his point is that the ho-hum factor, the LACK of protests, for throwing a sharp heavy object high in the air toward a group of other children, divided by the actual danger from said sharp heavy object thrown high toward other children, results in a value on the opposite end of the spectrum. I was one of the kids who threw these things around without thinking, and nobody ever objected. Fortunately, I never saw any kid get killed by them, but that was pure luck. Point being, I don’t think the wording in the comic is wrong; the ‘correction’ is. 22:35, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
On second thought, there is something confusing about the wording of the comic: it conflates safety and legality as if they were the same thing, but the fact that they are NOT the same is the problem. 22:49, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
I believe the ratio is apparent danger vs actual danger. So spinthariscope would be 10 apparent danger / 1 actual danger. And the lawn darts would be the opposite end of the spectrum: 1 apparent danger / 10 actual danger. 22:40, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

Make your own Spinthariscope kiddies Steve (talk) 21:05, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory, which was marketed in the early 1950s & contains more energetic radioactive sources (i.e. uranium ores), might possibly be more dangerous. 21:28, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

The talk page for the Wikipedia article has an interesting exposition by an IP in 2010 of why these aren't dangerous and the various isotopes used. Yngvadottir (talk) 21:49, 14 January 2022 (UTC)