Thirty one years old. I have full time job, my own car, and don't live with my parents. :)
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Marriage

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People often say that same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 60s. But in terms of public opinion, same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 90s, when it had already been legal nationwide for 30 years.
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citizenc
2094 days ago
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2095 days ago
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zipcube
2090 days ago
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lol @sjk being an arch conservative idiot on yet another feed
Dallas, Texas
dukeofwulf
2094 days ago
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Suggesting that gay marriage will lead to marriage with children and animals is patently ridiculous. Children and animals don't have the legal standing to enter into a marriage contract, full stop.
chillybasen
2094 days ago
yes, it's a classic slippery slope argument and is absurd. It was also used during interracial marriage and they all look like idiots now.
dukeofwulf
2094 days ago
Chilly, I'm sure they point at the current gay marriage trend as proof of the slippery slope. "See! We let the blacks murry our girls, and now the gays are getting uppity!" To some people, perverts are just perverts, whether your "fetish" is interracial, intra-gender, or inter-species. But the last time I checked, the one group most often associated with paedophilia is the clergy.
mvanzante
2094 days ago
I don't think animals and children are the next step, but I think there will be something. Close relations (siblings or first-cousins) marriages? After all, if you don't have to facilitate procreation to get married, then what's the problem? There was also an interesting This American Life recently where they talked with an individual who was struggling with a fetish for children and knew/admitted it was wrong. As a part of the story TAL mentioned that there are already folks calling for the lowering of the "Age of Consent" laws.
dukeofwulf
2094 days ago
Fair points. Cousins: that's more of a Western cultural taboo than a religious one; cousin marriage is fairly common (and even preferred) in other parts of the world. Age of Consent: there's hardly agreement on that topic, even in the US, where state laws vary from 16 to 18. Still, sexual consent is clearly different from marriage. But you're right, the separation of marriage from procreation will have HUGE (and long overdue, IMO) implications on our culture.
mvanzante
2094 days ago
I was addressing "moral decay" more so than marriage, hence the reference to age of consent laws.
sjk
2094 days ago
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Where's the line depicting "marriage" with children and animals? That is the next step after "marriage" of one man and one woman being redefined as one human and one other carbon-based lifeform.
Florida
rraszews
2094 days ago
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I hope this is heartening to people who feel like the progress of civil rights has been too slow or backsliding. I can't think of any time a major social issue like this turned around this quick without it involving a lot of bloodshed.
Columbia, MD
natw
2094 days ago
does DVD vs VHS count as a social issue?
rraszews
2094 days ago
We lost a lot of good men fighting the Format Wars
kousha
2095 days ago
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The data tells an interesting story.
Palo Alto, CA
PeterParslow
2095 days ago
What story do you see?
thelem
2095 days ago
I see that ~10% of Americans don't approve of interracial marriage. As a brit born in the 80s, I didn't realise anyone still objected to interracial marriage.
jhronline
2094 days ago
Even more interesting is that the English language still uses terms like "interracial" to describe two humans (i.e. two beings of the same race) being married who happen to have differing skin color.
jad
2094 days ago
In 2012, 21% of polled British citizens agreed with a statement that said the growth of interracial relationships is a bad thing. (The language and tenor of the statement is significantly different than those asked in the US Gallup polls, but still "tells an interesting story" about ongoing British attitudes to mixed-race relationships.) http://www.britishfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/British-Future-Polling-Charts.pdf
bcs
2094 days ago
The term "race" refers to subcategories of "spices" (at least with respect to the human species). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_classification)
kousha
2094 days ago
It's interesting that new laws in the 1960's were more progressive (with respect to popular opinion) than the laws now.
PeterParslow
2094 days ago
I speak only from GB. I see a story of conformity: when same-sex marriage came up here, it had the support of the media & top policitians. Anyone wanting the law to remain the same was effectively labelled a criminal, and in some cases excluded from 'the debate'. Faced with a rhetoric of hatred & violence, people quickly conformed to the new normality. I wonder if people would express reservations in even in a secret poll. Regarding inter racial marriage, there wasn't a law to change, but inter racial relationships seemed to become more common through the 90s. I'm a bit surprised by the poll jad reports, but then my samples never seem to be representative.
rtreborb
2095 days ago
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Seems like an odd choice of content for an XKCD comic in that it's not tech related or really a "joke" but rather trying to get a message across. Just an observation.
San Antonio, TX
peterrecore
2095 days ago
It's data plus analysis. That is not a first for XKCD. There are plenty of non joke XKCD's in the archives - the "visualizing radiatation doses" one, the visualizing money one, the vertical measurement one showing how deep stuff is in the ocean, etc.
rtreborb
2095 days ago
@peterrecore True--good point.
tedder
2095 days ago
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"People often say that same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 60s. But in terms of public opinion, same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 90s, when it had already been legal nationwide for 30 years."
Uranus

Polar/Cartesian

4 Comments and 10 Shares
Protip: Any two-axis graph can be re-labeled 'coordinates of the ants crawling across my screen as a function of time'.
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citizenc
2553 days ago
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tedder
2559 days ago
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brilliant.
Uranus
tfrab
2563 days ago
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Polar/Cartesian #gegno
italy
srsly
2563 days ago
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There is a certain Weinersmith who is very upset with himself for not making this graph joke first.
Atlanta, Georgia
wakemp
2563 days ago
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If that isn't a decreasing function, I don't know what is...
Victoria, British Columbia CA

Molting is a beautiful thing. When your insides start feeling a...

