226: Swingset

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 23: Line 23:
{{comic discussion}}
{{comic discussion}}
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]

Revision as of 06:12, 18 October 2013

Someone bring me a pocket fan so I can drift around the yard.
Title text: Someone bring me a pocket fan so I can drift around the yard.


When on a swing, there is a moment between swinging forwards/backwards and falling back down again where the force of gravity stops the acceleration of the swing. In this moment, you remain almost stationary at the peak of your swing and on a perfect swing (i.e. one with no friction or air resistance) you would achieve weightlessness.

Cueball is told this fact by an unknown woman and then he imagines that at the peak of the swing you become permanently weightless and able to float above the ground without any support.

On the title text he asks for a pocket fan, believing he could fly around the garden using this small device.


[Woman talking to Cueball on swing-set.]
Woman: You know, at the peak of a big swing, you become weightless.
[Thought bubble from Cueball.]
[Cueball swings higher and higher. At the peak of a big swing he shoves off the swing. Cueball remains hovering in the air.]
Cueball: Hey guys. Come check this out.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


A glass with water can be momentarily inverted at this moment and the water will not leave the glass!--DrMath 08:56, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Isn't the point about illustrating that you do in fact have weight even in instences that are written off as weightless? In space you just happen to be falling at the same velocity of your surroundings, maintaining orbit simply by moving fast enough to miss the Earth. On top of which, in a low enough orbit g is still close to 9.8 m/s^2 if only because altitude is insignificant compared to the radius of the Earth.--Passing Stranger 14:10 August 2014 (UTC)

No, you don't have weight in some instances. Weight is dependent upon gravity, so in deep space with no planets or stars close enough to matter you would be weightless. Mass, on the other hand... 01:46, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

The woman appears to be his mother. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Weight is actually a description of reaction force; if you're in free fall, and therefore not being pushed on by the floor or pulled on by a rope, you are weightless. If you are being swung on a rope, the direction of your "weight" is constantly changing. This might seem arbitrary, but it avoids things like everyone on a rotating space station being considered "weightless" due to the lack of gravity; a closed physical system can't tell the difference between gravity and uniform acceleration. 08:51, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
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 or Bitcoin?