# 228: Resonance

Resonance |

Title text: It's really hard to control the frequency, actually. |

## [edit] Explanation

Resonance is the tendency for an object to oscillate when energy is transferred to it at a specific set of frequencies known as harmonics of the natural frequency of the object. A simple example of this is pushing a child on a swing: by pushing the child at the right moment, more and more energy is transferred to the system and the amplitude of the oscillation grows (the child will swing higher.)

In this comic, the friend is jiggling his leg up and down at a harmonic of the natural frequency of Cueball's desk. This causes Cueball's desk to vibrate more and more until objects on it start to bounce around. Rather than have the friend stop, Cueball wants him to slightly increase the frequency of the jiggling in order to spill the drink on Steve's desk (not pictured). However, it is hard to have a person control a subconscious movement exactly, let alone increase or decrease by exact figures.

In the title text, his friend confesses the obvious fact that he couldn't control the frequency very well.

## [edit] Transcript

- [Cueball is sitting at a desk, which is vibrating.]
*clatter clatter*- [He leans back and turns to face someone sitting at another desk behind him.]
- Cueball: Excuse me--you're jiggling your leg up and down. It's traveling through the floor and making my desk resonate.
- Friend: Oh, I didn't even realize! I'll stop.
- [Cueball passes a sheet of paper to the friend.]
- Cueball: Actually, can you just shift the frequency up by 15%? I think you can get resonance with Steve's desk instead.
- Friend: Uh huh...
- Cueball: Here are the calculations. Let's coordinate and try to spill his drink.

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# Discussion

How do you guys know which one is Cueball? 108.162.216.169 19:52, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

- In general, the first one to talk is referred to as Cueball. 108.162.219.177 21:13, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

So, was it because his drink got spilled that Steve screwed up the calculations for the Jupiter slingshot, causing New Horizons to return to Earth (and his eventual demise under a pile of burning spacecraft wreckage)? Does this make Cueball a murderer? 173.245.52.170 11:41, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

What If? and Xkcd mention Steve and New Horizons. 108.162.218.77 22:47, 15 November 2015 (UTC)