520: Cuttlefish

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Cuttlefish
Unless the CS students finish the robot revolution before you finish the cephalopod one.
Title text: Unless the CS students finish the robot revolution before you finish the cephalopod one.

[edit] Explanation

It appears that Cueball and Megan are physicists visiting a biology lab. Their guide gives them a description of the humble cuttlefish that is both accurate and makes them sound like other-worldly creatures with highly advanced capabilities.

The scene takes an unusual turn when the scientist implies that the cuttlefish have been easily trained to improve its capabilities. He then demonstrates this by giving a simple command, whereupon the cuttlefish attack and kill both Cueball and Megan, demonstrating an ability to fly, talk and discharge lethal electric shocks.

This is all revealed to be a dream, but it has given Cueball a warning not to underestimate the biologists. Apparently, they can be just as crazy and dangerous as any other kind of scientist. Cueball offers a toast to all biologists everywhere and plans an alliance with them against the chemists, hoping to prevent further attacks on physicists. The scientists are shown drinking from laboratory flasks, stereotypical behavior for biologists (and chemists).

In the past, Randall has been somewhat dismissive of the non-math / non-physics scientific disciplines, so this comic may be trying to mend some bridges with biologists. But not with chemists.

In the title text, CS stands for Computer Science. The "robot revolution" references events in film, such as Terminator and The Matrix, as well as literature (Asimov's "I, Robot"), wherein robots, having become commonplace in the workforce, achieve independent thought and declare war on humanity. Randall implies that the physicists will switch sides if the robot revolution arrives first.

[edit] Transcript

We visit a bio lab: [Cueball and Megan visit a bio lab where they look into a tank that the scientists point at.]
Scientist: These are cuttlefish.
[Image of a cuttlefish.]
Scientist: They're frighteningly smart, have manipulating arms and tentacles, have ink jets, can dart backwards and see the polarization of light through their w-shaped pupils. And their sides are 200 dpi display screens which they use for camouflage and communication.
Scientist: When we realized how intelligent they were, we began to teach them. They've advanced quickly. Cuttlefish: GO.
[Cuttlefish float out of the tank at Cueball and Megan.]
Cuttlefishes: Kill the physicists... kill the physicists
[Cuttlefish zap Cueball and Megan as they fall.]
[Cueball waking up from his sleep.]
Cueball: Oh god. I knew it.
XKCD[sic]
Salutes Bio Majors
[Bottle is pouring into a flask, and a man takes the flask and drinks from it.]
If we join you against the chemists, will you train your fleshy minions to leave us alive?
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Discussion

I dispute the idea of "memes." I don't remember my 2008/2009 Internet culture too well, but I certainly don't think cephalopods ever became much of a meme. This needs some revision. --Quicksilver (talk) 02:07, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Personally I think that "themes" works better, have edited accordingly, feel free to change it back though Whiskey07 (talk) 14:42, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I added a comment that The Battle for Wesnoth may have added Cuttlefish as a result of this comic. I am not certain on that, if I'm wrong, please correct me. Kyt (talk) 01:41, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I found a forum entry (http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=11168) that refers to the Wesnoth cuttlefish in May 2006 (more than two years before this comic came out) so I have edited the explanation accordingly. Also, non-accordingly. 108.162.219.223 18:38, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
While the evolution of cuttlefish attacking with electricity is probably what Randall meant, I am an avid fan of Dungeons and Dragons and I'd like to think that this is the beginning stages of what is known as an illithid. Cueball and Megan aren't killed by electricity but by the psionic abilities of the newly created illithids. - vegeto18 2014-02-18 03:14 PM
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