1161: "Hand Sanitizer"

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collinstocks
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1161: "Hand Sanitizer"

Postby collinstocks » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:13 am UTC

Image

Title text: "Hipster CDC Reports Flu Epidemic Peaked Years Ago"

200 000 000 * 0.01% = 20 000
I agree with the last panel :)
Also, why does he need a calculator in the third panel?
Edit: I'm not sure I understand the title text...

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:17 am UTC

I've heard that the top .01% owns half of all head colds.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Annirak » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:18 am UTC

Hand sanitizer merchants have been telling us all a dirty lie.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:25 am UTC

Web Designers always told us that 99.9% of uptime on servers wasn't impressive for this reason. That 0.01% always adds up.
Last edited by Quicksilver on Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Brandesianisme » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:33 am UTC

I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to multiply by 0.01%

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby poit » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:38 am UTC

Killing 99.99% wouldn't mean you multiply by 0.01, it would mean you multiply by 0.0001.

And they claim these things can kill 99.99% because that's all they can prove they kill. They probably kill 100% given enough concentration and time, but since they can't prove it, they can't claim it.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby ijuin » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:53 am UTC

This would be more impressive if it weren't for the fact that the human body already contains several TRILLION bacteria, about 90% of which are in our intestine and colon and without which we would have trouble digesting our food.

Also, plain old epidermis vulgaris, the most common skin bacterium on clean, healthy human skin, may cause the occasional pimple, but they are also our "guard dogs" against the more dangerous invaders--they do NOT like to share their habitat with outsiders and will try to kick them out before they can get under our skin. It's the invaders that get past these guard bacteria that our actual immune system has to deal with. Without these guards, we would have to fight all invading microbes ourselves, which is part of why kids raised in overly-sterile environments have immune problems.

It's also kind of amazing that despite being inundated with bacteria like this, most people even before the discovery of antibiotics and antiseptics only experienced a few hundred noticeable infections in a lifetime. It's a testament to how efficient our immune systems really are--it's only those germs that our immune systems can't figure out that are an actual threat.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby jiquera » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:54 am UTC

is it me or is there a mathematical error in this comic?

Say it would kill 0% then 200M * 1.00 = 200M germs will survive
Say it would kill 50% then 200M * 0.50 = 100M germs will survive
Say it would kill 99% then 200M * 0.01 = 2M germs will survive
Say it would kill 99.99% then 200M * 0.0001 = 20K germs will survive

the comic says 99.99% but then multiplies with 0.01% ?!?!?!
this shouldnt happen in XKCD comics ;)

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby jiquera » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:55 am UTC

ah wait... I missed the '%' sign :P well my faith has been restored ;)

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby sardia » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:09 am UTC

Don't forget the other side of the equation, evolution. What's do you call a germ that kills everyone it infects? Extinct. Diseases usually moderate themselves so that the vectors(humans) live long enough to spread themselves. It's why Ebola has such a hard time spreading, it kills too fast.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Annirak » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:20 am UTC

sardia wrote:What's do you call a germ that kills everyone it infects? Extinct. ... Ebola has such a hard time spreading, it kills too fast.

And yet, it persists...
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Istaro » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:23 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Web Designers always told us that 99% of uptime on servers wasn't impressive for this reason. That 0.01% always adds up.


Or 1%, even?

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby J L » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:43 am UTC

Annirak wrote:
sardia wrote:What's do you call a germ that kills everyone it infects? Extinct. ... Ebola has such a hard time spreading, it kills too fast.

And yet, it persists...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but Plague bacteria kill rats, fleas, everything, and were quite a "success" before the rise of antibiotics and vaccines. It seems the germs can survive without a host, and need them only for spreading.

Edit: I don't get the title text, either.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby verano » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:49 am UTC

I always assumed (← there might be the mistake) that the 99.99% refers to types of bacteria, while the sneeze droplet's millions of germs would mainly be of the same type?

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby TomRobbins » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:03 am UTC

verano wrote:I always assumed (← there might be the mistake) that the 99.99% refers to types of bacteria, while the sneeze droplet's millions of germs would mainly be of the same type?


I believe you are correct. So this is either an oversight by Randall. Or the stick man character (I have a hard time telling the characters apart unless they're wearing a style of hat) in this particular comic isn't really bright.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:07 am UTC

Istaro wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:Web Designers always told us that 99% of uptime on servers wasn't impressive for this reason. That 0.01% always adds up.


Or 1%, even?
sorry, I was meant to write 99.99%.
Last edited by Quicksilver on Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Angelastic » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:14 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:
Istaro wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:Web Designers always told us that 99% of uptime on servers wasn't impressive for this reason. That 0.01% always adds up.


Or 1%, even?
sorry, I was meant to write 99.9%.
Or 99.99%, even?
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:21 am UTC

Angelastic wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:
Istaro wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:Web Designers always told us that 99% of uptime on servers wasn't impressive for this reason. That 0.01% always adds up.


Or 1%, even?
sorry, I was meant to write 99.9%.
Or 99.99%, even?
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Zards » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:26 am UTC

Is it just me, or is he calculating how many germs would be left after 99% were killed, as opposed to 99.99%? Shouldn't 99.99% of germs killed result in 0.0001 left alive? Is that what the joke is? Am I not dumb enough for this one?

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby TeddyB » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:34 am UTC

Can someone explain the alt-text? Google doesn't help me understand what Hipster CDC is...
Aside from that, I agree with the sentiment of this comic, and it's also worth spreading the word that those alcohol gels don't get rid of Norovirus. Although it's obviously futile to try to scrub away all microbes from your skin, far better to eat healthily and keep your immune system in good order.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:35 am UTC

Reapply, reapply, reapply, reapply!


