Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
The simplest explanation for the comic is the recipe for nachos. You take some tortilla chips, spread them out on a plate, sprinkle them with grated cheese, and put the plate in the oven until the cheese is melted. As usual with a full bag of snacks, you always end up with that tiny bit left at the bottom of the bag. In this case, it is either leftover grated cheese (left) or tortilla chips (right). So you end up buying another package of the other ingredient to make nachos again.
The lower caption is a play on the words vicious cycle, in which a negative feedback loop reinforces itself - in contrast to a virtuous cycle in which a positive feedback loop is established.
- [Frame is split by a diagonal.]
- [First half: Cueball in front of open fridge.]
- Cueball: I have leftover cheese. I should get chips and make nachos.
- [Second half: Cueball with bag of chips.]
- Cueball: I have leftover chips. I should get cheese and make nachos.
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- A delicious cycle
Rikthoff (talk) The issue date is definitely off. Can anyone fix?
- Fixed --DanB (talk) 13:52, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, my wife has a similar problem with cereal. She won't drink the milk after finishing the cereal, so she goes to get more milk. --DanB (talk) 13:52, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
If you melt the cheese enough, it becomes a viscous cycle. Alpha (talk) 04:41, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
The explanation states that a vicious cycle is a negative feedback loop while a virtuous cycle is a positive one. Actually, both are positive feedback loops, i.e. self-reinforcing ones. Vicious means that the results are negative, virtuous that the results are positive.
From the linked wikipedia page: The terms virtuous circle and vicious circle refer to complex chains of events which reinforce themselves through a feedback loop. A virtuous circle has favorable results, while a vicious circle has detrimental results. [...] Both circles are complexes of events with no tendency towards equilibrium (at least in the short run). Both systems of events have feedback loops in which each iteration of the cycle reinforces the previous one (positive feedback). 184.108.40.206 23:55, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
The best way to break this is to remember that you can still eat the chips after using up the dip. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)