597: Addiction

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
But if you unplug everything, it gets so quiet you hear that high-pitched empty-room hum. And then the whispers begin.
Title text: But if you unplug everything, it gets so quiet you hear that high-pitched empty-room hum. And then the whispers begin.

[edit] Explanation

Megan is attempting to stay a weekend at home without the Internet, but Cueball doubts she can do it. She turns off her computer and stands up triumphantly, only to log back on and tell Cueball that it's not half bad, violating her original attempt as she clearly used a computer to send the message to Cueball.

The title text elaborates on Megan's addiction, saying that when she turns off all of the machines in the room, it results in an "empty-room hum". This is a high pitched buzzing noise, which it is suggested results from the brain increasing its sensitivity to noises. This is a fairly normal experience, but the "whispers" mentioned may be slightly more sinister, as this is often frequently associated as a sign of schizophrenia. See also 1590: The Source.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball is typing at a computer.]
Megan, through the computer: Constant novelty saps my initiative. I'm gonna try to spend a weekend at home without internet.
Cueball writing: I give you an hour.
[Megan stands up, turns off the computer in front of her.]
[Megan stands proudly in front of the computer.]
[Cueball is at his computer.]
Megan, through the computer: So far, it's not actually too bad!
Cueball writing: Ahem?
Megan, through the computer: Wait. Shit.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Or was it just the monitor Megan switches off? That's my take on it, thus leaving the Skype (or similar) connection active for continued two-way audio at the very least... 18:38, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

No it cannot be two way audio, because it is clearly Cueballs typing we see, as the "speak" line goes to the keyboard in both panels! And then it would be weird if she was talking to him. But it is true that it seems like she is only turning of the screen though. There did exist computers that was part of the screen, so the off-button would sit there. On the other hand it could also be that she turned of the PC using the on screen button, and then just afterwards turned of the screen. --Kynde (talk) 18:50, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

I think that the hum is actually Tinnitus, as people that use computers a lot tend to get exposed a lot to loud sounds (when playing games or listening to music, or both) or use headphones a lot. I know I have it. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Tinnitus is a low hum or squeal that's always there. You can ignore it when there is other sound, but it always there. This is due to damage to the ear. If they take a hearing test, they will see the damage. The hum that people hear when it gets quiet is not due to damage. I can go to the doctor right now, and there's no damage. Not everyone hears this. It's possibly linked to auditory perception disorder. I have that. Occasionally my ability to convert sound to language is stalled. I will suddenly not understand you, then 2-3 seconds later, understand what you said. This is because my mind plays back the sound it remembers until I recognize it. This is a similar experience to not paying attention, with the exception that I am paying attention and it still happens. Cflare (talk) 17:35, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Could the humming be the 60 Hz noise that some people can hear caused by electricity in the walls? Mikemk (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?