357: Flies

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I don't know about houseflies, but we definitely caught a lot of fruit flies with our vinegar bowl. Hooray science!
Title text: I don't know about houseflies, but we definitely caught a lot of fruit flies with our vinegar bowl. Hooray science!


The saying "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" means that people are more likely to be won over with persuasion than hostility.

When Cueball's friend tells him this after he replies to a "noob" using swear words, he then says that the saying is literally false by saying that balsamic vinegar attracts more flies than honey. He then tells his friend to try it with his own fruit flies.

When Cueball's statement is found true (because balsamic vinegar has a higher sugar content than white vinegar or honey), his friend complains to his mother that she lied to him. He then says that another saying, "a watched pot never boils", is also literally false. That saying means that an event that is monitored with impatient attention will seem to take longer.


[Cueball is typing on a computer, and his friend is lying on the floor.]
Cueball: *$@#!
Friend: Hey, ease up on the noobs. Like my mom always said, you catch more flies with honey then with vinegar.
[Cueball has turned his chair around.]
Cueball: No, you don't.
Friend: You don't?
Cueball: Nope, set out a bowl of balsamic and a bowl of honey. The vinegar gets more.
[Cueball's friend is now sitting on the floor.]
Friend: ...Seriously?
Cueball: You have fruit flies. Try it yourself.
[Cueball's friend is standing in front of a table, talking into a phone, and on the table, there are two bowls, and the bowl on the left seems to be surrounded by flies.]
Friend: Mother! You lied to me! And it gets worse. I was watching a pot yesterday, and guess what it did? It boiled, mother.
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Actually, the saying was originally “A watched pot never boils over.” This means that you should watch a pot to make sure the water doesn't spill out. 17:57, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Pretty sure that A watched pot never boils is an expression unto its own. If you sat and watched a pot long enough it would still boil over, on the macro scale there is no effect on observing something. 09:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

I thought that this expression meant that the water boiling process have a Murphy law like property in it: that the pot tends to boil over when you turn away from it. 21:59, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

CLEARLY the idea is that you are waiting for the pot to boil so that you can add something to it. You are not waiting for it to boil over; you are waiting for it to boil. The point is that many things that you want in life take longer to eventuate than you think, and sitting there fixating on them doesn't actually help and is a waste of time. Do something else useful in the meantime; the pot will boil when it's ready. 19:48, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Honey has a much higher sugar content than Balsamic vinegar. My hypothesis for this is that the real draw fro the flies is related to fragrance 19:18, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree on this and updated the explanation. Mumiemonstret (talk) 14:10, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Could this be a metaphor for trolling?

Richmond tudor (talk) 00:24, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
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