Answering XKCDs Questions

Randall Munroe hat rund 33.000 Why-Fragen aus Googles API für Autocomplete gezogen und daraus seinen neuen XKCD-Comic Questions gebastelt. Redditor GeeJo beantwortet alle davon. Die Antwort auf die Frage nach „Why are there Celebrities?“ finde ich hochgradig interessant und ein paar Blogs mit Promi-Fetisch würde ich ab heute etwas anders lesen, wenn ich welche davon lesen würde.

Why do whales jump*? No-one knows exactly, though it’s theorised that socialising is part of it, as its a far more common behaviour in pods than with lone whales.

Why are witches green? There are theories floating around that it’s to link them with death/putrefaction or plants/herbs. Personally, I think it’s mostly because of the popularity of the film version of The Wizard of Oz, where the green skin was chosen partly to indicate she’s a bad guy in a kid’s fantasy world, and partly because it helped demonstrate their new Technicolour technology.

Why are there trees in the middle of fields? They provide shade for field-workers during breaks. Less relevant now with increasing mechanisation, so most are there these days because they’ve “always” been there, and getting rid of trees is a bitch of a job.

Why are there celebrities? “Celebrity worship” is just another form of submission to authority. Organisms get more done in teams than as a bunch of individuals (specialisation and mutual dependency are very strong weapons if you can set up an environment where you can actually rely on them). This is true from the very simplest organisms (biofilms beat out lone bacteria in many conditions) right up to us humans. Once you have a team in place, those teams who agree to coordinate their efforts through a leader (however that leader is chosen) outperform those without any leaders. There are moral arguments against subjugation (read up on the philosophy of Anarchism for more) but evolutionarily it’s proven to be a winning formula, and submission to authority is deeply rooted in human psychology – see the Milgram experiment or Asch’s conformity experiments for backup. Celebrity worship is an outgrowth of this phenomenon. People attribute celebrities with strong personal or leadership qualities, and then seek to emulate them.

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