1378: Turbine

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Turbine
Ok, plan B: Fly a kite into the blades, with a rock in a sling dangling below it, and create the world's largest trebuchet.
Title text: Ok, plan B: Fly a kite into the blades, with a rock in a sling dangling below it, and create the world's largest trebuchet.

[edit] Explanation

A wind turbine uses wind to rotate its blades in order to generate electricity. It is visually very similar to an (electric) fan which however does the exact opposite: it uses electricity to rotate its blades in order to generate wind. This opposition was previously highlighted in 1119: Undoing.

The punchline of this comic is a pun on the other meaning of the word "fan" which qualifies someone as liking or supporting something (here, an idea). Megan suggests to have the turbine blow air at her so she could lift of with a kite, something which would be conceivable with a huge fan, but is impossible here precisely because the turbine is not a fan and therefore can't generate wind. So the (anthropomorphically-speaking) turbine's response is twofold: 1/ it's a turbine and not a huge fan, which makes the idea impossible, and 2/ for this very reason it doesn't like the idea.

The title text alternatively suggests building a makeshift trebuchet, a type of catapult. The idea is that when the kite's string gets tangled in the turbine's blades, the kite will be spun around and it will fling the attached rock (this setup is more similar to a traction trebuchet than to the more common counterweight trebuchet).

[edit] Transcript

[Megan is talking to a wind turbine.]
Megan: I'll hold up a big kite, and you blow air at me until I lift off!
Megan: What do you think of that idea?
Wind turbine: I'm not a huge fan.

[edit] Trivia

  • Wind turbines have been used in earlier comics:
  • In 556: Alternative Energy Revolution the wind turbines are also alive, but somewhat more dangerous than just being ironic.
  • In 1119: Undoing, Cueball highlights the differences between a wind turbine and a fan.
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Discussion

Why is it "horrible, horrible"? Do you really, really not like it? It's not like it's a shaggy dog cartoon which you wasted several minutes on... Oh, wait... 108.162.208.9 05:51, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

For me, it just sucks that Randall chose to end the week on a lame pun. On Mondays/Wednesdays, the "suckiness" of something like this would be offset by a good "what-if?" on Tuesday. 103.22.201.225 06:00, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

From what I've seen, Friday comics tend to be more "wacky" than the rest. 108.162.238.134 23:22, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

While I agree it isn't the best xkcd could be, let's try and keep these pages objective, and leave the opinions in the comments. Mrmakeit (talk) 06:22, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

"I'm not a huge fan" is a catchphrase of Elon Musk, his opinion on patents, which was in the news a couple of days ago. Lift-off alludes to Musk's SpaceX. Wind turbine alludes to Musk's renewable energy company Solarcity. Tww (talk) 07:36, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

What's funny to me is that a turbine really is a giant fan. You'd just have to pump a whole ton of power (at the right voltage and sync rate) into it and possibly give it a kickstart of some kind to get it to turn. You could say the same about pretty much anything that generates power from rotational motion; it's a generator, but in the opposite direction, it's also a motor. 173.245.50.67 11:25, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I laughed at this comic, I thought it was great. As for the explanation, though, should it really be marked "complete" already? It reads like a first draft to me, and the comic is about a wind turbine, not a windmill. I'm gonna go fix that now. Enchantedsleeper (talk) 11:28, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I also liked this one. Great pun. As Enchantedsleeper may have found out windmill is the old mills for grain. But in some languages a wind turbine is called the same as a windmill! Kynde (talk) 17:57, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

'apostrophe' is more of an oratorical device, for the benefit of an audience. In this case Megan is treating the turbine as if it were human - anthropomorphism - but this isn't really a central part of the comic, and doesn't need much explanation - Seanybabes (talk) 08:59, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

I just got the punchline today. My punnery organs evidently need a workout. --Okofish (talk) 22:01, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
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