(Yes, that is meant to be 4x ;) )
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:39 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Reapply, reapply, reapply, reapply!


(Yes, that is meant to be 4x ;) )


To leave just 1 in 1020?

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Annirak » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:11 am UTC

TomRobbins wrote:
verano wrote:I always assumed (← there might be the mistake) that the 99.99% refers to types of bacteria, while the sneeze droplet's millions of germs would mainly be of the same type?


I believe you are correct. So this is either an oversight by Randall. Or the stick man character (I have a hard time telling the characters apart unless they're wearing a style of hat) in this particular comic isn't really bright.

Actually, that is a mistake. Randall has it right (as usual).

The standard test is run on 60 slides inoculated with a specific bug, and 59 of them treated with the product must exhibit the claimed rate of germ death. The 60th can fail to allow for a mistake on the part of testers, according to Jean Schoeni, director of research at TRAC Microbiology, which conducts EPA testing.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126092257189692937.html
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Annirak » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:18 am UTC

What's always bothered me about antibacterials and other sanitizers is natural selection. Widespread use of these products seems to encourage microbes which are immune to them.

I like the plasma sanitizer.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:25 am UTC

Wtf. Just wash your hands with soap and water. If you're not doing surgery, that's enough.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby peewee_RotA » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:24 pm UTC

The hipster CDC loved viruses before they were colds.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby dbmag9 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:42 pm UTC

collinstocks wrote:Edit: I'm not sure I understand the title text...

J L wrote:Edit: I don't get the title text, either.

TeddyB wrote:Can someone explain the alt-text? Google doesn't help me understand what Hipster CDC is...

The CDC is the centre for disease control, who I assume declare when an outbreak constitutes an epidemic, and when it peaks and so on. Hipsters stereotypically abhor anything mainstream, leading to the phrase "I liked [obscure band X] before it was cool". Cf. the last panel of http://xkcd.com/460/, come to think of it. So the Hipster CDC is saying that the flu epidemic was at its best years ago, before everyone started getting it.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Carlington » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:56 pm UTC

That 0.01% is a pretty rare strain. I wouldn't expect that you've heard of it, so don't worry.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Condor70 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

collinstocks wrote:Title text: "Hipster CDC Reports Flu Epidemic Peaked Years Ago"

Edit: I'm not sure I understand the title text...


If we ignore the Hipster association it's still a valid statement. The current flu epidemic is tiny in comparison to the influenza pandemics of the last century.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Annirak » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:01 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:That 0.01% is a pretty rare strain. I wouldn't expect that you've heard of it, so don't worry.

Again, it's not kinds of bacteria, it's the number bacteria out of a representative (or non-representative) sample of kinds. I posted a link to a WSJ article explaining this, with a reference from an EPA tester above. Those claims must be validated by the EPA, so the tester's explanation is valid.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Carlington » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:02 pm UTC

I know. I was sacrificing scientific accuracy for the sake of humour.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby jowee26 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:06 pm UTC

Wouldn't it be 200,000,000 x 0.0001 ?

Again, it's probably just the stick figure not understanding things, or my math is wronng.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby mikrit » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:07 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:This would be more impressive if it weren't for the fact that the human body already contains several TRILLION bacteria...
Oh dear. I hope that's the tiny American trillion (1012), not the European trillion (1018).
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby Angelastic » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:24 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:This would be more impressive if it weren't for the fact that the human body already contains several TRILLION bacteria

Indeed, it contains more bacteria than human cells. :) They're smaller though, so I think the human cells still account for most of the mass.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby FrobozzWizard » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:26 pm UTC

Weird Al had a pretty good take on this problem years ago:

Sometimes I really wanna be alone...
But that's one state I'm never in...
Because I know that I've got millions upon millions
Of tiny, one-celled organisms living on my skin

Weird Al - Germs

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby cellocgw » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Annirak wrote:
sardia wrote:What's do you call a germ that kills everyone it infects? Extinct. ... Ebola has such a hard time spreading, it kills too fast.

And yet, it persists...

IIRC it persists in non-human hosts, where it's far less deadly.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby orthogon » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:34 pm UTC

Annirak wrote:
TomRobbins wrote:
verano wrote:I always assumed (← there might be the mistake) that the 99.99% refers to types of bacteria, while the sneeze droplet's millions of germs would mainly be of the same type?


I believe you are correct. So this is either an oversight by Randall. Or the stick man character (I have a hard time telling the characters apart unless they're wearing a style of hat) in this particular comic isn't really bright.

Actually, that is a mistake. Randall has it right (as usual).


I also thought the same as verano. For decades, bleach bottles used to say "kills all known germs", which does appear to refer to types (unless "known" means that they have tagged individual bacteria and given them names.). Then suddenly they started saying "kills 99.99% of germs", which gave me the impression that some germ(s) had been discovered that it didn't kill, meaning they could no longer make the former claim. But assuming Annirak is right, they've actually started making a different claim that sounds similar.
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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby jc » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:37 pm UTC

verano wrote:I always assumed (← there might be the mistake) that the 99.99% refers to types of bacteria, while the sneeze droplet's millions of germs would mainly be of the same type?

Funny; I'd always interpreted such claims as saying that the 0.01% left are those with some resistance to the antibiotics used, which would then expand their numbers due to the elimination of their competition.

With a "kill rate" that low, hand sanitizers are primarily tools for forcing the evolution of resistance to our current antibiotics.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby willpellmn » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:01 pm UTC

The alt-text is pure fridge brilliance.

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Re: 1161 Hand Sanitizer

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:29 pm UTC

jowee26 wrote:Wouldn't it be 200,000,000 x 0.0001 ?

Again, it's probably just the stick figure not understanding things, or my math is wronng.


I think you'll find 0.01% = 0.0001
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