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Molting is a beautiful thing. When your insides start feeling a little too big for their case, you can just crack open your exoskeleton, head capsule and all, and emerge a whole new invertebrate. You get to leave your shed body behind and walk away, freed from all the trappings of your former, smaller life. 

… unless, that is, you’re a gum-leaf skeletoniser caterpillar. In that case evolution actually stacks all your old heads on top of your new one and makes you wear them around forever like a macabre stovepipe hat. I don’t know, just go with it, okay?

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citizenc
2553 days ago
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Marco Arment on the Reader shutdown, interoperability and independence

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"Well, fuck them, and fuck that."  
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citizenc
2553 days ago
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pberry
2556 days ago
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Yup.
Chico, CA

Sunless Earth

7 Comments and 15 Shares

Sunless Earth

What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?

—Many, many readers

This is probably the single most popular question submitted to What If.

Part of why I haven’t answered it is that it's been answered already. A Google search for what if the Sun went out turns up a lot of excellent articles thoroughly analyzing the situation.

However, since my recent articles on sunsets, the rate of submission of this question has risen even further, so I’ve decided to do my best to answer it.

If the Sun went out ...

We won’t worry about exactly how it happens. We'll just assume we figured out a way to fast-forward the Sun through its evolution so that it becomes a cold, inert sphere. What would the consequences be for us here on Earth?

Let's look at a few:

Reduced risk of solar flares: In 1859, a massive solar flare and geomagnetic storm hit the Earth.[1] Magnetic storms induce electric currents in wires. Unfortunately for us, by 1859 we had wrapped the Earth in telegraph wires. The storm caused powerful currents in those wires, knocking out communications and in some cases causing telegraph equipment to catch fire.[2]

Since 1859, we've wrapped the Earth in a lot more wires. If the 1859 storm hit us today, the Department of Homeland Security estimates the economic damage to the US alone would be several trillion dollars[3]—more than every hurricane which has ever hit the US combined.[4] If the Sun went out, this threat would be eliminated.

Improved satellite service: When a communications satellite passes in front of the Sun, the Sun can drown out the satellite's radio signal, causing an interruption in service.[5] Deactivating the Sun would solve this problem.

Better astronomy: Without the Sun, ground-based observatories would be able to operate around the clock. The cooler air would create less atmospheric noise, which would reduce the load on adaptive optics systems and allow for sharper images.

Stable dust: Without sunlight, there would be no Poynting–Robertson drag, which means we would finally be able to place dust into a stable orbit around the Sun without the orbits decaying. I’m not sure whether anyone wants to do that, but you never know.

Reduced infrastructure costs: The Department of Transportation estimates that it would cost $20 billion per year over the next 20 years to repair and maintain all US bridges.[6] Most US bridges are over water; without the Sun, we could save money by simply driving on a strip of asphalt laid across the ice.

Cheaper trade: Time zones make trade more expensive; it's harder to do business with someone if their office hours don't overlap with yours.[7] If the Sun went out, it would eliminate the need for time zones, allowing us to switch to UTC and give a boost to the global economy.

Safer Children: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.[8] Without sunlight, our children would be safer.

Safer combat pilots: Many people sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight. The reasons for this reflex are unknown, and it may pose a danger to fighter pilots during flight.[9] If the Sun went dark, it would mitigate this danger to our pilots.

Safer parsnip: Wild parsnip is a surprisingly nasty plant. Its leaves contain chemicals called furocoumarins, which can be absorbed by human skin without causing symptoms ... at first. However, when the skin is then exposed to sunlight (even days or weeks later), the furocoumarins cause a nasty chemical burn. This is called phytophotodermatitis.[10] A darkened Sun would liberate us from the parsnip threat.

In conclusion, if the Sun went out, we would see a variety of benefits across many areas of our lives.

Are there any downsides to this scenario?

We would all freeze and die.

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citizenc
2573 days ago
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2578 days ago
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Almajbary
2569 days ago
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What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?
Benghazi, Libya
Alpha_Cluster
2573 days ago
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Yeah in the end not a good idea.
jonjonnyp
2575 days ago
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Safer Children: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.[8] Without sunlight, our children would be safer.
Atlanta, Georgia
ripdog
2574 days ago
Yes, we read the article too.
grammargirl
2576 days ago
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Phytophotodermatitis can also be caused by, I swear to Maude, drinking a margarita outside on a summer day and splashing some on your skin. My coworker got it that way.
Brooklyn, NY
rclatterbuck
2578 days ago
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Battle-axe to the stalk is also my preferred method of chopping wood.
expatpaul
2579 days ago
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10 benefits and only one disadvantage. What are we waiting for?
Belgium

North America

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In the US, when something is the biggest/smallest/best, biggest or best, we say it’s the biggest/smallest/best “in “the biggest in the country.” Only Canadians say “_____-est say, “the biggest in North America,” and by this they only mean the US and Canada, never Mexico or the other 20 countries/territories that make up North America.

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citizenc
2584 days ago
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