Xkcd's Mysteries graph


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Link to the actual comic, for those who want the mouse-over text: http://xkcd.com/1501/


Obligatory <> reference for the Weird Things / Brian and JuRY fans.

Can’t put my finger on what sort of thing might be at (0, 0). Is that weird?

… and I want every dot on that graph to give me a hyperlink to an explanatory page. Sheesh!


What’s weird about DB Cooper? He flew into space with his iron man suit, as we all know.

I was incredibly relieved to find out that I am not the only person in the world whom puts ice cream back in the fridge.

My partner fails to see why that matters.

I’m not understanding some of these classifications. The explanation for UVB-76 seems completely obvious, while I think there’s much more mystery to the Voynich manuscript or even the whole JFK situation. And what exactly is the difference between the Mary Celeste and Amelia Earhart? Both ran into some unknown, but probably not unheard of situation that led to everyone dying. If anything, they should switch places on the graph.

Actually, the Skeptoid podcast does a fair job of explaining a lot of these.


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Pretty sure they solved the feet thing. I believe there’s an ocean current/eddy that ensures flotsam ends up in that particular location. People die at sea, as we know. As they decompose their limbs become dislodged and usually sink or get eaten. However, a foot in a running shoe will float, because of the PU in the mid-sole, get caught in the eddy and washed up in BC. I agree with other posters that Kennedy, Apollo and even Westall '66 make much better mysteries.

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There has to be a way of contriving a reply which includes the actual comic strip!

But the odds of them all washing up around the same place and in a relatively short amount of time are very slim. The latest one was in 2014.

I think the Mary Celeste should be further to the right since it was really, really strange. Some that would be great for the diagram: The Borley Rectory, Springheel Jack, and the Vinland Map all deserve to be on the chart. The latter is a Pre-Columbus map of the north Atlantic, drawn by vikings, showing part of eastern Canada. Columbus not only never set foot on mainland America, the vikings were almost certainly the first.

The axes* technically just mark midpoints rather than zeroes.

*I hate this word’s spelling. It makes me think people are about to chop trees.

That’s a weird response. Keep believing in the mysteriousness of it all if you want to. I’ve just given you an explanation.

You’ve got that a bit wrong. The Norse (Viking was an act/profession not an ethnicity) are currently the earliest accepted old world contact with North America. Their settlement in Greenland has been well known just about forever. We’ve found their settlements in Newfoundland. Vinland appears to have been a real place/concept, and there are indications of Norse exploration, at the least, of the mainland. Including, from what I understand, a few legit Norse artifacts found at Native American sites amid all the weird, fun hoaxes and dubious out of place artifacts.

None of that really has anything to do with the Vinland Map though. It came to light after the concept of Norse contact was pretty well acknowledged and people were already looking for archaeological sites. And really garner any attention until after L’Anse aux Meadows was found. There’s a long list of reasons why its likely to be a modern forgery as well. Its relation to any claims or findings about the Norse in North America has less to do with indicating they were here before Columbus (cause they were, and we kind of new that before the Map turned up), and more to with pseudo-scientific claims about how far they got, how long they stayed, and just what they were up to. Like that whole white Indians thing or various groups of probably hoaxed “viking” artifacts like those runestones. All of which are super fun. And the Vinland didn’t really inspire, it just seems to be a routine forged for profit artifact despite being tied up in such claims.

Please to be enjoying the wikihole I’ve tried to throw you into. Pseudo-archeology of the Norse in North America is one my favorite ways to fight insomnia.

I thought so too but after my excitement subsided it turns out there was only one that I wasn’t already pretty familiar with. I’d heard of it, but the wiki article is tragically short.

Yeah, but still …

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